— Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks 2.22 “Beyond Life and Death”
“The Log Lady stole my truck!”
— Pete Martell (Jack Nance), same episode
“Some of your friends are here.”
— The Man From Another Place (Michael Anderson), same episode
“I’ll see you again in 25 years.”
— Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), same episode
Here we are.
Starting exactly one month ago, we started our Twin Peaks recaps. I handled some, Leonard handled some, and Jeff handled some. Gary added a post on David Lynch’s first three short films. Val shared music videos that were either inspired by Lynch or directed by Lynch himself. Jeff devoted his Movie a Day posts to reviewing films that all had a Twin Peaks connection. As Leonard put it on twitter, projects are fun and I know we certainly had a lot of fun putting all of this together.
But, all good things must come to an end and, at least until the third season premieres on Showtime later this month, we have reached the end of Twin Peaks. Episode 30 brought the story to a temporary end. (The movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, was a prequel about the last days of Laura Palmer. It’s a haunting film and one that we’ll look at tomorrow but, at the same time, it doesn’t offer up any answers to any of the questions that the finale left hanging.)
A little history: Twin Peaks was a huge success during its first season but, during the second season, ratings plunged. According to the book, Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes, neither David Lynch nor Mark Frost were as involved during the second season as they had been during the first. As compared to the genuinely unsettling first season, the second season struggled to find its voice. Was it a mystery? Was it a broad comedy? Was it a show about the paranormal or was it a soap opera? It was all of that and, for many people, that was too much. Today, of course, audiences are used to quirkiness. They’re used to shows that straddle several different genres. It’s no longer a revolutionary idea to be openly meta.
But in 1991, Twin Peaks was the show that ABC both didn’t know what to do with and, by the end, didn’t really want. It was regularly moved around the schedule and, often, weeks would pass without a new episode. Consider this: nearly two months passed between the airing of The Path to the Black Lodge and the final two episodes of the show. (Miss Twin Peaks and Beyond Life and Death were both aired on June 10th, 1991.)
For the final episode, David Lynch returned to direct and, though hardly anyone saw it when it originally aired, it’s an episode that left such an impression that — 25 years later — Showtime agree to bring the series back. The third season of Twin Peaks will premiere later this month but until then, let’s go ahead and recap Beyond Life and Death.
One last time, we open with Angelo Badalamenti’s beautiful theme music and those haunting shots of Twin Peaks.
We start at the sheriff’s station, with Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Andy (Harry Goaz) having a moment. Lucy talks about how scared she was when the lights went out and then says she found herself wondering what would happen if they were stuck in an elevator in the hospital and she went into labor. Andy replies that, if that happened, he would deliver the baby “in front of God and everyone.” Awwwww!
In Harry’s office, Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Hawk (Michael Horse) stare at the cave drawing while Harry (Michael Ontkean) says that he has deputies in three counties looking for Windom Earle. Windom appears to have vanished. Cooper replies that the only hope they have of finding Windom and Annie is in the map.
“Fire walk with me,” Cooper says, softly, “Fire walk with me.”
Pete (Jack Nance) steps into the office and announces that the Log Lady stole his truck. I love the way that Jack Nance delivers the line, “The Log Lady stole my truck!” (Sadly, Nance was murdered just a few years after the end of Twin Peaks.) Pete says that, when last seen, the Log Lady was driving into Ghostwood Forest.
“Pete,” Cooper announces, “the Log Lady did not steal your truck. The Log Lady will be here in one minute.”
“12 rainbow trouts in the bed,” Pete says.
This triggers Harry’s memory. He announces that there is a circle of 12 sycamores in Ghostwood Forest. It’s called Glastonbury Grove. Hawk says that Glastonbury Grove is where he found the pages from Laura’s diary. Cooper suddenly says, “That’s the legendary burial place of King Arthur! Glastonbury!”
“King Arthur is buried in England,” Pete says, dismissively, “Last I heard anyway.”
Right on time, The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson) shows up at the office.
“Where’s my truck?” Pete demands.
