The Alchemical Origin of Laura Palmer: Does She Have A Choice Or Is She A Chosen One?

BY JOHN BERNARDY

IMG_0584Part Eight of The Return opened our eyes to so much, but witnessing the moment where the wall is torn between our reality and the lodge’s reality was not the most important thing to rock the foundation of what we know of Twin Peaks. No, that moment belongs to the revealed origin of one Laura Palmer, once again asserting her status as the heart of the Twin Peaks story.

Near the end of Part Eight’s flashback sequence we see the Giant levitate in front of the screen where he sees “mother” seeding our world with her eggs and Bob. The Giant floats onto his back, and from his head begins to exude a gold energy.

IMG_0587And from that gold energy he forms (for lack of better terminology) a sparkling golden egg. A golden egg with the face of Laura Palmer inside it. Mark Frost’s Secret History of Twin Peaks mentioned gold by way of a line from Jack Parsons, so I noted the importance right away. He said “alchemy doesn’t just turn base metals to gold. Alchemy speaks to internal processes, and a radical revolution in our spiritual development, transforming the ‘base metal’ of primitive man to the ‘gold’ of an enlightened soul.” In addition, our team member Gisela Fleischer has published an intensely articulate article on alchemy that I thought I’d best look into again. I discovered this: “Step 7 [of transformation and transmutation] : Coagulation. Gaining of a confidence beyond all things. Experience a second body of golden light coming out of the crown chakra (the top of the head). This is the highest evolution of the mind. This steps means you find the Philosopher’s Stone, that allows existence on all levels of reality.”

This act of the Giant says to me that Laura Palmer is in some capacity an alchemically realized portion of the Giant. We can gather three things:
1) The Giant can once and for all be put on the scorecard as a force for good (or at minimum one for balance).
2) We can assume the Giant can now exist on more than one reality, which has been proven with his ability to contact Agent Cooper in the original series.
3) The most troubling conclusion to be reached is the one specific to Laura: She, at her heart, may be a Philosopher’s Stone rather than a person.

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This is troubling because if this is true, it makes her power as a girl fighting the evil from the woods less momentous. It takes away her agency and she becomes a Chosen One. I worried about this new knowledge making Laura’s struggle trivial, that she was no longer a young woman struggling through her titanic adversities on her way to an earned victory. If she is a Chosen One archetype, here story has more to do with a destiny rather than a struggle, and opens every question you’d want to ask regarding free will. Her golden soul at her heart makes her special, yes, but it removes a part of her humanity that is fundamental in her struggle as a victim of incest rising beyond her assaulter and her situation.

But once I thought about it more, I do not believe, even if she falls partially into the Chosen One category, that her agency is completely removed because there is still another side to this story, and that side once again comes back to Bob.

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We witness the first atom bomb tearing the barrier between our world and that of the lodges. We see “mother” showering the New Mexico desert with eggs, and we see Bob in their midst. In fact, as the giant watches this flow of eggs, the image freezes when the sphere containing Bob comes into view. The Golden egg appears to be a direct response to Bob, and therefore the egg containing Laura appears to be a similarly powerful object.

Earlier in Part Eight we also see, when the charcoal men are “devouring” DoppelCooper, some form of organ with the face of Bob being pulled from within DoppelCooper. During the scene where the charcoal men “devour” DoppelCooper, Bob appears for all intents and purposes to be an organ inside DoppelCooper, that is likely removed from the doppelganger before they leave him.

If Bob was inside Cooper’s doppelganger, based on my previous explorations into the topic of doppelgangers (here, here and through a theosophy lens here), it’s reasonable to say Bob was also an organ of sorts within Leland Palmer’s doppelganger when Leland and Sarah conceived Laura. And that means that in addition to being made from the golden egg, Laura was equally made from the darkness of Bob within Leland. This means Laura, as the main focus of the Twin Peaks story, is made from equal parts darkness and light.

