‘TWIN PEAKS’ (2017) Season 3 Episode 17/18 – Right Back Where We Started After 18 Hours and 25 Years….
Ok….. Where the fuck do I start with this finale? Just like the finale of the original series we are given some resolutions as well as a shitload more questions. Only this time i feel like what we are left with makes even less sense than the classic “Where’s Annie?” scene. One thing is certain, David Lynch has ensured no-one will get what they want with this finale….. characters and audience included. Episode 17 is fucking insane and packed to the brim with answers, resolutions, and feels the closest to the classic Twin Peaks that this season has been. And then David Lynch goes ahead and trolls the fuck out of us giving us an 18th episode that drops the pace significantly, only really features 3 main characters, and makes so little sense it will leave you scratching your head endlessly. In a way, episode 17 is more like a finale and episode 18 is more like an epilogue. This is going to be a long as fuck review so stick with it as we run through the finale chronologically from beginning to end.
Episode 17 opens up with Gordon Cole, Albert, and Tammy in the aftermath of their shocking confrontation with Diane’s Tulpa. Gordon begins detailing a moment he has kept secret for over 25 years where before his disappearance, Major Briggs told Gordon and Dale Cooper about a negative force he had learned about by the name of Jowday. And that over time this force has become known by the name Judy. And just like that we have our first semi-resolution of the episode. The three of them put in a secret plan that would lead them to Judy but then something terrible happened to Briggs and then to Cooper. Phillip Jeffries was also onto the entity and then he too disappeared. Cooper had previously told Cole that if he disappeared to make sure he finds him, and that is what he has been doing. Then Gordon gets a call from the FBI in Las Vegas where Bushnell Mullins is also present. Bushnell takes the phone and presents Gordon with the letter Cooper handed to him last episode. The letter is informing Gordon that Cooper is heading to sheriff Truman’s office. And upon learning of this the three of them pack their things and head to Twin Peaks….. Finally we are getting the long awaited reunion.
Back in Twin Peaks we get a few short updates on some side plots before the real shit starts to go down. In the Sheriff’s Department the drunk is still mimicking every sound and Chad remains pissed off. Meanwhile we get one final scene with Ben Horne where he receives a call about his brother Jerry who after last episode was found completely naked believing his binoculars killed someone…… Oh Jerry, may you stay crazy and return to entertain us if this show ever comes back. After episodes of constant driving Evil Cooper has finally arrived at the location Andy discovered the body of Naido a few episodes ago. Evil Cooper makes his way over to the oil puddle and just like with Andy a vortex appears sucking him into the black and white building. But this time, in the building is a floating head of Major Briggs, The Fireman, Evil Coopers face locked in a cage, and a projector depicting a certain location…….. because why not?…. The cage with Evil Coopers face inside it then gets sucked into the gold pipe on the roof and Coop teleported to the location shown on the projector.
We cut to the scene on the projector and realise Evil Cooper has just teleported his way to outside of the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department unfortunately beating Dale Cooper there. Upon his arrival, Naido seems to sense his evil presence and begins to freak out more and more. Andy believing he is the real Agent Cooper guides him into the building to reintroduce him to Lucy and Frank Truman who are both very welcoming to the man they think is Dale Cooper. Inside Frank Truman’s office the tension is very high and upon being offered a cup of coffee Evil Cooper turns it down. Now that should have been the dead giveaway that something is up. As Andy runs off to go find Hawk, ultimate douchebag Chad has since used a hidden key to escape his cell and grab hold of a gun. Chad points his gun towards Andy and right as he is about to pull the trigger Freddie uses his glove powers to knock Chad out saving the day….. for now.
Then the moment we’ve all been waiting for; Lucy receives a call from the real fucking Agent Cooper and after she gets over her complete and utter shock she transfers the call over to Frank. Frank begins talking to Agent Cooper and starts piecing things together that the Cooper in from of him is not legit. Evil Coop also catches wind that things aren’t going as planned and tries to shoot Frank but out of nowhere Lucy manages to shoot him first. This heroic act by Lucy seems to have given her the ability to finally after all this time understand cell phones. Cooper then quickly notifies Frank not to touch the body just as Andy, Naido, Freddie, James, and Hawk enter the office. All of a sudden the room goes dark and just as they did back in episode 8 the Woodsmen begin putting Evil Cooper back together again. Just as this is happening Agent Cooper runs into the room with the Mitchum brothers behind him and the large black orb containing the spirit of BOB floats out of Evil Cooper’s chest.
