The secrets of the Black Lodge are revealed in Twin Peaks episode 16

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One of the highlights of the season, bringing together many loose plot threads in a deeply satisfying way

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In what is perhaps the most exciting, satisfying episode since the epic, mind-bending Part 8, Twin Peaks speeds headlong towards next week’s two-part season finale. The pace has never been more breakneck as plot threads that seemed only vaguely connected begin to converge, and we learn more about the inner workings of the mysterious Black Lodge. But it’s one moment in particular, regarding a certain Special Agent Dale Cooper, that really defines this episode.

What happened to Richard?

Evil Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) drive down a dirt road at night. Cooper is following one of the three sets of coordinates he’s been given, and as they approach the location—which appears to be a huge rock—he stops the car and orders Richard to investigate. “I’m 25 years your senior,” he says, our first clue to Horne’s parentage. Richard climbs the rock and is suddenly disintegrated by some kind of electrical surge. “Goodbye, my son,” says Evil Cooper as he walks away. The theories that Horne is the son of Audrey and Cooper’s doppelgänger were on the money.

These coordinates were a trap, and Cooper knew it. That’s why he sent Richard in, as bait. He clearly has no love for his son, and I can’t say I’m sad about Horne being evaporated. But was he killed or transported to the Black Lodge? Either way, it’s better than he deserves, and we may see more of Horne next week. Interestingly, these events are witnessed (through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars) by a confused Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly), who is still be lost in the wilderness. Does this mean Evil Cooper is nearing Twin Peaks?

So is Cooper back to his old self?

It appears so. Cooper wakes up from the coma induced by jamming a fork into an electrical outlet last week, and the sparkle is back in his eyes. Sixteen torturous hours later, he’s the chirpy, assured FBI agent we know and love. But I must admit, I will miss the bumbling Dougie Jones. As he wakes up, Cooper has a vision of Mike (Al Strobel) who tells him that his twin hasn’t gone back into the Black Lodge yet, and he hands him the Owl Cave ring. As we saw with Ray in episode 13, dying while wearing the ring transports a person back to the Lodge, so it’s likely Cooper will try to do the same with his doppelgänger.

Cooper remembers everything that happened to him while he was in his daze, and asks the Mitchum brothers to arrange a flight to Spokane, Washington on their private jet—the nearest airport to Twin Peaks. Cooper says an emotional farewell to Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon), saying that he has to go somewhere, but that he’ll be back. I like the idea of Cooper returning to Nevada and becoming a family man after he deals with Evil Cooper in Twin Peaks. Janey-E seems to understand that Cooper isn’t her husband Dougie, who we know was a tulpa—a manufactured being.

What was the seed?

Cooper asks Mike if he still has ‘the seed’. Mike says he does, taking the golden orb that Dougie transformed into in episode 3 out of his pocket. Then Cooper plucks a hair from his head, gives it to Mike, and tells him he needs to make another one. The golden orb is a seed for a tulpa, and a piece of a person’s body is required to make one. But Cooper’s motivation is unclear. Is this part of a plan to trick his twin, or does he want Mike to create another ‘Dougie’ for the Jones family? Whatever’s happening here, Cooper has intimate knowledge of how things in the Black Lodge work and the power of the ring.

Was Diane real?

Diane (Laura Dern) tells Gordon Cole (David Lynch), Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), and Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) about what happened the night Cooper visited her. You may remember her referencing this in episode 7 when she confronted him in prison, but being too distressed to elaborate. As many predicted, Cooper visited her and raped her, then took her to ‘an old gas station’—almost certainly the otherworldly convenience store we visited last week. But before she can continue the story she becomes agitated, saying “I’m not me!”, and tries to shoot Cole. But Tammy and Albert seem to have predicted this and return fire, killing her before she gets the chance.

When Diane dies her body disappears, confirming that she was a tulpa herself—probably constructed by Evil Cooper as a way to get close to Cole and co. She appears in the Black Lodge and, just like Dougie, fades away and leaves a golden seed behind. But what about the real Diane? Her fate is unknown, and with only two hours of the series left, we may never find out. Tammy and Albert are shocked by Diane’s sudden disappearance, but Cole doesn’t seem phased—further proof that he seems to know more about Blue Roses cases and the workings of the Lodge than he is perhaps letting on.

What happened to Audrey?

Following a song by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) and Charlie (Clark Middleton) finally arrive at the Roadhouse after two episodes arguing about it. Then the MC introduces a new band playing Audrey’s Song—a famous piece of music from the original series composed by Angelo Badalamenti. Mirroring the iconic scene in the first season where Audrey dances to this music in the Double R diner, her older self seems hypnotised by the song. The crowd moves into the darkness at the edges of the bar, giving her space. But a fight breaks out and she snaps out of it, in more ways than one.

Ever since the first (disappointing) Audrey scene, fans have speculated that this is some kind of manufactured reality, perhaps as a result of the bank explosion in season 2. In the very last scene of the episode, Audrey approaches Charlie at the bar, then we suddenly cut to her in a white room staring into a mirror, shocked. Is she still in a coma? There was something not quite real about the Roadhouse scene, and it seems it may all have been happening in her head. Or it could be a result of the trauma of whatever happened between her and Evil Cooper. A lot of questions will undoubtedly be left unanswered in next week’s finale, but I hope Audrey’s fate is revealed.

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