Before I start my final Twin Peaks recap, let’s get one thing clear: I love Twin Peaks. And I loved this new season. And I loved the finale. I remember one hot June evening back in 1991 when the show suddenly ended on a dramatic cliffhanger and then was (seemingly) gone forever. And people hated that finale! It was so polarizing! And then we all turned against the movie. And yet…
Twenty-five years later, here we are, once again. The fans are divided. Twin Peaks has split them in two. People are either furious, or rapturous. And I am the latter. The ending was perfect. It was so Twin Peaks. I am not joking (at all) when I say I am happy I stayed alive long enough to see this new season. I expected a cliffhanger. I hoped we’d see Laura. I never guessed it would be like this. But I am thrilled. And y’all can trash the show all you want in the comments. But guess what? I’ll just see you in another 25 years when you’re all loving every second of this new season and dressing up as red-wigged Diane and no-eyes Naido. Catch you on the flip side!
And now, at long last, here is my final recap of the finale:
IN SOUTH DAKOTA | Cole reveals to Albert and Tammy that “Judy” is simply a code-name for an extreme negative force from olden times called “Jowday” (no clue how to spell that, I’m just quoting the closed-captions). Then he gets a call from the Las Vegas FBI telling him that Cooper is on his way to Twin Peaks, Washington.
IN TWIN PEAKS | Evil Deputy Chad is waiting for a chance to sneak out of his jail cell. He has a key hidden in his boot (just like Leo had a micro-cassette hidden in his boot oh so long ago. Remember? Leo needs “New shoes! Burp”). And when the drunk (who may be Billy, we will never know now) finally falls asleep, Chad gets out and nabs a weapon. Thankfully, before he can shoot Deputy Andy, Green-Glove-Freddie smashes the jail cell open, taking Chad down. Soon after, Naido is going bananas, making wild monkey noises. She is very disturbed because…
Evil Coop has been transported to the Sheriff’s station. How did it happen? Well, first he drove to Jack Rabbit’s Palace, then walked to the portal, and then the Giant/Fireman packaged him in a cage and sent him through the Golden Tube. Yeah, that’s what happened, pretty straightforward. Everyone at the Sheriff’s Station is happy to see “Coop.” But then Andy remembers that something bad is going to happen. And at the same time, Frank Truman gets a call from the real Cooper. Evil Cooper goes for his gun, as does Frank Truman. But surprisingly, it’s Lucy who blows Evil Cooper away. Then Andy brings James, Freddie and Naido into Frank’s office.
And of course, the Woodsmen show up. Just like when Ray shot Evil Coop, the Woodsmen appear to try and save him. But this time it doesn’t work. The evil BOB bubble pops out of Evil Coop’s body. And I’m not sure how to describe the battle between the BOB bubble and Freddie, but I can say that it was epic, that I loved every minute of it, and that it was bananas. The BOB bubble is smashed. Real Coop puts the Owl Ring on Evil Coop and he de-materializes into the Red Room. Good riddance!
Then Naido approaches Coop, very concerned. Her head pops off, and she turns into Diane! The real Diane! Apparently real Diane has a short fire-engine-red bob haircut and black and white nails. I mean, who is she? Lil? Coop and Diane kiss. It was a little bizarre. I was betting all my money on Cooper kissing Audrey in this finale. But it seems as if Diane is his one true love.
Then Cooper tells the assembled group (including the Mitchums, Candie-x-3, Cole, Albert and Tammy) that “there are some things that will change.” He is about to do something drastic. It seems like a great personal sacrifice. Throughout this scene we see Cooper’s face in the Red Room super-imposed over everything. Is that the moment when Laura whispered in his hear? Did she tell him what to do? Did she tell him that everything would be different? Scrambled? More on that in a moment…
Cooper, Diane and Cole reappear in the basement of the Great Northern Hotel. Coop is going to go through the humming door. Again, something very momentous is going to happen. But what? Will Cooper die? No, it seems he’ll just go with the One Armed Man to visit tea-kettle Philip Jeffries. Kettle-Jeffries shows Cooper the Owl Cave/Ring symbol turning into a figure 8. Is it an infinity symbol? Has Jeffries discovered that we are all just stuck in a loop? Reliving our mistakes over and over? More on that in a moment…
And then, shockingly, Cooper ends up walking straight into Fire Walk With Me! Remember when Laura saw something in the woods and screamed? Well, now we know that was Cooper. And then – HOLD MY COFFEE – Cooper saves Laura Palmer. He intercepts her in the woods after she falls off James’ bike. She never reaches Leo, Jacques and Ronette. Her father never kills her. We see the actual opening moments of the original pilot again! Josie! Catherine! And Pete gone fishin’! But now there is no body wrapped in plastic to discover and Pete actually does go fishing! History has been rewritten and Laura has been saved!
Or has she?
As Cooper leads Laura through the woods, seemingly to safety and redemption, he suddenly hears that strange scratching sound again. It’s the sound we heard from the Giant’s gramophone at the very beginning of the season when the Giant told Coop: “It’s in our house now.” It sounds like a record scratching. Maybe like Leland’s record scratching? And then Laura disappears. We hear her scream as she is ripped out of this world (just like she was ripped out of the Red Room back in Part 2). But where did Laura go?
