Episode 29 (Twin Peaks)
|Twin Peaks episode|
The elderly waiter offering Dale Cooper coffee in the Black Lodge.
|Directed by||David Lynch|
David Lynch (uncredited)
|Original air date||June 10, 1991|
"Episode 29", also known as "Beyond Life and Death",[nb 1] is the twenty-second and final episode of the second season of the American mystery television series Twin Peaks. It was also the second hour of the two-part series finale. The episode was written by the series co-creator Mark Frost, producer Harley Peyton and regular writer Robert Engels and was directed by series co-creator David Lynch, who also allegedly rewrote parts of the script. It features series regulars Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Richard Beymer and Kenneth Welsh; and guest stars Frank Silva as Killer Bob, Michael J. Anderson as The Man from Another Place, Carel Struycken as The Giant, and Heather Graham as Annie Blackburn.
Twin Peaks centers on the investigation into the murder of schoolgirl Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in the small rural town in Washington state after which the series is named. In this episode, after the kidnap of Annie Blackburn, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Dale Cooper (MacLachlan) and Sheriff Truman (Ontkean) follow Windom Earle (Welsh) to the entrance of The Black Lodge—an evil place which exists on an alternate plane of reality. Upon entering, Cooper encounters tests of courage from Killer Bob, The Man from Another Place, Earle and a number of doppelgängers.
"Episode 29" was broadcast on June 10, 1991 on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and was watched by an audience of 10.4 million households in the United States, about 12 percent of the available audience. The episode was well received and has been the subject of vast critical and academic commentary. Several of the episode's cliffhangers were expanded upon in Lynch's 1992 prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and in the 2016 tie-in book "The Secret History of Twin Peaks".
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Andy and Lucy console one another in the aftermath of the Miss Twin Peaks Pageant, where Annie was kidnapped by Windom Earle. Cooper, Harry, and Hawk contemplate the chalkboard map, as Cooper says quietly, "Fire walk with me." Pete Martell enters the police station exclaiming, "Grand theft auto!" and says the Log Lady stole his truck and drove off toward the woods. There were "...twelve rainbow trout in the [truck] bed." Truman recalls a circle of twelve sycamore trees in the woods: Glastonbury Grove, where Hawk found the pages torn from Laura's diary. The Log Lady arrives carrying a jar of black oil given to her by her husband before his death. Cooper informs Pete that Windom Earle stole his truck. The Log Lady says, "This oil is an opening to a gateway." The oil smells like scorched engine oil. Hawk brings in Ronnette Pulaski, who recognizes the odor from the night of Laura Palmer's death.
Windom arrives in a dark, wooded grove with Annie, who is quietly reciting Psalm 141. They reach a circle of young sycamores with a small pool at its center. Upon entering the circle, Annie becomes catatonic, and Windom recites a fragment of poetic verse. A ghostly red curtain appears behind the pool. They pass through it and vanish.
At the Hurley house, Ed, Norma, and Doc Hayward bandage Nadine Hurley and Mike Nelson's injuries. Nadine suddenly regains her memory, and is horrified to see Ed with Norma. She hollers about the missing drape runners and bursts into tears. Mike apologises to Ed for letting his affair with Nadine "get out of hand."
At the Hayward house, Donna is distraught, having learned that Benjamin Horne is her biological father. Ben and Donna's mother try to console her. Doc Hayward arrives and orders Ben to leave. Ben's wife arrives and yells at him. An enraged Doc Hayward attacks Ben. Ben slams his head on the fireplace and collapses.
At the Blue Pine Lodge, Andrew steals the safe deposit box key from the pie plate and sneaks off, though Pete sees him.
Cooper and Harry find Pete's truck in the woods. They walk deeper into the forest. Eventually Cooper says he must continue alone and leaves Harry behind. Cooper hears an owl, then sees the pool of oil in the circle of trees. Harry watches from a distance as Cooper enters the circle and passes through a red curtain which materializes behind the pool. The curtain glows for a moment then disappears, along with Cooper.
Cooper passes through a red-curtained hallway and finds himself in the Red Room from his dream. The Man from Another Place dances into the room and sits in a velvet chair. A strobe light flickers as Jimmy Scott sings a plaintive jazz ballad, "Sycamore Trees."
Andy arrives in the forest and joins Harry. Ten hours pass but Cooper has not returned. Andy asks Harry if he wants some food from the Double R Diner.
Meanwhile, Audrey walks into the Twin Peaks Savings & Loan bank and chains herself to the bank vault, in protest of the Ghostwood Project and its endangerment of the pine weasel. The elderly bank president, Dell Mibbler, fetches Audrey a glass of water, but fails to understand what Audrey is doing. Andrew and Pete arrive with the safe deposit key, intending to open the box left by Thomas Eckhart. Andrew asks Dell for help in identifying the correct box in the bank vault, which he does, albeit very slowly. As Dell ambles away, Andrew opens the box to reveal a bomb, along with a note: "Got you, Andrew! Love, Thomas." The bomb explodes, blowing out the bank windows. Dell's glasses and some dollar bills fall on a nearby pine tree.
