If you feel like the central trauma of Twin Peaks (the murder of Laura Palmer) shouldn’t/can’t be undone, this Twin Peaks theory is for you. No matter how many Season 3 moments involve turning away from or covering over this fundamental trauma, reality cannot be expunged or explained away by persistent disinformation.
What’s my alternative explanation to the original Twin Peaks timeline being outright erased at the end of the Season 3 finale? Adam Stewart from the Diane Podcast was kind enough to read this before publication and summarized my thesis as such:
“A dream/nightmare born of trauma is encroaching on reality. To escape it, the characters, who are caught in a between place, need to make a choice: stagnate and enter the darkness, or join the world and step into the light.” He then suggested I saw Twin Peaks Season 3 as “a story about growth, change, and how to move beyond trauma, or not.”
I cannot say it more concisely than that, but I can elaborate: the between place he mentioned is Season 3 itself. It doesn’t belong to the Timeline or Lodgespace, but is made from both states. And all the characters trapped inside it are frozen in place or stuck in loops; in desperate need of restarting their energy.
If you need a visual metaphor to get started to see how Season 3 operates as an in-between state, imagine you’re in a movie theater. Season 1, Season 2, and Fire Walk With Me make up the screen itself. Lodgespace is the projector in the back, projecting a veil of images over the screen. Season 3 is in the seats with the audience as we constantly reinterpret what we see in front of us.
Continue on with this section of this Twin Peaks article to see the three most important scenes in Season 3 that define this layering reality. Otherwise, here is easy navigation if you’d like to skip ahead to the following sections:
- Three Season 3 scenes that explain reality and how to navigate it
- Defining the states of reality seen in Twin Peaks
- Ways we see the In-Between state of reality in Season 3
- How Lodgespace and Timeline are tethered to—and influence—the In-Between reality
- How Dale Cooper’s time looping defines the shape of the In-Between reality
- How trauma cycles trap characters in the In-Between reality
- How help—if chosen—assists characters as they approach the Timeline
- Case studies: How characters in Season 3 navigate the In-Between state
- How Dale Cooper navigates through the In-Between reality state
The three Season 3 moments that explain reality and how to navigate it
There are three sections of dialogue my Twin Peaks theory finds incredibly important for how I think reality within Season 3 is structured:
- Margaret’s phone call to Hawk in Part 10
- The conversation between an insurance salesman and Lucy in Part 1
- Part of an exchange between Frank Truman and Hawk in Part 11
In Part 10, Margaret Lanterman says this to Hawk just before Rebekah Del Rio sings “No Stars” in the Roadhouse
Hawk. Electricity is humming. You hear it in the mountains and rivers. You see it dance among the seas and stars and glowing around the moon, but in these days the glow is dying. What will be in the darkness that remains? The Truman brothers are both true men. They are your brothers. And the others, the good ones who have been with you. Now the circle is almost complete. Watch and listen to the dream of a time and space. It all comes out now, flowing like a river. That which is and is not. Hawk. Laura is the one.
Pamela Tarajcak of the Between Two Worlds Facebook group put it in a most easy to understand way: If Laura is the one, that could very easily be an answer to “that which is and is not.” Which means Laura is, and conversely Carrie is not.
This is a fantastic connection all by itself, but I’ll take Pamela’s idea and raise her realities: There is a reality that is (the one where Laura died) and a reality that is not (the one where Dale takes Laura from the Fire Walk With Me flashback and she becomes Carrie).
I know it sounds like I’m endorsing multiple timelines, but I am not. There’s a timeline where Laura Palmer died, and the other “timeline,” if you can call it that, is a dream. A dream, as Margaret says, made of a time and space.
Rather than a time and space dreaming this all up (which would encompass everything within Season 3), the “dream” is made of a time (likely beginning in 1989) and a space (spreading from Twin Peaks, Washington). This “dream” is what Dale works within after he accesses it in Part 17 from Jeffries’ slippery 8 made from an Owl Ring symbol—a symbol proven to be a direct connection into the Waiting Room. This “dream” that Margaret refers to is a reality made up of Lodgespace, just like Dale’s first dream in Episode 2 of Season 1 back in 1990.
Just because Margaret calls it a dream, though, doesn’t mean “it’s all a dream” as so many theories put it. If it was all a dream, there wouldn’t be so many random characters caught up in it. Plus, it wouldn’t be flowing like a river at Margaret and Hawk; they would already be in it. Margaret wouldn’t be worried about Lodgespace flowing over the Timeline, she would speak of a current instead, as if they were all part of the same watery state. She’s worried about Lodgespace convincing people that its dream is conveniently more real than a world where a girl was killed under traumatic, complicated circumstances.
What we have are two states of reality: the Timeline we instinctively understand, and Lodgespace with its dreamy non-linear behaviors. And as we see in my next choice of dialogue, it’s important to choose between them.
The dialogue between the Insurance Salesman and Lucy, one that brings up the Truman brothers again
Insurance Salesman: “I’d like to see Sheriff Truman.”
Lucy: “Which one?”
IS: “Sheriff Truman isn’t here?”
L: “Well, do you know which one? It could make a difference.”
IS: “Uh, no, ma’am.”
L: “One is sick, and the other is fishing.”
Why are the Truman brothers called out specifically? Because they are symbols of their states of reality.
Harry Truman represents the Timeline, where Laura Palmer 100% died like we know from the original two seasons of Twin Peaks. He is probably sick because Lodgespace is coming at him like a river.
Frank Truman is rooted in the front lines of Season 3, where aspects of Lodgespace are asserting themselves all over. How is that signified in Lucy’s simple dialogue? There’s an immediate commonality with Pete Martell, who’d “gone fishing” when he did not discover Laura Palmer’s body on the shore in the reality that “is not.” Pete Martell fishing is literally the first divergent event in the Lodgespace “dream” after Laura’s body glitches away from the shore.
Though Lodgespace is part of his in-between territory, Frank is not part of Lodgespace himself. He is a true man, after all. Margaret said so. But his presence is also a signpost for where the “dream” intrudes.
Then there’s this part of an interaction between Frank and Hawk as they looked at Hawk’s map in Part 11
Hawk: “[the symbol]’s a type of fire, more like modern day electricity.”
Hawk: “It depends. It depends on the intention, the intention behind the fire.”
Here is another reference to electricity. Coupled with Margaret’s “Electricity is humming. You hear it in the mountains and rivers. You see it dance among the seas and stars and glowing around the moon,” not only do we know electricity is everywhere, it appears electricity can be used for good (positive), while another intent could lead to darkness (negative). This implies there is a choice that needs to be made.
I contend the choice is between the Timeline with Laura Palmer (a positive intention), or the oncoming Lodgespace with Carrie (a negative intention). And according to Margaret’s words above, I think Harry and Frank Truman are some of the good guys who can use electricity in a positive way to push back the Lodge’s darkness.
I’m going to explain all of this extensively, but let’s begin by looking at the two main states of reality: the Timeline and Lodgespace.