David Lynch did it again, folks! The season finale of Twin Peaks: The Return threw us a lot of answers — for starters, Mr. C is back where he belongs and we now know who “Judy” is — but unsurprisingly, dozens more questions cropped up, with Dale Cooper traveling back in time to prevent Laura Palmer’s murder. Let’s just say his trip doesn’t go as planned. While there’s plenty of days ahead to sift through all of the head-scratchers in this finale, let’s focus on the biggest items at hand for the sake of sanity. See you again in 25 years, maybe.
What happened to Audrey Horne?
At the conclusion of “Part 16,” Audrey Horne snapped out of her dreamlike trance and woke up in what appeared to be some kind of mental facility — glaring lights, mirror, and all. We didn’t see her at all in the finale, and she wasn’t mentioned or alluded to, except for a repeated quote about a “little girl that lives down the lane.” For this fan-favorite character, it’s a bit of a bummer to end her The Return journey as such.
Who are Linda and Richard?
In one of the very first scenes in The Return, the Fireman delivered this important message to Cooper: “Remember 430. Richard and Linda. Two birds, one stone.” Richard, presumably, was the son of Mr. C and Audrey. 430 proved to be the amount of miles that Agent Cooper and Diane drove to transport themselves, via the help of electrical wires, to a seemingly alternate dimension. But did any of that matter? We still don’t know who Linda is, besides the following note that Agent Cooper found on the side table in his motel room: “Richard, when you read this I’ll be gone. Please don’t try to find me, I don’t recognize you anymore. Whatever it was we had together was over. Linda.” If Cooper really is in an alternative dimension, perhaps “Linda” is Diane and “Richard” is Cooper. Maybe they were each other all along.
Is Cooper in an alternate dimension? And what year is it?
With the many exterior and interior locations Agent Cooper visits in “Part 18” — the dark roads, the Odessa diner, Twin Peaks itself — this doesn’t seem like a very different time period. (If it is, it’s not by a shift of more than a few decades.) But quite a few moments suggest that Agent Cooper’s journey to finding Laura Palmer isn’t what it seems: When shacking up for the evening with Diane at a roadside motel, Diane briefly sees a doppelgänger of herself hanging out by the entrance, which doesn’t spook her. When he leaves the next morning, the exterior of the motel and Cooper’s vehicle appear to be different. These changes, coupled with the fact that the diner where he stops in is named “Judy’s” seems to speak to some sort of alternative dimension. (Remember, Judy was revealed to be an “entity” or an “extreme negative force” that Gordon Cole, Major Briggs, Phillip Jeffries, and Agent Cooper were trying to locate.) And the alternative-dimension theory goes even deeper with the question of …
What’s the deal with Sarah Palmer’s house?
When Agent Cooper and Carrie Page ultimately make it to Twin Peaks to see Carrie’s “mother,” they’re not greeted by Sarah Palmer, but rather an older blonde woman named “Alice Tremond” who’s owned the house for many years. She says she’s never heard of Sarah, and mentions that the woman who sold her the house was named “Mrs. Chalfont.” These names are quite important to Peaks lore: A character who appeared in the original series and Fire Walk With Me was known as both “Mrs. Tremond” and “Mrs. Chalfont.” Seemingly a Lodge entity of sorts, she gave Laura a painting of a doorway that would “look good on her wall,” and Donna Hayward had a memorable meeting with her when she volunteered with Meals on Wheels. Remember when Mrs. Tremond’s creamed corn suddenly appeared in the hands of her grandson?
Did Cooper actually prevent Laura Palmer’s death?
Signs are pointing to no. After trying to mess with the timelines, it seems like Cooper — or, more likely, an entity like Judy — created an alternative universe in which Laura Palmer never existed. If you listen closely to the very last moment of the finale before “Carrie Page” screams, you can hear someone say “Lauraaaaa” through the wind, and it sounds very similar to Sarah Palmer’s voice. Did the voice cause “Carrie” to realize who she is and scream just like Laura did in the Red Room, causing the lights to go off and shut down this, well, dream world? Remember what Monica Bellucci said earlier this season: “We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream.” Or in this case, a nightmare.
Who was the Agent Cooper we saw in the final scenes?
Something is palpably off with Agent Cooper when we last see him — or, as he’s addressed in the note, “Richard.” His signature charm is replaced with the hardened demeanor of a man who doesn’t mind shooting sleazy cowboys in the feet. His passion with Diane during his sex scene is nonexistent. During his extended night-driving sequences, glimmers of Mr. C seem to flicker through his eyes. With an alternative dimension at play, perhaps a new environment changed his psyche and demeanor yet again — almost like a hybrid of Agent Cooper and Mr. C.
Is this the end of Twin Peaks?
In a way, “Part 18” feels like a pilot for a potential season four of Twin Peaks. However, if any future plans actually exist, they haven’t been announced by Lynch or Showtime — and who knows if they ever will. “It was always intended to be one season,” Showtime boss David Nevins recently said to Deadline. “A lot of people are speculating but there’s been zero contemplation, zero discussions other than fans asking me about it.”
Was this all a dream crafted by a man played by Kyle MacLachlan?
Your guess is as good as ours. Long live “the dreamer.”
This post has been updated. Vulture apologizes for the insensitive comment that appeared in a previous version.