There will be SPOILERS throughout this post.
253. It’s a number that has a strange significance in this week’s firecracker installment of Twin Peaks, pointedly appearing twice. We finally seem to have reached ‘the day’ as Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster), Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse), Deputy Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) and Deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) venture into the woods at the bottom of Blue Pine Mountain. Arriving at the place that Bobby used to call Jack Rabbit’s Palace – a large, striking tree stump – Andy advises that the site they’re looking for is 253 yards due east. 253. When they arrive at the site they find billowing smoke, an electrical disturbance, and the naked body of Naido (Nae Yuuki) who was last seen diving off of the space craft in Part 3.
They arrive at this mysterious place at 2:53 in the afternoon. 253 again. These two instances of the number together might seem a little arbitrary, maybe even coincidental (when we make up numbers we tend to stick to certain patterns, supposedly), but consider this; in Part 3, right after Naido was launched seemingly into oblivion, Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) made his transition back to our reality. The time that this happened, as seen on the clock in Evil Cooper’s car was, you’ve guessed it, 2:53.
The significance of 253 I can’t tell you. But Part 14 is one of the most eventful installments of Season 3 yet, without particularly upping the pacing. The events this week feel seismic, especially after a couple of relatively tepid ‘episodes’. It’s a part that ties events together, answers lots of questions and, of course, asks a ton more.
We begin in Buckhorn with Season 3’s MVP (both on and off screen) David Lynch as Deputy Director Gordon Cole. He calls the Twin Peaks sheriff station, making the first hard and direct link between the two story strands (this in itself is rather rewarding). Sheriff Truman imparts the information from Laura Palmer’s diary pages insinuating that there are two Coopers. Just after this Albert (Miguel Ferrer) reveals more details of the first Blue Rose case to Tammy (Chrysta Bell), and the echoes are startling. Blue Rose began with a case in which a woman named Lois Duffy shot and killed her own doppelgänger back in Olympia, Washington in 1975. The import of the phrase ‘Blue Rose’ is elaborated on; meaning something that does not appear in nature. The doppelgänger is unnatural. Between this and the connections being made in Twin Peaks, Cole and co. seem on the cusp of understanding what has happened to Agent Cooper.
There’s plenty more in this info-heavy opening sequence. Cole remembers a dream he had the night before about Monica Bellucci (who appears as herself). In the dream Cooper was present but Cole couldn’t see his face (this marks the only appearance of Cooper in Part 14). Looking over his shoulder at Monica’s behest, Cole remembered the time Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) appeared before the agents in Fire Walk With Me, pointing at Cooper and asking “who do you think that is there?”. This memory lingers in the air as the agents ponder how it all fits together. Lastly, Diane (Laura Dern) reveals that she has an estranged sister living in Las Vegas named Jayne, who is married to a Douglas Jones. Jayne goes by the nickname Jayne-E. We’re left to wonder in which direction Cole and the gang will head now; Las Vegas or Twin Peaks?
During the above sequence Tammy also refers to the doppelgänger phenomenon as a ‘tulpa’. A tulpa is a Tibetan thoughtfom; a spiritual manifestation, something willed into existence. That the myth hails from Tibet is surely no coincidence either.
Part 14 mingles the real world with the supernatural with more consistence than ever before. The merging of the two permeates nearly every scene. Another recurring obsession of Lynch’s features heavily here; dreams. Cole speaks of a dream he had and in that dream he remembers Cooper talking of a dream. Dreams within dreams. But there’s more. During Monica Bellucci’s brief tenure on screen she speaks pointedly on the subject, echoing the “We live inside a dream” sentiments of Fire Walk With Me. “We’re like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream” following this with the question “But who is the dreamer?” It places Twin Peaks in a curious cloud, kindling memories also of the likes of Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. If there’s anyone who could get away with an “and it was all a dream” twist ending, it’s Lynch (though honestly I doubt that’s the direction this is all headed in).
Back to Twin Peaks itself and those strange adventures in the woods. The deputies and Sheriff Truman discover Naido. She still has no eyes. She is of another dimension and cannot communicate. But the strangeness doesn’t end there, not by a long shot. A vortex like the one Cole saw when Hastings was killed appears in the sky above them all and Andy is taken through it. In a black and white room (seen before previously in parts 1 and 8) he meets with The Giant (Carel Struycken) who now names himself as The Fireman (previously this season he has been credited as ???????). A strange small vessel appears in Andy’s hands and smoke comes out of it. Looking up through a sort of skylight Andy sees many images. He sees:
- The Experiment (the creature that killed the couple in front of the glass box and may have birthed BOB)
- The convenience store
- The woodsman
- Night driving
- The girl who ran crying at Twin Peaks High School in the series pilot
- The black lodge
- Laura Palmer’s face framed by angels
- Two Agent Coopers
- A telephone with a blinking light
- Himself and Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) in a corridor
- The telegraph pole with the number 6 on it (seen in FWWM and at the site of the hit and run back in Part 6)
Then the vessel disappears and Andy is returned to the woods after a brief blurring of time. Not a one of the policemen can remember what happened to them, but Andy returns holding Naido with a renewed and startling sense of purpose and confidence. While we may have found the images Andy was exposed to cryptic and strange, he appears to have found knowledge in them. He directs them all to return to town and place Naido in a holding cell. For a man so often played for laughs and as a dumbbell, I was immensely pleased to see Andy mature so strikingly from his exposure to the otherworldly forces surrounding Twin Peaks. There are plenty of malevolent forces in David Lynch and Mark Frost’s universe, but there are some benevolent and positive forces as well.
This brings us to another unexpected sequence this week which affords James Hurley (James Marshall) a lot more screen time as we drop in on his day job as a security guard. It’s his birthday and so his colleague, an English kid named Freddie (Jake Wardle) tells a tale of how he came to the town and why he cannot take off a green gardening glove that he wears on his right hand. His tale also involves The Fireman and a vortex. Suddenly Twin Peaks is collecting information together and sharing it out between its characters (and us by extension). Though it still moves steadily, it is doing so with such great purpose that its easy to believe there is a sure-footed intention behind it all. We have four parts left and these may well be the last four parts of Twin Peaks ever. I doubt we’ll be given clear explanations for everything we’ve seen, but the experience itself has been enough.
If it is a battle between good and evil that we’re caught in the middle of then, despite the best work of The Fireman, the malevolent forces won out this week. I’ll end with perhaps the most surprising sequence of the week which features Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriski). She goes to a new watering hole (or, at least, one we’ve not previously seen) called Elk’s Point #9 Bar. Here a pony-tailed local interrupts her Bloody Mary, only to be confronted by something lethal living inside Sarah. She opens her face, much in the manner that Laura did in the lodge in Part 2. Inside of her is a large mouth and, quick as a flash, the man’s throat is bitten out. He crashes to the floor and Sarah seems to have no memory of what happened. Although even this is ambiguous. Is she feigning, or is she really unaware? It seems she too is host to a demonic presence, although the nature of this beast seems far removed from BOB. With only four hours to go, what is to be made of this?
Evidently there are a lot of questions this week, but the manner of their presentation is thrilling. The narrow focus made this feel like a real zinger. Even as great new mysteries spill out, the world(s) of Twin Peaks are drawing together and I’m more excited than ever to see what remains in store.
And you know what’s weird? I just posted this and it’s 2:53 pm. 253. And I didn’t plan it that way, honest…