Twin Peaks: Motif Watch

Dave’s out in the forests of Northern Finland. He’s armed with his knives, his laptop, and the first series of Twin Peaks. Damn fine cup of coffee…


Up here, at 69 degrees north, with nothing but thousands of miles of snow and forest in every direction, a man is given to thinking about the dark soul of the forest – and how it manifests in that most susceptible of forest inhabitants – the human.
Some time ago, blather.net had a very sucessful article about Withnail & I that attracted lots of comments.
As I watch Twin Peaks I’m going to post trivia, details of symbolism, and anything else that catches my attention. And I invite you to do the same.
(and yes, I know there’s loads of websites that already do this, like twinpeaks.org, but… who cares?)

daev
Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of Blather.net, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.

42 comments

  1. The Vertigo connection, and the importance of doubles in Twin Peaks. Blonde Laura Palmer dies. Her cousin shows up – dark-haired Maddy Ferguson. Both are played by the same actress – Sheryl Lee.
    In Vertigo, Jimmy Stewart plays Scottie Ferguson, Kim Novak plays both the blonde Madeleine Elster and the dark-haired Judy Barton. Madeleine… Maddy… Ferguson…
    ‘Madeline even dresses up like Laura in attempt to catch the killer just as Scottie from Vertigo tries to dress up Judy like his dead lover Madeline (Martin). And finally when Madeline becomes the next victim of Bob he grabs her and spins her around and around just as a confused Scottie spins around with Judy “in a fit of madness” in Vertigo’
    ‘The Ultimate Struggle of Good Vs. Evil Right In Your Own Backyard: A Mythological Look At Twin Peaks’ »

  2. Episode 3: Sheriff Truman introduces Cooper to the Bookhouse Boys (secret society).
    TRUMAN
    Twin Peaks is different. A long way from the world.
    You’ve noticed that.
    COOPER
    Indeed I have.
    TRUMAN
    And that’s the way we like it. But there’s a back end to
    that that’s different too. Maybe that’s the price we pay
    for all the good things.
    COOPER
    What is it?
    TRUMAN
    (lowering his voice)
    There’s a sort of evil out there. Something strange in the
    hills. It takes different forms, but it’s been there for as
    long as anyone can remember. And we’ve always been
    here to fight it.
    COOPER
    “We?”
    TRUMAN
    Men before us. Men before them. More after we’re gone.
    We protect our own. We have to.

  3. Owl motifs:
    Episode Four: James and Donna go back to look for the half-locket. It’s gone, of course. An owl hoots on a treetop.

  4. I haven’t even finished watching TW yet. And then I have 17 episodes of The Prisoner!

  5. no please, get out more! keep away from the laptop, get some air, feed some reindeer, anything. But whatever you do, DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT, watch the Prisoner …..pleeeeeze
    😉

  6. Right. Episode 5. Have found scrawled words in my notebook, written in a coffee-fueled haze. Am sitting here now, looking across at the Roadhouse. A truck has gone by, with two loads of logs.
    ……
    The intrepid investigators visit the Log Lady, who keeps making comments about Owls.
    LOG LADY
    I’ve got tea. I’ve got cookies. No cake.
    COOPER
    That’s very kind of you ma’am but I don’t believe that we…
    HAWK puts his hand up to silence COOPER.
    HAWK
    What kind of cookies?
    LOG LADY
    Sugar. The owls won’t see us in here
    While having tea, sugar cookies (no cake) with Margaret, the Log Lady, a fly keeps buzzing around Cooper’s cup. Can find no reference to this in the script.
    Lot’s of other owl references while the LL is telling what the Log saw.
    “The owls were silent”
    On the path to Jacque’s cabin, a raven appears several times, croaking. Ravens, possibly because of their interest in carrion, are traditionally associated with death. (Not so coincidentally, they’re my favourite bird). On arrival at the cabin, the Julee Cruise song ‘Into The Night’ is playing on infinite loop on a record player. Also in the house is Walso – another black bird, but this time a Myna.
    Afterwards, long shot of waterfall beside the Great Northern – seems to be symbolic of ‘floodgates opening’. I think.
    Episode 5 script »
    Also, meant to mention – Ben & Jerry (TW’s foodies – Ice Cream Twins?) Scandanavian property debacles centre on a development called ‘Ghostwood’.

