The beauty of how David Lynch and Mark Frost ended “Twin Peaks” is that so many clues have been left open to interpretation. IndieWire wrote about one theory, in which Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) has been positioned as the savior, a white knight for good who will attempt to save Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) over and over again against the forces of evil.
But while “The Return” traced Cooper’s slow awakening from his Dougie stupor to the familiar coffee-loving FBI agent, the season also marked a gradual transition from the depiction of women as victims of violence to figures who have actively been locked in the fight all along. It turns out that this has been a battle with female forces on both sides, ranging from the deep evil known as Judy and the frightening Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) to Laura as “The One” and even Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn).
Here’s a breakdown of how the finale showed that the women on “Twin Peaks” have been the key players:
Gordon Cole (David Lynch) finally explains that “Judy” is the name given to “jao dei” (pronounced jowday), an entity that is an “extreme negative force.” While such an evil has no gender presumably, it is intriguing that Lynch chose to use a woman’s name, similar to how BOB and MIKE are men’s names.
This assignment of names that read as male or female to us humans might explain the disparity in how the violence has been lopsided at the beginning of the series and season. In the original series, BOB was explained to be “the evil that men do,” which makes the brutality against women one of the most egregious expressions of evil on the show.
As the season has unfolded, women — or at least entities that have been styled as women – have been increasingly present as the survivors or fighters. It just made sense when Judy was revealed to be the biggest bad on the show, not BOB. And while theories that Judy, Mother and the Experiment are all one and the same haven’t been confirmed, it is also important to note these two other entities have also been presented as women.
It was bad enough when BOB had inhabited Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), but now it seems that Laura Palmer’s other parent has also fallen victim to evil possession. If Sarah ripping out a trucker’s jugular right after taking her face off to reveal darkness within weren’t enough hints, the finale episodes dropped a few more clues that she may have Judy inside her.
When Cooper visits Philip Jeffries in his teapot form, Jeffries says, “This is where you’ll find Judy. There may be someone.” An image of the owl cave symbol appears before breaking apart into a “7” a “0” and finally and “8” – 708 is the address on Sarah Palmer’s house.
Speaking of which, her house is also seen on the screen when Mr. C visits the Fireman (Carel Struycken). He pauses on the image for a second, as if that’s where he’s supposed to send Mr. C, who was looking for Judy, but then decides to send him to the sheriff’s station instead.
Finally, when Cooper seemingly rescues young Laura Palmer the day before she’s supposed to be murdered in one timeline, the scene switches to Sarah Palmer in the present bashing a photo of Laura with a bottle. The violence is repeated in a time loop, a phenomenon that’s occurred around Sarah before. After this scene, Cooper’s rescue of Laura is undone, and she’s placed in danger once again.
If BOB first, and later Judy are indeed targeting Laura, then it stands to reason that she’d be most vulnerable through her parents. Inhabiting Sarah has extra benefits because she’s also been shown to be sensitive to paranormal energies in the past. This also makes her a dangerous person to try to control. Earlier in the season, Sarah has temporarily broken through that influence and realizes something is wrong when she’s at the store and says, “Something happened to me. I don’t feel good.”
In “Part 8,” when Mother sends BOB to Earth to do evil, the Fireman sends Laura in response. The golden orb has her face in it, and so maybe it’s time to stop thinking of Laura as a mere human woman, but also some sort of force of her own.
Therefore, every time we see Laura’s face – whether it’s on Laura, Maddy, or Carrie Page from Odessa, Texas – this is that Laura force at work. Perhaps there are far more than just two timelines that we’ve seen, and on every plane of existence, Laura is battling Judy or BOB in some way. She just happens to be unconsciously doing so.
We see this with Carrie Page in the finale. She’s a Laura Palmer that has survived through adulthood. Not only that, but she also killed a man in her own home. There’s no indication if this was straight out murder or self-defense, but given the show’s track record, we’d bet that man was working under the influence of evil.
What’s curious is that no version of Laura Palmer has ever been depicted as a paragon of virtue, but always shown to be a very conflicted woman. After all, she only knows herself to be human, and her sensitivity to detecting and attracting evil must be overwhelming. It’s difficult to see how someone who has been the victim of murder could be “the one,” but maybe her fight is more subtle. First of all, her continued existence even in fragmented form shows that evil has not been triumphant. Also, Laura’s death brought Agent Cooper to Twin Peaks, and Carrie Page brings him to Odessa, Texas. She is the beacon for good. If electricity is the energy with good or bad intention behind it, then it’s possible that Laura/Carrie has always been accompanied by this electricity. In fact, the telephone pole that’s appeared over and over again in the series appears just outside of Carrie’s house, which cannot be a coincidence.