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Stephanie Watches Twin Peaks: 2.22 “Beyond Life and Death”

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And now, an ending. Where there was once one, there are now two. Or were there always two? What is a reflection? A chance to see two? When there are chances for reflections, there can always be two – or more. Only when we are everywhere will there be just one. It has been a pleasure speaking to you.”

This is one of my favorite episodes of Twin Peaks. You can instantly tell that Lynch directed it. The way scenes are framed, the strangely clipped dialogue, and the sound editing. It’s so different from the last several episodes.

As we know, Windom Earle kidnapped Annie during the Miss Twin Peaks pageant. He drags her farther into the woods. She tries to hold her resolve and prays until they come to the clearing. (Remember she was a nun? I always forget that detail.) “You and I have an appointment at the end of the world,” Windom says. “He’ll come for me,” Annie tells him. But she finally screams in protest before a sudden calm falls over her. Windom leads her through the red curtains. They both disappear.

Cooper is distraught since they haven’t solved the Owl Cave puzzle yet and the longer Windom has Annie, the more danger she’s in.

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Grand Theft Auto. The Log Lady stole my truck…”
“Pete, the Log Lady did not steal your truck. The Log Lady will be here in one minute.”

But they gradually put more pieces of the puzzle together. The woods. Ghostwood forest. There’s a circle of 12 Sycamores. Glastonberry Grove. Where they found the bloody towel and missing pages of the diary. The legendary burial place of King Arthur. They know where to go now.

The Log Lady enters, as Cooper said she would, bringing a jar of oil. “This oil is an opening to a gateway,” she says. We can put this together with the earlier pieces where Ronette, The One-Armed Man, and Maddy mention the smell engine oil right before BOB strikes. They bring Ronette in to smell the oil, and she recognizes it from the night Laura was killed.

Meanwhile… Let’s wrap up the rest of the town’s stories.

Lucy and Andy confess their mutual love. Finally!

Because Nadine got knocked on the head with the sandbag, she’s (unfortunately/ fortunately?) come to her senses. She has no memory of her time as a re-teen or of her relationship with Mike. The most heartbreaking part is that she doesn’t remember giving her approval to Ed and Norma. Are they forced to split apart just when they were finally about to be happy? Or did Ed finally get the guts to divorce Nadine and be with Norma? Maybe season 3 will answer this. We do know that Hank was killed in prison from The Secret History of Twin Peaks but that’s about it.

The Haywards are all gathered in their home with Ben Horne. Donna has packed a bag, ready to leave because she’s fed up with all the lies. Doc comes home, and she hugs him, crying and saying “You’re my daddy” over and over again. Doc is even more fed up and punches Ben. Ben slams into the fireplace and crashes to the ground, blood streaming down his face and twitching. Doc does a great Darth Vader “Noooooo” shout here. Is Ben dead? Who knows, man. Another unanswered question from what is probably the most soap opera-ey scene in the entire series.

Andrew Packard steals the key from Catherine, recognizing it as a safety deposit box. Pete walks in as he does so.

Audrey goes to the bank, full of purpose. She’s chained herself to the vault to protest the bank’s involvement in the Ghostwood project. She asks the second oldest man in the universe (second only to the waiter guy who attempted to help Cooper) to contact the Twin Peaks Gazette. This is similarly hilarious to the waiter guy in that we have to endure the bank man as he walks back and forth across the expanse of the bank several times at a slow pace. He’s at a loss of what to do for Audrey.

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Soon, Andrew Packard and Pete Martell show up. The bank guy is shocked to see Andrew alive and well. They’ve come to open the safety deposit box. We spend another few minutes with the bank guy walking slowly as he attempts to find the appropriate box.

Once they’ve FINALLY opened it, they discover — IT’S A BOMB. “Got you Andrew, love, Thomas.” The entire bank explodes. The bank guy’s glasses go flying.

Who survived? Did anyone? I actually have this answer! If you read The Secret History of Twin Peaks, you’ll find out that Pete covered Audrey to shield her and save her from the blast at the last minute. But he, unfortunately, died in the process. Rest in peace, good ol’, Jack Nance. This is the most wholesome way to explain Pete’s absence in the show. May I remind you that PETE IS THE BEST.

Bobby and Shelly are happy, smooching, and barking at each other. Did they end up together? Who knows.

Heidi from the pilot returns to giggle about being late to work because she was too busy boinking her husband.

Major Briggs and Betty Briggs are happily enjoying dinner in the diner. But Sarah Palmer and Dr. Jacobi visit them because she has a message that’s important. Her voice suddenly changes, and she looks almost possessed: “I’m in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper.” Could this be a message from Annie? (See: Fire Walk with Me) Or BOB? Or Leland’s spirit?

The end… or is it?

Cooper and Harry find Pete’s stolen truck but it’s empty. They approach the clearing. Suddenly, Cooper seems to be transfixed the same way Annie was as she neared the gateway. Cooper tells Harry that he must go on alone, but Harry follows at a safe distance. Cooper finds the Sycamore trees and the pool of oil. And then he pulls apart the red curtains and enters.

Harry watches him disappear from sight in complete shock. Later, Andy finds Harry in the woods and keeps him company as they wait for Cooper… It’s morning now but he hasn’t returned.

Been about 10 hours since he went in there.”
“Do you want a thermos of coffee?”
“Yeah.”
“Do you want a plate special?”
“Yeah.”
“Do you want dessert?”
“Yeah.”
“Do you want pie? Harry?”