First BOB attacks Cooper knocking him to the ground. Then Cooper rises and acknowledges Freddie, seemingly knowing who he is and what he can do. Now we know what Freddie’s purpose has been all along, The Fireman gave him the glove and sent him to Twin Peaks so that he could put an end to the evil spirit that is BOB. Freddie begins punching the shit out of BOB and smashes him through the ground, but BOB rises up, pounding Freddie’s face, but then Freddie composes himself, stands up, and delivers one final blow seemingly destroying the evil spirit for good. Agent Cooper then does what Red couldn’t do in episode 8 and that is place the owl ring on Evil Cooper who then disappears. And then Rodney Mitchum chimes in with an amazing line “One for the grandkids” after witnessing by far the craziest thing they have ever seen. And with that the mission we were sent on at the end of season 3 has finally been fulfilled and BOB along with Cooper’s doppelganger are dead. But we are far from the end people…. very far from it.
Agent Cooper asks Sheriff Truman for his old room key to room 315 as Major Briggs told him Frank would have it. Then upon seeing Naido Agent Cooper’s face becomes overlaid on top of the rest of this scene. Then the moment every Twin Peaks fan has been eagerly awaiting arrives, Bobby Briggs enters the room followed by Gordon, Albert and Tammy. And with those arrivals we have most of the original crew all together in the one scene again, albeit for a matter of brief minutes. Cooper interestingly goes on to explain that Major Briggs was aware of everything going on today, probably how Cooper learned so much about what he needed to do, from both Briggs and The Fireman. “The past dictates the future” says Cooper right before the Mitchum brothers’ bunnies interrupt his monologue. Naido approaches Cooper and they touch their palms together and some weird shit begins to happen. Naido’s face starts to emit black smoke and disappear before an image of the red room fades in, then Naido completely disappears and a black egg-like objects floats into frame with Diane’s face in it (only here she has a red wig). Then Naido morphs into Diane, the real Diane that Agent Cooper knew so long ago, meaning that this whole time she must have been trapped inside Naido, so she may have been a vessel of sorts.
Now that we have the first on screen appearance of Agent Cooper and Diane together it only seems fitting that they start making out in front of everyone. He asks if Diane still remembers everything and of course she does. Then we continue with the weird creepy stuff as the clock in the room begins spazzing out with the presence of electricity. The overlaid image of Cooper’s face which has been motionless this whole time says the words “We live inside a dream”. What does this mean? I’m not quite sure, the idea of dreams has been a big part of this season but its importance is still unknown. Then Agent Cooper chooses to spoil the party and in an emotional moment tells everyone there that he hopes to see them again someday. The room begins to go dark and just as Gordon and Cooper call out to each other the screen cuts to black. Gordon, Diane, and Cooper all appear in this black space walking towards the screen. We then learn that they are in fact below the Great Northern Hotel approaching the door that caught James Hurley’s attention in episode 14.
So it turns out that the room 315 key opens that previously locked door and Cooper informs Diane and Gordon not to follow him through. Before going through the door Cooper tells Diane “See you at the curtains call”….. and thankfully it doesn’t take long before we know what he meant by that. In a dark space Cooper and MIKE appear in front of each other and then we get a sequence every die hard Twin Peaks fan will recognise and it’s awesome, plus its implications are endless. MIKE repeats his quote from season 1 episode 3 in which he says; “Through the darkness of future’s past, the magician longs to see, one chants out between two worlds, fire walk with me”. Then after a brief electrical surge we have Cooper and MIKE walking through the house Evil Cooper was in back in episode 15. After another electrical surge and a brief appearance of the Jumping Man they walk out to the courtyard and to a room where they come across teapot Phillip Jeffries.
