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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
Twin Peaks: Beyond Life and Death Twin Peaks
Episode 29: "Beyond Life and Death"
TV episode
Written by Mark Frost & Harley Peyton & Robert Engels
Directed by David Lynch
Original air date: June
10, 1991

 

Nadine regains her memory; Ben confronts the Hayward family; Audrey practices civil disobedience; Andrew and Pete use the key; Mrs. Palmer delivers a message to Major Briggs; to rescue Annie, Cooper follows Windom Earle into the Black Lodge.

 

Read the episode script at Glastonberry.net

 

Didja Know?

 

For the titles of the Twin Peaks TV episodes, I have taken the unique approach of using both the episode numbers, which were the only titles given the scripts by series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, and the translated German titles of the episodes that were assigned when the series aired in that country. Frequent readers of PopApostle know I like the aesthetic of actual episode titles, but I also wanted to honor the simple numbering used by Lynch and Frost, hence the expanded titles presented in these studies.

 

This episode was the second season finale, and, as it turned out, the series finale, leaving a number of unanswered questions. There are some minor follow-ons to this episode in Fire Walk With Me and the deleted scenes of that film. And, of course, we may well gain more insight from the new Showtime series currently shooting and the upcoming 25-year-gap novel written by Mark Frost, The Secret History of Twin Peaks.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode

 

Deputy Andy

Lucy Moran

Agent Cooper

Deputy Hawk

Sheriff Truman

Pete Martell

Log Lady

Ronette Pulaski

Laura Palmer

Windom Earle

Annie Blackburn

Ed Hurley

Dr. Hayward

Mike Nelson

Nadine Hurley

Norma Jennings

Eileen Hayward

Ben Horne

Donna Hayward

Sylvia Horne

Andrew Packard

Man from Another Place

Singer

Dell Mibbler

Dwayne Milford, Jr. (mentioned only)

Major Briggs

Betty Briggs

Bobby Briggs

Shelly Johnson

Heidi

Sarah Palmer

Dr. Jacoby

 

Notes from the Log Lady intros

 

When cable channel Bravo obtained the rights to air reruns of Twin Peaks in 1993, David Lynch directed all-new introductions to each episode featuring the Log Lady, portrayed by original actress Catherine E. Coulson. These intros also appear as options on the DVD and Blu-ray collections of the series.

 

For this final Log Lady intro, the table next to her is cleared of all items. She is wearing an additional sweater over the one she was already wearing over the past 11 episodes; it is a different sweater than any we've seen her wear before. It is the same sweater we see her wearing when she brings a sample of the oil from Glastonbury Grove to Cooper in this episode.

 

At the end of her speech, she looks around in different directions as the camera slowly zooms in on her left eye. It's almost as if she sees things moving or forming all around her. Are they spirits? Are they us, the viewers?

 

Why does the camera move into her eye? Is it an indication that the events of the TV series are "only" taking place in her mind?

 

"And now, an ending. Where there was once one, there are now two.
Or were there always two?

"What is a reflection? A chance to see two? When there are chances
for reflections, there can always be two--or more. Only when we are
everywhere will there be just one.

"It has been a pleasure speaking to you."

 

and now an ending.wav

 

Didja Notice?

 

This episode opens on the night of Saturday, March 25, 1989 and continues through Sunday and into the early morning hours of Monday, March 27.

 

After telling Andy she loves him, Lucy suddenly gasps. Then the scene cuts to another scene. Why did Lucy gasp? Is this the first time that she's actually said it to him, and she surprised herself?

 

When Pete walks into the conference room of the sheriff's office to proclaim that the Log Lady stole his truck, he says it was a '68 Dodge pick-up. This is accurate, his truck is seen to be a 1968 Dodge D100.

 

After hearing Pete's complaint about the Log Lady, Cooper states that she did not steal his truck and somehow knows that she will be there at the sheriff's office in one minute. In fact, the Log Lady shows up almost exactly one minute later!

 

Pete remarks that he had 12 rainbow trouts in the bed of his stolen truck and that triggers Truman's memory that the local site called Glastonbury Grove has 12 sycamore trees growing in a ring. When Truman speaks it, Hawk says that's where he found the bloody towel and the pages of the diary (in Episode 0B: "Northwest Passage").

