Film

How Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) Decodes the New Episodes

In my first 2015 Twin Peaks piece, we decoded the underlying motifs and images providing a map for interpreting the Lynch lexicon.  Surveying these contours we saw this unique, iconic dark satire described America in microcosm, with its corrupt leaders and oblivious professional class denizens.  From there, we identified indicators of an even deeper subtext involving the occult, other planes of existence made up of the black and white lodges and their spiritual and demonic inhabitants…an initiation into the Lynchian Mysteries.

Since writing that, Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost has published a cryptic, yet enjoyable 2016 book on The Secret History of Twin Peaks.  As we learn from Frost, the associations with government deep state projects relating to so-called UFOs and ritual cults, Crowleyan disciples, the CIA and MK Ultra – all this high weirdness and more form the zeitgeist of Twin Peaks.  More recently, as everyone knows, the series has returned with 4 new episodes that have once again mystified audiences.  To seek clarification, clues and insights into our new enigmas, we will turn to the overlooked 1992 Lynch/Frost film, Fire Walk With Me (the show’s prequel film released after the second initial season).

Mark Frost’s book.

Fire Walk With Me opens with a smashed television screen and the scream from prostitute Theresa Banks, as she’s abducted from the Fat Trout Trailer Park and dumped in a nearby river.  A stunned FBI Agent Gordon Cole (Lynch) summons Agent Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) to crack the initial murder, which sets off a chain of events leading to the murder, and the gruesome details, of how Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) was killed by her father, Leland (while possessed by BOB).  What is relevant about the TV screen is the static image, which will appear later in the film whenever spirits from the lodge are interrupting our frequency or wavelength.

TV static will signify the presence of a spirit from another plane.

This principle is crucial for understanding the architecture of the spiritual world in the series and the new episodes, as spirits appear from the higher and lower planes through electrical wires, outlets and transformers.  This will also be relevant to the deep state themes mentioned, as much of the signals intelligence and frequency research Major Briggs and Windom Earl appear to have teamed up on were connected to these types of phenomenon – portals and teleportation to and from spiritual worlds and other planes.

The Black Lodge exists on another plane or frequency or wavelength.

Curiously, Agent Desmond is shown arrested a couple of presumable strumpets next to a school bus full of elementary children which happens to be in Fargo, North Dakota.   Lynch often includes mafia themes in his films, and only a few years later the Coen brothers would release their acclaimed hit, Fargo which spawned three recent seasons based on the fictional accounts of mafia crime related to odd small-towns.   Indeed, there is a mob connection to Fargo, North Dakota even, it appears.

Fargo?

Desmond is called to Portland to meet with Cole and Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) for a coded briefing from “LIL” on the nature of the crime and what to expect.  This is an interesting parallel, as LIL speaks in code just like BOB, the midget demon who feeds on the “garmonbozia” of pain and suffering from his sacrificial victims.  Just as BOB is a palindrome, so is LIL, and the reversible nature of their names mirrors the reversible nature of the dialogue and words in the Lodge: cryptography from the cryptocracy.

LIL – a “blue rose” case.

What’s most relevant about LIL is her “blue rose,” which is never explained in the film beyond Agent Cooper saying it’s “One of Gordon’s blue rose cases.”   Judging from the references in the new episodes, we can surmise the reference is similar to an X File, a case involving more than just drugs and murder – the supernatural (hence the appearance of Fox Mulder as Denise).  As symbols of love and immortality, they will pertain to the deaths of Theresa Banks, Laura and Annie.

Ground control to major Briggs..er, Tom.

While investigating the Fat Trout Trailer Park, Agents Desmond and Stanley encounter gruff, degenerate, almost senile manager Cole Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) who withholds any real information until almost mentioning a fact about Banks.   An important clue in this scene is Rodd seeing a spirit appear at the door of a blue trailer next door spying on him.  As Desmond asks about Banks, the camera pans into the blue trailer and we faintly hear the Man From Another Place make the Indian sound with his mouth.

