A Quick Guide to Twin Peaks: Seasons 1 & 2 and Fire Walk with Me.
There’s nothing like Twin Peaks, the TV series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch. When it premiered in 1990, it attracted super bowl size TV audiences, but the audiences dwindled over time and it was cancelled after only two seasons.
It got more complicated and demanding to follow as the story progressed. Each episode raised more questions that left viewers to come up with their own theories to explain what was happening. People talked about it a lot and it got a lot of press.
It broke barriers and advanced television into the modern age. There had never been anything like it.
Twin Peaks is a soap opera, murder mystery, buddy cop drama presented through absurd comedy, surrealistic dream sequences, melodrama and intense horror. It was originally set exclusively in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington. Twin Peaks is special because it has an entrance to another dimension and characters with supernatural capabilities called dugpas.
Dugpa is a Tibetan word for shadow beings who have special powers which they may use to manipulate people. Most people can’t see them but some people can, maybe because they know to look for them. Maybe because they have been chosen.
Think voodoo, genies, demons and some aspects of space aliens all wrapped up together.
Initially the story revolved around an investigation led by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper of the murder of Laura Palmer, the homecoming queen. Working with the local sheriff Harry Truman, Cooper meets and interviews the people of Twin Peaks. As he meets them, he learns that they all have fascinating backstories. Everyone has secrets and everyone has clues for his investigation.
Clues from the log lead Major Garland Briggs of the U.S. Government Project Blue Book, established to listen for space invaders but now monitoring dugpa activity, to share information with Cooper. Cooper is working with a secret FBI task force with the code name Blue Rose. They’re monitoring supernatural activity too.
The murderer was revealed to be the evil force known as BOB, who inhabited Laura’s father. Evil forces can inhabit and control people.
In addition, you have to watch out for doppelgangers (lookalikes), copies of dugpas or of people who have been in the black lodge. Evil doppelgangers are no joking matter.
The shadow beings have a white lodge and a black lodge. Love powers the white lodge while fear powers the black lodge. And there’s a red waiting room which appears to be connected to the black lodge.
Here’s a scene where Agent Cooper is greeted by The Arm – often seen in association with Philip Gerard, a one-armed man inhabited by a spirit named Mike. (The Arm is an electric sycamore tree with a wad of chewed chewing gum on top of it in Twin Peaks: The Return.) and Laura Palmer, who has been murdered but is seen as alive in the red waiting room.
Laura’s meanwhile hand gesture comes from the Vedic tradition of India. It means “don’t be afraid.”
The original series ended with Agent Cooper being trapped in the supernatural realm while his evil doppelganger, inhabited by BOB, leaves that realm and enters the “real world.”
David Lynch’s 1992 movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, revealed more details and raised a lot more questions. The dugpas feed on pain and suffering in the form of creamed corn, which they call Garmonbozia. Garmonbozia smells like scorched motor oil.
Is that clear now?
The film also makes it clear that the shadow beings are active worldwide. FBI agent Philip Jeffries has been monitoring them in Buenos Aires. He’s also been to one of their meetings above the convenience store. BOB, The Arm, a jumping man in a white mask, some magicians, and the dirty, bearded woodsmen were in the meeting.
Fans of the Twin Peaks universe have been debating details and trying to figure it all out since 1990. There are lots of theories. The owl cave ring, hand gestures, astrology, and incantations all carry the power to change and manipulate things. The protective giant gives clues to Agent Cooper in the form of names, numbers, sights or sounds to remember.
The owls are not what they seem.
Mark Frost’s book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, makes connections to presidents, scientists, as well as several top secret government investigations. Frost brings supernatural traditions from all over the world into play and works in the real life story of Jack Parsons. Parsons invented jet fuel and worked on development of the atomic bomb while simultaneously leading an occult religion working to summon a creature called Babylon, the Mother of Abominations.
Yeah, he was a real person.
Here’s a reading from the book where Douglas Milford of Project Blue Book speaks to Major Garland Briggs.
25 Years Later
That’s where things pick up in the 2017 third season of Twin Peaks on Showtime.
One chants out between two worlds: Fire walk with me.
Twin Peaks gives viewers a lot to ponder.