Cooper begins to talk to Jeffries and we finally get a conversation between Cooper and Jeffries, a conversation that has been 25 years in the making. Cooper gives Jeffries the date of February 23rd 1989 to which Jeffries replies “I’ll find it for you”. Jeffries then continues to talk; “It’s good to see you again Cooper. Say hello to Gordon if you see him, he’ll remember the unofficial version. This is where you’ll find Judy. There may be someone. Did you ask me this?” Then Jeffries spurts out the owl cave symbol which deconstructs and forms a sideways infinity symbol with a moving ball on it. Jeffries continues; “There it is, you can go now. Cooper, remember” then MIKE finishes his sentence by saying “Electricity” and things start spazzing out as Cooper closes his eyes. Now this here marks the point in the episode where shit starts to get awesome but also where shit starts to go sideways for out characters. Everything is done, it is all over, BOB has been defeated, Diane is now safe, and the residents of Twin Peaks can go back to their normal lives. But Agent Cooper just has to be the good man that he is and try to save everyone from their fate unfortunately.
And then we get a HOLY FUCKING SHIT moment where we revisit the scene from the 1992 movie ‘Fire Walk With Me’ where the night before her eventual death Laura Palmer sneaks out of her house with James Hurley, however here it is in black and white. We see James take Sarah out to the woods and begin to make out as Laura begins acting weirdly. Everything is normal but then Agent Cooper appears behind some bushes in the woods and begins watching this exchange between James and Laura. At this point I knew where this was leading as Laura Palmer’s scream that night is a memorable one. So she looks over James’ shoulder and screams, seemingly reacting to seeing someone hiding in the bushes in the direction of where Cooper is hiding. Then we all know what happens next, Laura freaks out, jumps off James’ bike and runs off into the woods to meet with Leo Johnson, Jacques Renault, and Ronette Pulaski which leads to her orgy in the cabin, her run-in with Leland/BOB, and her eventual death.
But then we get a HOLY FUCKING SHIT moment inside of a HOLY FUCKING SHIT moment. On her way to her secret meeting Laura comes across an older Agent Cooper who she has never met (in person). Then the epicness continues as the Twin Peaks theme kicks in and Laura talks to Cooper. “Who are you? Do i know you?…. Wait, i’ve seen you in a dream. In a dream” says Laura in this brief exchange which is awesomely integrated to the original show. Cooper then reaches out his hand and she too reaches out grabbing it, “Where are we going?” Laura asks to which Cooper replies “We are going home”…. or so he thinks. And then another HOLY SHIT MOMENT inside a HOLY SHIT MOMENT inside a HOLY SHIT MOMENT happens….. what are you doing to my heart David Lynch? We see the opening scene of the very first episode of season 1 of Twin Peaks play out once again except Laura’s dead wrapped up body disappears from the beach in which it is to be found. Then we see Josie Packard putting on her makeup, as well as Pete Martell going out for his daily fish. But this time, rather than discovering Laura’s body he just continues on with his fishing like nothing is out of the ordinary.
So what we have here is Agent Cooper has just gone full Marty McFly, gone back in time, saved Laura Palmer from being murdered and is now guiding her towards the portal to supposedly bring her back to his time. But as we know with Marty McFly he may have changed the past but when he did he done fucked up the future. Upon altering Laura’s fate we then cut to present day Twin Peaks where Sarah Palmer is yelling and screaming uncontrollably inside her house. She then runs into her lounge room, grabs the portrait of Laura and begins using a glass bottle to smash the frame to bits. Then when we cut back to the woods in 1989, as Cooper is guiding Laura he looks back and she has disappeared followed by the sound of her screams.
Now this is where the speculation and shit gets super interesting and confusing, especially considering what happens in part 18. Here you have to look at the timing of events and what we learn earlier in the episode, so Cooper changes Laura’s fate which makes her dead body disappear from existence, then we see Sarah Palmer stabbing Laura’s portrait, and then immediately after that Laura disappears from Cooper’s grasp. So it’s safe to say these scenes are very much connected in that Sarah is reacting to Cooper changing the past and Sarah stabbing Laura’s portrait is the reason she disappears. But why? Well we have already established in earlier episodes that Sarah Palmer is not actually Sarah Palmer, that there is some supernatural force inside her and when looking at the state of her house it must have been controlling her for a while. Now we learn earlier this episode that Judy is a negative force capable of making Major Briggs, and Philip Jeffries disappear, so maybe Judy is the one controlling Sarah Palmer and thus got pissed off when Cooper changed the past and so made Laura disappear by stabbing her portrait. I will continue the rest of this speculation after i run through the events of episode 18.
