In the Twin Peaks universe, motels have been visited and revisited quite a few times over the years. Motels have been made locations of importance, huge and small, and places for happenings of strange, funny, mundane or even supernatural events. Some of the motels are only seen once or twice. Others, however, are fundamental to the story or clouded in mystery. In this article I will take you on a guided tour of the motels of Twin Peaks – not every single one mentioned on or off-camera ever, but most of them. And, of course, I’ll dig a little deeper into the corridors of the ones who play key roles in essential storylines and mysteries. Along the way, you might find there’s more to the motels of Twin Peaks than one would initially think. Some of them, as it turns out, are even bearers of hidden layers of meaning and symbolism.
But let us start off by visiting some of the lesser-seen, yet important motels:
IKE THE SPIKE’S MOTEL, LAS VEGAS
(Twin Peaks, The Return, part 6.)
The introduction of Ike The Spike is taking place at his motel room, where he’s sitting by the desk rolling dice and drinking bourbon. This is the place where he gets his assignment to kill Lorraine and (the real) Dougie Jones (in an envelope from Duncan Todd). This is also the location where Ike is eventually arrested for the attempted murder of Dougie Jones (who, of course, is Agent Cooper). But other than that this motel has no real significance. Let’s move on.
MIKE’S MOTEL ROOM, UNKNOWN LOCATION
This scene was cut out from Fire Walk With Me, and therefore it’s a part of the Missing Pieces. We only see this room once, but the scene is fascinating. MIKE is performing some kind of magical ritual – presumably to empower the magician (himself), to keep BOB at a spiritual distance, or maybe to find BOB in order to pursue him. After all, to stop BOB is what MIKE says he’s trying to do.
The scene plays backwards. As MIKE is speaking “Fire walk with me” he’s extinguishing the eleven lit candles that form a circle in front of him, one by one. By doing so, one might say that he’s putting out the fire that his once familiar, now enemy BOB represents.
(MIKE in his motel room. Twin Peaks, The Missing Pieces.)
MIKE’s act can be compared to the similar scene with BOB from the international ending of the pilot episode (which was later partly used for Cooper’s dream). Here, BOB is in the basement (or the “killer’s lair” as he calls it) and is seen performing a magical ritual. He’s got eleven candles in a circle as well, but his are lit (until wind blows them all out, maybe in relation to the fact that MIKE, the extinguisher of fire, has entered the room and shot BOB).
(Twin Peaks, season 1, pilot episode – international version.)
THE TIMBER FALLS MOTEL, TWIN PEAKS
This seemingly tiny motel (I see two rooms, but who knows, maybe there are more?) might be one of the least visited motels of Twin Peaks, but it’s none the less a location of big drama, intrigue, mystery, conspiracy, investigative leads and even comedy, all at once.
Catherine and Ben are in room 102 plotting to burn down the sawmill as well as having a romantic rendezvous. Catherine finds Ben’s chip from One-Eyed Jack’s and it will lead to her learning that Ben is the owner of the said establishment. Meanwhile, Josie is stalking Ben and Catherine from her car outside, taking pictures to collect proof of their conspiracy. At the same time a third party is joining in as Cooper, Andy and Hawk arrive to have a talk with the One-Armed Man. When they find him in room 101, however, it turns out that he’s not quite the mysterious character that Cooper saw in his dream, but a Philip Gerard, a surprised shoe salesman.
(The Timber Falls Motel. Twin Peaks, season 1, episode 5.)
But before the three get a chance to talk to Gerard, Andy drops his gun on the ground outside and it goes off with a bang. Later, in Gerard’s room, Andy accidentally opens a big suitcase full of sample shoes. The shoes are pouring out with a noise and poor Andy looks like he just wants to disappear. Andy embarrasses himself twice at this motel, but “gives two rides” to the viewer with a double dose of humour in that signature Andy style.
Lastly, the clues leading to Waldo the bird also emerges at this the Timber Falls Motel when Gerard is asked if he knows a Bob. At the time the man is simply Gerard (and not the entity MIKE) so when he answers that he does, he’s referring not to BOB but to Bob Lydecker, veterinarian and treater of Waldo the bird. Waldo eventually ends up providing even further clues to the murder mystery of who killed Laura Palmer.
For a small location only seen once, the Timber Falls Motel is surely a place packed full of drama, comedy, clues and important narrative.
