Howdy folks! I feel a bit of a fraud calling my article, ‘Who Killed Ruth Davenport?’ this week because let’s face Part 8 was so utterly mind-blowing that no-one gives a Flying Bleep who killed her and it’s not going to be about her at all! But nevertheless, I will carry on, and mix up a little bit this week.
It goes without saying that Part 8 was the most incredible, beautiful, startling, enlightening and horrifying hour of television the world has ever seen, I cannot stop thinking about it. My mind was more full of ‘what if’s’ and ‘buts’ and ‘ah-ha’s!’ than it ever has before. My third eye felt like it was going to pop out of the front of my skull. If you were to watch my face whilst I watched Part 8, it would have been like that tremendous display of expressions by Winona Ryder at the SAG Awards this March.
After Part 7 I was really expecting there to be something huge happening this week, but not quite so huge. I thought we’d perhaps visit Bill Hastings again, the Dossier would be found, or we might even catch up with Audrey Horne! (I jest), but as news started trickling out that this part was going to blow our mind, we were whipped into a frenzy. And rightly so!
There’s no Buckhorn or Arlington or Buenos Aires for me to comment on this week, but, if you have read my previous articles, you will know that I have spoken and theorised at length about the ‘Charcoal Men’. Have any of my theories been correct? Well yes and no.
I had wondered if there was just going to be the two Charcoal Men and if there were I thought that they could have been the 2 Woodsmen seen above the Convenience Store in Fire Walk With Me. We now know that yes, these folk are Woodsmen, and they do indeed meet at the Convenience Store, but there’s not just two. Oh no, there are lots and lots of these ‘things’.
Ignoring the beginning of Part 8, with Doppelcooper and Ray for just a minute, and jumping straight to July 16th 1945, White Sands, New Mexico. It is 5.29am (MWT), we hear a countdown to 5.30am (which would be 4.30am Twin Peaks time, let me remind you what the Giant/????? said in the first few mins of Part 1 of The Return, “Remember 430, Richard and Linda. Two birds, one stone”. This could be important).
The countdown ended and Boom! There she blows. This was the moment of the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. Code name Trinity. This actually happened in real life of course, this is not story telling. May I add here that if you still do not own a copy of Mark Frost’s book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, I strongly suggest that you give yourself a present and get your hands on a copy quick. This book is fast becoming my Bible, I feel like I need a pocket version on me at all times to refer to.
What happens next is almost 20 minutes of the most beautiful and mesmerizing journey through the mushroom cloud created by the explosion, accompanied by the most triumphant orchestral score. This isn’t a TV show, this is an event. I felt like this was happening in real-time, my mouth agog with awe and also horror that this really happened, and could happen again, quite easily at any given time.
We race through the cloud of swarming particles, black and white, like hurriedly scurrying amoebas, all with an important job to do, somewhere to be, crashing into each other in a mass of chaos. The colours bleed from pinks to oranges, purples and reds as we burst through white-hot fires, explosions within explosions.
Then the Convenience Store. Sign lit up in the darkness. I gasped when I saw it. The biggest mystery for me for all these years has been what the Convenience Store really was, and who were the beings inside it. Was it as it sounds or something otherworldly. Well from outside it looks like a regular Convenience Store/Gas Station. Rundown though, dishevelled, paintwork shabby, ceiling scorched. I can’t say that I ever really expected to see this place, hence the gasp. This scene in black and white, grey clouds start pouring from the door, the lamps from the gas pumps only lighting the vision at first, then electric flashes from the windows, and the silhouettes of Charcoal Men, many of them, scurrying just like those amoebas. They leave in their droves, and off into the wilderness. Was this the birth of the Woodsmen? From this point on they shall be called that for of course, we know this IS what they are.
Over the years I have been of the thought that the Woodsmen were good folk, lodge denizens yes, but not necessarily evil. We hadn’t seen anything to suggest this up until this point, the two we had seen previously in Fire Walk With Me hadn’t said or done anything untoward, they hadn’t been eating any garmonbozia as far as we knew. They always just seemed, ‘different’.
So what’s happened? Did the Trinity nuclear test break a wall to another dimension? Man managed to split the atom, so anything is possible.