“Pete, Windom Earle stole your truck,” Cooper says.
Pete looks very confused. Jack Nance really acted the Hell out of this scene. (Interestingly enough, Catherine Coulson was, in real life, Nance’s ex-wife.)
The Log Lady ignores Pete. She has a jar of oil that she hands to Cooper. The Log Lady says that her husband claimed that the oil was the opening to a gateway. Everyone agrees that it smells like scorched engine oil. Cooper has Hawk bring in Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine), who says that she smelled the oil the night that she was attacked and Laura Palmer was killed.
Out in the woods, a pickup truck comes to a stop in front of Glastonbury Grove. Inside the truck, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) forces Annie (Heather Graham) to look at the 12 rainbow trout in back. Annie tells Windom that, if he’s going to kill her, to go ahead and get it over with. Windom says that there is plenty of time for that but, right now, he is enjoying the fear that he is feeling.
(After being portrayed in far too cartoonish a manner over the past few episodes, Windom is finally menacing again. For that matter, this is the first — and, as fate would have it, the only — episode where Heather Graham seems to be truly committed to her role as Annie. This episode directly challenges anyone who thinks that David Lynch is merely a visual artist who can’t direct actors.)
As Annie recites Psalm 141, Windom drags her through the woods. Windom shoves her into the the middle of the grove.
“I tell you, they have not died,” Windom recites, “Their hands clasp, yours and mine.”
Suddenly, in the middle of the woods, the red curtains appears. Windom leads the now zombified Annie through them.
At the Hurley House, Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) is looking over the heavily bandaged Mike (Gary Hershberger) and Nadine (Wendy Robie). Meanwhile, Ed (Everett McGill) is cheerfully talking to Norma (Peggy Lipton) by the fire place. (I like the fact that, with everything that’s going on, Ed and Norma are just happy to be together.) Just as Ed and Norma start to dance, Nadine suddenly gets her memory back and starts to shout about silent drape runners. Nadine demands that Ed make everyone go away.
At the Hayward house, Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel) sits in her wheelchair and stares at Ben Horne (Richard Beymer). Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) comes walking down the stairs, carrying a suitcase. Eileen begs Donna not to leave but Donna starts screaming about not knowing who her parents are. Ben steps forward and apologizes. He says he only wanted to do good. He wanted to be good. He says that it felt good to finally tell the truth.
Doc Hayward arrives home and is not happy to see Ben. Ben is begging for forgiveness when, suddenly, his own wife (Jan D’Arcy) comes walking through the front door. She demands to know what Ben is trying to do to their family.
Donna looks at Doc Hayward and starts to chant, “You’re my Daddy! You’re my Daddy!” Eileen looks away, which is a polite way of saying, “No, Ben’s your Daddy and you’ve got a half-sister that everyone likes more than you.”
Ben tries to apologize again and, after 29 episodes of never losing his temper, Doc Hayward finally snaps and punches Ben. Ben falls back and hits the back of his head on the fireplace! Oh my God! Is Ben dead!? Is Doc Hayward now evil!?
(I know the answer but I’m not going to tell you until the end of this review.)
At the Martell House, Andrew (Dan O’Herlihy) is all excited because he’s figured out that the key is the key to a safety deposit box. He steals the key from the pie plate and replaces it with a duplicate. However, Pete steps into the room just in time to see Andrew doing it.
In the woods, Cooper and Harry come across the abandoned truck. They walk into the forest but Cooper suddenly announces that he must go alone. Cooper takes Harry’s flashlight and walks through the forest. Eventually, he hears the hooting of an owl and comes across Glastonbury Grove. Cooper steps into the circle and the red curtains appear. As Harry watches from a distance, Cooper steps though the curtains.
(Though it may just be coincidence, the red curtains always make me think about the opening of Dario Argento’s Deep Red.)
