Deputy Tommy ‘Hawk’ Hill: My people believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature reside. There is also a legend of a place called the Black Lodge. The shadow self of the White Lodge. Legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow self. My people call it The Dweller on the Threshold.
Special Agent Dale Cooper: Dweller on the Threshold.
Deputy Tommy ‘Hawk’ Hill: But it is said that if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.
(Twin Peaks, Season 2 Episode 11)
In the world of Twin Peaks, anyone who’s someone has an antithesis. Hell, even things have them. And if you’re really important, you have a doppelgänger. It’s safe to say it is a show about duality. It’s in the damn name for Christ’s sake. This duality is presented in many different ways. And, like with a surreal dream, you’re brain tries and tries to make sense of the information presented to you.
At the surface, as with any good detective story, there is the Good vs. Evil aspect. And if you dig a bit deeper, well, you get deeper and the duality gets more complex (think of it along the lines of Hegel’s Thesis, Antithesis, & Synthesis). Off the top of my head here is a list:
- Laura Palmer had Maddy and her double life: the pure Prom Queen vs. promiscuous Party Girl.
- Special Agent Dale Cooper has/had Windom Earle/Evil Coop/Dougie “Mr. Jackpots” Jones.
- The Giant (before the name change) had the Man from Another Place.
- The Giant and the waiter (Author’s Note: This possibly symbolizes the Giant’s servitude to the Black Lodge and therefore the name and appearance change between the original run and season 3. OR: the Giant and the Man from Another Place are having a contest much like God and Satan do in the Book of Job, which is what caused Denise Bryson‘s cover to be blown in Tijuana…).
- The Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department had the Bookhouse Boys.
- The Black Lodge, the White Lodge.
- Denise Bryson, Dennis Bryson.
- Andy, Dick.
- Twin Peaks and Deer Meadow.
- And Gordon Cole against the boyfriends of beautiful women everywhere…
You could spend all day making these kind of comparisons but then you’d just end up with a long list. But maybe long lists are your thing. You’ll get no judgment from me. But one thing came to me while drinking a cup of coffee around midnight: what is the opposite of garmonbozia, the food eaten by the spirits of the Black Lodge? Or to put it another way: What is the ambrosia to the garmonbozia?
20 oz. Corn Kernels
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 tbs. Butter
2 tbs. Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Whole Milk
1/4 cup Romano Cheese, grated
2 tbs. All-Purpose Flour
1 tbs. Onion Powder
1 tbs. Garlic Powder
A great deal of pain and sorrow
Lemon Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
>Mix corn, heavy cream, cream cheese, butter, & seasonings. Bring to simmer in a pan.
>Whisk together the whole milk and flour. Do a good job!
>Pour whisked mixture into pan with the corn. Stir while you pour.
>Simmer some more and eventually the sauce will thicken.
>Toss in the cheese, let it melt, and mix in the sauce.
>Serve on a Formica table.
>Light candles to mask scorched engine oil smell.
What could possibly be the polar opposite, the sauma and haoma, of food made of negative energy so poisonous to humans that it’ll send you to the hospital just getting near it? Only the Holy Trinity of Delicacies out of Twin Peaks! Twin Peaks: Where cops start work with a smorgasbord of doughnuts, the coffee is damn fine and black as midnight on a moonless night, and pie so good, it’ll make write an epic poem about it.
These three consumables are not only iconic for town of Twin Peaks but for the show in general. Watching the show, every single time a scene shows a spread of circular fried dough or someone asks for a cup of coffee or a slice of pie while singing praise of what they just order, the observer’s mouth starts to water. Coffee, for me, is a beverage suitable for any time of the day (and night). It is sharp, crisp, and pleasant. Like warm, liquid hugs and motivation. The perfect companion for heavenly comfort food.
Doughnuts, as Cooper puts it, is a policeman’s dream. And a stereotype. Admit it, if someone said think about a cop, you might picture one munching on a doughnut as much as you would one carrying a gun and handcuffs. But it makes sense. A cop drinks a lot of coffee to stay awake and alert during a long shift and the doughnut, with its sweet, doughy goodness, helps cut the acidity of the coffee. The sweet and comforting goodness also acts as an escape from the cruel reality of crime… at least for your taste buds. So it would only make sense for a sheriff’s department in a small logging town to try and counteract the absurd amount of cruelty that has entered into their lives.
The doughnuts might be a comforting dream for a policeman but the pie, the pie is a miracle. At least according to Margaret Lanterman, aka the Log Lady. It’s a pie so good that FBI agents order slices three at a time. But they don’t mind sharing. Because that is what the number 3 is about, unity—or the bond between two parties. It is the embodiment of understanding, goodness, and love. And a slice also has three sides. There’s always that aspect of symbolism.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Duality of Cherry Pie: sweet and tart (innocence and well, you know…).