A MOTEL SOMEWHERE IN SOUTH DAKOTA
Just as the Timber Falls Motel, the motel from part 2 of Twin Peaks, The Return isn’t a very significant location per se. Instead it’s the story that plays out in that location that’s important – actually, it is essential for The Return as a whole. This motel is where we first get to witness just how cold-blooded and cruel Mr C is, and the way he shows us this is horrible. The last minutes of Darya are nothing less than a gruesome psychological terror leading up to her death at the hands of Mr C.
(The motel in South Dakota. Twin Peaks, The Return, part 2.)
This anonymous motel is also where we first see the “evil symbol” that will later show up again and again. This is the place where we understand that Mr C is (or thinks he is) in contact with Agent Phillip Jeffries. Chantal is also introduced to us when Mr C goes next door to see her after the murder of Darya.
DIGGING DEEPER – THE MAGIC MOTELS
But let us now go down the rabbit holes of the magic hotels of Twin Peaks. What do I mean by “magic motels”? Well, in lack of a better expression I’m referring to four (or maybe three?) motels that I consider to be places of a deeper spiritual, mythological and/or magical importance. These are the motels where we are not only presented with important narrative, but they are also locations clouded in captivating mystery.
I’m referring to The Red Diamond City Motel (occupied by Teresa Banks in Fire Walk With Me), The Dutchman’s Lodge (“home” of Phillip Jeffries, visited by both Mr C and Agent Cooper), The Pearblossom Motel (where Diane and Cooper checks in to overnight becomes Linda and Richard) and the unnamed motel where the Blue Rose was born.
MOTEL OF THE BLUE ROSE ORIGIN, OLYMPIA
The phenomena and task force of the Blue Rose, we learn, originated in the events that took place in 1975 at a motel in Olympia, Washington State. In part 14 of The Return, Albert gives us the details while telling Agent Preston the story. Lois Duffy, a suspect in a murder case, is found shot in her motel room. She says “I’m like the blue rose”, dies, and then her body disappears. But standing in the corner is also Lois Duffy, smoking gun in hand. This supernatural event became the object of the first investigation of project Blue Rose. A blue rose doesn’t exist in nature, and so the Blue Rose task force investigates cases with a supernatural element to them. “That is how it started”, Albert Explains. And it all started in that motel room in a town named Olympia.
(The Olympian in The Black Lodge. Left: Aphrodite. Right: Venus, her Roman name.)
Being a sucker for myths, I cannot help mentioning that in Greek mythology, Olympia is the mountain home of Gods and is occupied by the twelve great gods of Greece. (The number twelve is also the number of sycamore trees at Glastonbury Grove, in turn, connected with the legend of King Arthur that I’ve written about before).
Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was one of the twelve Olympians in Greek mythology. She also just happens to be depicted in a sculpture that Gordon Cole refers to when he once says that Shelly reminds him of “The babe without the arms”. And, of course, Aphrodite (and Venus, the Roman name) is also depicted in the very statues we see standing in The Black Lodge. For making the history known about how the Blue Rose came to form, Lynch and Frost could have chosen just about any city as a host to the happenings at this unknown motel. They chose Olympia, and I dare say it might not have been a coincidence.
THE PEARBLOSSOM MOTEL
Moving on to The Pearblossom Motel which is a strange place, and the very latest motel of the Twin Peaks universe. This is where Cooper and Diane stay in the finale of The Return – and this is where they somehow become Richard and Linda. They arrive in the darkness of night. Diane stays in the car (an older model) as Cooper checks them in. She sees herself outside of the car while she’s waiting. (This reminded me of when tulpa-Diane saw the creeping Woodsman going towards the car where Bill Hastings was sitting, near the Zone in South Dakota, but Diane looked away, pretending that she didn’t see anything). At the Pearblossom, Diane isn’t looking away from her mysterious double, she’s returning the gaze. My personal interpretation is that this is to be viewed as a metaphor, maybe even as some kind of warning to Diane to remind her she can still get out of the car and leave. For some reason, staying overnight and turning in to a Linda that disappears might not be right for her, for Cooper or for them both.
(Motel Pearblossom. Twin Peaks, The Return, part 18.)