 

Hearing the name Glastonbury Grove, Cooper remarks that Glastonbury is the legendary burial place of King Arthur. Glastonbury is a town in England, which is, as Cooper states, the legendary burial place of King Arthur, a mythological king of England who allegedly led a defense against the Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th Centuries A.D. It is interesting to note that the town of Glastonbury is also said in legend to have been visited by Joseph of Arimathea, the man who is said to have donated his tomb for the burial of Jesus in the Bible.

 

Notice that, while Truman says Glastonbury Grove is made up of a ring of 12 sycamores, only 11 are shown on the Owl Cave map. It may be that the missing sycamore is where the entrance to the Black Lodge manifests.

 

At 4:48 on the Blu-ray, the shadow of the boom mic is visible on the wall of the conference room in the sheriff's station.

 

When Ronette Pulaski is brought into the conference to identify the oil from Glastonbury Grove, notice she has a much shorter haircut than her last appearance in Episode 10: "The Man Behind Glass".

 

I like how Ronette reacts negatively, almost desperately, against the odor of the oil from Glastonbury Grove, and how Hawk grabs her shoulders and comforts her.

 

As Earle drags Annie away from the truck and towards Glastonbury Grove, she mumbles a prayer for her safety. The words she speaks are from Psalm 141 of the Book of Psalms of the Hebrew Bible. The psalm is a plea to God for protection from one's enemies.

 

As he draws Annie into the ring of sycamores, Earle says, "I tell you they have not died. Their hands clasp yours and mine." These are lines from the poem "There is no Death" by Gordon Johnstone.

 

Notice that Annie seems to fall into a sudden trance after being pulled into the ring of sycamores.

 

At 8:52 on the Blu-ray, both Nadine and Mike have bandages wrapped around their heads. Nadine was hit in the head by a sandbag at the Miss Twin Peaks contest in the previous episode (Episode 28: "Miss Twin Peaks"). We didn't see anything happen to Mike, but he says a tree hit him. A tree? Maybe he was also the victim of Earle's log as Bobby was in that same episode.

 

Whose house are we seeing in the scene mentioned above? According to Nadine's dialog, it is her and Ed's house, because she asks Mike what he is doing in her house. But the living room doesn't look familiar from the one we've seen in past episodes.

 

At 9:35 on the Blu-ray, a framed photo of a boy is seen on the end table next to the couch in the Hurley house. Who is it?

 

Nadine tells Ed she is 35 years old, indicating she no longer is under the misapprehension that she is a teenager.

 

After hitting Ben in anger, sending him head first into the masonry of the fireplace and leaving him bloodied and unconscious, Dr. Hayward yells and collapses to his knees, quite upset, possibly in tears. He was angry at Ben for intruding on his family and life, but it feels as if he's also angry at himself now for throwing the punch. He is, after all, a medical doctor, pledged to follow the Hippocratic Oath, the seminal creed on the ethics of the medical practice, which above all states that a medical practitioner should do no harm.

 

The events in Twin Peaks Savings and Loan seem to occur on the morning of Sunday, March 26. But it's unlikely a savings and loan establishment would be open on a Sunday! Not to mention that in 1989, Sunday, March 26 was Easter!

 

    The deskplate sign on the old banker's desk reveals his name is Dell Mibbler. Dell has some similarities to the old room service waiter from the Great Northern. Both are elderly, both walk slowly (as the elderly often do), both wear hearing aids. Since the unnamed room service waiter is pretty much confirmed as being the host for the Giant's appearances on Earth, might Dell also be the host of another possessing spirit of goodness? If that's the case, could it be that he has somehow saved the people in the bank from the explosion that follows?

    And what about those hearing aids? True, elderly people often need hearing aids just due to their age. But, if both men are hosts to spirits, could hearing loss be a symptom of possession over time? Does this tie in at all with Gordon Cole's poor hearing and use of a powerful hearing aid device, the result, as he says in Episode 13: "Demons", of "a long story". What is that story? Was Gordon possessed in the past? Is that why he has FBI cases coded as "Blue Rose" cases in Fire Walk With Me, because these cases are ones where he suspects, due to his own experiences, the involvement of a supernatural agent?

 

As she chains herself to the door of the bank vault as an act of civil disobedience against Twin Peaks Savings and Loan's support of the Ghostwood development project, she asks old Dell to call the Twin Peaks Gazette about her actions and to ask for the editor, Dwayne Milford, Jr. Presumably, Dwayne Milford, Jr. is the son of Mayor Dwayne Milford. But it was the mayor's feuding brother, Dougie Milford, who was the owner of the paper according to Episode 17: "Dispute Between Brothers". Was the statement that Dwayne, Jr. was the editor a mistake on the part of the writers? Wouldn't it make more sense if it was Dougie, Jr.?

