Author John Thorne (Wrapped in Plastic magazine, The Blue Rose Magazine and The Essential Wrapped in Plastic) returns to the site as him and I had a phone conversation yesterday previewing Parts 17 and 18 of Twin Peaks: The Return. Here’s a transcript of that conversation. I hope you enjoy reading!
AG: How are your feelings different before this finale compared to before the Season 2 finale?
JT: That’s a good question. For the finale for Season 2, we knew it was over and it was not ending the way it was intended to end. The show had essentially been cancelled or not renewed and we were all fairly certain that the story wasn’t over and we were going to get cliffhangers. There was a kind of sadness there. We didn’t know if we would ever see anymore or if there would be any resolution. This time around, I feel differently about it because I think Lynch and Frost crafted the story the way they wanted to. They knew how it was going to end and that it would come to an ending. They may have left some of it open to explore further, but I don’t think they left it open that it had to be continued. I think we are going to get a definitive conclusion. So with that in mind, I guess my feeling is that I’m happy that it’s been done the way that they wanted it to be done and that when the finale is done, we’re going to have this completed work that we can go back to and explore.
AG: Something I just wrote about was a feeling that we would have closure with Cooper and perhaps even Laura, but some of the other parts of the story would be left to our imagination, Lynch and Frost’s way of telling us that the story continues even without the cameras showing us what happens. That’s something I really hope for as a fan.
JT: I think we’ve already got that. You’ve obviously examined the work extremely closely so these things I’m going to mention you already know well. The strange credit sequence where Ed is looking at his reflection—that was deliberate. They probably added that reflective imagine in during editing on purpose. The strange lights on the window of the FBI plane. The bizarre edit at the end of Part 7 that seems to imply that time has shifted between one scene and another in the Double R. I could go on and on. Those things I don’t think will be addressed by any means, and I don’t think they’re going to be resolved. There might be some new pieces of information to help us come up with theories to explain these scenes but I don’t think they’ll be explained. So you’re right—that’s where we’re going to have this rich, rich text that we can go back to, explore and try to come up with ideas to explain why these things happened the way they did. With 2 hours left [laughs] they’d have to spend every minute to address 120 different loose ends they still have to talk about and they just won’t.
AG: Let me throw another example out. I was chatting with a few of the writers from the site and Eileen brought up the glitches. She hypothesized that perhaps every time we saw a glitch when a character died that the glitch could indicate that it was a tulpa. Wanted to see if you had any thoughts on that theory.
JT: Well, that is interesting. I hadn’t thought of that. Have we seen other deaths that didn’t have the glitch? There was the Warden, no glitch there. It’s a possibility and I do like the idea. I certainly won’t dismiss it. My first reaction to the glitches was that it was a stylistic choice made by David Lynch to perhaps convey the horror and the violence of sudden death. That’s where I would start. There seems to be a hint that Duncan Todd got involved with Mr C later on based on what he told Roger in Part 2 about getting involved with “a guy like that”, implying that he was in some kind of trouble and Phyllis Hastings certainly existed before. That’s not to say they weren’t replacements though. I do find her theory intriguing, though. That’s the beauty of this show. I guarantee you a year from now people will be making more connections like this and we’ll look into it. This is a show we can explore perhaps endlessly or at least for a great deal of time and that’s a great gift. I can’t think of another work of art like this that delivers so much. It’s great.
AG: You had an interesting tweet recently, comparing Diane and Naido. Where do you stand with that now after you’ve had a few more days to think about it?
JT: I think there’s a connection between those two characters but what it is yet I don’t know. I think it’s fairly reliable information we got when Diane was sitting there, in distress and says “I’m in the Sheriff’s Station”. I mean, I guess she could be Freddie [laughs] or the strange drunk, but the Diane/Naido connection makes sense to me. Then it occurred to me that they were almost anagrams, the two names. Then someone else said to me if you take the name Diane and say it backwards, in Japan, you would add the O sound to the beginning and that kind of sealed it to me (laughs again). But gosh, for every theory I’ve put out there that’s been right there are probably 100 that have been wrong. This is probably one that’s wrong too but I feel pretty good about it. They’ve put these pieces in place. If Diane’s story is over, I’ll be very disappointed. I don’t think we had sufficient closure for her character. To answer your question, I think there’s a connection there that will be further explored.
