Twin Peaks Topics: Bickering Peaks Discuss Violence Towards Women In Twin Peaks (Part 2)

Welcome back to my new monthly feature, Topics, where each month I will have a guest on to discuss a Twin Peaks related topic of their choice. This month will be Part 2 of my conversation with Lindsay and Aidan, the hosts of Bickering Peaks. If you haven’t read the first part of our conversation, here’s a linkTwin Peaks Topics: Bickering Peaks Discuss Violence Towards Women In Twin Peaks (Part 1). Hope you enjoy Part 2 of our conversation! 

Audrey and Diane’s sexual assaults

Andrew:  It’s really interesting to me because like you guys said, it wasn’t mentioned or expressed the way that Diane vocalized it. We had to put the context clues together through Doc Hayward giving us the narrative pieces. I do think that it hits the audience a lot harder, partially because we discovered it without it being her to tell us. Then partially because she was such a beloved character. Laura Palmer was dead when we started the show, but she became a loved character despite being dead. Audrey in many ways, was the equivalent in Season 3. She was a female lead who all of a sudden was put in this really vulnerable position. I think that did kind of give people that emotional gut punch. Is the fact that it was Cooper instead of Leland this time around perhaps what made it a more difficult pill for people to swallow?

Lindsay:  Absolutely. I think the reveal we learned in Season 2 was heartbreaking and disturbing because that was Laura’s father, so it was incest and rape and murder all rolled up into one. So that is different, it’s on another level. To have Cooper, who is a character that we came to love over the course of 29, 30 hours of television or more. Then we know that we left him at the end of Season 2 in this horrible, precarious situation and I think we kind of all suspected that if his double was out there in the world, this was probably going to happen. But then find out that it happened to Audrey and it happened to Diane. It’s like he’s the hero but all of a sudden he’s not because he’s done these horrible things. I think what would have been really interesting to see on screen was the full Cooper, the whole Cooper, the Cooper who re-emerges from the Red Room as a whole person again, grappling with what his double did, the murders and sexual assault, the rape, all of that stuff that, that was done in his stead when he was trapped in this place would have been such an interesting thing to a horrible thing to experience as viewers.

Audrey Wants to FInd Billy
Audrey’s pain and suffering in Season 3 was particularly hard to watch, knowing that Cooper played a part in it.

We didn’t see that ultimately, but I think that as a character that was supposed to represent everything that was pure and everything that was good and everything that was righteous. To know that a) that he committed these crimes and b) if you continue with John Thorne’s theory, that this was half of Cooper, the part of Cooper that left the Lodge and was doing these things. So it’s a part of Cooper that did these crimes. Then it means that Cooper is somehow culpable for it. It’s tough to swallow. It kind of makes you question the whole cult of hero worship that we have around. Not just him, but maybe all heroes. It makes sense. Leland was horrible, but Cooper was much harder because we always knew him as a good guy.

Andrew: This question is for you, Aidan. Lindsay brought up that she wishes she could have seen the whole Cooper come to terms with everything that happened. This is where I slightly disagree because I do think that we saw that. So, I’ll pose this question: Cooper says to Diane in Part 17, do you remember everything? This was prior to the frozen Cooper face. Do you think that that was perhaps a recognition that Cooper, that version of Cooper that we saw there, that we saw, did know everything that had happened and he was confirming with Diane that she did?

Aidan: I feel like yes but it’s an odd thing because there’s a Cooper that’s in the last two episodes, and there’s a line between when we get “I am the FBI” Agent Cooper and when we get the “true Cooper”—is what I call him—which is the one that you see with Carrie Page. I think the line between those Coopers is not super clear in the whole transition, you know, when they’re in the car and when we switch over, everything is different. Is he the pure, true Cooper at that point already or is it when he first unmasks Diane? There’s a whole lot of uncertainty about who he is and all those moments in time because everything is so odd. I would tend to agree that the question is weighted with that knowledge that does she remember everything? Does that include her as Naido saving Cooper?

When you’ve reviewed the purple world scene knowing that it’s Diane, she’s still willing after everything that Cooper inflicted on her. She’s always willing to sacrifice herself seemingly for him, She ended the banging or whatever that was, for a little while at least, and changed it so that he could go into the back to the real world and she was flung off into space, so it definitely—that’s how I interpret that question. I don’t know which version of Cooper’s asking it, but I feel as the audience we’re supposed to think when she says yes, it’s like, yes, she remembers being raped, she remembers all this, and she still wants to go through everything with him. So, I feel like they insert a bit more agency. I think that’s kind of like the true Diane that we’re finally seeing. The whole tulpa Diane problem also bothers me because, you know, if Mr. C created her, she remembers things, and we take her words at face value when she talks about how she was raped, but there’s always that shadow hanging over it of why would he create a tulpa that remembers that? Why would he not create a tulpa that just loves Mr. C and is equally into evil?

Lindsay: I think that there’s a powerful metaphor there for what happens to a person when they are sexually assaulted or when they have a trauma inflicted on them. They compartmentalize themselves, and they have to be able to deal with it somehow, and some people manage, and some people get through it and are able to lead successful lives without, you know, going through years and years and hundreds of thousands of dollars of therapy and some people can’t. Maybe this is Diane; the “tulpa” was created by Mr. C when he raped her because that’s a different Diane than the Diane that let him into the apartment. There was a different Diane at the end of the night and that’s when the “tulpa” was “created.” I’m having some problems navigating the real world and what is manufactured.

Aidan: There is uncertainty about how that process works. Which is always going to make it easier to kind of downplay what happened to Diane. Which is a shame because I agree with you, that’s how I kind of interpreted it—as a metaphor. When Phillip Gerrard says someone manufactured you, and she says, “fuck you.” Mr. C created her out of the trauma, out of the garmonbozia. The thing that gets messy with it all is that Dougie doesn’t seem to be manufactured that way; he’s blissfully ignorant the whole time.  It’s interesting to think of how different things are created.