So now we move on to episode 18 and i’m going to be honest with you, my analysis of this episode is not going to be quite as long as my analysis of the 17th episode, mainly because for most of it i’ve got barely a fucking clue what is going on. So we open the episode in the red room where Evil Cooper is sitting on a chair on fire, following his death in the last episode. Then we see MIKE place the gold seed that Dougie left behind as well as Agent Cooper’s hair on a chair whilst once again saying the word “electricity”. The seed starts to jump and then inflates into a copy of Agent Cooper that seems to have retained the dumbed down personality of his Dougie Jones persona. Then we cut to the Jones household where Janey-E opens the door to find Dougie standing at the door. This is a really cool scene that puts an end to the Jones storyline in a surprisingly very emotionally satisfying manner. But that is the only sequence of this episode that actually makes complete sense.
So now we go back to the end of the last episode where we are reminded of the time Laura Palmer disappeared from Cooper’s grasp again, like that was necessary. From there we cut to a sequence in the red room made up of many of the same scenes from episode 2 but with some slight differences. MIKE once again asks Cooper “Is is future? Or is it past?” but now before leaving the room Cooper takes a long look at the seat Laura is typically sitting in. Just like episode 2 MIKE and Cooper walk into the room with The Arm, but now the Arm Says “Is it the story of the little girl who lived down the lane?” What could this line be referring to? I think it has something to do with the little girl (still unidentified by the way) who in episode 8 had the weird frog-like bug climb into her mouth. Then we see an older Laura whispering into Cooper’s ear again before screaming and slingshotting off. Then we see Leland Palmer again sitting in his chair, but this time upon being told to “find Laura” Cooper makes his way out of the red room to the entrance in the woods where he finds Diane waiting for him exactly where he told her to last episode. They make sure they are talking to their real selves and then the red curtains disappear.
Now this episode takes a really, really slow turn towards an ending so cryptic it puts the ending to season 2 to shame. Cooper and Diane drive off and pull over 430 miles down the road to do something. Also if you remember, the opening scene of this entire season was The Fireman informing Cooper, telling him to remember the number 430 along with two names Richard and Linda. “Are you sure you want to do this?” Diane asks, indicating they are about to do something else super risky, and considering he just fucked everything up by trying to save Laura in the past i’m not quite so sure it’s a good idea whatever it is. They make it known that once they “cross” it could all be different, so they give each other a long kiss, almost seems to be some sort of goodbye kiss. They drive the car forward ever so slightly and then electrical lights begin flashing and they teleport along with the car to another location driving down a now dark road…… Did they just jump to a new reality?
Now after what was probably a long drive and not having said a word to each other they arrive at a motel. Cooper walks into the motel and then Diane sees a doppelganger of herself peer out from behind a column, but as Cooper walks back out of the motel office the doppelganger has disappeared. They both go and enter a room and begin to actually talk, and right away you notice something is very off not only about Diane but also about Cooper. Cooper doesn’t seem like his good self, but he also doesn’t seem completely like his evil self, he still has all of his own thoughts and knows his name and history but he is like a cross between his good and evil versions. When the music kicks in and Cooper and Diane are having sex it is a very haunting scene for a number of reasons. The look on Cooper’s face is eerily similar to the dry expression we have linked so closely with Evil Cooper this season, and Diane’s actions during sex such as covering Cooper’s face and staring at the roof in pain tell a whole story. You can’t help but think back to when her Tulpa told Gordon Cole about her interaction with Evil Cooper and how he raped her. This scene is eerily reminiscent of that description and it is effectively disturbing.
But the real shock of this short sequence comes from the morning after when Cooper wakes to find that Diane has left. He reaches over to the bedside table and finds a note addressed to someone called Richard. The note was as follows; “When you read this i’ll be gone, please don’t try to find me, i don’t recognise you anymore, whatever we had together is over. Linda”. This was a revealing moment as we just learnt that wherever they are, in this new reality their names are Richard and Linda, the names The Fireman told Cooper to remember. This is a shock because not only did i expect Richard and Linda to be different people but it also reveals that The Fireman really did have the knowledge of what was going to happen throughout this whole season. So Cooper leaves the diner and finds himself in the town of Odessa, then he spots a diner that is conveniently named ‘Judy’s’. He walks in, grabs a cup of coffee and then asks the waitress if there is another waitress that works there and where she is but it turns out she hasn’t shown up to work for 3 days. In the mean time he does his FBI thing and kicks the ass of three troublemakers in the diner.