AG: Not just for Blue Velvet reunion reasons but I really want to see Laura Dern and Kyle together again onscreen.
JT: Well we did have the Mr C and Diane scene but to have the Cooper of old with his associate Diane that he’s referenced so many times finally enacted would be great.
AG: After Part 15, everyone was speculating that Naido was Judy, and a week later, that theory has become overshadowed by the Naido and Diane conversation.
JT: It’s almost like everyone forgot the Judy question in a week. I do think the Judy question will be addressed. Obviously, they set that up. With Twin Peaks, you have to be so careful. Maybe we don’t get the definitive answer but they give us some more information to make a conclusion. Lots of good potential for Judy. Do you have you lean towards?
AG: Last week, we had our weekly debate on the site on this topic. I played the spoiler in a lot of ways, using quotes from Fire Walk With Me, The Missing Pieces and Bob Engels interviews to say that Judy has always been closely linked to Josie Packard.
JT: You don’t feel that it’s Laura?
AG: I always come back to the fact that Jefferies said Judy was from Seattle and how strongly associated Josie was with that city.
JT: This is great. Take it from me; I will never tell anyone that they’re wrong the way that I have been told many times that I’m wrong about my Twin Peaks theories. Every theory almost has some supporting evidence behind it. Not to get too deep into the Judy discussion but the Engels interview is critical and I’ve used it as some of my supporting evidence at times. I do reject anything that did not happen in Fire Walk With Me. That includes The Missing Pieces although they’ve become more valid. I think Lynch crafted those to be their own complimentary work on the box set and to add to the narrative but they were deleted from the film. Anything that was scripted but not shot I would reject. Anything that Engels said but didn’t make the film I would reject.
I immediately defer to Lynch and again, and in no way am trying to steer you to a different opinion but I don’t see anything to support from the narrative that we have that it could be Josie or Naido. That doesn’t mean it isn’t though. Jefferies said that he’s already met Judy and I would argue that Mr C has not met Naido. It was Cooper. Now Jefferies might not understand the difference between Mr C and Cooper—he seemed to think Mr C was Cooper. I still think its Laura. The monkey says Judy, and it cuts straight to Laura, but that was a theory I put forward to make Fire Walk With Me function as a stand-alone film. If you came in cold and studied it long and hard that’s the conclusion you would come away with, without any other narrative to inform it. But we do have more. More before it, more beside it and more after it. That I look forward to finding out, I really do hope they give us something so we can have a fairly confident conclusion about who Judy is. That would be great.
AG: How do you feel the show has done in handling the two halves of Cooper? For many years now you’ve been outspoken about Cooper being a man divided and not two separate entities. Do you still feel that way?
JT: Yes, my theory was that Cooper was a man divided and the two parts had to come together to become a whole Cooper. Now we’ve heard from the One-Armed Man that one of them has to die and that kind of throws away the idea that they have to combine. Lynch has said himself that he divided. He even said there was a Good Cooper and a Bad Cooper. Lynch himself has said that. Now having said that, I do think it’s possible that the Good Cooper came out of that socket a diminished being and became Dougie. It was his experiences as Dougie that made him a better human being that made him perhaps a Good Cooper that can function without that other self. I don’t think the Dougie story was random or just for fun. I think it was a critical element of the overall narrative. Everyone who encountered Dougie became a better person. Cooper at the end because of that experience became a better Cooper. I think that he came out stronger than if he had come out of the socket when he was supposed to at “15” and not have had those experiences which informed this new Cooper. Having said all of that, I could very easily accept the idea that they don’t need to re-merge anymore. Cooper has been enhanced, he’s been replenished and that he’s a Cooper who will probably no longer remain in this world once the story is over and he will become the Cooper of the very first scene that we saw with The Fireman. I think that Cooper is a transcendent being and maybe it was his experiences as Dougie that made him that way. So he no longer has to go back and re-merge with that evil self. The story allowed for a different outcome. That’s something I’m very curious about and will be paying close attention to in these last two hours.