Cooper finds himself in the red curtained hallways. He walks until he reaches the room from his dreams. As the lights stobe, the Man From Another Place (Michael Anderson) dances while a lounge singer (Jimmy Scott) sings about Sycamore Trees. The Man From Another Place eventually hopes into a velvet chair. It’s deeply unsettling to watch because we know that, behind one of those curtains, BOB is lurking.
In the forest, Andy finds Harry. They sit outside of Glastonbury Grove and wait for Cooper to return.
Morning comes. We get a few final shots of the countryside around Twin Peaks. The mountains. The bridge where, 29 episodes ago, Ronette Pulaski was discovered battered and nearly catatonic. The forest. The countryside was beautiful when we first saw it but, after spending 31 hours in the world of Twin Peaks, it is now impossible to look at that wilderness without wondering what secrets are being concealed beneath the tranquil surface.
Harry and Andy are still sitting outside of Glastonbury and there is something truly touching about the sight of these two friends loyally waiting for their third friend to return. Andy volunteers to go to diner to get them breakfast. Harry says, “Yes.” Andy lists off all of the usual Twin Peaks food. Coffee. Pancakes. Desert. “Yeah,” Harry replies. When Andy finally asks if Harry wants pie, Harry falls silent. How can anyone eat pie with Cooper missing?
Meanwhile, at the bank — OH MY GOD! YOU MEAN WE’RE NOT GOING TO THE BLACK LODGE TO FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON WITH COOPER YET!? — an old lady sleeps at the new accounts desk. (It’s a very Lynchian image, to be honest.)
Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) comes in and says hello the elderly bank president, Mr. Mibbler (Ed Wright). Mibbler is really happy to see Audrey, even after she explains that she is going to be chaining herself to the vault as a part of her environmental protest. For whatever reason, almost all of David Lynch’s film features at least one elderly character who moves slowly and is utterly clueless about the world around them. Mr. Mibbler is certainly a part of that tradition.
(Speaking for myself, I like the way that the scene in the bank is shot and acted but it still frustrates me that, during the 2nd season, Twin Peaks could never quite figure out what to do with Audrey. When Kyle MacLachlan vetoed any romance between Cooper and Audrey, it pretty much destroyed Audrey’s storyline. To make us believe that Cooper and Audrey could actually fall in love with other people, the writers kept Cooper and Audrey from interacting and, as a result, it often seemed that Audrey was trapped in another, rather less interesting show. While Cooper investigated the Black Lodge and Windom Earle, Audrey was stuck playing Civil War with her father and improbably falling in love with John Justice Wheeler. Even in the finale, Audrey mostly serves as a distraction from the show’s main storyline. The character deserved better.)
Andrew and Pete show up at the bank. Mibbler is shocked to see that Andrew is still alive but Andrew is more concerned with opening up that deposit box. It takes Mibbler a while to find the box but when he does, he promptly opens it. What’s inside the box? Well, there’s a note from Thomas that read, “Finally got you, Andrew. Love, Thomas.” And there’s a bomb, which promptly explodes.
Oh my God, is Audrey dead!? Well, the episode never reveals who died or survived in the bank. However, having looked through the recently published The Secret History of Twin Peaks, I know the answer and I will reveal it at the end of this review.
At the Double R, Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) and Betty (Charlotte Stewart) are sharing a booth and, as opposed to the way they were portrayed all through the first season, they appear to be very much (and very playfully) in love.
At the counter, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) watches his parents making out and then turns to Shelly (Madchen Amick.) He asks her to marry him. Shelly mentions that she’s still married to Leo and then she and Bobby start going, “Arf! Arf! Arf!,” which is a strangely cheerful callback to the way that Bobby and Mike taunted James Hurley at the end of the pilot. Bobby says that Leo is up in the woods, having the time of his life. A jump cut quickly reminds us that Leo is actually up in the woods trying to keep a bunch of tarantulas from falling down on his head.
Suddenly, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) and Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) step into the diner. They walk right over to Maj. Briggs. Dr. Jacoby says that Sarah has a message for him, one that she felt was very important. Speaking in the distorted voice of Windom Earle, Sarah says, “I am in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper. I’m waiting for you.”