Andrew: The final topic that I wanted to bring up and we are going to have to kind of veer into theory world as well, but there’s no way that we could have the conversation about violence towards women and Twin Peaks without discussing Laura Palmer. With the character arc that we saw for Laura and Carrie Page in Season 3, there was a lot of debate and discussion about her agency, whether she was potentially robbed of the outcome that she desired, which was death as we saw in Fire Walk With Me. How do you guys feel about the characters of Laura and Carrie in terms of how they were treated and were they victimized even further in the Season 3 storyline?

Cooper and Laura at the Palmer house Part 18 Twin Peaks
Helping or hurting? This scene will be debated for years to come.

Lindsay: I covered it in an article that I wrote back in late September or early October called The Continuing Education of Dale Cooper. I argued that he did re-victimize Laura through Carrie and at the end of Part 18, and did rob Laura Palmer of the closure that she needed or that she earned, that she sought at the end of Fire Walk With Me because she didn’t go to the train car and she didn’t die that night. She never got her angel. I mean, the way the timelines flow in Twin Peaks is murky now at best. So it’s possible that maybe that Fire Walk With Me hasn’t happened yet or that it’s still going to happen. We don’t know. But there is an element and…I have to wonder about this, just that the way that Mark Frost and David Lynch talked about Season 3 and the way that they kind of stomped on all of our—for the most part—on all of our expectations and our nostalgia and everything like that. I have to wonder if they didn’t take Cooper down a peg and say, you know, this hero that you guys had been worshiping, this guy that you guys have put on this pedestal for the last 25 years, he’s not actually that great. This is what the result is of a guy who thinks that he can do everything and he thinks that he is, you know, the ultimate good guy, who buys into the myth, and this is what ends up happening and that this is wrong.

If I’m right and that ending for Laura Palmer has been removed or changed in some way then I can’t see Frost or Lynch—especially, because of how much he loves Laura Palmer—I can’t see him taking away Laura’s happy ending easily or without sacrificing something else. And if that sacrifice has to come in at the expensive of destroying this hero that he created, I can see him doing that. I think he loves Laura Palmer enough that it would be acceptable to him. He’d say “You know what? If Laura doesn’t get a happy ending, it’s because Cooper ruined it.”

Aidan: Alright, let the bickering begin. I think that Laura’s essence at the end of the day was really complicated in Season 3. There’s the whole Judy/BOB combination and how the combination of the two of them will lead to the end of the world as in The Final Dossier. I think when you start getting into the metaphorical aspects of who Laura is and how Cooper interacts with that, I think that at the end, Laura is achieving what she needs to do and she’s led to it by Cooper, but it’s not the pure, innocent Cooper that we grew up with. It is the final Cooper that we see, the “true Cooper” who has merged his dark self. I’ll never speak ill of that scene in the diner in Odessa when he shoots the guys in the foot and deep fries the guns. It’s just like Mr. C, and it’s just like Cooper in this harmonious package. I feel like that Cooper that we see there is not the innocent one. He knows what he’s doing. He knows that there’s going to be bad consequences, perhaps, but he’s willing to see them through because they lead to the best outcome for Laura. He’s looking out for Laura’s interests in my mind. Maybe exposing her to Sarah and Judy is perhaps not the best but Laura Stewart published an article and to summarize it poorly, Judy is the memory of suffering. BOB is the one who creates suffering and feeds off that and Judy is the remnants that are left behind. I think Laura Palmer screaming and destroying the lights out of Judy’s home is a great way to end the series. Laura was finally confronting the memory of her trauma and defeating it. That’s how I view the end.

Lindsay: If you view the ending that way, where does the ending of Fire Walk With Me fit?

Aidan: I think that there are two separate endings. I think they are kind of incompatible. Fire Walk With Me is beautiful and positive for Laura in the sense that she is free of the suffering. She no longer has to face BOB. She had an angel on her side to see her through the death essentially. I think even though she no longer has to worry about BOB, she’s free of that and she didn’t let BOB take over herself. Her soul is still hers; she still has that memory. Even if she’s dead waiting 25 years in the Red Room, that bad memory is still there for her. The fact that Cooper tries to preempt that suffering by taking her away before she was murdered, but then finds her as Carrie Page later on, is indicative that her death was not the source of her pain, it was her life that was the source of all her pain. If Judy is the memory of that, then he has to take her. Not to run away from BOB but to confront the memory of that. I feel like Laura’s theory really kind of wrap things up for me.

Lindsay: If there are multiple timelines and if the ending of Fire Walk With Me could still exist in some way and if she did find her angel at the end and that ending happened or could still happen—is there a parallel universe? Is that where Carrie went when she was taken? So maybe you’re right, and maybe Cooper did have to go to Odessa and did have to take Carrie who still had maybe some suppressed trauma because she lived through that and then was spirited away to Odessa and forgot or had that memory erased. So she had to confront that. I don’t know. I still think that his confusion at the end is indicative that maybe he wasn’t on the right path.

Aidan: Sure, but I also think that something did happen and the fact that we do hear Sarah Palmer’s voice. Something has happened, and it’s definitely not clear.

Lindsay: That we can agree on. It is definitely not clear what happened!

I’ll be back next month with a new guest picking a Twin Peaks Topic of their choice for us to discuss. Until next time, thanks as always for your support of 25YL!  

Written by Andrew Grevas

Andrew is the Founder / Editor in Chief of 25YL. He’s engaged with 2 sons, a staunch defender of the series finales for both Lost & The Sopranos and watched Twin Peaks at the age of 5 during its original run, which explains a lot about his personality.

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