I don’t know why but this simple exchange is one of my favorites. ANYWAY, I’m just going to tell it like I see it and attempt to explain afterward. … Into the red curtains we go…

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Cooper finds the Waiting Room of the Black Lodge. The Man from Another Place (MFAP) enters, doing his usual jaunty dance. Strobes flash constantly making it even more disorienting for Cooper.

“When you see me again, it won’t be me. (That’s good since he’s not in the new series, ha.) This is the waiting room. Would you like some coffee? Some of your friends are here.”

Laura enters. “Hello, Agent Cooper. I’ll see you again in 25 years. Meanwhile…”

The old waiter man is sitting there next. “Hallelujah.” He gives Cooper a cup of coffee saying “Coffee” over and over again.

The Giant takes his place. “One and the same.” I believe he means the old man since they’re wearing similar outfits. Cooper tries to drink the coffee but it goes from being a solid block to liquid again to syrup.

Wow, Bob, wow. Fire walk with me.”

Flames. Strobes. Screams. Cooper goes to another room but they all look pretty much the same, so he goes back. “Wrong way,” the MFAP says. Then, he goes to another room again. MFAP: “Another friend.”

Maddy enters, looking extra creepy in Laura’s outfit with white eyes. “I’m Maddy. Watch out for my cousin.”

Cooper goes to another room. MFAP: “Doppelganger.”

Laura with white eyes: “Meanwhile…” And screams like a banshee. Strobes. Screams. Laura acting like a wild animal, climbing over the red velvet couch as she screams.

Another room: Cooper’s been stabbed. He has blood on his hands.

Another room: He sees bloodied Annie dressed as Caroline on the ground next to his dead body. “Annie? Annie? Annie?”

Another room. Cooper finds Annie: “Dale. I saw the face of the man who killed me.”
“Annie. The face of the man who killed you?”
“It was my husband.”
“Annie?”
“Who’s Annie. It’s me. It’s me.” Annie changes to Caroline.
“Caroline.”
“You must be mistaken. I’m alive.”

Caroline changes to Laura, who resumes screaming. Laura changes to Windom. Annie phases in and out again as they confront each other.

Windom laughs backward, which is very unsettling.
“If you give me your soul, I’ll let Annie live.”
“I will.”

Windom stabs Dale. Flames everywhere. But then the stab reverses. BOB shows up, holding onto Windom, who screams bloody murder.

Be quiet. You go. He is wrong. He can’t ask for your soul. I will take his.”

Flames shoot out of Windom’s head. BOB laughs maniacally. Cooper leaves the room. Another wilder Cooper starts flailing around in the curtains behind BOB. He runs up to BOB; he has white eyes and laughs maniacally.

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Cooper runs into white-eyed Leland in the hallway. “I did not kill anybody.”

Cooper sees Doppelgänger Cooper and goes into another room. Doppelgänger Cooper and Leland grin and laugh at each other. Cooper is running now from room to room trying to find Annie, a way out, or a way to escape his doppelgänger. Doppelgänger Cooper is pursuing him. Doppelgänger Cooper catches him and grabs his shoulders. We don’t see what happens because BOB laughs and grins, obscuring our vision of the scene.

We return to the woods. The red curtains part as a spotlight shines on them. Both Cooper and Annie lay on the ground. Annie’s face is covered in blood. Harry and Andy try to rouse them.

Cooper sits up in bed with Harry and Doc watching over him.
“I wasn’t sleeping. How’s Annie?”
“She’s going to be just fine. She’s in the hospital.”
“I need to brush my teeth.”

He gets up and goes into the bathroom. He’s acting a little weird, which is to be expected after that experience. Even Harry and Doc exchange a look when he closes the bathroom door. Cooper starts squeezing all the toothpaste out, which is really just wasteful. But then he looks in the mirror. He pauses and suddenly slams his head against the glass, breaking it. In the reflection… we see BOB grinning. Blood streams down Cooper’s face.

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How’s Annie? How’s Annie? How’s Annie?”

… And that’s how Twin Peaks ends! Yes, really. Okay, so what the hell happened in the Black Lodge?

Fear can open the door to the Black Lodge but it can also make you a gateway. Cooper was presented with a series of tests. He had to face many fears and see his “friends” – a.k.a. the inhabiting spirits. He had to face what happened to Caroline and the fact that the very same thing could happen to Annie. He faced his failure of saving Laura. He faced his failure of saving Maddy. He faced his failure of saving Leland from himself. But he could not face himself.

And thus, he became an easy target and a gateway for BOB. Is BOB still just the manifestation of the evil that men do or is he truly an inhabiting spirit? I would believe it’s a combination of both. Cooper could not face the darkness within himself. He might be one of the best humans ever but he believes he is at fault for too much suffering and death. He was ripe for BOB.

So, a doppelgänger version of Cooper escaped the Black Lodge with BOB inside him. And Cooper is still in the Black Lodge with Laura. But time has no meaning in the Black Lodge. For our purposes, Cooper has been there since the series began. It’s why he has so many strange dreams, why he knows things but can’t put his finger on the answer. And why someone needs to come save him. Please.

The people who saw this more than 25 years ago had to live their lives with the knowledge that Dale Cooper is trapped in the Black Lodge and BOB inhabits his doppelgänger body. I’ve only lived with this knowledge for more than three years and it still stresses me out. But soon, I will have answers. We all will.

For a much more in-depth analysis of literally EVERY part of this scene, read this.

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