  7. It’s ok, we have no douglas firs… just pines, spruce, birch.
    Pete Martell, to Icelandic visitor:
    ‘Now let me get this straight. Your entire country is above the timber line?’

  8. BENJAMIN:
    Ah, Thor. I’ve been meaning to ask you. Are you familiar with the work of Knut Hamsun?
    Author of The Hunger – someone obsessed with food – like Benjamin – and death… like Laura.
    “If one only had something to eat, just a little, on such a clear day! The mood of the gay morning overwhelmed me, I became unusually serene, and started to hum for pure joy and for no particular reason. In front of a butcher’s shop there was a woman with a basket on her arm, debating about some sausage for dinner; as I went past, she looked up at me. She had only a single tooth in the lower jaw. In the nervous and excitable state I was on, her face made an instant and revolting impression on me – the long yellow tooth looked like a finger sticking out of her jaw, and as she turned toward me, her eyes wee full of sausage. I lost my appetite instantly, and felt nauseated.” (from Hunger)

  9. Episode 6: Cooper gives a few more toots on his whistle – which I think he whittled in the pilot – the tones seem to be building up to the weird tones from ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. I’m just off to build a little mountain in the back room.

  10. Ben and Jerry are eating a huge tub of unmarked ice cream. “Needs more pecan” says Jerry.
    – Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!

  11. DR. HAYWARD
    Oh, you wanna feed him Agent Cooper?
    COOPER
    I don’t like birds.
    – Cooper… known as coop for short. And doesn’t like birds? Whatabout owls? The birds… Hitchcock… stop stream of conciousness now.

  12. SHELLY
    So I pulled the trigger. I shot him Bobby. What am I going to do? Where am I going to hide?
    BOBBY
    Shelly, Leo Johnson is history. Understand?
    MUSIC: DARK TIMES???
    BOBBY
    I’m taking care of you from now on. I’m going to deal with Leo. I’m going to deal with James. Bobby’s going to deal with everything.
    – Bobby has suddenly lapsed into the role of Shelley’s husband, Leo, by starting to refer to himself in the third person, as Leo does.

  13. Audrey spies on Emory (dept. store manager) from his closet – it has louvred doors, just like the closet that Kyle McLoughlin (who plays Cooper in TP) hides in, in Blue Velvet.

  14. In the TV Series invitation to love, the nerdy hero, Chet, shoots Montana – he falls, clutching red curtains

  15. Almost forgot: Philip Gerard, the one-armed man. In the TV series The Fugitive, Richard Kimbell is constantly searching for a one-armed man called… Philip Gerard

  16. I can think of no better way to pass the time than by checking out Peaks! Check out the wird looking doll in the diner when the four teenagers are hanging out in the booth.

  17. Every episode: The use of ‘middle places’
    I do like the traffic light motif – swinging in the wind – maybe the lights changing signals the opening and closing of paths between two worlds. The crossroads as a liminal zone – a middle place. The landing at the top of the stairs in the Palmer household is another.

  18. Ideals For Living:
    Harry, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just… let it happen. Could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black coffee.
    – Agent Cooper

  19. Oh yeah? Well, I’ve had about enough of morons and halfwits, dolts, dunces, dullards and dumbbells–and you chowderhead yokel, you blithering hayseed, you – you’ve had enough of me?
    – Albert Rosenfield

  20. Now Jen has fallen prey to this motif watch – she has pointed out to me that Audrey means ‘water goddess’. Audrey Horn lives in the Great Northern Hotel, beside the river and waterfall…
    [Ok, now she says maybe not… – Blame this article »]

  21. “Listen to me, Lucy Moran, you just listen. When the Tacoma Sperm Bank was looking for donors, naturally I applied. It’s my civic duty and I like whales. A routine physical examination revealed that I’m sterile. Sure I thought it meant that I didn’t have to take a bath, but the doctors told me the truth. They told me I can’t have babies. So what I wanna know now is why are you having one and how?” -Andy Brennan, Episode 9

