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5 Twin Peaks Theories You Should Know Before the Finale

Doppelgangers, Dreamers, and Tulpas... Where does everything fit?

Fans could not be happier to have finally received the long-awaited resurrection of cult 90s television drama Twin Peaks. However, in true Twin Peaks form, this return has had many fans befuddled and even upset about the confusing nature of the narrative. This has led to some painstaking analysis, wild conjectures, and straight up guesses, some of which have proven to be true. With the end of Twin Peaks: The Return imminent, here are five theories you need to know before embarking into the unknown.

1) Various guesses as Judy's identity

One detail that has fascinated Peakers since the release of Fire Walk With Me is the identity of Judy, a character only mentioned by name a couple of times in the film, and once more in The Missing Pieces. Through interviews and old scripts, we've been able to determine that the character went through various evolutions during the writing process, one of which had her cast as Josie Packard's sister. Through her connections with the long-lost FBI Agent Phillip Jeffries (played in FWWM by the immortal David Bowie), we can conjecture that she is connected with the Blue Rose and/or the Lodges in some way. Since The Return, people have been waiting with bated breath to see if this elusive character will make an appearance. Some would say she already has, unbeknownst to us.

Now, people have speculated that Judy is a spirit, or a title, and that one can "become" Judy somehow. This has led to just about every character being pegged as Judy, from Lucy, to Audrey, to Naido, and even Garland Briggs ("Garland? Judy Garland?"). One of the most probable, in my mind, is that Judy is the "true name" of Laura Palmer, the spirit that she embodied, that was sent to Earth by Senorita Dido, as we saw in Part 8. In Part 15, Philip Jeffries told Doppelganger Cooper, seemingly under the impression that he was the "real" Cooper, that he had already met Judy. So Judy is apparently someone that Cooper knows. The question remains... Who is Judy? And why are we not talking about her?

2) Audrey is trapped... somehow.

Many fans waited on tender hooks for Audrey to show up, and, when she did, it was so antithetical to every fan's prediction that it enraged some viewers. There's no doubt that the scenes with Audrey are slow, irritating, and confusing, giving us almost no information with which to come to any conclusions as to what is going on. One thing seems abundantly clear: Audrey is stuck somehow, whether by mundane means, or supernatural causes. Many theories have been thrown out, one of the more popular ones being that Audrey is still in a coma, and her husband Charlie is a mental manifestation of the coma not allowing her to wake up. Notice how often Charlie talks about being tired, and not wanting to move. This could point to Audrey being compelled to stay in her coma, and not wake up.

Other ideas are that Charlie is actually her therapist, and she is in some sort of hospital which she is not allowed to leave, or that Charlie is a supernatural being who has kidnapped Audrey and won't let her leave, or even that Audrey is dead, and, like Josie, has become trapped in the wood of the Great Northern, or, and this is an actual theory, one of the tables at the Roadhouse. All of these theories have their pros and cons. There has also been an observation made that Audrey's struggle mirrors that of Cooper's, as, in Part 13, she talks about feeling like she's someone else (like Coop being trapped in the role of Dougie), and in the same episode we saw Audrey strangle Charlie, and Cooper stick a fork into an electric socket. Perhaps they are both about to "wake up" somehow?

3) Sarah Palmer is possessed by the Jumping Man

In Part 14, we saw that Sarah Palmer is not what she seems. She has something extremely dark inhabiting her, and it is able to do some pretty scary stuff. While the initial speculation was that Sarah was being inhabited by the spirit of the Experiment (lining up with the idea of the Experiment being Babalon/The Mother), discerning fans managed to pull an intriguing image out of Part 15, when Doppelganger Cooper goes to see Jeffries. You may recall that, as Doppelganger Cooper is headed into the room above the convenience store, there is a series of eerie images, one of which included the Jumping Man from FWWM. Freeze-framing on one particular image of him revealed his face overlapped with Sarah Palmer's, suggesting that he is in fact the spirit inhabiting her.