At the Double R Diner, Bobby proposes marriage to Shelly. Shelly reminds Bobby that she is still married to Leo, who is still in the woods caught in Windom Earle's tarantula trap. Nearby, Major Briggs and his wife are sitting in a booth, happily reunited. Dr. Jacoby arrives with a worried Sarah Palmer, who delivers a message to Major Briggs in a distorted voice not her own: "I'm in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper. I'm waiting for you."
In the Black Lodge, the Man from Another Place tells Cooper, "This is the waiting room," and offers Cooper some coffee. The Man from Another Place tells Cooper, "When you see me again, it won't be me." Laura Palmer appears, saying, "I will see you again in 25 years." She makes a strange pose, says, "Meanwhile," and then is gone. The elderly waiter from the Great Northern appears and brings Cooper a cup of coffee, repeating, "Coffee!" He places the cup beside Cooper and is replaced by the Giant, who sits down and says, "One and the same." The Man from Another Place rubs his hands together, and a ringing tone is heard. Cooper attempts to sip the coffee, only to find it frozen solid. He tips the cup forward, and some of the coffee spills out. He tips it again, and now it is thick as syrup. The Man from Another Place says, "Wow, Bob, wow."
The Man from Another Place says, "Fire walk with me." A massive explosion of flames is seen, and then the waiting room turns dark with strobes. Cooper leaves the room, entering another room that looks exactly the same. He returns to the first room, where The Man from Another Place says, "Wrong way." Cooper goes back to the second room and finds The Man from Another Place twitching and laughing maniacally, saying, "Another friend." Maddy Ferguson enters and warns, "Watch out for my cousin," then disappears.
Cooper returns to the first room to find it completely empty. The Man from Another Place appears at Cooper's left, grimacing and twitching, his eyes white cataracts, and says, "Doppelgänger." A menacing Laura doppelgänger appears, holding the same pose as before. She says, "Meanwhile," shrieks, and charges Cooper. Cooper briefly sees the face of Windom Earle over Laura's and flees. Now in the prior room, Cooper finds a fresh stab wound in his stomach. He stumbles back to the first room, following a trail of his own blood, and sees Caroline in a floral dress lying on the floor beside his own bloodied body. He calls, "Caroline", but the woman turns into Annie. Annie sits up, covered in blood, dazed and wide-eyed. Cooper calls out to her, but the room turns dark, strobes flash, and the bodies disappear.
Cooper walks into a room with a black marble table. Annie appears wearing the floral dress and says, "Dale, I saw the face of the man who killed me: It was my husband." Cooper is baffled. Then Annie turns into Caroline. Caroline is replaced by doppelgänger Laura, who again shrieks, and then turns into Windom Earle. Annie materializes in her black pageant gown, and watches the confrontation between Windom and Cooper. She disappears, and Windom cackles. Windom tells Cooper he will let Annie live if Cooper gives him his soul. Cooper agrees without hesitation, and Windom stabs Cooper in the stomach. Cooper collapses, and then there is another explosion of flames. Cooper's stabbing is reversed as we hear Bob screaming. Bob appears, holding Earle like a puppet, and says to Cooper, "He can't ask for your soul. I will take his." Windom screams as Bob takes his soul. Cooper leaves the room as Bob cackles. A doppelgänger of Cooper appears from behind a curtain and joins Bob. The two laugh together.
A doppelgänger Leland Palmer appears in the hall between the two rooms and says to Cooper, "I did not kill anybody." The doppelgänger Cooper comes into the hall and snickers with Leland, then gives Cooper chase. Cooper flees but is caught by his doppelgänger just before he can escape. Bob appears, smiling into the camera.
It is nightfall again in the woods. The gateway to the Black Lodge glows for a moment and disappears. Harry finds Cooper and Annie lying in the circle of trees. Annie's face is bloodied.
Cooper wakes up the next morning in his bed at the Great Northern Hotel, with Harry and Doc Hayward watching over him. Cooper asks, "How's Annie?" Harry replies that Annie is at the hospital and will be all right. Cooper gets up out of bed, announcing he needs to brush his teeth. In the bathroom, Cooper begins to put toothpaste on a brush, but then squeezes the tube's contents into the sink. He rams his head into the bathroom mirror. Bob grins back at him from the shattered mirror. Harry and Doc knock on the door, concerned. As blood drips from his forehead, Cooper repeatedly mocks, "How's Annie?" and laughs maniacally.
The officially credited writers for this episode are Mark Frost, Harley Peyton, and Robert Engels. However, David Lynch revised their script significantly sans credit; he maintained the episode’s general structure but altered much of the dialogue and many scenes, most notably in the Red Room/Black Lodge sequences, making them more akin to the dream sequences in the first season. Lynch also expanded the cast, bringing back some characters who had not been seen in the series for some time, including The Log Lady, Ronette Pulaski, Maddy Ferguson, and the Palmer family.
James Marshall, Joan Chen and Piper Laurie do not appear in this episode. Ray Wise returns to the regular cast.