  22. The Major reveals he works for SETI (or similar). He shows Cooper a message from space that reads
    “THE OWLS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM”
    – episode 9

  23. From episode 8, as Cooper lies in a pool of blood on the floor of his bedroom in the Great Northern:
    GIANT:
    The first thing I will tell you is: “The man in the
    smiling bag.”
    COOPER
    (mumbles to himself, trying, to remember)
    “Smiling bag.”
    GIANT
    The second thing is: “The owls are not what you think.”
    Cooper repeats the words, clinging to them.
    GIANT(CONTINUED)
    The third thing is: “He points without the proper chemical.”

  24. Episode 8. Cooper, still lying on floor in a pool of blood, voice-activates his dictaphone:
    COOPER
    Diane, it’s – I don’t know what time it is, Diane, I’ve been shot. I was out for a while and I can’t reach my watch. The sky’s getting light, I can hear birdsong. I’m lying on the floor of my room. There is a great deal of pain and a fair amount of blood. I seem to remember three shots, all to the midsection.
    I was wearing my vest last night, per Bureau regulations when undercover, but even so, if you can imagine someone dropping three bowling balls on your chest from a height of about nine feet you might begin to approximate the sensation. (looking at his chest) On balance, though, being shot is not as bad as I had always imagined it might be.
    If you can manage to keep the fear from your mind. Then again, I suppose you could say that about almost anything in life: it’s not so bad if you can keep the fear from your mind. (he wrestles with it) At a time like this, curiously, you immediately think of the things you regret, or the things you would miss. I would like, in general, to treat people with much more care and respect.
    I would like to climb a tall hill, sit in the cool grass and feel the sun on my face. I wish I could have cracked the Lindbergh kidnapping. I would very much like to make love to a beautiful woman who I had genuine affection for. I would like that very much. (he has to stop) All in all, a very interesting experience.

  25. Episode 10: Albert’s Path.
    TRUMAN
    Anything we should be working on?
    ALBERT
    Practice walking without dragging your knuckles on the
    floor.
    He moves to leave, but Truman blocks his path.
    TRUMAN
    Albert, you make fun of everyone and everything and
    then act like you deserve an award for it. That’s just not
    right. Get out of here before I do something I won’t
    regret. Again.
    ALBERT
    (smiles)
    While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact of the
    matter is I’m merely a naysayer and hatchet man in the
    fight against violence. I pride myself in taking a punch
    and would gladly take another because I choose to live
    my life in the company of Ghandi and King. My
    concerns are global. I reject absolutely revenge,
    aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a
    method is love. I love you, Sheriff Truman.
    Albert leaves. Truman turns to Cooper. A beat.
    COOPER
    Albert’s path is a strange and difficult one.
    http://www.glastonberrygrove.net/texts/script10.html

  26. Episode 10 is like a change of seasons. Secrets dissolve. The ‘blowing trees’ and traffic light motif return. Donna finally visits Laura’s grave and has a little rant. The diary appears. Leland is arrested for murdering Jacques. Blackie, Emory and Jean plot Benjamin’s downfall, and he in turn, questions Cooper’s acquaintance in with Audrey. The one-armed man and Leland recognise ‘Bob’. Albert ‘s cynicism somehow falls into step with the teachings of Ghandi. We find out who got Lucy pregant – the unbelievable Dick Tremaine.
    The list goes on…
    And then there’s the wind in the trees, the swinging stop light as a visual reference for the unleashing of natural energies – the Black Lodge?
    http://www.twinpeaks.org/faqeps.htm#e49