AG: How do you think the character of Freddie will play into the endgame? I’ve been operating under the assumption for a while now that our Cooper would be a diminished being upon his return and that perhaps The Fireman had sent Freddie to assist in the eventual showdown with Mr C?
JT: I was just talking about this on the Entertainment Weekly podcast. It just literally occurred to me as I was speaking about it and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. There’s an irony that some of these characters are almost like chess pieces on a big board. That goes back to the whole chess motif. I think Freddie has been placed in an interesting place on the board, in the jail next to Naido, who was put there by Andy who knows a lot more than most characters at this point. Andy knew she would be safe there. So whatever threat might come to her there now, Freddie is there with his superpower to either protect her or release her. Where it goes from there, I’m not sure.
AG: You brought up Andy. His role became tremendously more important since we last spoke. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the part of Andy’s vision where Lucy is in front of him?
JT: When I first saw it, I was alarmed. When I watched it again, Lucy does not look worried in that scene and Andy seems almost to bring her forward or present her in that sequence and I wonder if it’s something very good. Maybe Wally Brando is there with a baby and they’re grandparents now? This is just crazy speculation that you’re going to quote me on [laughs]. Was it Cooper? Was it Andy showing Lucy Cooper and saying “Look, he’s here again!” or something that Lucy would welcome. With all of the other alarming imagery in that scene, I don’t think the part with Lucy is necessarily bad. He wasn’t in front of her or defending her. That Andy vision is really fascinating. I thought it was interesting that he saw the angels with Laura and whether that idea is going to come into play again or if that was it. The angels were a critical part of Fire Walk With Me. Are they still a factor? I don’t know.
AG: Let’s transition into Laura. We’ve been told she was important throughout The Return. I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to think she will be involved in the final two hours. The question is, how?
JT: Laura is critically important, no question about it. The Log Lady says “Laura is the one”. If anyone is an authority, it’s the Log Lady. She is perhaps the most reliable narrator in the whole story. Laura has been yanked out of the Red Room, we saw her in the golden orb, and she’s in every week’s opening credits. She’s important. What is she doing though? I don’t know if she’s a redemptive force that will come into play? I hope she’s not just a Deus ex machine which comes in and fixes it all, which is actually an original intent for the Season 2 finale where Laura comes in as this God-like figure who comes in and saves Agent Cooper. I think she’s going to return home to Sarah and maybe the Woodsmen know she’s coming and are laying in wait in the house. She’s got to assist Cooper somehow. Mr C is one thing, but there’s another plot going on here. It’s not just Mr C vs Agent Cooper. Mr C wants the Experiment. He showed the card to Darya and that face is probably the Experiment. Other people call it Mother, but I refuse to do that because there’s no textual evidence besides the parallel editing. You see that symbol again on Major Briggs note and also most importantly on Hawk’s map when he says you don’t want to know about that. The importance of that is that Hawk is telling us that the Experiment is accessible to us and is near Twin Peaks. That’s where the coordinates are leading. That’s where Mr C is going. We don’t know precisely what Mr C wants to do with the Experiment but I assume that the Experiment is a super powerful being that Mr C either wants to tap into or defeat and take the place of. That is one storyline. Let’s speculate randomly that Cooper defeats Mr C, which is kind of what the story is leading to—the confrontation between the two Coopers. Probably Mr C will be defeated, but there’s more to address. There’s a greater force of evil perhaps for Cooper to face and that’s where Laura comes into play. Laura helps him resolve that.
AG: I agree that we’re being told that the Experiment is a force in the show but without knowing its motivation, I’m personally having a hard time fearing it as a villain.
