SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for the original “Twin Peaks” series.
When “Twin Peaks” aired its final episode back in 1991, the series’ abrupt cancelation meant it ended with over a dozen cliffhangers, leaving fans twisting in the wind. From the fate of Dale Cooper, to the love triangle between Big Ed Hurley, Norma Jennings and Nadine Hurley, to the mystery of the Black Lodge and the White Lodge, and, of course, the possession of “Bob,” viewers found themselves left with questions that seemed destined to remain unanswered forever.
Now, nearly 26 years later, the show is set to return for an 18-episode run, beginning May 21 on Showtime. When it arrives, Lynch and Frost will finally conclude their intricate and serialized mystery, and tie up many, if not all, of the “Twin Peaks” enigmas. Of all the loose threads still dangling in the breeze over two decades on, the following are those that absolutely have to be sewn up.
The Fate of Special Agent Dale Cooper
Kyle MacLachlan’s character, Special Agent Dale Cooper, spent most of the Season 2 finale trapped inside the Black Lodge. While there, he spoke with the deceased Laura Palmer, the dancing dwarfish man, Laura’s killer Bob, and the evil doppelganger version of himself. At the end of the episode, Cooper escaped the Lodge, seemingly safe from harm. Unfortunately, during the final moments of the episode, Cooper smashed his head against his bathroom mirror, revealing his reflection as the nefarious Bob. Cooper was possessed and replaced with his evil double, while the real Cooper was left trapped inside the Lodge.
With the series picking up presumably 26 years later, is the real Agent Cooper still stuck in the Black Lodge? Has his evil self-perpetrated harrowing crimes over the years, or has he been hiding in plain sight? When Bob first possessed Leland Palmer, Leland was a boy. Bob lived inside Leland for decades before he took the lives of Theresa Banks and his daughter Laura Palmer. Does that mean that the series will pick up with Bob killing again, this time 26 years later through the vessel of Agent Cooper, or has he been killing this whole time?
In co-creator Frost’s new book, “The Secret History of Twin Peaks,” FBI Agent Tamara Preston says Agent Cooper went missing back in 1991 — has he been missing this entire time? The fate of Agent Cooper is the biggest mystery the revival needs to solve, especially since he is the show’s lead character.
The Fate of Audrey Horne
As Season 2 was drawing to a close, Audrey Horne was actively working to stop the development of the Ghostwood lands. She had become her father’s second hand at the Great Northern Hotel, and was quickly becoming a driven business woman. During the finale, Audrey chained herself to the local bank vault to protect the banks’ association with Catherine Martell’s Ghostwood developments. While she was chained up, a bomb inside the vault exploded. Since the show was not renewed after that episode, it was never made clear whether Audrey survived.
Sherilyn Fenn is returning for the revival series, and Frost confirmed in his “Secret History” book that she survived the explosion. This, however, raises another question: how? Her miraculous escape from the bank needs to be explained in the new series, especially since she was the only witness to make it out alive. Where is Audrey now? Did she take over running the Great Northern Hotel from her father? Did she ever reunite with the love of her life John Wheeler? Did she ever find out that Donna was her half sister? Since her family practically ran the town of Twin Peaks, it would bring a fresh dynamic to the series if she turns out to be the current family matriarch.
The Future of Ben Horne
Throughout Season 1 and 2, Ben Horne was the most influential business man in Twin Peaks. He owned the Great Northern Hotel, Horne’s Department Store, and the off-the-books gambling and prostitution club One Eyed Jack’s. Throughout his journey on the show, Ben went through a cycle of losing and regaining his morality and his soul. His daughter, Audrey, was kidnapped and held hostage at One Eyed Jack’s by Blackie and Jean Renault. The love of his life, Laura Palmer, was murdered. His plan to burn down the Packard Mill and claim the Ghostwood lands was thwarted when Catherine Martell made it out of the fire alive. He even suffered a mental breakdown where his family had to reenact the Civil War to bring him back to a place of sanity.