  27. Episode 1: The dancing red dwarf character (man from another place) tells Cooper, while throwing his eyes towards Laura Palmer:
    “She’s full of secrets”
    Episode 12 (2:5): The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
    This episode is full of secrets, sneaking around, subterfuge and lies! Laura’s secret diary, hidden in a secret compartment in the reclusive Harold Smith’s house. Donna and Maddy use subterfuge in an attempt to steal the diary from Harold, based on a promise by Donna to divulge her secrets to Harold. On her way to stealing to the diary, Maddy lies to James when he asks her where’s she going.
    Earlier, Lucy says she’s going to visit friends who just had a baby(Gwen and her husband, Larry… Gwen had the baby, not Larry) in Tacomo – when Andy phones the number, he finds that she’s going to have an abortion.
    Bobby and Shelly have the inept Mr Pinkle around to fit the special equipment for Leo’s homecoming – it’s an insurance scam, of course. They kiss when he’s otherwise occupied (swinging from the crane in the bedroom).
    Hank hides behind the door in Ben Horne’s office, listening to the conversation with Mr. Tojamura.
    Concealed weapons: Jean Renault has a knife up his sleeve. Nancy has a knife in her boot.
    The two teams of Donna and Maddy, and Cooper and Truman both study their respective hand-drawn floor plans off the buildings they’re going to infiltrate – Harold Smith’s One Eyed Jacks.
    Cooper and Truman try to keep their One Eyed Jacks mission from Hawk, but he secretly follows them. As does Hank. Cooper and Truman sneak into the brothel, in an attempt to find Audrey. Truman witnesses Jean killing Blackie with his secreted springloaded knife, through a net curtain. Cooper sees Nancy draw her boot knife on him in a mirror.
    HAWK: Good thing you guys can’t keep a secret.
    HAROLD
    Are you looking for secrets? Is that it? Maybe I can
    give you one. Do you want to know what the
    ultimate secret is? Laura did.
    (eyes flaring)
    The secret of knowing who killed you.
    http://www.chez.com/anniecordier/serie/scripts/205.html

  28. Other interesting quotes from 12(2.05):
    COOPER: Diane, last night I dreamed I was eating a large, tasteless gumdrop, and awoke to discover I was chewing on one of my foam disposable earplugs. Perhaps I should consider moderating my nighttime coffee consumption.

  29. (Judge) STERNWOOD
    How long you been here, Cooper?
    COOPER
    Close to two weeks, sir.
    STERNWOOD
    I’ll advise you to keep your eye on the woods. The
    woods are wondrous here. But strange.

  30. RENAULT’S VOICE
    … across the border, five miles east of Grand Forks
    on the road to Castlegars, is a bar called the
    Columbian. Behind it is a failed amusement park.
    Go to the merry-go-round. Leave the briefcase
    beside the horse with no head. At midnight. Alone.

  31. ANDY, on the phone about his sperm count:
    (into phone)
    Yeah, I’m calling for some test results. Doc
    Hayward said I could just call you an … what’s it
    for? It was for a …
    (stage whisper)
    Semens analysis. Brennan. Andy.
    (waiting)
    Yes? Uh, could you go slow, I want to write all this
    down.
    (writes)
    Oligospermia. That sounds terrible. I have that?
    (blank)
    Oh, I had it. “Too few sperms.” Had it? You mean
    I’m cured?
    (writes; repeats as he does so)
    Doc said,
    They’re not just three guys on a fishing trip, they’re a whole damned town.” Yeah, l know what that means; they’re not really real people, they’re … okay, thank you. Thanks very much.
    Andy hangs up. He is overjoyed. Truman peeks out of his office curious about Andy’s excitement. Andy turns to him.
    ANDY
    I’m a whole damned town!
    (Truman looks bewildered. Walks into office, shaking his head, to wild whoops from Andy outside. Looks at Cooper… ‘Don’t even ask’)

  32. Episode 12: An owl catches the attention of Cooper before while Truman knocks out the security man at One-Eyed Jacks.
    In Episode 13, again an owl appears at a portentous moment.