Let’s do a little research here. The Secret History of Twin Peaks covers a lot around this period in time and especially the works of Jack Parsons, Rocket Engineer and the founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who led a double life as an avid occultist and Thelemite, a follower of the English Ceremonial Magician, Aleister Crowley. Parsons was a leader of a lodge of Crowley’s magical order in Pasadena, Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). He along with his ‘friend’ L. Ron Hubbard, who was a Science Fiction writer (and later creator of the scientific mental health system called Dianetics, which then became what we know as Scientology today), collaborated on the ‘Babalon Working’.
The Babalon Working was a magick ritual intended to summon an incarnation of Babalon, otherwise known as, ‘The Mother of Abominations’. – Mother you say?
And where did they carry out these rituals?
This one they carried out at The Devil’s Gate. A dam that was built in the 1920’s to control flooding of the Arroyo Seco river in Pasadena, not far from where Parsons lived and where he carried out much of his JPL research. It is named because of the demon like face of a horned figure in the natural rock outcropping.
Long before Parsons was there though, the Native American tribe who lived there, the Tongva, believed that they could hear the devil laughing in the sound of the running water. Crowley and Parsons both believed this place was a portal to hell, and there are some true horror stories from that place. Two children were murdered by a serial killer who was a construction worker. He buried their bodies in the freeways of Los Angeles and have never been found. Two other children went missing, never to be seen again after they’d left the supervision of adults for only a matter of seconds.
All of this is true. Verified. LS.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks (SHOTP) goes into more depth and whilst of course, the conversations in the Dossier between Douglas Milford and Jack Parsons are fabricated, there is great importance in these texts to understanding perhaps what we have seen in Part 8.
JP: The desert is the perfect medium for summoning… an empty canvas, a beaker into which, under certain circumstances and with fearless rigor, you can create an elixir that will call forth…call them what you will….messengers of the gods…
JP: They assume many forms . The grays for instance. You know Zeta Reticulans. The tall ones, now, the Nordic types, they’re different. More benign. Some say they have always been here. Supposedly they came from the Dog Star.
The Nordic types sound a bit familiar, don’t they? A lot of Twin Peaks fans really do not like the suggestion that what we are dealing with when it comes to the Giant/????? is an alien from another planet. But you know anything we don’t understand or is not of earthly origin is an alien. Plus I am not so sure that they are not from earth, they may be alien to us, but may have been here long before you and I, long before man or any sort of creature for all we know. So I am personally not of the mind that these are saucer flying folk. And it would seem that the Nordic type like to look out for certain chosen humans for some reason, yet unclear.
Now Jack Parsons believed that his summoning of Babalon had worked. A striking redhead turned up at his door the following week, her name was Marjorie Cameron. She and Parsons ended up married. She was not the ‘Mother of Abominations’ of course, she was just a regular woman. Probably.
In the SHOTP an anonymous friend of Parson’s tells Milford that a second ritual was carried out by Parsons and Hubbard at a gate they had found in the desert (White Sands), and this time they were trying to bring across an entity called the ‘Moonchild’.
This ritual took place just before the UFO incident at Roswell. It was an attempt to conceive a child through sex magick workings. Crowley had originally written about this in 1923—a novel about a battle between two ‘lodges’ of black and white magicians over an unborn child who may or may not be the Antichrist. Crowley had attempted this ritual himself on several occasions, but failed, as did Parsons. Or did he?
Let’s lay it all out here.
There is a nuclear bomb testing at White Sands. This created a series of catastrophic events—the gates to hell were opened and out poured the evil entities into our world. These are the Woodsmen.
Around the same time, Parsons and Hubbard attempted to summon Babalon, the ‘Mother of Abominations’. Parsons certainly thought he’d managed this and she was Marjorie, but it was not. What he had summoned was the creature in the glass box from Parts 1 & 2.
This creature spewed forth a mass of white milky froth, inside which we see thousands of little white, egg-shaped pebbles. But one stands out, black and perfectly round, and inside we see the head of BOB.
I think we what have witnessed here is the birth of BOB. Possibly the Antichrist or Moonchild that Parsons and Hubbard were hoping for.