Agent Desmond notices something strange about the electrical boxes and ‘7’

From the electrical and telephone wires, the spirit is able to influence a senile old woman with a hot/cold pack on her face appear from around corner, much to the dismay of Rodd.  Stunned and seemingly under some degree of spiritual mind control himself, Rodd becomes terrified hearing the voice of the spirit and begins to tear up.  Confused, Desmond can’t get any information about Banks, and only the reply “I just want to stay where I am,” from Rodd.  The point of this confusing scene is that the Demon is making sure Rodd doesn’t tell Desmond about Banks, yet Desmond appears to be putting the pieces together, as he knows it’s a supernatural case – a blue rose.  This is revealed by the fact that Desmond looks at the electrical wires outside a second time and again hears the faint voice of the Demon.

Coop flips the breaker in the netherworld’s electrical box terminal to leave the purple color spectrum to a new one.

This second round at the trailer park will be Desmond’s last, as his discovery of the discarded magickal ring underneath the trailer causes him to vanish.  Also relevant in this scene is the number 7 on the transformer box between the trailers Desmond investigates as he hears the voice.  Desmond’s teleportation near this ‘terminal’ will correspond to the teleportation of Agent Jeffries (David Bowie) in the following scene in Philadelphia.   As Bowie exits the elevator, the number shown is 7 – this is precisely why the real Agent Cooper, trapped in the netherworld in the new episodes realizes he must switch the breaker to enter back into our world while exiting the electrical box terminal in the ‘purple world.’

Having flipped the breaker from 15 to 3, Cooper exits from a different circuit.

Following the disappearance of Desmond, Agent Jeffries suddenly teleports into the FBI office in  Philadelphia, and a shocked Agent Cooper checks the security camera.  Not only does Cooper see Jeffries walk in, he sees his doppelgänger, which is one of the crucial keys to understanding the new episodes – it’s Evil Coop he sees, while a manic Agent Jeffries exclaims pointing to Cooper, “Who do you think this is there?” implying it isn’t the real Cooper.

Jeffries goes on to describe a meeting place for the spirits “above a convenience store,” where we see all the lodge spirits, aside from the giant.  This is the convenience store where serial rapist and killer Bob and Mike lived, prior to their deaths.  Notice as well the static TV screen imagery appears as Jeffries tells his experience of being at “one of their meetings,” meaning presumably the black lodge.

Agent Jeffries (Bowie) teleports in at ‘7’

As mentioned, the Philadelphia field office is significant for the association with the name, the ‘Philadelphia Experiment,’ which purportedly involved naval experiments into teleportation.  It is also in this scene the Demon retorts, “With this ring, I thee wed!” showing the “marriage” is one of ritual union and eventually, human sacrifice.  Thus, those who wear the ring have that arm go dead, an omen for their coming sacrificial offering to The Arm, the Demon.   We can now understand the reticence and warning on the part of Cooper towards Laura in her dream, “don’t take the ring!”

Meeting place of the spirits above the convenience store. Bob and the Arm do a kind of voodoo.

The film shifts to Laura’s life, where we come to understand the source of her double existence.  “Good Laura” does community service through Meals on Wheels, while “Bad” is busy partying and whoring herself out.  BOB wants to possess her and have her soul, to “taste through her mouth,” which is why the visions of the Demon show the mouth.   Laura is troubled because her father is also a vehicle for BOB, leading to years of abuse and molestation (this was covered in my initial analysis).  Another omen of coming death is the white horse, seen by Laura’s mom (whom we are told also has the ability to see dreams and visions) just prior to Laura’s death.  In the new episodes, Cooper sees this before the death of the mysterious clone, Dougie.

The tree at Glastonbury Grove in Fire Walk With Me is the new form of the Arm/Demon.

As BOB possesses Leland and commences in sacrificing her, we see him return to the lodge through the portal at Glastonbury Grove.  The sycamore trees shown reveal the ‘evolved’ form the Demon has taken in the new series, as revealed by Gerard/Mike to Cooper.  Another insight into the ritual nature of the sacrifice is the score chosen for the final credit sequence after Laura appears to be set free from the lodge by her angel, which is Agnus Dei, or “Lamb of God,” a requiem mass selection in C minor.  In other words, Laura was a ritual sacrifice to feed the demon his cream corn garmonbozia, identified as pain and suffering.

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