 

Seeing Audrey's act of civil disobedience, Andrew quotes Marcus Aurelius as saying, "Waste no time arguing what a good man should be. Be one." This is an actual quote attributed to Marcus Aurelius, emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 AD.

 

At 28:12 on the Blu-ray, the number of the safe deposit box Andrew opens is seen to be 14761.

 

As the explosion goes off in the Twin Peaks Savings and Loan, we see old Dell's glasses flying through air, to land in the branches of a Douglas fir tree amid a cloud of paper currency.

 

Notice that all of the bills we see falling from the bank explosion are one dollar bills!

 

At 29:35 on the Blu-ray, Heidi is seen to be wearing a brooch with the portrait of what appears to be a woman on it.

 

Bobby, Shelly, and Heidi exchange nearly identical dialog with each other to that which they used in the pilot episode (Episode 0A: "Wrapped in Plastic").

 

When Sarah and Dr. Jacoby walk into the RR Diner, notice that Jacoby is wearing a cape, a tie with pictures of keys on it, and blue shoes.

 

Sarah delivers a message to Major Briggs at the RR, in a distorted, bass-sounding voice, "I'm in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper. I'm waiting for you." The second sentence sounds more-or-less like the Man From Another Place, as the camera switches from the RR to a moving shot through one of the curtained hallways of the Red Room. Or was it intended as a trap for the major by Windom Earle, now also in the Lodge? There is no follow-up with the major after this scene.

 

The armless statue seen in the red-curtained hallway of the Black Lodge is the Venus de Milo, a Greek statue carved in the 2nd Century BC by Alexandros of Antioch, currently in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

 

The Man from Another Place refers to the red room as the Waiting Room. Waiting for what? Is it the place where a person trapped in the Lodge waits to be released to Earth?

 

    Laura enters the Waiting Room and sits down next to the Dwarf. She says hello to Cooper and winks at him, telling him she'll see him again in 25 years, seemingly a reference to Cooper's presence in the Waiting Room "25 years later" in his dream in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer". A wink often indicates shared secret knowledge between two individuals. Her wink to him may indicate that they share certain knowledge of things to come due to shared dreams they had (and possible past/future interactions she is aware of from her dreams and from events in Fire Walk With Me).

   After telling Cooper she'll see him again in 25 years, she says, "Meanwhile," and makes a hand gesture that is similar to the symbol for "tree" in American Sign Language. Since trees or wood seem to house spirits in the world of Twin Peaks (e.g. the Log Lady's log, Josie in the wood of the Great Northern Hotel, the name of the forest around Twin Peaks is Ghostwood), her "meanwhile" might suggest that she or Cooper or both will live out those 25 years as a tree!

   Laura also snaps her fingers once. I'm not sure what this might symbolize. A snap of the fingers is one of the possible symbols in American Sign Language for "dog", but I'm not sure how "dog" would play into the Twin Peaks mythos.

   I wonder if all these non-verbal cues by Laura are her way of attempting another layer of communication with Cooper, which the Dwarf or other presences in the Lodge might not understand, because she doesn't want them to know what she's telling Cooper. Recall that the elderly room service waiter at the Great Northern used some non-verbal cues with Cooper as well (a thumbs up and wink of an eye) in Episode 8A: "May the Giant Be With You".

 

When the elderly room service waiter suddenly appears in the Waiting Room, he and the Man From Another Place exchange greetings of "Hallelujah". The word "Hallelujah" is taken from the combination of two Hebrew words which together mean "Praise God".

 

In the Waiting Room, Cooper is offered a cup of coffee by the Man From Another Place and it is brought to him by the old room service waiter. Since coffee is such a touchstone to Cooper throughout the series, it seems the coffee seen here must be symbolic of Cooper himself. If so, what is the significance of the various states of coagulation the coffee goes through? The coagulation states must relate to something about Cooper himself. The normal coffee he first receives may be the "normal" Cooper...strong, bold, confident, and fluid. Perhaps the "congealed" and "molasses-like" states represent what could happen to him in the Lodge if he fails...congealed may represent Cooper if he gives in to his fear (recall that Hawk warned Cooper about his people's legends of the Black Lodge, "if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul"), molasses-like (the oil?) possession by BOB or another spirit. When the coffee turns into the molasses/oil, the Dwarf says, "Wow, Bob, Wow," into the air, then looks at Cooper and says, "Fire walk with me." Both the oil and fire may indicate possession by BOB, so the Dwarf may be congratulating BOB on getting so close to Cooper when he says "Wow, Bob, Wow". In addition, the phrase "fire walk with me" may be symbolic of inviting BOB inside oneself (if BOB or another spirit is represented by fire)..."Fire, walk with me=BOB, walk with me."

