‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Finale: No End and No Beginning


By Caitlin Malcuit

It is happening again. The end of “Twin Peaks” has come, albeit a little more ceremonious. No time slot shuffling, no network exec interference—the end on David Lynch and Mark Frost’s terms (one of their terms, at least). Of course, we’re left with more questions than answers. But we’re also brought back to the start, the catalyst of it all: the girl found dead, wrapped in plastic.

Mr. C, having locked down the correct coordinates, drops by the forest clearing where Naido appeared. A trip through the vortex drops him in front of the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department. The eyeless woman begins to chirp loudly upon his arrival, stirring James and Freddie.

Mr. C approaches Andy, retrieving a picnic basket from his car. The deputy welcomes his long-lost friend and brings him inside to see the rest of the gang, running to find Hawk. With everyone is distracted above, Chad successfully pulls a key from the bottom of his boot, slipping into the evidence room to retrieve his gun. Andy stops in the holding cells, only to be held up by his disgraced colleague. Chad slowly approaches as Freddie winds up his gloved hand. The stars align: Freddie smashes his cell door right into Chad’s face.

Frank Truman meets with Mr. C in his office, as the doppelganger smirks through his scuzzy teeth that he’s in town for some unfinished business. Lucy receives a call at the front desk as the camera zooms in (resisting a “Vertigo” shot, however, which is too bad) as she exclaims, “Who?” She buzzes Truman, cautiously stating that he has a very important phone call on Line 2.

Dale Cooper is on the other line, sharing that he’s just entering the city limits and shouts, “Is the coffee on?” Truman stares at the false agent, then both draw their pistols. Mr. C shoots first, but hits the sheriff’s hat—the doppelganger slumps over as Lucy stands in the entryway, gun in hand. As the rest of the folks enter, Agent Cooper warns everyone to stay away from the body.

Hawk arrives just as Woodsmen appear, scraping at Mr. C’s body. Cooper runs in, staring in horror at the supernatural handiwork. A large blob rises out of the double’s stomach, floating up as BOB’s face materializes. BOB’s orb screams and rockets toward Cooper, knocking the agent to the floor. Freddie calls out to BOB, realizing that this is his destiny. BOB attacks the young man, but Freddie curls his glove hand into a fist and throws a punch. A couple of rounds later, one final punch breaks the orb into pieces. Cooper manages to place the green ring on his tulpa’s hand, sending the form back to the Black Lodge. “One for the grandkids,” Bradley Mitchum nods.

Frank Truman turns over the Great Northern key he received from Ben as the FBI arrives. Cooper notices Naido. The shot of his shocked face lays superimposed over the rest of the scene, hovering like Dorothy’s visage as she chants “There’s no place like home” over her clacking ruby red slippers.

Naido, if you haven’t guessed, is Diane, the real Diane (now with a red bob!) as Naido’s eyeless masking burns away. She says she remembers everything, sharing a kiss with Cooper. “Now,” he announces, more to us than the crowd in the Sheriff’s office, “there are some things that will change. The past dictates the future.” He looks back at the wall clock, stuck ticking in place at 2:53. He turns to face his old friends as his own face calls out, “We all live inside a dream.” He hopes to see all of them again, soon.

Friends old and new come together to vanquish the forces of evil. This is what everyone wants, deep inside their hearts. It would just be so tidy, wouldn’t it? Well, once Cooper, Diane, and Cole find themselves in the basement of the Great Northern, Cooper unlocks the door in the furnace room, keeping his friends back. “I’ll see you at the curtain call,” he says, walking into the space of the supernatural motel. There, he meets MIKE, who recites the “Fire Walk with Me” poem before leading Cooper to Phillip Jeffries.

Jeffries gives Cooper instructions to find Judy in his steam coding (the owl cave sign, diamonds that morph into an 8 or infinity symbol), as Cooper requests the date February 23, 1989. Steam and fan blades whoosh as the scene fades back to the night of Laura Palmer’s murder, footage from the “Fire Walk with Me” film now varnished in black and white. Cooper spies Laura in the moments leading up to her fateful encounter with Leo Johnson, Ronette Pulaski, and Jacques Renault, but he stops her in the forest. Laura takes Cooper’s hand when he reaches out to take her home. Laura’s wrapped up corpse disappears from the shores of the Blue Pine Lodge, as Pete Martell fishes in peace. In her home, Sarah Palmer grabs Laura’s homecoming portrait, smashing the glass frame to pieces. Has Laura been saved?

