“Black Lodge/White Lodge” is the 25 Years Later version of the popular point/counterpoint style of debating, wherein two sides take opposing views and hash it out on stage. Here, we’ll be debating the finer points of Twin Peaks lore, in writing, for your reading pleasure.
Today’s debaters are: Sophia Penny and Mat Cult
The topic is: What is really happening to Jerry Horne?
Black Lodge: by Sophia Penny
The woods are lovely, dark and deep…
The forest surrounding the town of Twin Peaks is an entity of its own. Like any other character, it has needs and wants, it watches, it controls, it consumes and digests. People don’t just get lost in the woods, but they lose themselves to the woods. And at this moment in time in the world of Twin Peaks, Jerry Horne is getting eaten alive.
Part 7 of The Return opens with Jerry looking frightfully around the trees, eyes darting back and forth. The hum of the forest—running water, the rustling of the leaves, and chattering birds— is all that can be heard for several moments. With a shaky hand he dials his brother to declare that someone stole his car. As Ben tries to get more information Jerry exclaims, “I THINK I’M HIGH! I DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM!” And so we begin on Jerry’s drawn-out trip in the woods. But exactly what kind of “trip” is this?
Jerry is one of the first original Peakers we get to see in The Return as he comes trampling into the pilot episode with his cannabis-infused banana bread and jam. He has left the hotel business to pursue a career as a full-blown hippie who grows, smokes, bakes, and consumes his favorite green plant. He is later seen in Part 5 at twilight, lighting a doobie while watching the paranoid ramblings of Dr. Jacoby. It is safe to assume that he was very, very high when he first walked into Ben’s office in Part 1, he was quite high in the woods in Part 5, and that he probably still is extraordinarily high in Part 7. However, at some point after Jerry first wandered into the woods with some rolling papers and his mother’s hat, something has gone terribly wrong. An evil is present that is beyond anything that a paranoid reaction to a bad strain of grass could ever invoke.
In Part 9 of The Return we find Jerry in a terrifying situation where his foot is rooted to the ground and a tiny high-pitched voice argues, “I am not your foot.” It is hard to believe that any amount of infused banana nut bread would cause Jerry to lose agency over his own foot, but the main clue here is that his foot’s statement is subtitled. Subtitles are used in Twin Peaks by Lodge inhabitants, whether or not they can be understood without them. Jerry’s foot is now taking on characteristics of The Arm.
There are endless references to the evil which resides in the woods throughout the Twin Peaks cannon. In The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, Laura frequently references the woods as a place of solace and intrigue as well as a playground for evil entities that thrive on fear. Margaret Lanterman (AKA The Log Lady) warns Laura “that sometimes the woods are a place to learn about things, and to learn about yourself. Other times the woods are a place for other creatures to be, and it is not for us.” And here it seems that the woods are definitely not a place for Jerry Horne. He is trespassing in BOB’s playground, taunting the entities of the Black Lodge, and challenging the barriers between two realms.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks further explores that evil. It was a known presence to the native tribes who resided in what is now North-Eastern Washington. Merriweather Lewis stumbled upon it during his expedition with William Clark. And the founders of the town of Twin Peaks were faced with unfortunate circumstances, mysterious disappearances, and logic-defying inconsistencies of time and events that led the more intuitive inhabitants to believe that the woods are not what they seem. Douglas Milford, Andrew Packard, Margaret Lanterman (née Coulson), and Carl Rodd all experienced close encounters of the spooky kind in those woods growing up. Just as Jerry is being dismissed as a delusional stoner, other witnesses to the evil in the woods are dismissed as drunk, crazy, and/or overly imaginative.
Perhaps Sheriff Harry Truman worded it best in the fourth episode of the original series. “Twin Peaks is different, a long way from the world… That’s exactly the way we like it but there is a back end to that that’s kind of different too. Maybe that’s the price we pay for all the good things… There’s a sort of evil out there. Something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you want. A darkness, a presence. It takes many forms but it’s been out there for as long as anyone can remember and we have always been here to fight it.” In this case, the “we” is the Bookhouse Boys, or in more general terms, the forces of good. However, the forces of good in Twin Peaks aren’t necessarily strong enough to not succumb to the powers of evil in the woods. Hank Jennings, for example, used to be one of the best of the Bookhouse Boys prior to being corrupted by greed and envy. Laura Palmer gave her life in order to escape the possession of pure evil. Dale Cooper was held captive in the lodge for 25 years while his evil doppelganger ran free. So what will be the fate of a man like Jerry, who was never a “good guy” to begin with?
Jerry has always provided comedic relief to the series. His overt gluttony for material pleasures is his signature trait, but his thirst for underaged prostitutes and crooked means of collecting money attest to the fact that he is most definitely not Bookhouse Boy material. However, he seems to be fighting the evil of the woods with all the strength he can muster. We see him in Part 10, still sporting Mama Horne’s hat, yelling, “You can’t fool me! I’ve been here before!” Has he escaped the grasp of the woods in the past? It isn’t unlikely that his urge to consume to excess is a way of masking the absolute terror that he experienced when faced with the evil in the woods. Here’s to hoping that he has the chance to once again drown his emotions in a phenomenal, cannabis-infused brie and butter baguette.
White Lodge: by Mat Cult
“I think I’m high.”
Jerry Horne is lost in the woods, literally and metaphorically. For at least three of the ten episodes aired so far, Jerry has been confused and surrounded by dense woodland. With intermittent phone reception and a mind addled by high-grade cannabis, Jerry has got a heavy case of The Fear – a deep dish of creeping dread, served with sides of disorientation and paranoia.