 

When the waiter is suddenly replaced by the Giant, the Giant sits down and says, "One and the same." Is this referring to himself and the waiter? This seem to be fairly obvious throughout the course of the second season. But the Giant is sitting next to the Dwarf (Man From Another Place) when he says it and the Dwarf had earlier said, "When you see me again, it won't be me." So, are the Giant and the Dwarf somehow one-and-the-same? Is that why the Dwarf and the waiter exchange the same word, "Hallelujah", with each other?

 

At 36:13 on the Blu-ray, Cooper, after passing through the hallway, enters a second, identical Waiting Room, from behind the three chairs. He turns around and goes back down the hallway to the first Waiting Room, is told by the Dwarf he is going the wrong way, and goes back up the hallway, to the second Waiting Room...only now he emerges from the diagonally opposite corner, in front of the three chairs. 

 

When the screaming Laura Palmer doppelganger runs up to Cooper, notice at 39:09 on the Blu-ray that a negative image of Windom Earle's face flickers on the screen for just a second! It's easy to miss. It's easier to make out that it is him by reverse-negativizing a screen grab of the moment in an image application as seen below on the right.
negatie Earle positive Earle
Original shot Reverse negative

 

sea-shell table At 41:33 on the Blu-ray, the small sea-shell table on the other side of Cooper and Annie/Caroline is the same one later seen Fire Walk With Me.

 

Cooper agrees to give up his soul to Windom Earle in exchange for Annie's life and Earle seemingly "kills" Cooper in the Lodge by stabbing him. But then, BOB seems to wind the scene back, preventing Cooper's death, and taking Earle's soul himself instead. Why did BOB save Cooper? Was it really Earle's soul he wanted all along and trapping Cooper is a bonus? What does BOB do with Earle's soul? Does he eat it?

 

At 45:16 on the Blu-ray, notice that the evil Cooper doppelganger seems to look at us (the viewers) briefly before he proceeds in his pursuit of Cooper.

 

When Annie emerges from the Black Lodge, why does she have blood on her face?

 

The ending credits of this episode show the cup of coffee in the Waiting Room instead of the usual Laura Palmer prom picture. But as the credits continue, Laura's face appears as a reflection in the surface of the coffee. Notice also, that the camera is not entirely still during this shot and also that the reflection of Laura blinks her eyes. She is also smiling...is it a foreshadowing of the seemingly happy laughter we see from her in the Red Room at the end of Fire Walk With Me?

 

Unanswered Questions

 

Is the pool of liquid in the center of Glastonbury Grove the source of the oil that the Log Lady's husband brought back in a jar?

 

It seems clear that the evil Cooper doppelganger is the one who emerged from the Black Lodge, while the good Cooper is trapped inside. Is this actually the case? And what about the Annie who emerged? It seems from Fire Walk With Me, that she is the real Annie...but is she?

 

Will Nadine's return to her actual age mean the end of her relationship with Mike Nelson? And will it also end the renewed relationship between her husband, Ed, and Norma?

 

How will Ben fare after his head injury here? Will he revert back to "bad" Ben? Will Donna pursue any kind of relationship with him since it seems he is her biological father?

 

Who survived the explosion of the Twin Peaks Savings and Loan? Inside at the time were an unnamed security guard, an unnamed loan officer, Dell Mibbler, Audrey Horne, Pete Martell, and Andrew Packard.

 

Will Leo escape the trap Earle left him in in the cabin?

 

Will James ever return to Twin Peaks?

 

Will Andy and Lucy get married and raise Lucy's unborn child together? Will Lucy have the child tested to see who is truly the father, Andy or Dick? 

 

Memorable Dialog

 

the Log Lady stole my truck.wav

King Arthur is buried in England.wav

this oil is an opening to a gateway.wav

scorched engine oil.wav

I'm in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper.wav

this is the waiting room.wav

would you like some coffee?.wav

I'll see you again in 25 years.wav

Wow, Bob, wow.wav 

how's Annie?.wav

 

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