JT: The Experiment did brutally murder Sam and Tracey. There may be reasons behind that. I do believe that the box was a Mr C creature to try and capture the Experiment. Some people have pushed back on me on this one, and I don’t have much evidence, but I do think Tracey was a force of good, like the accountant that attacked Hutch and Chantel, the baker that supplied the pie and the imagery that guided Dougie in the casino. With Tracey, the Z’s kind of give you this evidence. Everything that was helping seemed to have a Z attached to it. With Tracey, she comes every night. We can almost project that she was told to come every night at 10:00 so Sam wouldn’t see Cooper. Then she goes into the room and you could argue that she sacrifices herself. I know there isn’t any evidence to support that but maybe she by starting to have sex with Sam antagonizes Experiment enough to draw it out and make that a crime scene. I like the idea that she was somehow instrumental in protecting Cooper. Did she antagonize the Experiment or is the Experiment just bad? Hawk does say you don’t want to know what this is but he does not say it’s the most evil thing in the world. Major Briggs puts the symbol on his little note. Is that a warning or a be on the lookout? Who knows? It’s curious when the Experiment vomits out all that stuff; Bob seems to be anomalous to that. Bob is attached as if he wasn’t supposed to be there. He stowed away in this stream of stuff. Again that doesn’t tell us if Experiment is good or bad. Now one of the eggs did hatch into that frogmoth thing which then went into the girl. It’s hard for me to see that being neutral. It’s ominous and that came from the Experiment. I struggle with it too. I’d like to see Experiment as a neutral force, but there seems to be some evidence that it’s evil.
AG: A few questions that sprung from your response. The little girl from Part 8. How much do you think that scene will be expanded upon?
JT: I think we’re going to get more information it. I don’t know if it’ll be a definitive answer but she was deliberately credited as “Girl” in the credits and she has to have some more connection to the narrative. I think they were holding back the revelation of her identity and we’ll hopefully get more, if not an actual answer, then more evidence to support that it’s Sarah Palmer or some person we haven’t met or Judy perhaps.
AG: There are a lot of Sarah Palmer theories floating around right now. Some connect her to The Jumping Man; some connect her to Experiment. Where do you fall in this discussion?
JT: I think it’s pretty clear that she’s connected to The Jumping Man. It does look like her face in that quick shot. I can’t envision Sarah Palmer as always being a host for something evil. It could be that she only recently got into this situation because the forces of evil know that Laura is coming. What better place to go than to Sarah to lay and wait for Laura? Sarah has sadly been made a victim but only recently. It’s hard to imagine Sarah had these forces in her in the original series. We know she had perhaps some capabilities involving the supernatural but she was a victim, a tragic figure and is still. There’s a really good argument that she was the girl from part 8. You would be stuck with two bad outcomes there. One, it’s been in her the whole time and she’s always been bad or just didn’t know. I don’t like that. Or, and I don’t like this either that it’s a changed or parallel reality where Bob went back in time, infested Sarah so he would be there when Laura came back which alters the timeline. For Lynch it might be “why are you thinking of it as two definitive timelines, time is fluid, it doesn’t matter”. Once he infested her there, it changed the present and it doesn’t change anything from the original series. I struggle with that but again, I’m struggling with ideas that haven’t been confirmed. I tend to think she’s been made a victim after all of the bad things that happened to her in the original series. There’s just not enough to go with yet.
AG: There’s part of me that’s resistant to the idea that Sarah is inhabited by something after everything she’s already been through. It makes me sad to think about. Perhaps that’s really good storytelling though.