In The Return, David Lynch has seemingly taken great pleasure in wrong-footing viewers, subverting our expectations at every turn. So while it might be appealing to think that Jerry’s odyssey into the pines is an overture to an inevitable encounter with the Black Lodge, knowing how this new series has toyed with us, it is equally likely that he’s just high as hell.
In seasons one and two of Twin Peaks, audiences were primed to expect spontaneous visits from Jerry – the charismatic, jet-setting, wheeler-dealing enfant-terrible of the Horne dynasty. And when he turned up, he was generally bearing gifts of exotic foodstuffs to be shared with his beloved brother Ben. Whether it was smoked cheese pigs or brie-and-butter baguettes, Jerry never arrived empty handed. He was a pleasure seeker, a hedonist of epicurean proportions. Watching him enthusiastically revelling in sensory food pleasures, it doesn’t seem much of a stretch to imagine Jerry overindulging in chemical diversions.
Now, twenty-five years later, Jerry has swapped his button-down shirts for a grizzly beard, ditching his past as a globe-trotting yuppie to be reborn as a hippy woodsman, legally farming marijuana in the Washington wilderness. And contrary to Frank Lopez’s excellent advice to Tony Montana in Scarface, Jerry is certainly not shy of getting high on his own supply.
In Part 1, we were treated to a fabulous conversation between the brothers Horne, in which Jerry expounded the merits of his weed-infused edibles, revealing that he had been eating THC-laced banana bread and jam while boasting of their suitability for psychonatic excursions. Later, during the first of Jacoby’s “Dr Amp” broadcasts, the audience sees Jerry enjoying a generous doobie and chuckling as the good doctor preaches his anti-capitalist tirades.
But in later episodes, Jerry’s situation does not look so cosy. Since Part 7, Jerry has been lost among the trees. His first words when ‘brother Ben’ picks up the phone are “I think I’m high.” His wide, frightened eyes are scanning the trees as he proclaims “Someone stole my car” – a phrase that inevitably brings to mind stoner comedy movie Dude Where’s My Car? Ben Horne’s reaction to this predicament is one of exasperation rather than concern – leading us to wonder whether drug-addled misadventures are a regular occurrence for ‘brother Jer’ nowadays.
Unlike Ben, Jerry has never been a driving force in the many intertwined plots of Twin Peaks. While his brother was embroiled in triple crosses and deceptions over the Packard Mill and Ghostwood Project, Jerry was always deployed for comic relief. And perhaps that is what we’re seeing here. When his foot announces (in a high pitched squeak) “I am not your foot”, it is impossible to see it as anything other than surreal comedy, especially as the moment is followed by a sequence of brilliant physical clowning as Jerry tries to forcibly reign in his rogue appendage. In this context – viewing the subplot as a comic aside – the possibility that Jerry is just absurdly high seems a more likely explanation than possession by lodge spirits.
I’ve read a lot of fan comments on forums and social media saying: “There’s no way Jerry is just high, this isn’t how marijuana affects people.” Well, yes, that’s true – nobody in reality would behave this way after smoking a bowl. But don’t forget that we’re talking about Twin Peaks here. Just as Lynch has chosen to portray technology as a form of black magick (where phone apps can move tracking devices from one vehicle to another), so he may have chosen to take similar artistic license with the world of narcotics.
It’s also important to note that Jerry’s episode plays out against the backdrop of a wider meditation on drugs and drug abuse in The Return. From Becky Burnett’s blissful ‘Sparkle’-fuelled moment of escape in Part 5 to the destructive, violent rage of Steven’s addiction in Part 10 – Lynch and Frost are exploring the soaring highs and crushing lows of drug-taking.
And let’s think for a moment about David Lynch’s personal attitude to drugs. Many people, when first exposed to his surreal visions on film or TV, assume that Lynch must be an acid-adventurer extraordinaire. But it’s clear that he has a healthy scepticism of self-medication.
“We all want expanded consciousness and bliss. It’s a natural, human desire. And a lot of people look for it in drugs,” he wrote in his book about creativity, ‘Catching the Big Fish’. “But the problem is that the body, the physiology, takes a hard hit on drugs. Drugs injure the nervous system, so they just make it harder to get those experiences on your own.”
So perhaps Lynch wants to show the absurdity, the silliness, the danger that is inherent in taking drugs. If he did, then Jerry’s bad trip would be an entertaining, striking and memorable way to convey that message. Let’s face it, Lynch would never directly state ‘Drugs are bad, m’kay?’; that’s not his style. But this woodland freakout and Sky Ferreira’s nasty ‘Sparkle’-related armpit rash are startling anti-drug images, that fit his dreamlike modus operandi.
It is tempting to speculate that Jerry has been abducted by dugpas, or is about to stumble through the veil into one of the lodges. This is Twin Peaks and those supernatural possibilities are a huge part of why we all love the show. But all we know for sure about Jerry is that he is partial to the reefer, has a vast supply of the stuff at his farm and (judging by the way he can devour a smoked cheese pig) he isn’t the sort of guy to believe in moderation.
Whatever the truth of it, I hope we discover what’s up with Jerry soon. And I hope it ends well for him, because anyone who can be so utterly transported by the simple pleasures of brie, butter and bread, deserves a happy ending.
Mat Cult works in marketing in the UK. He has an amazing four-year-old daughter. When not doing his job or being a dad, he makes techno music and thinks about Twin Peaks. You can reach him on Twitter here: @MatGost
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