  33. GORDON COLE:
    YOU’LL HAVE TO SPEAK UP. HEARING’S GONE. LONG STORY. GOT THESE THINGS CRANKED UP TO THE MAX.
    TRUMAN
    Are you looking for Agent Cooper?
    COLE
    WHEN AN AGENT GOES DOWN IN THE FIELD
    I JUMP RIGHT UP AND PAY A VISIT.
    TRUMAN
    Agent Cooper isn’t here right now.
    COLE
    ALBERT ROSENFIELD IS NOT COMING BACK,
    BUT I’VE GOT HIS WORK RIGHT HERE.
    Truman reacts to Cole’s errant conversational rhythms. Cole opens his satchel, refers to
    notes.
    COLE
    ITEM: A VICUNA COAT: FIBERS ALBERT
    FOUND IN THE HALL OUTSIDE COOPER’S
    ROOM ARE FROM A VICUNA COAT.
    TRUMAN
    The coat was vicuna?
    COLE
    NO THANKS. I ALREADY ATE. GOT THE LAB
    REPORT FROM ALBERT ON THE ONE
    ARMER’S SYRINGE. SAYS HE’S NEVER SEEN A
    DRUG LIKE IT. A COMBO: REALLY WIERD
    STUFF.

  34. CUT TO:
    INT. SHERIFF’S STATION – NIGHT
    Gordon Cole sits on a bench in the station foyer. He glances at his watch. Adjusts his
    hearing aids, as if to balance the volume from left to right. Cooper and Truman enter.
    COLE
    AGENT DALE COOPER!
    COOPER
    Hello, Gordon. Hope you haven’t been waiting too long.
    COLE
    I’VE BEEN WAITING TO SEE YOU HERE FOR
    THE BETTER PART OF THE AFTERNOON.
    COOPER
    What can I do for you?
    COLE
    NO MATTER WHATSOEVER. NO APOLOGY
    NECESSARY. GOT TO MEET THE LOCAL LAW
    ENFORCEMENT TEAM. A GREAT BUNCH.
    (YOU REMIND ME OF A LITTLE MEXICAN
    CHIHUAHUA TODAY)

  35. Episode 14: Lonely SoulsThe darkness arrives. There’s a lot of soundwork going on in this one. Weird music and sounds.
    Lots of stuff happening, lots of things revealed:
    GORDON GOES TO BEND, OREGON ON ‘HUSH HUSH’ BUSINESS. Ahem
    Harold Smith kills himself – Hawk finds the second Laura diary. He leaves a note – ‘Je suis une ame solitaire.’ – ‘I’m a lonely soul’.
    Earlier, the one armed-man is trying to recognise BOB in the hotel, but for some reason is surrounded by sailors bouncing handballs.
    Benjamin Horne is confronted by Audrey. Had admits his ownership of One Eyed Jacks and his sleeping with Laura. Oddly, he has a photo of Laura on his desk. Audrey shops him to the coppers, and Ben is arrested while about to seal the deal with Tojamura.
    Leo speaks/drools “new boots” over and over. Bobby and mike find a tape in the heel of one of the boots.
    Tojamura turns up and frightens the hell out of Pete Martell – turns out it’s Catherine in disguise.
    We finally see that BOB inhabits the corpeal body of Leland – just like Jacobi was aware of Jacques Renault being killed, and smelled burning, Maddy smells burning as BOB manifests and murders her, using Leland, then puts a letter ‘o’ under her fingernail. “Go back to Missoula, Montana!”
    This appearance of BOB is very, very disturbing!
    Meanwhile, Sarah is lying on the floor, drugged, imagining a ghostly white horse in the living room.
    The Log Lady arrives at the sheriff’s office, telling Cooper that “the owls are at the roadhouse”.
    Log Lady: We don’t know what will happen, or when. But there are owls at
    the Roadhouse.
    Cooper: The Roadhouse. Something is happening, isn’t it, Margaret?
    Log Lady: Yes.
    At the roadhouse, the Giant replaces Julee Cruise on stage, and says ‘It’s happening Again’, appearing only to Cooper and the Log Lady. Truman is there, along with Donna, James, Bobby and the sailors, but none of them see anything. The senile waiter from the Great Northern stumbles over to Cooper and says ‘I’m so sorry’.
    It’s a dark time in Twin Peaks…

  36. I just came up with a theory (and this has probably been already suggested). When Leland comments on the gum being his favourite when he was a kid, the waiter responds with that it will come back in style.
    Could this mean that the gum signifies Leland’s innocence before Bob possessed him and when Bob leaves he will be free as he was when he was a child?

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