But Cooper and Diane both stays. In room 7, Cooper calls her “Diane” for the last time. They then have almost the most unsettling sex imaginable. It’s seemingly performed completely without any love, compassion or lust. The whole thing is eerie, to say the least. The next day, Diane is gone. Actually, she’s gone in two ways. Diane is no more – the farewell letter to Cooper left behind is from Linda to Richard – and she has left the motel.
Most people noticed that the names weren’t the only things that had changed overnight. When Cooper/Richard exits the motel room, the whole motel is different. When he walks over to his car, which is parked in a different spot than the night before, the car is a completely different and much newer make, year and model. Cooper/Richard hesitates for a second, looks around and seems to acknowledge the change. Then, he gets in and drives away.
But I’m not ready to leave the Pearblossom Motel just yet. There’s something else. I believe that Cooper woke up in the same room as the one he checked into. The changes of his surroundings, to him, seem to appear in the moment he exits the motel. Take a look at the pictures below:
1: Diane and Cooper arrive. 2: The room when Cooper wakes up. 3: Cooper exits the motel room.
Do you spot the subtle but obvious and big difference, apart from the house looking completely different? From the outside, the room that Cooper exits has its window on the other side of the door than it had a moment ago on the inside. The door opens the other way than it did the second before when Cooper was still inside. Then, the door had its knob on his right-hand side, yet he closes a door hinged on the other side of the door frame than before. It seems like that for Cooper, exiting the motel room marks the time of his “passing”. Diane, on the other hand, “passed over” earlier that night or morning, turning into Linda. It makes me wonder what had happened if Cooper would have stayed inside and looked out the window. What would he have seen?
The Pearblossom Motel exists in real life. It looks exactly like it does in The Return. My thoughts are drawn to the many theories of Cooper actually somehow ended up in “the real world”. These theories are based on a fact behind the scenes of Cooper arriving with Carrie Page to the Palmer house and finding Alice Tremond instead of Sarah Palmer. Alice Tremond, the occupant of the “Palmer” house, is portrayed by Mary Reber, the real-life and current owner of the house.
PEAR TREE SYMBOLISM
A few notes on symbolic meanings associated with pear trees are almost mandatory here since they might just correspond quite well with the events we witness at the Pearblossom Motel. I found this in relation to the symbolic meanings of pear trees and pears:
“The pear tree is like all trees another version of the Tree of Life. This particular veneration of the Pear Tree as a particularly apt version of the Tree of life is found in numerous cultures world-wide. … The Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas includes the line ‘On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree’. …
In Middle English pertriche ‘partridge’ was derived from Perdix, thrown in the seas from a tower, and carried to heaven in the form of a bird by the goddess Athene. He was the partridge, she the pear tree.
In other words this is an allegory of the Lovers and the uniting of the masculine … and feminine … to reach the Higher spirit. The song is saying – this is how you start to get spiritual experience – the partridge must be in the pear tree – masculine and feminine need to unite.”
Now, that is pretty interesting. I’m thinking that if a pear tree is in bloom (as in the name Pearblossom Motel) it signifies spring, a time of hope, new life and growth. After flowering comes the bearing of fruit. The pear is widely recognized as a female and erotic symbol:
“The shape of the pear is suggestive of the feminine form. As such, it has wide influence as a symbol of feminine sexuality and fertility. A healthy and flowering pear tree is a symbol of a strong capacity for reproduction.”
Also, the pear fruit was sacred to the goddess Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans). I think we just came full circle – everything connects. But the blossoms of this particular pear tree (The Pearblossom Motel) never bore fruit. In the morning, everything had changed.
ANOTHER REAL LIFE MOTEL
Motel Mt. Si in North Bend, Washington is another very important place in the Twin Peaks universe. I’d say it’s the most important motels of them all. Not only is this the filming location for The Red City Diamond Motel of Fire Walk With Me (where Teresa Banks stayed) but it’s also the motel we now know as The Dutchman’s Lodge, situated somewhere Above The Convenience Store and “home” to Phillip Jeffries.
(Google Earth images of Mt. Si Motel, North Bend, Washington.)
The whole reason that I wanted to write this article on the motels of Twin Peaks is the fact that this very motel is seen both in Fire Walk With Me and in The Return. Every visit to the places filmed here is clouded with supernatural elements and doused in mysterious circumstances.