Cherries embodied multiple meanings throughout history. In Japan, they were given to Kamikaze pilots to honor their courage and selflessness. But what does courage and selflessness mean to a character like Dale Cooper?
“Once upon a time, there was a place of great goodness called the White Lodge. Gentle fawns gamboled there amidst happy, laughing spirits. The sounds of innocence and joy filled the air, and when it rained, it rained sweet nectar that infused one’s heart to live life in truth and beauty. Generally speaking, a ghastly place, reeking of virtue’s sour smell, engorged with the whispered prayers of kneeling mothers, mewling newborns, and fools, young and old compelled to do good without reason. But I’m happy to point out that our story does not end in this wretched place of saccharine excess. For there is another place, its opposite. A place of almost unimaginable power, chock full of dark forces and vicious secrets. No prayers dare enter this frightful maw, for spirits there care not for good deeds or priestly invocations. They are as likely to rip the flesh from your bones as to greet you with a happy ‘good day.’ And if harnessed, these spirits in this hidden land of unmuffled screams and broken hearts will offer up a power so vast that its bearer might reorder the Earth itself to his liking. Oh… this place I speak of is known as the Black Lodge and I intend to find it.” -Windom Earle, S2 E19 (1991)
Special Agent Dale Cooper is a likable hero. But a David Lynch hero is a hero not because they are innocent do-gooders but rather they are a hero because they have been to some very dark places and return. And I’m not talking about taking a hike to the Black Lodge and coming back… well, not completely. I’m talking about internal and external struggles dealing with one character, a character’s own personal duality.
“I don’t know how to articulate this, but something is very wrong here. That would seem an obvious statement. But there’s something at work here that I feel I’ve come in contact with before. Call it an evil, a sensation of something old and very dangerous that I have come in contact with three times before. Once in a small mountain village when I was traveling. Once in college. And once when Caroline was killed. Bureau
training does not cover or even acknowledge the existence of forces
outside of the physical world.” —Dale Cooper, The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes
While Dale Cooper is a Boy Scout with a Can-Do attitude and a moral compass magnetically inclined to point towards a Kantian categorical imperative, he also has a troubled side. He has killed before, slept with a married woman which was a contributing factor to her death, and his job revolves around investigating the dark side of human nature.
The Man from Another Place offers Special Agent Cooper a coffee in the season 2 finale. In my last dossier on Twin Peaks, I speculated that astrological symbolism played a role in the series, comparing the similarities between BOB and Pluto. In the story of Hades’s (or Pluto’s depending on which defunct civilization you hail from) abduction of Persephone, the Ruler of the Underworld gave her a pomegranate to eat. Eating food from the Underworld tied her to it. Something fitting to the Greek rules on hospitality known as xenia and hospitium, just with an evil or trickster spin on it. The coffee offered to Cooper symbolizes not only the hospitality of the spirits in the Red Room and a means to trap his soul there but also a purity test of Cooper’s courage. The Man from Another Place has offered something that is loved by Cooper and distorts it.
It is here that the Man from Another Place says to Cooper: “Fire Walk With Me.” This itself parallels the convenience store scene with BOB in The Missing Pieces (see exhibit 1 and 2) and functions as an invitation to work together or cooperate. Dale’s courage is then further tested by a couple of Screamin’ Laura Palmers, visions of a dead Annie/Caroline, and then finally by Windom Earle who gives him the opportunity to give up his own life in exchange for Annie’s. Which, being the White Knight that Cooper is, he accepts. Test complete, right? Nope. BOB shows up and tells Cooper that Windom Earle can’t make that kind of a deal and, after watching BOB tear the soul out of Windom, Cooper practically runs away. And as Hawk said, “if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.”
But, it doesn’t… or, at the very least, didn’t seem to. Cooper is trapped in the Red Room while his doppelgänger is out and about wreaking some havoc with a severed dog’s leg in his trunk. Was Hawk wrong? Was Cooper’s soul at that moment fragmented and the Good Dale left in the Black Lodge while the Evil Dale was sent back out into the world? Or, maybe (and this is a BIG MAYBE), was Windom Earle’s soul, which was freshly exploded out of his body, inserted into the husk that would become Cooper’s doppelgänger?
I guess we will have to find out… if we will find out.
Read Dossier #1: Twin Peaks: Speculations Written In The Stars
Read Dossier #3: Twin Peaks: It’s Happening Again – Time, and Time Again, Part 1
Read Dossier #3.5: Twin Peaks: It’s Happening Again – Electric Time, Part II
Read Dossier #4: Twin Peaks: The Joy and Terror of Family
I hope you have enjoyed this speculation into Twin Peaks. Better yet, I hope it gives you some things to think about. If you would like to discuss this, please feel free to leave a comment and join the fun in speculating and theorizing the show. Feel free to share, as well. If you are interested in seeing more or have a speculation yourself that you would like to see more on, let me know.