Then we are swooshed across the purple oceans—the same that we saw back in Part 3 when our Good Dale met Naido, and we arrive at a very tall, mountainous cliff in the middle of the sea. This is a much bigger and tall, obelisk place than where we met Naido, but possibly is the same location, we just might have only seen a tiny portion of it before. We glide through, a black slit window and meet Senorita Dido. A beautiful, shimmering, flapperesque, goddess.
Perched on a sofa listening to some obscure and slightly disturbing jazz play on the gramophone, she sways slightly to the music. A large bell type object is stood on the floor in front of her. It has an alarm which is sounding but Dido does nothing.
The carpet in this room is the same as the first few moments of Part 1, when Cooper meets the Giant/????? is this the White Lodge?
????? enters the room, looking dapper as always in his smoking jacket. He goes to the alarming bell, stares towards us viewers for quite a few seconds, with a pondering, curious look on his face. He then turns to the bell and flicks a switch to stop the sound.
He walks up a staircase and into a theatre—for those eagle-eyed viewers, this is the same set as Club Silencio in Mullholland Drive. I don’t know what this means. There is no-one seated in the stalls or box, only ????? is there. He walks onto the stage, and with his hand pointed to the screen produces an image of what we have just seen before. The nuclear test, The Woodsmen in our world, and the birth of BOB.
A spotlight appears, and in sways Senorita Dido, sequins glistening, even more beautiful because it’s all black and white. Like a silent movie queen. I wondered if she was going to burst into song at any moment. She did not, but she has a spotlight for a reason. The only two other lodge inhabitants to have a spotlight of their own were BOB and of course ????? himself.
Senorita Dido seems upset to see the face of BOB being projected through space. She does not say a word but her face is of sadness. ????? levitates into the air, then lies back, much as the Good Dale did in the glass box, and when he travelled through the electric socket. He lies floating, then a golden mass of sparkles starts emanating from his head. These tiny particles move like sand, making what I felt to be the shape of ovaries forming an egg. A glistening golden ball is created and inside that ball is the face of beauty queen and our tragic heroine, Laura Palmer. Dido catches the golden globe with a smile and kisses it.
She lets it float up into the sky, into a golden pipe in the ceiling. It is then projected like molten gold, through the theatre screen, and into an image of the Earth, where Laura is sent. I am not ashamed to say I shed a tear. This was the creation of Laura. The egg that becomes her in years to come. It’s all about Laura. It’s ALWAYS been Laura.
The clock rolls forward 11 years from 1945 to 1956. It is August 5th in the New Mexico Desert. In the ripples of the sand we see a white pebble, much like one of those spewed forth by ‘Mother’. The pebble starts to hatch and from it comes a creature. This creature appears to have amphibian/frog-like rear legs, insect-like front legs, a long pointy mosquito nose, large moth-like wings and a water vole type body.
This is not good. This is not only a ‘child abomination’ but it’s possibly radioactive too. It slithers off through the sand.
We are at a Gas Station now, not the Convenience Store gas pumps unless they have had a makeover. A young couple, on what appears to be their first date walk home. They are at a guess around 14 or 15 years old. Maybe even slightly younger. These are innocent times and no younger girl would be allowed out with a boy on her own at much younger than that.
The girl squeals with glee that she, “found a penny and it’s heads up! that means its good luck”. They walk on and when they arrive at her home the boy asks her for a kiss. She allows him to peck her lips and she coyly returns home.
A herd of Woodsmen descend on the town, looking ravenous. A middle-aged couple sit in their car. One of the Woodsmen walks to the driver’s window, the driver winds it down—the couple are terror-stricken at the sight of his blackened face and white eyes. The Woodsman, with a cigarette propped in his mouth, asks, “Got a Light?” His voice is demonic, a hark of voices in one guttural pitch. He repeats the question again and again. The couple in the car are stunned and terrorised. Luckily the driver steps on the accelerator and speeds off out of there, narrowly missing more Woodsmen who are creeping like zombies towards them.