Now, who is the Jumping Man exactly, and what does this denote for the situation at hand? He seems to be a magician (perhaps "THE magician" who "longs to see"), as his mask is similar to that of Native American Heyoka, and he dances around in a ritualistic manner and waves a staff. Beyond that, who can really say? Perhaps we'll learn more about him, if he truly is to play a larger role in the finale.

4) Cooper's Doppelganger is the father of Richard Horne (and possibly Linda)

While we didn't receive actual confirmation of Richard being Audrey's son until Part 15, it was all but assumed by fans already. And while it's also yet to be confirmed, it's pretty commonly accepted that Doppelganger Cooper is Richard's father. How did this happen, you may ask? In Part 7, Doc Hayward (via Skype) mentioned that, 25 years ago, he performed an exam on who he thought was Cooper (it was actually Doppelganger Cooper), and, afterward, he saw "Cooper" wandering around in Intensive Care. He mentioned that he thought Cooper was visiting Audrey, who was in a coma after the bank explosion. This led to many fans concluding that Doppelganger Cooper assaulted the unconscious Audrey, acting on the Good Dale's suppressed desire for the young woman, after which she became pregnant with the scumbag we now know as Richard Horne.

This would help to explain why The Fireman mentions Richard to Cooper in the opening scene of the first episode, but does the same go for the other name mentioned, Linda? Who is Linda? She seems to be a disabled veteran living in the new Fat Trout Trailer Park. Beyond that, we know nothing. But we may recall that, before the debacle during the Miss Twin Peaks pageant, and the subsequent expedition into the Black Lodge, Cooper, the real Cooper, had a romantic entanglement with Annie Blackburn. While the status of Annie's existence in the series is... up for debate, shall we say... she could very well have gotten pregnant, and given birth to a girl. This would explain why Richard and Linda are mentioned together. They could be the "two birds," and Agent Cooper is the "one stone."

5) Time is not aligned properly

And now, to make all the theories you just read seem like child's play. So, you know how most TV shows you watch are aired in order? And, most of the scenes take place chronologically? David Lynch has no time for that nonsense, as there is evidence that pretty much the entirety of The Return has been shown to us OUT. OF. ORDER.

Yes, that's right. In the editing room, David Lynch decided... why make things easy? and scrambled up the scenes so that something in Part 14, for example, is actually taking place during the events of Part 5. Or, two scenes that are taking place simultaneously are put a couple episodes apart. There's speculation that all the events in the town of Twin Peaks are actually occurring several days after the events in Buckhorn and Las Vegas. As if the mythos of Twin Peaks wasn't mind-bending enough, now we have to mentally put the pieces together to make sense of things. But why, why, WHY would he do that?

There's one fascinating answer, which would also explain some of the inconsistencies that have been chalked up to "editing mistakes." Someone, perhaps Dale Cooper, perhaps his Doppelganger, perhaps Major Briggs, perhaps ANYONE, has been going Back to the Future on us and messing with the timeline. And we are watching it as it is being changed. To back up these claims, the fans have pointed to the "Has anyone seen Billy?" scene at the Double R, where characters abruptly disappear or change places, which Shelly seems to notice, before brushing it off. As an isolated incident, I might also say that was just an editing mistake. But there are all kinds of hints that there's something up with time, and the idea that we ourselves are jumping around in the timeline is a big pro for this theory. Perhaps we are witnessing these events as the time traveler is viewing them? Perhaps we only see events that have been altered by the time traveler?

If true, this could explain the following:

  • The Double R Diner scene
  • The myriad of "errors" in The Secret History of Twin Peaks
  • The looped boxing match on Sarah Palmer's TV
  • Cooper not having his FBI pin during the opening scene with the Fireman
  • Ed's unmoving reflection at the Gas Farm
  • Norma saying she has no family, when Annie was mentioned earlier

and too many other oddities to list. if this is true, there are so many things we might still be trying to piece together in another 25 years.

That about wraps it up for important theories for now. Until next time, eat cherry pie, drink damn fine coffee, and be merry.

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