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[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the two-hour series premiere of Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival.]
With the return of Twin Peaks on Showtime comes the answer to a question many fans have been wondering about for over two decades: What happened to Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) after he got trapped in the Black Lodge in the season two finale?
As the first two episodes of the revival revealed, Cooper is still trapped in the sinister Black Lodge, though his time there may be coming to a close. In the 25 years since Cooper first entered the lodge, his evil doppelganger has been wreaking havoc on the world, with a crew of seedy criminals helping to do his bidding.
Unlike the original series, the Twin Peaks revival is stretching far beyond the small fictional Washington town the first was set in. Several new locations are visited — four locales in the first two parts. While each has their own story, they all intertwine together in ways that are already obvious and will likely only becoming deeper-connected as the series rolls on.
The Black Lodge
This is likely the location fans were most excited to see as it reintroduced Cooper and several of the stranger pieces of Twin Peaks lore. It’s quickly revealed that MacLachlan’s character has been trapped in the lodge since the end of season two, with little knowledge of what’s happening. However, he’s visited by the trapped spirit of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), who tells him his 25 years in the Black Lodge are up and it’s time for him to leave. She then tells him a secret that viewers aren’t privy to before the lodge takes her away — essentially killing her once and for all. At least, that’s what Twin Peaks wants you to believe.
From there, Cooper is led to the evolved state of the arm — otherwise known as the Man from Another Place, played in the original series by Michael J. Anderson. In this incarnation, the arm looks like an electrified tree with some sort of substance on its head.
As the arm tells him, Cooper is stuck in the Black Lodge until his doppelganger returns. However, the arm also reveals its doppelganger, an evil force which temporarily removes Cooper from the lodge and thrusts him into a glass box in New York City, where he’s floating. Before long though, he’s ripped from there and taken back.
New York City, New York
A young man is introduced, staring at the glass box. His job is to watch in case something appears in it. Meanwhile, several video cameras are also pointed at the box. He tells Tracy (Madeline Zima), his love interest, that an anonymous billionaire pays for the whole operation and that he truly doesn’t know what his purpose there is or what might appear.
When he sneaks her into the room with the box, their coffee date quickly escalates to sex — when something finally appears in a cloud of smoke in the box. Whatever it is breaks free and attacks, killing them and splattering blood everywhere.
It’s not possible to see what the entity in the box that killed them was, but it was very angry. Given this and the fact that Cooper appeared in the box, there’s clearly a connection to the Black Lodge. Perhaps there’s a second portal to the dark dimension. While this could be the key to Cooper’s escaping the lodge once and for all, it remains to be seen.
The major question from this portion of the story concerns the identity of the anonymous billionaire. Who is funding this project and what is their connection to the Black Lodge? Is it possible a former citizen of Twin Peaks has gone on to bigger things and is investigating exactly what is happening to their hometown?
Buckhorn, South Dakota
This is where viewers got to learn a bit about Cooper’s doppelganger. In the story, a body is found in a woman’s apartment with the head severed. While the head belongs to the woman, the body seemingly does not.
It’s unclear exactly how the death occurred — or who the body belongs to — but all evidence points toward local school principal William Hastings (Matthew Lillard). He was having an affair with the woman, a librarian at his school, and his fingerprints are all over her apartment.
He maintains innocence but says he had dreamed about being in her apartment doing the deed. When confronted by his wife, things get venomous. They were cheating on each other and his wife seems happy to watch him waste away in prison.
Once home alone though, she’s confronted by Cooper’s doppelganger, who then shoots her dead. Based on Hastings dreaming of being in the librarian’s apartment and his wife’s connection to Cooper, it’s clear BOB has had some kind of influence over all of this. Where it goes from there remains unknown at this point.
However, from there Cooper meets up with his love interest only to find out she was plotting to kill him after a contract had been taken out on his life. Someone wants the doppelganger dead. Instead, Cooper kills her and sets out on his mission to avoid returning to the Black Lodge at all costs.
With so many twists and turns, in typical Twin Peaks fashion, the way this story in particular is being told can be very confusing. However, Cooper’s doppelganger has a plan to avoid returning to the lodge and it appears that will be the driving force of this character’s story.
Twin Peaks, Washington
Truth be told, as much as this was the premiere of a new season of Twin Peaks, the titular town didn’t play a huge role in what unfolds over the first two parts. Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) gets a shipment of shovels for something he’s working on and various people from around town gather at The Bang Bang Bar for a night of fun. Then there’s Ben (Richard Beymer) and Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly). The siblings are as bizarre as ever, though Jerry has become a big proponent of marijuana since he was last seen.
The important story thread from this segment of the premiere was Hawk (Michael Horse) and his interactions with the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson). She calls Hawk at the sheriff’s station to pass on a message from her log. “Something is missing and you have to find it,” she tells the deputy sheriff. “It has something to do with Special Agent Dale Cooper.”
This is the final piece of the puzzle that will, in theory, finally free Cooper from the Black Lodge. After digging the files on the missing agent out, Hawk sets off in search of the man. In doing so, he heads to the woods surrounding Twin Peaks. Where, exactly, his travels take him has yet to be revealed. But with a connection to the the lodge becoming stronger in New York and Hawk searching in Twin Peaks, it’s only a matter of time before the paths cross.
When that happens though, where will Cooper’s doppelganger be? He makes it abundantly clear that he has a plan for avoiding going back into the lodge. At this point, viewers have no idea what that plan is or how many people he has to kill for it to come to pass.
With the first two parts finally released, it’s hard to not wonder what happens next. Thankfully, those with access to Showtime’s on demand service don’t have to wait. The third and fourth parts of the series have already been released there. For everyone else, Twin Peaks airs Sundays at 9 p.m on Showtime.
Stay tuned to THR.com/TwinPeaks for continuing coverage of the series.
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