Reincarnation and The Return: Part 1

When I was little, I had an aunt who was sick and was in a rehabilitation center about an hour away from my home.  About twice a month, we would go visit her and the other ladies who were in her ward.  I remember vividly that while visiting with my aunt, a woman, her name does escape me, would always look at me in a certain way.  One day, when we were visiting my aunt and the ladies, I had an unbelievable moment of dejá vu.  The unnamed woman came up to me directly after this moment and asked me if I remembered.  She caught me extremely off guard, because I remember asking her, “Remember what?”  She said, “The souls in this room. You are an old soul, and you just remembered other souls that existed just now.”  Instead of being weirded out, like well most others would be, I took what she said and thought about it for a moment.  This was not the first time someone called me an old soul, nor would it be the last.  It is also the way I had always explained dejá vu, one soul recognizing another soul that it had met before.  Looking back on this story, I had an epiphany.  What if what we are seeing in the Return is based on reincarnation and emanation?  I plan on writing a series of articles as I uncover more into this topic.  This will be the first of those articles.

Part 18
Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

We already know that Carrie Page is a  version of Laura Palmer, perhaps reincarnated, though we don’t know to what degree.  What if the reason the last scene in which we see Cooper being whispered into his ear from Laura is because Cooper is the one that is reincarnated?  Before you all attack me with, “But, J.C.?  Cooper isn’t dead!  He can’t be reincarnated if he isn’t dead yet?” Yes, I’m well aware of that fact, for this piece only.  I plan on going further with this theory in a future article on whether I actually think Cooper is alive or dead, but for now, for this article I believe Cooper is still alive.  After doing some research on Tibetan mysticism and reincarnation, I came upon this on His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet’s webpage,

“Emanation before the passing away of the predecessor (ma-dhey tulku).  Usually a reincarnation has to be someone’s taking rebirth as a human being after previously passing away. Ordinary sentient beings generally cannot manifest an emanation before death (ma-dhey tulku), but superior Bodhisattvas, who can manifest themselves in hundreds or thousands of bodies simultaneously, can manifest an emanation before death. Within the Tibetan system of recognizing Tulkus there are emanations who belong to the same mind-stream as the predecessor, emanations who are connected to others through the power of karma and prayers, and emanations who come as a result of blessings and appointment.”

Let us open our minds for a moment.  Special Agent Dale Cooper studies Tibetan mysticism.  We’ve seen him use it when trying to figure out suspects in Laura’s death.  If we change ‘mind stream’ in the quote above to ‘dream’ , that would a) make Cooper the dreamer and b) change the whole view of how we see Cooper and his various emanations, because those would be Mr. C, Dougie, Richard, and – my thought – the Cooper we all know and love himself.  (The topic of Cooper’s various ‘others’ will be in a follow up article.)

If FWWM is the days leading up to Laura’s death, and we see Cooper at the end of FWWM right next to Laura, then could it be possible for Cooper to emanate a version of himself to help uncover the true nature of Laura’s killer and BOB, knowing quite well that is the only way for him to be able to go back into the outside world from the Red Room?  He and Laura are connected even before he happens upon Twin Peaks in the pilot.  It is almost where one cannot exist without the other, where Cooper is connected to Laura through the power of karma, which is why Cooper feels the need to ‘save’ Laura.  Cooper could have also been emanated by appointment from the Fireman as early as Season 1 after he was shot.  The Fireman knew Cooper was important to the greater good of what was trying to be accomplished so he appointed Cooper to be the other “one”. Cooper could then be known as a bodhisattva, “a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.”(Dictionary definition)  Could this be why Cooper felt so drawn to help Laura, whom he saw as suffering and his vow to save her overtook his own need of returning to his life?  In a piece written by Kosho Uchiyama for Tricycle Magazine in 2016, he says

It’s not enough for a bodhisattva of the Mahayana to just uphold the precepts. There are times when you have to break them, too. It’s just that when you do, you have to do so with the resolve of also being willing to accept whatever consequences might follow. That’s what issai shujo to tomo ni (“together with all sentient beings”—regardless of what hell one might fall into) really means.”

Then I would take this to mean that Cooper was willing to sacrifice the greater good for himself. This meant saving Laura on the night she was supposed to be killed and then falling into another realm to find her again, to destroy Jow Dai, regardless of what hell he fell into.


My final thought about reincarnation in this first installment circles back to Laura.  Cooper’s presence in the Red Room in Part 1 with Laura gives us a huge answer immediately.  In my research for this topic, I came upon an interesting site,  In an article on their site entitled, After-Death Experience, The Tibetan Buddhist and Spiritualist Views of After-Death States, they mention a realm of the afterlife called the “bardo”.  The term means in the general sense “in between place”.  This could refer to birth, death, dream, mediation, or afterlife, but in the context of the Red Room, it would see our lovely Laura and Cooper are in a physical or metaphysical bardo.  In the 1st bardo of the afterlife though, there is a transition, it comes from those who have been on a spiritual journey.  Now even though Laura is hurting and has endured massive trauma, she continues to look toward the angel picture in her room, almost as though mediating on them to save her.  They also appear to her at the end of FWWM.  Therefore, if we continue to see that ending as a starting point to Season 1, 2, and the Return, then Laura has ascended to a next level.  When we see Cooper and Laura meet after 25 years, Laura removes her face to show a bright beaming light behind it.  She then screams and gets pulled out of that state in the Red Room.  It is quite possible Laura has gone to into the 1st level of bardo of the afterlife.  From,

As such beings appear, they are sometimes frightening to the individual because of their spiritual power. Their appearance is accompanied by powerful lights and sounds that frighten and bewilder those who have not encountered intense spiritual states in the past. The spiritual light is described as having a terrifying brilliance and as luminous, clear, bright, and sharp.”


What I thought would be a simple piece (albeit long) explaining my thoughts on reincarnation and the Return has turned into what will be a series of articles.  How much of  Lynch’s own thoughts on mediation and Tibetan mysticism bled into Twin Peaks?  Did Dale actually die but has been reincarnated due to his unwavering desire to help right the wrongs done to others?  Did the Fireman emanate Cooper from his sentient state in the Red Room to continue the execution of the plan to destroy Jow Dai and in turn, BOB?  Did Dale as a bodhisattva fall into a hell dimension when becoming Richard?  These and additional ideas will continue to be expanded upon.  Until next week, I leave you with a thought,

“It is the spirit of the quest that helps;

I am the slave of the Spirit of the quest.”

  1. Songs of Kabir (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1991), pps. 46-47

Written by J.C. Hotchkiss

J.C. Hotchkiss is a Office Manager by day and Managing Twin Peaks Editor for 25YL Site the other 16 hours of the day. When she isn’t writing of her love of FBI Agents with a penchant for doughnuts, coffee and pie, she enjoys getting lost in a good book, sipping a damn fine glass of wine among friends, chatting with her "TB's" about Cevans and Fleabag's Hot Priest, and trying to keep up with the latest cartoon craze via her 6 year old. She lives smack in the middle of the Big Apple and Beantown, so for a girl with many different interests and tastes it's the perfect place to be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

a vortex in the blue sky

Filling the Void: What to Watch and Read in the Wake of The Return

audrey sees herself in the mirror and is shocked

Isn’t It Too Dreamy? The Dreaded Audrey Question