JT: What you and I are doing and we should be careful about this is saying that Sarah Palmer is a victim of these terrible forces but what if she’s not? If she’s the girl with the frogmoth, then she was victimized but we don’t know if that was her or not. Maybe the Sarah that we’re seeing right now cut a deal and said “Look, I need to set some things right. I’m willing to take on these evil forces so that I can essentially do some good”. It’s a stretch. She did kill that guy, but he wasn’t a good guy. He was an “innocent victim” because he didn’t do anything but verbally assault her but he wasn’t a good guy and she took him out, or she allowed the forces inside her to take him out. She hasn’t done anything else, though. She didn’t attack Hawk when he was there. She hasn’t done anything overtly evil. I fall into that habit of saying “Oh she’s been victimized”, but maybe she has not been. Perhaps she chose to do some things. Her behavior doesn’t support that so I’m hesitant to go that way, but I’m also hesitant to dismiss her as a victim again. It reduces the character a little.
AG: That just reinforced to me how much there is to cover the show’s final two hours.
JT: Absolutely, but there’s been a lot that’s happened over the past few hours. The pace is picking up. You have to remember that we’re thinking of two hours out of eighteen and it seems like a tiny part and we had several episodes that spoon fed us and inched things along but two hours is the length of Blue Velvet and The Elephant Man and it’s longer than Eraserhead. We have essentially a David Lynch film Sunday night and it could easily address a great many things that have already been put in place. It doesn’t need to spend time establishing a lot more. It could easily move right through these things we’re talking about and give us a lot of satisfactory information.
AG: We’ve talked a lot before about what an eighteen-hour film means and we’re at the end of the third act. It’s reminiscent of the final thirty minutes of Mulholland Drive where the speed just takes off.
JT: Think about the last ten or fifteen minutes of Blue Velvet. So much happens and a lot gets resolved and packed in. Those ten minutes are the equivalent of these two hours. Lynch is looking at the overall structure and saying “Here is where we’ve crested the top of the roller-coaster and now we’re going down”. He might just boom boom boom—things just start happening fast. We’re at the final confrontation of the third act.
AG: Wanted to talk about the legacy characters a bit—characters like James, Bobby, Shelly. The ones we know and love but aren’t in the middle of the main plots at the moment. Do you think they’ll get their curtain calls so to speak?
JT: That’s a good question. I thought that some of these characters that were connected to Laura in the past would find some part in the redemption that’s to come. James and Bobby would play some part in helping Laura where they couldn’t in the past. We’ve seen Leland already telling Cooper to “Find Laura”. I think that the connection to Laura is the only way. There’s no plot for most of them. What’s Bobby’s plot other than that he’s still pinning for Shelly? He’s functional in the story in that he leads them to his mother and then guides them through his father’s notes, but he doesn’t have a story arc.
James doesn’t have an arc. We got a really nice resolution for Ed and Norma. Let’s hope it holds. That was nice. So they are aware of these characters floating out there and they need to be addressed with hopefully some resolution. With that in mind, perhaps we see Bobby and Shelly come back together. Shelly seemed moved by Ed and Norma, so maybe she comes back to Bobby. It’s minor, but it’s something. I hope that those characters all have an end note. All of that being said, Audrey, all of a sudden has become an extremely critical character, with a story arc that probably plays into the finale in some way. We may get some definitive conclusion to her storyline. I don’t know what else Ben could do. I hope there’s more for him. Jerry may still play a critical role. He may come running into the Sherriff’s Station and say “You won’t believe what I saw!” and they probably won’t. Jerry was positioned to witness something. Does that pay off? Do all of these things fall into place, allowing Cooper to bring everything together?
AG: Going back to Shelly and Bobby, could we be ending their story on a tragic note? We recently saw Steven in the woods and there was a lot of speculation that he had perhaps killed Becky prior to that scene.
JT: A lot of people jumped to that conclusion. There’s a critical scene hours before that where Steven is being abusive with Becky and he says “I know what you did”. Then in the scene in the woods he says something along the lines of “I had to do it” then Gersten says “No she did it”. I could be getting that wrong. It’s almost as if they’re talking about an event that Becky and Steven were involved in and it’s as if Becky knows something more, something she could reveal. Maybe Steven could have killed someone and his guilt is driving him to suicide. That’s how I’m reading it now at least. If Becky’s did, there’s possible narrative purpose for Bobby and Shelly but that’s a lot to shove into the last two hours. As the character of Becky stands, if she’s dead now what did she add to the story? She knows something they need to find out from her.