And then Part 18 begins (after a melancholy return to the Roadhouse for original Twin Peaks singer Julee Cruise). I think in the next few days we are going to be hearing a lot about how the show should have ended on Part 17. That part 17 closed the (infinity) loop and everything was safe and good. But you know, every reaction has an opposite and equal reaction. Even Ashton Kutcher had to learn that the hard way in The Butterfly Effect. And saving Laura Palmer isn’t as easy as Cooper thinks. There are larger forces at work here. The world is a giant puzzle. And if you tug one interconnected piece in one way, all the pieces are going to shift as well. That’s what Part 18 was all about. It’s about what happens after the happy ending. Part 18 is essentially the first Part of Season 4. New questions and new mysteries. Yes, Janey-E and Sonny Jim got a new Dougie, as promised. But things may not work out so perfectly for everybody else…
After losing Laura in the woods, Part 18 takes us on a long trip back through Parts 1 and 2. We see Cooper back in the Red Room. He finds Leland again (remember when Leland told Cooper to “Find Laura”? Well now we know why). Cooper hears Laura whispering into his ear, again. The One Armed man asks, again, “Is it future or is it past?” The only really new thing that happens is that the Brain-Tree/Arm says to Cooper: “Is it the story of the little girl down the lane?” That should have made you sit up and pay attention because that’s exactly what Audrey said to her husband Charlie. This is the only (crypto) reference to Audrey in the final two episodes. We never saw her again. But taking what the Brain Tree said into consideration, I think we now know that Audrey is trapped somewhere in a lodge. Just like Diane was trapped (as Naido) in that purple world, Audrey is likely being held in a mysterious “other place.” Granted, I can only guess what is going on, but that is my interpretation.
Finally, Cooper walks out of the Red Room into Glastonbury Grove. Back where he started. A figure 8. Diane, his apparent true love, is waiting for him. They confirm they are really themselves, and then they set out on a curious adventure. They seem to drive exactly 430 miles into Texas (remember the Giant told Coop to remember 430?). Diane warns Coop “You don’t know what it’s gonna be like once we…” But he wants to go ahead anyway. They pass through a mysterious portal. And the whole world changes. Day becomes night. They drive on. They reach a motel. Diane sees a doppelganger of herself as Coop checks in. They have intense sex.
And then Cooper wakes up and Diane is gone. She has left a note. She writes the note to Richard (Coop) and signs it “Linda.” Remember when the Giant told Coop to remember Richard and Linda? Well, those are apparently their new names in this alternate or parallel world. Coop goes looking for a waitress at Judy’s café. He tussles with some Texans. And this new Coop seems a bit evil. Maybe half evil. Maybe he’s half Good Coop and half Evil Coop. The two halves have united into this being.
Coop finally finds the missing waitress at home. And it’s Laura. But now her name is Carrie Page. It’s like the whole world turned a “page” and everything has changed. Everyone has been recast. Except Cooper. He remembers. He’s here to take Laura home to Twin Peaks. And just in time, because this new Laura/Carrie has gotten herself into some trouble. There’s a dead man in her living room. It would seem that even though Cooper saved Laura, even if she got ripped out of the world and plunked down into another life, she still found her way back to trouble. Or the trouble found her.
Cooper drives Laura/Carrie to Twin Peaks (it’s a long drive). But everything is different when they get there (you should notice that the RR Diner marquee no longer says “RR TO GO!”). They reach the Palmer house. Laura doesn’t recognize it. And no Palmers live there. Now it’s a woman named Tremond, who bought the house from a woman named Chalfont. If you are a true Twin Peaks lover, you will know the importance of those two names. Donna served meals on wheels to a woman named Tremond. This woman had a mysterious grandson who did magic with creamed corn. But when Donna went back with Agent Cooper, the Tremonds were gone, and in their place? A different woman also named Tremond. Later, we found out that the mysterious grandmother and grandson were also known by the name Chalfont (they had two names – just like Laura/Carrie). And that these Tremond/Chalfonts appeared to Teresa Banks in Fire Walk With Me, right before she was killed.
The upshot here is that the Palmer house is somehow connected to some great evil. Cooper may have saved Laura, but like a Final Destination movie, fate found its way back to its original course and victims. There is a balance of evil and good in the world (and inside Agent Cooper).
So Coop and Laura/Carrie wander back down to the car. They don’t even know what year they are in. But something triggers Laura/Carrie and she screams (Sheryl Lee really has a million dollar scream, doesn’t she?). The lights go out in the house, and we are left (for another 25 years?) with Laura whispering, again, into Cooper’s ear. What is she telling him? Is she warning him not to save her? Is she warning him that a fate worse than being Dougie is being Richard? For eternity?
BONUS POINTS | The show is over. I am heartbroken. I loved the finale. I loved this season. It took me a long time to get on board because I didn’t like Dougie. But today before the finale I went back and watched Parts 1 through 6, and now I love Dougie. Just like I’m sure all the critics and haters will love this new season in a few years. David Lynch and Mark Frost are masters at giving us what we don’t want. At giving us what we didn’t know we wanted. At giving us what we want in a way we didn’t know we wanted it. There are no easy answers. We will spend the next 25 years theorizing and debating about Season 3.
In the meantime, I only have one question: How is Annie? (–Written by M.T. Wentz)