I did not like these ‘charcoal men’ before – now I am truly scared of them – something about the way they look messes with my psyche, I whimper when I see them! I know that sounds pathetic. I suppose it’s the same effect clowns have on some people. But I did laugh when I saw this particular Woodsman as I knew straight away he was played by Robert Broski. I had been talking with other Twin Peaks fans only the night or so before about how or when Abraham Lincoln was going to play a part Series 3, that is because Robert Broski is often cast as Lincoln as he looks so similar. Ooh you played that one well Lynch and Frost! I was not expecting an evil Abe lookalike!
The Woodsman, still looking for a light for his cigarette reaches KPJK Radio station in the desert. The Receptionist, who is directly fashioned from an Edward Hopper painting (Office at Night), turns to see him standing there. She cannot even scream, she is paralysed with fear.
He asks, “Gotta Light?” and grabs her by the top of her head and crushes her skull with his bare hands and a gruesome crack. Next he walks into the DJ Booth, the DJ is turned away from him. ‘My Prayer‘ by The Platters plays.
We see shots of a place called ‘Pops Diner’ where a lowly waitress works and a man working on a car in Motor Garage. They are both listening to the radio. We also see the young girl from earlier, now lying on her bed, reminiscing of her date with the boy, looking dreamily and listening to the song on the radio, thinking of him.
The Woodsman scratches the record off. The DJ is stunned. The Woodsman flicks on the microphone switch and starts chanting, what I can only describe as the new ‘Fire Walk With Me’ poem. Perhaps even part of the same poem?
“This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within”.
As this incantation is pumped through the airwaves, the listeners fall down, lulled into sleep or catatonic state. The girl in her bedroom reaches to the radio to turn it off but doesn’t make it. She slumps down to sleep. Through her open window in crawls the strange hybrid creature. The girl’s mouth opens and in it crawls.
After crushing the skull of the radio DJ, the Woodsman disappears off into the darkness. A horse wails ethereally in the blackness. I don’t know if this means that the Woodsman turned into a horse, or if he found a horse and crushed its skull too. What I do now know is that the Woodsmen are 100% evil. All this time I never knew, now there is no doubt.
Jump back to the present. Ray and Dopplecooper have escaped/been freed from jail. They are on their way to ‘The Farm’. Some people are theorising that this is Camp Peary as U.S. Military Reservation in Virginia that is nicknamed ‘The Farm’. Who knows at this point.
Ray needs to take a leak. They stop the car. Doppelcooper takes the gun left for him in the glove compartment. He goes to shoot Ray but the gun does not fire. Ray tells Doppelcooper he has been tricked and shoots him three times.
As he lies on the ground a swarm of Woodsmen appear from out of nowhere, bathed in blue electric light, coming in from the fields. The dance around the body of Dopplecooper, round and round, and up and down, ritualistically. They pull at his body, smearing his blood over his chest and face and themselves. As this goes on Doppelcoopers stomach starts to balloon and a black orb appears, the face of BOB grinning inside. The Woodsmen take the orb and vanish.
They do not hurt Ray. They dance around him, but only scare him. Once they have BOB they disappear. Ray drives off – calls Phillip Jeffries and tells him, “I saw something, maybe the key to what we are looking for”.
Dopplecooper sits upright. He’s not dead.
There is a lot to talk about here. I believe that the creature that crawled into the mouth of the girl is the first person that BOB inhabits on earth.
Many have speculated that the girl is Sarah Palmer but I don’t personally think so. Firstly because Sarah Palmer was born in 1945, which would make her 11 years old in 1956. I think she would be too young to be dating a boy, in the 1950s anyway. Plus the girl looked a bit older, she was clearly going through puberty, she is blossoming shall we say.
Whilst, of course, that is possible at 11 years old, I just don’t think it is her in this case. Secondly, she looks nothing like Sarah Palmer. Sarah is a redhead, and with very distinguished, attractive features. The boy may bear no real meaning to this story now, but to add to my point above, I don’t think he was a young Leland as he was born in 1944, so would have been 12 at that point, the boy looked older. Plus Sarah and Leland met in College.