I’ve divided the stories filmed at the Mt. Si Motel into three to examine them all a bit further and to ask myself: Is it just a coincidence that Mt. Si Motel was chosen as a location for multiple stories, or is there a reason? Is Teresa Bank’s motel somehow connected to The Dutchman’s – spiritually, mythologically or in some other way? Let’s take a look at the three events, one by one:
THE RED CITY DIAMOND MOTEL, DEER MEADOW (Fire Walk With Me)
This is a map of events from the motel where Teresa Banks stays and meets her customers:
And these are the events and pictures played out at this motel in Fire Walk With Me:
- Teresa Banks calls Leland Palmer from a phone booth.
- Leland Palmer arrives at the Red City Diamond Motel via a passage in the building to meet Teresa Banks and her “girlfriends”.
- Looking into Teresa’s motel room, Leland realizes that one of the “girlfriends” is his daughter, Laura Palmer. (Ronette Pulaski is the other one.)
- Leland turns and runs into Teresa, who’s coming out of the kitchen with ice cubes. He tells Teresa the meeting is off but gives her the money. Behind them, a garage can be seen.
- Teresa looks surprised as Leland quickly leaves the motel by walking over the courtyard/parking lot.
- The Grandson (Pierre Tremond) jumps out from behind the corner just behind Leland. Wearing his mask (that is similar to The Jumping Man’s) he jumps around on the asphalt as Leland looks over his shoulder to see what’s going on. Teresa joins the girls in the motel room.
MR C VISITS THE DUTCHMAN’S (The Return, part 15)
The first time that we get to see The Dutchman’s, Mr C is there accompanied by several Woodsmen and the weird key lady called Bosomy woman. This is a map of the events:
And here’s what happens, with pictures:
- Mr. C exits Room Above The Convenience Store and comes out to the courtyard of The Dutchman’s, where some Woodsmen are standing still.
- He’s escorted to room no. 8 in the corner of the building.
- The bosomy woman appears from the other side of the building, telling Mr C in a backwards voice that she’ll unlock the door for him.
- Inside is a run-down motel room (which bears resemblance to MIKE’s room at the unknown motel mentioned earlier). Phillip Jeffries appears, but as I see it, not in a physical form. He’s rather seen “projected” through the wall. After Mr C has talked to Jeffries, the telephone rings and the wall “closes” again, making Jeffries disappear. Cooper is transported back to outside the abandoned gas farm through the telephone line.
- When the credits for part 15 roll, we see the courtyard of the Dutchman’s Lodge again. The Bosomy woman is standing silently in the garage across the yard, almost exactly where Leland gave Teresa the money (or Ray Wise and Pamela Gidley acted as Leland and Teresa, depending on which way you see it).
COOPER AND MIKE VISITS THE DUTCHMAN’S (The Return, part 17)
When MIKE takes Cooper to The Dutchman’s in the finale the place looks the same, but the nature of the visit is very different. No door was locked on the way there. No Woodsmen and no Bosomy Woman are seen anywhere. Here is the map of events:
- MIKE and Cooper exits Room Above The Convenience Store and comes out to the courtyard of The Dutchman’s, but not from the same door as Mr C did. This door is instead placed further to the right on the courtyard, and it’s a much sturdier one.
- They take directly to the right, go through a passage and around a corner on the left.
- They arrive in the same physical space as where Phillip Jeffries is, this time physically. The room looks exactly like the room where Cooper meets American Girl in part 3. Cooper eventually exits The Dutchman’s by going back in time with the help of Jeffries.
QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS
So where do we go with all of this? Well, there are many questions to ask, so let’s start with them.
- Why is Mr C, as opposed to Cooper, met with several obstacles on his way to see Phillip Jeffries? Guarding Woodsmen, a locked door. And when he meets with Jeffries, it’s not “in person”, but through some kind of vision, projection or distant revelation.
- The Red Diamond Motel is connected to The Dutchman’s not only by filming location but as a place for Lodge entities to appear and take action. (The Grandson, the Woodsmen, Bosomy woman…) Is this a sign that this could be the same place – a location only accessible to the gifted, spiritually open-minded, the possessed and/or the damned?
- In Mark Frost’s The Final Dossier, The Dutchman’s Lodge Motel’s story states that it was built in the 1930s, closed in 1962 and demolished in 1967. Does this confirm the possibility that The Dutchman’s and The Red City Diamond Motel could somehow be the same place in a supernatural sphere controlled by the Lodges – or does it, in fact, exclude this possibility?