AG: Moving over to Audrey. Do you think her issues are more psychiatric or Lodge related?
JT: That is a really good question. I’m leaning more psychiatric only because she was looking in a mirror, in all white and it almost looked like a hospital gown. We have never seen anything like that before in the Lodge realms. With just that little bit of evidence, I’m leaning towards her having been in a coma this whole time and hearing these conversations, hearing the music on the radio. This could all easily be changed though.
AG: We did a staff predictions piece this week, and for mine, I started thinking about who was always most important to Lynch: Cooper, Laura and Bob. Obviously, Cooper and Laura have roles moving forward but how does Bob fit into the finale? My prediction was that we would be left with the idea that Bob had inhabited someone else in the finale, leaving us with the idea that these cycles would continue in Twin Peaks even without the camera rolling.
JT: I think Bob has to come into play still. Whoever the fake Jefferies was said they wanted to be with Bob again. We saw Bob extracted from Mr C. We saw him again later in part 8. Something has to be resolved about Bob. Can Bob be defeated? It seemed like he was in Fire Walk With Me? There’s an irony there because he comes back into play in the story very quickly although I would argue that Bob was massing power in Fire Walk With Me and about to become almost unstoppable and Laura cut him way down. So he’s starting up again in the series trying to amass more power. He essentially achieves that by attaching himself to Evil Cooper and what they’ve been doing for the past 25 years is continuing and trying to amass the ultimate power, which I think is Experiment. There’s still linearity there that Laura stopped him early and now he’s sort of had to start over again. So I think Laura will stop him again. Bob will come into play again, although I don’t know how.
AG: My final question is, what would John Thorne like to see in the finale?
JT: Of course. There are lots of things I would love to see happen. I want to say this first though: I won’t be disappointed. I don’t think I can be. I mean, maybe if Gordon Cole turns to the camera and says “I’m David Lynch”, that would be a waste of time. There are things I would love to see but I won’t be disappointed if they don’t happen. I would love to see Harry Truman again. They’ve been talking about him and they keep saying he’s in the hospital. If Lynch and Frost knew from the beginning that Micahel Ontkean wasn’t available, they could have told us up front we wouldn’t have seen him again. But they did not do that. Frank calls him. There’s all this stuff that says he’s close by.
I half expect to see him. I had hoped that Annie would be in it, but I’m not sure that they need to address her again. It would be cool to see her again though. It would be cool to see Josie again. The humming noise in the Great Northern certainly implies Josie. Those are character moments. I want to see Laura Palmer again. I want to see her interact with characters that never got to say goodbye to her: James, Bobby, Sarah and Leland get to see her and understand that she’s ok. I think that would be a really nice resolution to the whole thing.
Is there any chance that Laura returns to the land of the living? Is there any strange symmetry that the show started with Laura dead, wrapped in plastic back in 1990 and ends with Laura Palmer alive? There’s nothing to support that except her line “I’m dead, yet I live”. The concept of the tulpas, which is an expansion of the doppelganger, has been introduced to the show which may indict that there could be more than two versions of oneself. Could they not manufacture Laura Palmer to come back to the land of the living or was Laura Palmer herself a tulpa? I know its crazy talk but they have introduced the fact that there are multiple selves. I don’t know that they are just going to let pass by without capitalizing on it.
AG: It’s absolutely a way to bring Laura back to the land of the living. Did we already see the creation of her tulpa back in part 8?
JT: Exactly. Is a tulpa a complete human entity? If The Fireman had access to her soul, then this Laura Palmer would be no less than the Laura Palmer that was there before. She could be a fully rounded character. I would love for a surprise such as Laura is alive again to be an element of the end.
Thanks once again to John Thorne for joining me for this really fun conversation as we prepare for the final two hours of Twin Peaks: The Return. If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy reading Talking Theories & More With John Thorne. Thanks as always for reading and until next time…