Hard to say—Laura disappears from Cooper’s grasp, her screams echoing into the dark woods.

Cooper is brought back to the start of “The Return,” meeting MIKE and the Arm, losing Laura again as she’s pulled through the ceiling, screaming. Leland begs Coop to find her. Dale’s endless twists and turns through the red curtains lead him back to the Lodge portal entrance at Glastonbury Grove, where Diane waits. Believing that each are who they say they are, Diane and Cooper drive down 430 miles of highway, sharing a kiss before they pass the point of no return onto a long, dark stretch of road, illuminated only by headlights.

The pair arrives at a motel; Cooper runs into the office as Diane sees a vision of herself appear next to the carport. The image disappears when Coop returns, both entering the hotel room. Something is off, though. Diane wonders, “What do we do now?” and Cooper replies just a little too sternly, “You come over here to me.” Again, they kiss, engaging in some somber lovemaking. Diane looks up at the ceiling in distress, covering Dale’s face. Cut to the next morning—Cooper wakes up, alone, in a new motel room. He reads a “Please don’t try to find me” note from “Linda” on the nightstand for “Richard.” Cooper departs this new motel in a new car, driving to the Odessa city limits, population 99,940.

Cruising through Odessa brings Cooper to a diner called Judy’s, and he pulls in for a cup of coffee. The waitress working is apparently not the one he hopes to see—he asks after another one, learning that she’s on her third day off. Some not-so-fine gents accost the waitress, and Cooper, in a more ruthless move than usual, knees one in the groin and shoots another’s foot—he takes their guns and drops them into a fryer. He gets the address of the other waitress, and goes to her home.

After knocking, the door opens to reveal a woman who looks identical to Laura Palmer—but she’s confused by the name. The woman insists that she is Carrie Page, but Cooper maintains his belief that she may be Laura and that he has to take her home to Twin Peaks. Carrie figures, ah, fuck it; she wants to get the hell out of Dodge anyway. She races to pack her bags (and a coat—it’s can get chilly in the Pacific Northwest) and invites Cooper in. Coop notices a dead man’s body sprawled in an armchair, bullet hole right in the forehead. His eyes wander to a figurine of a white horse on Carrie’s mantle.

More driving down long, dark roads—Carrie’s grateful to leave Odessa, but worries about the car headlights that tail them. She wonders out loud if they’re being followed, but it passes as Cooper glimpses up in the rearview. “It’s a long way,” Carrie sighs, cryptically following with, “In those days, I was too young to know any better.”

Cooper drives past the RR Diner down the streets of Twin Peaks. He asks if Carrie recognizes any of her surroundings, but she does not. They pull up to Laura’s house—she doesn’t recognize that, either. At the door, Coop knocks a couple of times before there’s an answer. A middle-aged woman with long hair—not Sarah—opens the door a crack. This woman, Alice Tremond, does not know the name Sarah Palmer, having purchased the house from a Mrs. Chalfont. Tremond and Chalfont are the surnames of an elderly woman used, likely a Black Lodge spirit, but Cooper never encountered her during his adventures. Laura did meet her, but the names don’t light a spark for Carrie.

Cooper starts back to the car, but stops, swiveling back to look at the house as Carrie looks on guardedly. The agent looks to the ground, asking, “What year is this?” Carrie blinks and looks up at her supposed home. The wind picks up as a whispered shout carries over, screaming, “Laura!” Carrie begins to shake, and she screams as Cooper whips around to look at her. The lights in the house pop and go out, static crackling.

Who is the dreamer? Whoever it may be in the world of Twin Peaks, “The Return” was the audience’s hypnotic jerk, rousing us from our television reverie, back to the beginning to experience this temporal loop all over again.

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