- Considering that the two places look very much the same – if this was to be interpreted as only coincidence, wouldn’t Frost and Lynch have chosen another location when filming The Dutchman’s? Or was this a pure choice of convenience and nothing else?
- Take a look at these two pictures together. Is the red light reflection in the rainwater (right) caused by the big neon Red Diamond Motel sign?
- Is there a connection between space and time travelling, supernatural happenings and burn marks? In Fire Walk With Me (The Missing Pieces),
IT’S ALL CONNECTED – SOMEHOW…
It’s not easy to draw any clear conclusions or give logical answers to these questions. However, I’m less interested in doing that and I’m more interested in thinking about the mystery the questions form when they’re asked together.
Consider this: One parallel, visual similarity or connection between two places, people or happenings is just one. But several “ones” put together might just form something that you can put your finger on and start to visualize. So, instead of trying to solve every mystery (which I’m not at least interested in anyway), let me instead end this article by listing the “several one’s”. The sum of them all is greater and more mysterious than one might first realize. Here we go:
- Desmond found the Ring underneath Teresa’s former neighbours, The Tremonds/Chalfonts, while investigating the murder of Teresa Banks.
- He disappeared just as he’s about to pick up the ring.
- At the same time, Agent Phillip Jeffries reappeared for a short time at the FBI office in Philadelphia as witnessed by Gordon Cole, Agent Cooper and Agent Rosenfield.
- Agent Cooper’s room at the Great Northern Hotel was no. 315.
- Cooper found his way to MIKE, Above The Convenience Store and Jeffries at The Dutchman’s by unlocking the basement door with his 315 hotel room key.
- The first time Teresa Banks talks to Leland Palmer on the phone, her watch shows it’s 3:15 pm.
- Phillip Jeffries’ appearance resembles a tea kettle in The Return.
- During the autopsy of Teresa Banks, I can’t help but seeing a tea kettle in the background.
- Teresa stayed and worked at the Red City Diamond Motel, which might be the same place as or a parallel location to the Dutchman’s where Jeffries is situated.
- Pierre Tremond, The Grandson, appeared at the Red City Diamond Motel.
- Teresa Banks wore the Ring at the same time and place.
- Mrs Tremond provided Laura Palmer with the picture of the Room Above The Convenience Store.
- Phillip Jeffries stated that he had attended a “meeting” at the same place.
- His room in The Return is identical to the room of American Girl.
- American Girl is the mirror image of Ronette Pulaski.
- Ronette was also present at the Red City Diamond Motel.
- In the same room as American Girl is a vase with a blue rose in it. (Is she also “like the blue rose”, just as the double of Lois Duffy?)
- Lois Duffy was found by field agents Phillip Jeffries and Gordon Cole in that motel in Olympia.
- Olympia is the name of the home of the Gods, one of them being Aphrodite, who stands statue in The Black Lodge.
- In Fire Walk With Me, the Room Above The Convenience Store is connected to the Black Lodge as suggested by the scenes from both places being edited together.
- The Room can also be accessed by entering the picture that hangs on Laura’s wall.
- The picture was given to Laura by Mrs Tremond when Laura was preparing the Meals on Wheels deliveries.
- Mrs Tremond was on Laura’s Meals on Wheels route and she was a neighbour of Harold Smith.
- When intending to revisit Mrs Tremond, Donna (accompanied by Hawk, Andy and Agent Cooper) find that there’s instead another, different Mrs Tremond in the house.
- The “new” Mrs Tremond gives Donna an envelope containing a missing page from Laura Palmer’s secret diary dated February 22-23, 1989.
- In The Return, Cooper eventually finds another “page” – Carrie Page – after he goes back in time to February 23, 1989, with the help of Phillip Jeffries, located at the Dutchman’s, which is connected to the Room Above The Convenience Store, which is seen on Laura’s wall.
- When Cooper brings Carrie Page to the Palmer house, Mrs Alice Tremond answers the door instead of Sarah Palmer.
- The previous owner of the house was a Mrs Chalfont.
…and I think we’ve gone at least full circle.
By this open ending of mine, I hope that you’ll find new ways and further layers of upon layers of meaning, mystery and mythology that make up the narrative quality of Twin Peaks.
Thank you for going on this magic motel tour with me.