In an interview with Chris Rodley, Lynch said that the last episode "was written, but when it came to the Red Room, it was, in my opinion, completely and totally wrong. Completely and totally wrong. And so I changed that part. A lot of the other parts were things that had been started and were on a certain route, so they had to continue. But you can still direct them in a certain way. But I really like that last episode."
The major differences between the episode as originally scripted and as actually filmed are as follows:
- The Log Lady and Ronette Pulaski, both of whom appear in the actual episode, do not appear in the original script.
- The confrontation between Benjamin Horne and the Haywards is generally the same, although there is more dialogue in the original script. Also, in the original script, Doc Hayward shoves Ben, who strikes his head against a coffee table; a distraught Doc Hayward rushes to Ben's aid and apologises to him. In the filmed episode, Doc Hayward punches Ben, who splits his head against the fireplace; Doc Hayward reacts with terror and does not rush to Ben's aid.
- In the original script, Hawk and Major Briggs find Leo Johnson in Windom Earle's cabin. Leo instinctively begins to speak when he sees them, setting off the spider-trap set by Earle. Lynch replaced this with the scene in the Double R Diner featuring Bobby, Shelly, Major Briggs, Mrs Briggs, Dr Jacoby, Sarah Palmer, and Heidi the German waitress. With the exception of Major Briggs, none of these characters appear in the original script. In the filmed episode, Leo is only seen very briefly, via footage from the previous episode; his ultimate fate is left unresolved.
- In the original script, Pete Martell does not accompany Andrew Packard into the bank. Instead, Catherine Martell rushes into the bank just before Andrew accidentally sets off the bomb. Catherine does not appear at all in the filmed episode, and in the original script, Pete’s only appearance is in the Sheriff’s station at the beginning of the episode.
- In the original script, Sheriff Truman sees a vision of a dark woman wearing chain mail, holding a sword and a shield.
- The sequences in the Black Lodge are almost totally different in the original script: Windom Earle has much more dialogue; there is no backwards-talking; Laura Palmer appears only for an instant and does not speak; and The Black Lodge Singer, The Man from Another Place, the Giant, the Elderly Bellhop, Maddy Ferguson, and Leland Palmer do not appear. Windom Earle’s fate is less abrupt; he ends up shackled to a dentist’s chair with Bob as the torturer.
- The revelation at episode’s end that Cooper's doppelgänger is now inhabited by Bob is more subtle in the original script. In the bathroom scene, Cooper squeezes toothpaste onto his toothbrush, looks to the mirror and smiles, with Bob’s reflection smiling back; the episode ends at this point. In the filmed episode, Cooper squeezes the toothpaste into the sink, sees Bob’s reflection in the mirror, smashes his head into the mirror, says "How’s Annie?" repeatedly, and laughs uncontrollably.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks
The 2016 tie-in book for the 2017 relaunch of the series elaborates on some of the events that transpire in "Beyond Life and Death." The book takes the form of a dossier that has been compiled by an initially unidentified former resident of Twin Peaks. It is revealed in The Secret History of Twin Peaks that Audrey Horne survived the bomb blast at the bank, but that both Pete Martell and Andrew Packard died. We also learn that Benjamin Horne survived his run in with Doc Hayward and later purchased all of Catherine Martell's land in Twin Peaks retaining his stranglehold on the town. Catherine later became a recluse.
Agent Cooper's fate is elaborated on slightly when it is revealed that the dossier was compiled by Major Garland Briggs, who, after the immediate events of the finale, discovered that Cooper was the "key" to unlocking the mystery of Project Blue Book and the Black Lodge. Upon hearing that Cooper was resting at the Great Northern following his experience in the Lodge, Briggs requested that Cooper join him at his house to discuss his experiences. Later that evening Cooper joined Briggs at the family house, but what happened at the house is not specified. Major Briggs's final entry in the dossier states that Cooper left the house later that evening and that Briggs realized that something was wrong with him; he then writes that he realized what he had to do and signed off with the message "M*A*Y*D*A*Y". It is here that the dossier ends.
- Although the series did not originally have episode titles, when it was broadcast in Germany, the episodes were given titles, which are now commonly used by fans and critics.
- "Twin Peaks (a Title & Air Dates Guide)". epguides. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
- "TV Shows – Twin Peaks, Season 2". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
- Riches 2011, p. 40.
- Christy Desmet (1995). "The Canonization of Laura Palmer". In David Lavery. Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks. Wayne State University Press. p. 106. ISBN 0-8143-2506-8. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
Annie, the former nun, still appeals to her Christian God in times of need. Having fallen into Windom Earle's clutches, she recites Psalm 141, a prayer which according to the Jerusalem Bible, 'protects against the attraction of evil.'
- Template:Url= http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyallega/nodeath.html
- David Lynch, cited in Lynch on Lynch (Revised Edition) , edited by Chris Rodley. (2005, Faber and Faber), p.182
- Riches, Simon (2011). "Intuition and Investigation into Another Place: The Epistemological Role of Dreaming in Twin Peaks and Beyond". In Devlin, William J.; Biderman, Shai. The Philosophy of David Lynch. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-3396-3.
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