And here is where the finale basically goes insane. Seen today, the final 20 minutes of this episode remain genuinely unsettling and often rather frightening. I can only imagine how audiences reacted in 1991. I did a little research (which is a fancy way of saying that I looked on Wikipedia) and, believe it or not, the top-rated television show in 1991 was 60 Minutes. Needless to say, the finale of Twin Peaks was about as far from 60 Minutes as you could get.
In the Black Lodge, Cooper still sits in the room with red curtains. The Man From Another Place tells him, “When you see me again, it won’t be me.” The Man From Another Place explains that the room with red curtain is a waiting room. (Purgatory, perhaps?)
“Some of your friends are here,” The Man From Another Place continues.
Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), dressed in black, walks in and sits down beside The Man From Another Place. “Hello Agent Cooper,” she says, speaking backwards. “I’ll see you again in 25 years. Meanwhile.” Laura vanishes.
(The 25 years explains why, way back in the third episode, Cooper appeared to be a much older man in his dream. It’s also interesting to note that, later this month, the 3rd season of Twin Peaks will air roughly 25 years after the 2nd season ended.)
Suddenly, the room service waiter (Hank Worden) appears with a cup of coffee. “Hallelujah,” he says. “Hallelujah,” the Man from Another Place agrees.
The waiter places on a table next to Cooper. Suddenly, the waiter is gone and the Giant (Carel Struycken) stands in his place. The Giant sits down next to The Man From Another Place.
“One and the same,” he says.
(Even though I know what’s going to happen, watching this scene still makes me nervous. The Giant, the Waiter, and The Man From Another Place are the only friends that Cooper has in the Black Lodge. Once the Giant leaves, who will be the next to come out?)
The Giant vanishes. The Man From Another Place rubs his hands together and gets a sinister little smile on his face. As he has done so many times since the series began, Cooper attempts to drink his coffee but discovers that it is now frozen solid. Suddenly, it’s not frozen and it pours out of the cup. Then, just as suddenly, it’s thick and only slowly dribbles out when Cooper tips the cup.
“Wow, BOB, wow,” the Man From Another Place says. He looks directly at the camera and says, his voice now much more rougher, “Fire walk with me.”
It’s an incredibly unsettling moment in an already unsettling episode. By this point, we all know what “Fire walk with me” means.
There’s an explosion. A woman (Laura or Annie?) screams. The lights start to strobe. Cooper walks out of the room and finds himself, once again, in the hallway. Having heard the scream and knowing what BOB did to Ronette, Laura, Maddy, and countless others, it is a coincidence that the only decoration in the hallway is a reproduction of the Venus de Milo, a beautiful woman who does not have the arms necessary to protect herself? As well, it is surely not a coincidence that the Black Lodge could just as easily pass for an “exclusive” section of One-Eyed Jack’s.
Cooper steps through another set of curtains and finds himself in a second room, one that looks just like the first room except that it’s deserted.
Cooper returns to the first room where The Man From Another Place snaps, “Wrong way!”
Cooper goes back to the second room. At first, it appears to be deserted but suddenly The Man From Another Place appears, laughing maniacally. “Another friend!” he says and suddenly, Maddy Ferguson (Sheryl Lee), dressed in black much like Laura, steps into the room. “Watch out for my cousin,” she says and then vanishes.
Cooper returns to the first room, which is now deserted.
Suddenly, the Man From Another Place appears beside him.
“Doppleganger,” the Man says.
Laura, her eyes white, suddenly stands in front of Cooper. “Meanwhile,” she says.
Suddenly, Laura screams and the lights start to strobe again. Still screaming, Laura charges at Cooper. Cooper runs from the room and suddenly, finds himself in the Black Lodge’s foyer. He realizes that, like all of Windom Earle’s victims, he has been stabbed in the stomach. Cooper staggers back into the hallway and, following a trail of bloody footprints, he returns to the second room.