Then he goes up to the waitress and asks for the address of the other waitress, while waiting for the address he takes a short break to deep fry the guns he just confiscated, good one Coop. In the next scene we see him make his way to the address and knocks on the door, then the lady who answers the door is an adult Laura Palmer, but she doesn’t answer to that name and has no recollection of ever going by Laura Palmer. Instead her name is Carrie Page, and oh, yeh, WTF? So this confirms we are in another reality and this is supposedly the Laura Palmer that Cooper saved before she disappeared, but it doesn’t explain why she doesn’t go by Laura Palmer. He offers to take her to her mothers home in Twin Peaks and she agrees, not because she believes him but because as there is a dead guy on her couch she is clearly in some sort of trouble. They then go on a really long and slow journey towards Twin Peaks, emulating the long and slow journey this entire show has been on from the beginning.
They arrive at Laura’s childhood home and she doesn’t seem to recognise anything familiar. This right here is a major fucking throwback that unfortunately Laura isn’t appreciating as much as she should. They knock on the door and the person who opens is not Sarah or Leland Palmer but someone else entirely, someone with the name Alice Tremond who answers Coopers questions about the previous owner of the house who went by the last name Chalfont. More on these names in a bit. Upon their unsuccessful attempt they walk away from the house and stop out the front. Cooper then asks what year it is confused as to why no-one familiar lives in the house and then we get the “Where’s Annie?” moment of this season which puts us in the same cliffhanger position we were in after the season 2 ending, but probably even worse of a cliffhanger here. Laura looks up at her house one last time and hears the faint sound of what i think was Sarah Palmer yelling out Laura’s name. This seems to trigger something in Laura who reacts by screaming really loudly which sparks an electrical flash that cuts power to the entire town. And that’s it.
So lets delve into that final moment at the Palmer household a little more as i feel it may connect to Judy in some way. So we learnt through Cooper’s journey in this new reality that he intentionally came to this place in search of Laura after she disappeared from him back in 1989. And if we assume some of my above speculation is true, Judy is the one who made Laura disappear from that reality and appear in this new one. Now what Judy is planning i have no fucking idea but lets just assume that the reason Laura doesn’t remember anything is because Judy made her forget. And possibly that moment at the end where Laura visits her old house and hears a voice calling her name, that could possibly be Laura beginning to remember something. But as farfetched as this may sound, i still don’t think it is anywhere near this simple. Then we have the issue of what is the significance of the names of the owners of the Palmer household… the Tremonds and the Chalfonts. Mrs Tremond was the name of one of the dark spirits present in the meeting above the convenience store who has appeared in season 2 of the show as well as in Fire Walk With Me. When she appeared to Laura Palmer and Donna Hayward she seemed to be using two different names, one time she went by Chalfont, and the other time Tremond. Why these spirits names are uses as the tenants for the Palmer household is unclear but it does place a huge focus on this house being a key part of this new reality.
And that, whether you like it or not is the end of Twin Peaks season 3. As i mentioned earlier in the review episode 17 is the more meaty episode with a tonne of resolutions and answers as well as the mystery of where Laura Palmer disappeared to. It plays out very much like a Twin Peaks finale should, but i guess that was too clean of an ending for David Lynch as episode 18 just goes awol. Episode 18 has mainly 3 main characters in Cooper, Diane, and Sarah where 90% of the episode is spent moping around this new reality just so we can get to that one moment right at the end. In the context of providing answers or connective tissue to the entire series episode 18 doesn’t do much of that at all but what it does it get you thinking and speculating about what is going on and what is to come which i really appreciate. It worked once before with people talking about the season 2 cliffhanger for 25 years so why not go for a bigger cliffhanger this time around.
I still have many questions and many thoughts that i could not possibly include in this post as it would no joke take another 5 hours to write. But despite the fact that we got no closer to understanding the meaning of the scenes with the unknown little girl in episode 8, and still have no idea where Audrey Horne is and what her purpose this season was i loved this season finale. It closed off a lot of things from this season i had questions about which was very satisfying but also asked a lot of questions that will keep me guessing until they do another season which may come in 2 years, 10 years, 25 years or what is still very likely….. never. Coming to terms with the fact that we will never get a follow up to this season if David Lynch chooses not to go ahead with is can be a little heartbreaking but it is something we may have to come to accept.