With her ability to channel forces of ultimate darkness from within her just as easily as a force of ultimate light, this allows Laura a choice once again. Her free will is not missing in this equation. The equal and opposite forces inside her keep each other in check, and it is Laura herself who tips the balance to whichever nature she chooses. This allows her to continue to be the heroine of her own story. This allows her struggle to be real, true and powerful as ever.

13 Replies to “The Alchemical Origin of Laura Palmer: Does She Have A Choice Or Is She A Chosen One?”

  1. I agree with a lot of what you said, the only thing is that I don’t think that Leoand’s doppelgänger was possessed by BOB, it was Leland himself. There’s nothing to suggest it was a doppelgänger, in fact everything about him (in both the show and the movie) suggests to me that it was the actual Leland to be possessed. This makes the situation with dopple Coop much different.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Kaitlin. In those first two links to my old work (that i say are in relation to doppelgangers) I note how for one thing our Cooper, when in Dougie Jones’ bathroom, sees a flashback to doppelcooper in the mirror that our Coop would have no idea about if it was literally just his doppelganger in the world. I extrapolate from there about the complex relationship (and assume that eventually, as Doppelcooper almost seems to do with Bob too, that DoppelCooper finds a way to shut Good Dale out of the loop at a later moment). Dale DOES seem to Be there at the beginning. My argument’s not airtight of course, but it’s pretty sound.

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    2. I agree with Kaitlin. Leland was not a doppelganger, he was a possessed human. Notice how once Bob leaves him in the jail cell he is immediately overcome with remorse. Furthermore, his eyes never have the black look to them that DoppelCoop’s do. Other than that, another good article!

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      1. Thanks for the comment, Brad. I hadn’t thought about the eyes…that may be the loophole i’ve missed. My favorite part about Twin Peaks is how blatantly opposite theories can all be just as true as the other 👍🏻More than anything else I’m just following my gut down this DoppelLeland thing because of how “find laura” was delivered in the same way a little boy would say it, and extrapolated from there w what i’ve already mentioned about what our coop shouldn’t know if exclusively doppelcoop left lodge. I have an odd feeling we’ll actually get an in-show explanation before the end (i hope not) but til then i’ll be sticking with the idea thet Lynch and Frost are working a subtle retcon into “what really happened.” In other words, not putting much stock in my answer being right per se, just a framework that works for me.

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  2. well, i think another narrative with a female character who was a chosen one had a lot of free will and was basically a feminist icon: Buffy Summers! so, i am not TOO worried about this, personally.

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    1. I’ve thought about this as well, but it’s toucher with the subject matter of Laura’s abuse, and more important to get it right. I hope the gold egg turns out to be more of a claim rather than a power source. I love the idea that a victim can overcome from her own strength rather than a preordained external-origin source. Though knowing Lynch & Frost’s track record I expect this’ll become infinitely more nuanced as the story folds and unfolds. Thanks for the comment, lilith!

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  3. Great article, John. I like your analyses of a possible Leland doppelganger and how his BOB seed could have contributed to the darkness within Laura. I’ve always wondered about Leland’s stomach wound after killing Laura, it was never really explained. But now that we’ve seen BOB living within Mr. C in some sort of membrane, it could explain how that wound came to be. In FWWM, we see Leland enter into the Black Lodge (wound clearly seen) then levitate as BOB removes the bloodstain (garmonbozia?) then unleash it onto the lodge floor. Could BOB have escaped Leland via his stomach, creating that wound? It’s certainly possible. We saw who I believe to be Leland’s doppelganger in the Black Lodge during episode 29, so we know a Leland doppelganger exists/existed. So much to ponder…

    As for Laura, I really believe the real reason why BOB wanted to possess her was because BOB knew that she is a special soul, whether that means she was created by The Giant (???????), or represents his greatest challenge in succeeding with whatever end game he has in mind.

    We talked about this theory in a recent podcast, and I think this is where the story is headed. Laura returns (though she might not know she is Laura – after her violent removal from the Lodge I speculated that she could’ve gone on a journey similar to Cooper living as Dougie Jones) and somehow connects with Cooper before being confronted by BOB again, whether it be in a new host or within Mr. C.

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