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Windom Earle in his cabin.
|First appearance||"Episode 21"|
|Last appearance||"Episode 29"|
|Portrayed by||Kenneth Welsh|
|Occupation||Former FBI Special Agent|
|Affiliated with||Black and White Lodge|
He is a former FBI agent, and former partner of Agent Dale Cooper. He features in the second half of the second season. He is an evil genius and a master of disguise, well-versed in esoterica from all parts of the world. He has extensive knowledge of the "dugpas", ancient Tibetan sorcerers dedicated to pure evil.
Cooper says of Windom Earle that "his mind is like a diamond: cold, hard and brilliant." Tibetan Buddhism is sometimes referred to as the vajrayana, which can be translated either as the "lightning way", or the "diamond way." Agent Cooper is also interested in Tibetan mysticism, but of the good variety, so in this sense, Windom Earle is his evil opposite.
Earle claims to have killed his wife Caroline, the love of Cooper’s life. He also has a fascination with the Black Lodge, whose secrets he is trying to unlock, as well as black magic. Major Garland Briggs states that Earle was involved in Project Blue Book, as was Briggs; however, their investigation into Earle's involvement was directly related to Twin Peaks and not the usual UFO investigations.
He is obsessed with chess and the game plays a crucial role in several later episodes. Earle murders a victim for every chess piece he is able to win during a correspondence game with Agent Cooper. Cooper enlists the help of Pete Martell, a local chess genius, to force a stalemate with as little loss of pieces (and subsequently, loss of life) as possible.
Near the end of the second season, Leo Johnson is forced into enslavement by Windom Earle using an electric shock collar to control him. He also captures a young man and later shoots him to death with an arrow and places his body on display. Major Garland Briggs is captured and interrogated by Earle, fairly unsuccessfully, using Haloperidol. Briggs does, however, end up revealing that fear opens the gate to the Black Lodge.
Earle chooses three "Queens” (Audrey, Donna and Shelly) for a “gathering of the Angels,” by giving each woman part of a handwritten poem ('"Love's Philosophy" by Percy Shelley) and arranging for them to meet in the Roadhouse. After the Miss Twin Peaks pageant, he chooses Annie Blackburn for his queen, and takes her into the Black Lodge.
- Martha P. Nochimson, 1997. The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press: Open Access Copy