So who was the girl? They are not given names in the credits. They may not mean anything to the story again, but if she is the first host to BOB, she may about to do some pretty nasty things. Will she move to Pearl Lakes perhaps? This is when Leland Palmer meets BOB for the first time, at his grandfather’s vacation home. There was a neighbour called Robertson, who would flick matches whilst taunting him, “Do you wanna play with fire little boy?”. Could this girl have the surname Robertson? Is her first name Linda? Whilst there is no evidence for this at all yet, my theory is that Linda was a girl who played with Leland, was perhaps mean to him, lured him into doing things he didn’t want to at a young age, just as he was going through puberty. BOB enjoyed this but for some reason decided to leave the girl host and take on Leland instead. If this girl is Linda and she is the same Linda now living in the New Fat Trout Trailer Park with Mickey, who maybe has some kind of disability, perhaps BOB chose to leave her as a vessel as he couldn’t have the fun he wanted with her as she wasn’t mobile anymore.
Then he took on Leland as host vessel. Now either BOB knew exactly what he was looking for and wanted Leland all along, to get to Laura or Laura was sent to that place for a reason, to get BOB.
BOB had been inside Leland for a long time before Laura was conceived. The golden ‘egg’ that Laura was sent down to earth in, perhaps lay dormant in her mother’s ovaries, waiting for the time to be fertilised many years later. Indeed in 1956, when Sarah turned 11 would be around the time Sarah would start producing eggs.
Sarah meets Leland in College, they fall in love, get married and have ONE child. There was no chance they would have borne anyone other than Laura. But Leland part created Laura, is that what stopped her from being the totally pure being she should have been? Because BOB is ultimately, partly her father? Whilst physically it’s not possible for anyone other than Leland to be her Dad, who knows who was in control the night she was conceived.
This is not a pleasant theory and not a happy tale, but I really don’t think we are in for too many happy tales in Series 3. With the still unconfirmed but possible realisation that Doppelcooper raped a comatose Audrey Horne, that created Richard Horne there are really no topics out-of-bounds. It would make Richard Horne part Doppelganger part BOB. That’s pretty evil!
What part did the Woodsmen play in reviving Doppelcooper? Are they just black lodge spirits smearing of blood obviously had an effect, it was very much an exorcism but for what reason?
They took BOB from Doppelcoopers body because there was no host available for him to reach in time. It is perhaps the closest he has been to death. There were no owls around, the only other living thing was Ray, but did he not have time to try to inhabit him? Once the body of the host is dead, can he not leave? He left Leland as he was dying, via electricity in the cell. He wasn’t able to do that in a field with no cables or lighting anywhere around him and no wildlife.
If BOB was the born the creature then do the different parts of it represent the different creatures he can morph into? Is BOB the only ‘spirit’ that was born at that time or were thousands upon thousands of similar entities spewed out into the world that day? Each taking a different human host, becoming the evil that men do?
Whilst I am not saying for a second that BOB as an entity does not exist, his existence could be metaphorical too. He targets children about to start puberty, he wants to experience their budding sexuality. It is no coincidence he chose the young girl to inhabit, who has just had her first kiss, and is fantasizing about more kissing, and becoming more intimate with him as all youngsters do at that age. Is BOB the loss of innocence?
He enjoyed being Leland so much, ruining Laura, taking every part of her innocence away, training her up to make her the most powerful vessel of all. Taking over Laura’s body would have been a triumph of evil—the black lodge would have won. But the goodness in Laura won out that night, despite all she’d suffered, she still chose the light and the light won.
It will take a lot more pondering over to really work this all out. The meaning of chant of the Woodsmen is not obvious as yet, and it may never be. I wouldn’t put it past Mark Frost to have got his hands on some of Crowley’s actual magick ritual verse though.
What we do know as these black lodge entities haven’t been on earth all that long. We do not know about ????? and the Little Man From Another Place, now the Evolution of the Arm and MIKE.
My feeling is that they have been here a very long time, perhaps just visiting, perhaps original earth dwellers that have moved on. The owl cave map always showed a Giant and smaller figure standing together. So I would say that they have been around for longer than whoever painted that cave and preceding the Nez Perse tribe too.
I’m pondering who the Tremonds are in all of this—I think we can safely say now that any entity that meets at the Convenience Store is evil, why they meet is another big question waiting to be answered.
Part 8 was really like nothing else. Whilst I feel I understand what happened now, and it was amazing to see, I am sure I’ll still be speculating about what we experienced for many years to come.
All images courtesy of Showtime/CBS unless otherwise stated