In the room, he sees himself lying on the floor next to Caroline Earle (Brenda E. Mathers). Like Cooper, Caroline has been stabbed. Suddenly, Caroline sits up and … IT’S ANNIE! Cooper calls out her name but suddenly, the bodies disappear and the strobe lights start again.
Calling Annie’s name, Cooper returns to the first room. Annie is waiting for him. “Dale,” she says, “I saw the face of the man who killed me. It was my husband.”
“Annie,” Dale says.
“Who is Annie?”
Suddenly, Annie is a white-eyed Caroline and then she transforms into the still shrieking Laura. Laura turns into Windom Earle. As Cooper and Windom stare at each other, Annie materializes and then vanishes again. Windom says that he will set Annie free but only if Cooper gives up his soul.
“I will,” Cooper says and, for the first time, Cooper’s voice is now as distorted as all the other inhabitants of the Black Lodge.
Windom stabs Cooper in the stomach and suddenly, there’s another explosion. The strobe lights start again and Windom is screaming for help. Cooper, no longer wounded, sees that BOB (Frank Silva) has grabbed Windom. Windom screams and BOB snaps, “BE QUIET!”
(As scary as BOB is, it’s undeniably satisfying to see Windom Earle finally not in control.)
BOB tells Cooper to go. Windom, BOB explains, is wrong. “He can’t ask for your soul. I will take his!”
Windom screams as BOB literally rips his soul out of his head. Finally, Windom falls silent. As BOB continues to laugh, Cooper runs from the room. Suddenly, someone else comes running through the room and — OH NO! IT’S A DOPPELGANGER COOPER AND WOW, IS HE ACTING WEIRD!
Cooper walks through the hallway when suddenly, Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) steps out from behind a curtain. His hair is brown again but his eyes are now white. Leland smiles and says, “I did not kill anybody.”
Doppelganger Cooper appears and chases after the real Cooper. They run through the Black Lodge until Doppelganger Cooper manages to grab the real Cooper.
BOB appears and stares straight at the camera. AGCK!
Suddenly, at Glastonbury Grove, the curtains appear. Night has fallen again but Harry is still loyally sitting in the forest, waiting for Cooper’s return. When he sees the curtains, Harry runs into the circle of trees and finds the bodies of both Cooper and Annie.
Cut to the Great Northern. Cooper wakes up in bed, with Doc Hayward and Harry sitting beside him. Speaking in an oddly mechanical tone of voice, Cooper first says that he wasn’t sleeping and then asks, “How’s Annie?” Harry says that Annie is at the hospital and she’ll be okay.
“I need to brush my teeth,” Cooper says.
In the bathroom, Cooper squeezes an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink. He then rams his head into the mirror and, as the reflection of BOB stares back at him, he starts to laugh. “How’s Annie?” he mocking repeats. “How’s Annie?”
And, with that deeply unsettling turn of events, Twin Peaks came to a temporary end. This brilliantly directed episode ended with three cliffhangers. What happened to Ben? Who died at the bank? What happened to Dale Cooper?
I promised you answers to some of those question so, according to The Secret History of Twin Peaks, here they are:
Ben survived his injury.
At the bank, the bomb killed Mr. Dibbler, Andrew, and Pete. (Perhaps not coincidentally, both Dan O’Herlihy and Jack Nance died long before Showtime announced that it was reviving the show.) Audrey survived, largely because Pete shielded her with his body. Shaken by the violent death of both her brother and her husband, Catherine returned to Ben everything that he had signed over to her. Catherine became a recluse.
As for what happened to Dale — well, that’s question that we will hopefully get an answer to when Twin Peaks returns to Showtime on May 21st!
Well, that concludes our Twin Peaks recaps! Thank you everyone for reading and thank you, Jeff and Leonard, for going on this adventure with me!
Now, how about we all get some coffee and slice of cherry pie?
Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:
- Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (directed by James Foley) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On The Wings of Love” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.19 “Variations on Relations” (directed by Jonathan Sanger) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.20 “The Path to the Black Lodge” (directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.21 “Miss Twin Peaks” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Leonard Wilson