After all these terrible things happened, Ben decided to turn over a new leaf and become an honest man. He started a campaign to preserve the Ghostwood, even though he originally wanted to develop it himself. He announced his intentions to run for Senate, in an effort to make the world a better place. He even confessed to Donna that he was her real father. Since Richard Beymer is returning for the series, we can expect to his character Ben return. What happened to Ben in those 26 years? Did he ever run for state Senate? Perhaps he ran for Mayor after Dwayne Milford passed away. Whatever path he chose to walk in those unseen years, hopefully he’s still living his life as an honest man and not the scoundrel that he was when the show first aired.
The Truth Behind the Black Lodge
Once Laura Palmer’s murder was solved, the FBI investigation in Season 2 shifted to Windom Earle and his quest to find the Black Lodge. After investigating a series of cave paintings, Earle kidnapped Cooper’s girlfriend, Annie, and took her into the Black Lodge. Copper followed, and was apprehended by the spirit of Bob. While the Black Lodge was explained as a place of pure evil, its purpose and origin remained a mystery. Major Garland Briggs said that the Lodge had been investigated by Project Blue Book, a military operation with a mission to search for intelligent life not of this planet. Deputy Hawk explained that the Black Lodge was a Native American legend, a shadow of the White Lodge. Hawk also said that when a soul passes through the Black Lodge, it will meet its shadow self, and if the soul enters with imperfect courage, it will be devoured.
This paints a partial explanation of what happened to Cooper when he went into the Lodge to look for Annie, but it still doesn’t explain why the military was studying it, how Major Briggs knew of its existence, if it can be opened and entered more than once, or if a soul can be rescued from it — in this case Agent Cooper. The Black Lodge is, in a way, like the Island on “Lost.” It’s mysterious, full of secrets, and represents a type of limbo or purgatory. While Lynch may want the Lodge to maintain some sense of mystery in the new season, a more in-depth explanation would help bring clarity to this strange and metaphysical place.
The State of Ed, Nadine, & Norma’s Love Triangle
The relationship between Ed Hurley, Nadine Hurley and Norma Jennings was strained to the limit, especially during the “Twin Peaks” Season 2 finale. After attempting suicide, Nadine went through a period of mental regression, where she thought she was a teenager, a development that allowed Ed and Nadine to rekindle their relationship. Nadine’s regression stopped when she was hit on the head at the Miss Twin Peaks contest. Up to that point, Ed thought he was free of Nadine; he even had Nadine close to signing official divorce papers. But when her regression ended and her memories returned to her, she ran right back into Ed’s arms.
With the new series picking up nearly 26 years later, the state of this love triangle needs to be resolved. Did Ed chose to be with Norma and finalize his divorce from Nadine? Did he stay with Nadine, leaving Norma alone to continue running the Double R Diner? Their love triangle was tragic, and even though we’ll never get to see the direct aftermath of the Season 2 finale, some closure on their storyline would be cathartic to explore.
The Current State of the Packard Mill & Ghostwood Lands
When “Twin Peaks” concluded, the Packard Mill was shut down, having not been rebuilt from the fire set during the Season 1 finale. Since Twin Peaks has always been a logging town, and the Mill was the town’s main source of income, will the Mill be rebuilt in the new series?
And what about the Ghostwood lands? The ownership of the Ghostwood switched hands a few times in the series, first from the Martell/Packard family, then to Ben Horne, then back to the Martells. Ben Horne attempted to protect the Ghostwood lands through a political “save the animals” campaign, but this was more of an effort to get back at Catherine Martell that to really save anything. The Black Lodge — the physical/metaphysical place where Agent Cooper is being held — also exists on the Ghostwood lands. Will the ownership of the lands be in contention when the series returns? And will the new owners prevent the investigation and rescue of Agent Cooper? Considering the mystical elements that dwell within the Ghostwood, as well as the financial opportunities, it will be interesting to see who owns the lands when the show returns.
A few others mysteries have yet to be answered, like the fate of Leo Johnson, who was last seen tied up in Windom Earle’s cabin. The fate of Earle has yet to be revealed as well, although it’s safe to assume that Bob killed him in the Black Lodge. Lastly, the true parentage of Lucy’s baby was never revealed in the original series. Lucy picked Andy to be her baby’s father, but Dick Tremayne could still be the biological father. Hopefully all of these mysteries — whether big or small — will be revealed when the show airs on Showtime later this year.
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