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Regardless of your opinion on the divisive Twin Peaks: The Return finale, one truth is undeniable: It left us with many unanswered questions and dangling plot threads. Many fans feel certain there will be a fourth season, but until that time, if it even comes, we are left wondering. However, it may be possible to draw some conclusions, or at least educated guesses, based on what we have been given in the new series, as well as Mark Frost's companion novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks. In this article, we will go over five of the nagging mysteries left unresolved by The Return and attempt to gain some kind of closure.
WARNING: Spoilers... obviously.
1) What happened to Phillip Jeffries?
Due to the deaths or absences of several actors, Lynch and Frost had to get creative in how to incorporate some key characters into the new series. One of the most bizarre character updates was that of the Long Lost Phillip Jeffries, who seems to have turned into a tea kettle that spouts out smokey numbers, almost like the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. David Bowie was originally slated to reprise his role, but, tragically, he passed away before he could begin filming. This made it necessary to change Jeffries in some way, but why this?
In several scenes set inside the Black and White Lodges, we see these strange cylindrical contraptions, which are used for different things. One seems to alert the Fireman/Giant to the arrival of BOB on Earth. Another has a switch thrown by Naido which does... something. They seem to be filled with electricity, which is an important element in the Lodges. It represents life force, and is also connected with fire. It is used when making Tulpas (as seen when the one-armed man remakes Dougie), and also seems to power some of the Lodge beings' magic abilities (such as when Jeffries transports Cooper to 1989). So, if the cylinders are filled with life force, it could be that Jeffries has, somehow, lost his body, and needed his life force contained somehow. If Jeffries is working with the White Lodge, they may have determined it to be important to preserve him. Hence, they broke out their best cylinder to keep him in, and gave him some Woodsmen to look after him.
2) What was the Experiment?
In The Secret History of Twin Peaks, there is an entire chapter dedicated to real-life rocket scientist and Thelemic occultist Jack Parsons, who was a colorful figure to say they least. He had interactions with a being he called BABALON (stylized in all caps, similar to how Killer BOB's name is often in all caps), a Goddess figure in Aleister Crowley's Thelema religion, who was dubbed the Mother of Abominations. Parsons came to believe that his destiny was to bring BABALON physically into this dimension by doing a ritual out in the White Sands desert, where the A-Bomb tests were conducted. In the universe of Twin Peaks, at least, he seems to have succeeded, because in Part 8 of The Return, we see the Experiment spewing toxic eggs through a rift in dimensions.
BABALON's title of "Mother of Abominations" further ties her with Ronette's warning to Cooper that "my mother is coming." Some clever fans managed to work out that the being pursuing Cooper at this point is in fact the creature known as "the Experiment." This directly connects the Experiment to the title of "mother," and strengthens the probability of her being BABALON.
3) Who (or what) is Red?
One of the most fascinating new characters, to me, was the mysterious Red, a drug dealer supplying Richard Horne. He and Shelly had a relationship because, boy, can Shelly pick 'em, and he was played by Balthazar Getty, who played Pete Dayton in Lost Highway. It's fun to speculate about the Lynchverse here, and say that he's an evil Doppelganger of Pete's who grew up and moved to Twin Peaks, but there's no proof of that. All Red does in The Return is do some magic, sell some drugs, and make eyes at Shelly. So... about that magic trick...
Let's go back to Jack Parsons for a minute. In Secret History, Parsons, while wearing the green Owl Cave ring, does the exact same magic trick as Red does, with the two dimes. I can't tell you what this means, except that it's no coincidence. Maybe Jack Parsons became a Lodge spirit, started calling himself Red, and started dealing drugs in Washington? He was a scoundrel like that. As for the drug he's dealing, there could very well be something supernatural in it, considering the terrible effects it seems to be having on the Twin Peaks populace. Maybe it's laced with Garmonbozia?
4) What's happening to Audrey?
I have a somewhat unpopular opinion on this one, which nevertheless no one can debunk yet. I don't believe Audrey is in an insane asylum (what mental hospital would let their patients have mirrors?), and I don't believe she's in a coma (how would she know about Billy and Tina, who are real people in the modern day?) I am absolutely certain she's in the Black Lodge. The best evidence I have, and it's strong evidence, is when she says to Charlie, "This place feels like Ghostwood." Some have speculated Ghostwood is the name of the mental hospital she's in, but there's no evidence for that. We do know, however, that the Ghostwood forest surrounds Twin Peaks, and it's overlapped by the Black Lodge dimension. So her feeling like she's in the Ghostwood makes sense, because she actually is there, just in another dimension.
Also notice how closely her story mirrors that of Diane's. Both are former romantic interests for Cooper, both are sexually assaulted by Cooper's doppelgänger, it's possible both have children from him (it's speculated that Linda is Diane's daughter), and both talk about being themselves. We know what happened to Diane in the end: She was trapped in the Black Lodge by doppelgänger Cooper, and replaced in the real world by a Tulpa. Isn't it highly probable, given the circumstances, that the same thing happened to Audrey?
5) What happened to Laura (and Cooper)?
This is the crowning question of the finale. What. The. Heck. Happened. To. Laura? It seems like Cooper saved her when he went back in time, but she suddenly disappeared, which really makes it seem like the Black Lodge snatched her up again. It could be that, at that moment, she was taken by the Lodge and relocated, had her memories wiped, for some reason, and became Carrie Page, almost like an advanced witness relocation program to protect her from BOB, or the Black Lodge in general. But, if she's been saved, and is being protected, why is Cooper so determined to bring her back to Twin Peaks? While we're at it, is that even Cooper anymore? He doesn't act like Cooper. Is this whole thing Cooper's dream? Or, Laura's dream? No, wait, Laura is Carrie now. Or, was Carrie really ever Laura? Maybe Carrie is just a Tulpa of Laura. Maybe we're all Tulpas in David Lynch's dream!
Sadly, it's pretty likely we'll never get answers. David Lynch has a history of never giving explanations to his art, which is fine, but it will certainly drive some die-hard fans out of their minds to never know what happened to their beloved characters. With Mark Frost's follow-up novel, The Final Dossier, slated for release this October, there is a sliver of hope that we will get some more clues with which to piece together some answers for what is possibly the most convoluted television show of all time.