In a post for Twin Peaks Freaks last week, I discussed why I believed Major Briggs would have been the key figure to rescue the “good Dale” from the Black Lodge. In the following entry I will expand on this in more detail, as well as the roles of The Log Lady, the Lodges and their inhabitants.
Dale Cooper solved the murder of Laura Palmer using both traditional and existential deductive techniques. He dreamt of MIKE and BOB, a strange red room and even the victim herself telling him who her murderer was. He awoke unable to remember the killer’s name, but instinctively knew that in order to solve the crime, he needed to crack the code of his riddle-filled dream.
During this time, he was visited by The Giant on a few occasions, who also provided valuable clues, such as “The owls are not what they seem.” The Major’s contribution to this part of the investigation was to provide Cooper with confidential read-outs from the top-secret Project Blue Book transmissions, which originated from the woods around Twin Peaks. This evidence was key, as it enabled Cooper to truly believe that he had been visited by The Giant (whose clues were crucial to his investigation), and was our first glimpse at Briggs’ role as a messenger or conduit of the spirits from the White Lodge.
Through her intuitive relationship with her log (which may or may not contain the spirit of her dead husband), The Log Lady also helped Cooper with the metaphysical portion of his investigation by providing important details from the night of Laura’s murder, including that there was a third man who was the likely perpetrator. Philip Gerard, who was spirit MIKE's human vessel for a number of years also knew BOB well, from his days as BOB's partner in crime. Sarah and Maddy also had psychic abilities that allowed them to see BOB in visions, giving veracity to the notion that Laura’s killer was deeply connected to the Black Lodge. Cooper, a unique G-man who was open to communication from other worlds, was the only man for the job.
Eventually, like two overlapping lenses (one real life, one esoteric) that both came into focus at the same time, Cooper was able to identify the killer by hearing one line: “That gum you like is going to come back in style.” Major Briggs delivered the man (known affectionately as “Senor Droolcup”) who spoke these words to the Roadhouse, and thereby facilitated this crucial moment.
After Laura’s killer was revealed, the spirit that possessed him escaped, leaving an uneasy feeling that this unknown darkness in the woods would strike again. To truly overcome the spirit of BOB, Cooper needed to somehow enter a world he had only seen in a dream, a world where he knew he would face both external and internal demons (his shadow-self). He also needed to stop Windom Earle, whose murderous rampage became the new “real” police investigation and which, like Laura’s case, was tied to the metaphysical elements of Twin Peaks through Earle’s desire to find and utilise the power of the Black Lodge.
Shortly after solving Laura’s murder, Cooper went night fishing with Major Briggs in the forest. The major's disappearance was accompanied by a flash of a white light, the sound of a giant owl and “vague shape in the dark.” Upon his return, he had almost complete amnesia of the events of the past two days. He said that while his memories were immune from regression, he could feel them, and that smells and sensations were palpable. In his own words “Everything is known to me, yet somehow beyond my reach.” This was a similar sentiment to the one Cooper expressed upon waking from his dream of “the red room.”
During his strange exodus, Major Briggs was branded with “three triangular scars behind the right ear in perfect proportion.” Following an escape from his government superiors, Briggs told Cooper that he believed he was taken to the White Lodge during his disappearance. By this stage, the major's importance as a communication tool between the Lodge's inhabitants and Cooper had grown considerably. Rather than more dreams and visits from The Giant, Cooper was aided, now, by the mysterious abduction of Briggs and his branding became the first clue in a sequence that led Cooper directly to the Black Lodge.
Shortly thereafter, The Log Lady approached Major Briggs while he was dining at the RR, and instinctively touched his tattoo. “My log noticed,” she later told Cooper. Together they visited our favourite special agent to show him a similar branding upon The Log Lady’s leg. She told a story of being seven years old when she disappeared in the woods, only to be returned a day later with no memory of the events, but with the strange mark tattooed onto her skin. By connecting the two symbols of these characters who had visited the White Lodge, the path to the Black Lodge was now firmly in Cooper’s sights.
While Cooper raced Earle to reach the Lodge, Briggs was abducted by Earle and injected with a sort of truth serum in an attempt to extract information about how, when and where one could enter the Lodge. Towards the end of the painful session, Briggs said (as I discovered from looking at the original script for the episode), “Taht mug uoy ekil si gnimoc kcab ni elyts... Taht mug uoy ekil..." which is "That gum you like is coming back in style...That gum you like", backwards. I believe this is further proof that Major Briggs had visited the White Lodge.
By following a series of glyphs, maps and astronomical guides, Cooper ultimately succeeded in entering the Black Lodge. As he parted the curtains at Glastonbury grove, he has done the seemingly impossible and stepped into a world that he once thought only existed in dreams. Inside however, for a number of reasons that I will address in another post, Cooper’s doppelganger escaped the Black Lodge in his place, leaving the “good Dale” trapped in the Black Lodge.
I think at this time it is important to point out that we have not, to my knowledge, actually even seen the White Lodge. The Little Man from Another Place (LMFAP) told us that “the red room” is The Waiting Room, which many suggest is sort of neutral territory which all these spirits may access. Indeed, we saw both The Giant and Senor Droolcup in The Waiting Room, giving credence to this theory.
We know there is a Black Lodge. We’ve seen it. It looked similar to The Waiting Room but contained the evil spirits and shadow selves of those who entered. BOB liked to hang there and cause all sorts of mayhem and doppleLaura was shrieking up a storm. The White Lodge would most likely also be accessed through The Waiting Room, and would be a mirror image of the Black Lodge.
Now, let’s discuss the future.
I believe the only man up to the job of rescuing Cooper is Major Briggs. Why? Let’s look the facts:
Briggs, like Cooper before him, is a government man who is open to communicating with esoteric spirits, and relies heavily on his intuition and belief in a complex mythological world.
Briggs has visited and survived the White Lodge, meaning he has probably been in The Waiting Room. He has an instinctual memory of this event which could prepare him for the dangerous expedition.
In the final episode of the show, Dr Jacoby brings Sarah Palmer to Major Briggs as she had a message for him that she felt was important. A deep, other-worldy voice speaks through Sarah and says “I’m in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper.”
Briggs has a deep connection to The Log Lady and her powers of sight.
Briggs understands the complexities of entering the Black Lodge through his years on Project Blue Book, as well as the information he collected by watching archived videos of Windom Earle.
The Major has helped Cooper on a number of occasions before.
The actor playing Major Briggs, Don S. Davis, was often quoted as saying had the series not been cancelled, a major story arc of the proposed third series would include his character leading the expedition to rescue Cooper.
I know what you are probably thinking - this would be all well and good for Showtime’s new Twin Peaks series, but sadly the magnificent Don Davis has passed on. We do however, have this year’s upcoming book release of “The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks” by co-creator Mark Frost to look forward to. The book will apparently reveal “what happened to the people of that iconic fictional town since we last saw them 25 years ago,” as well as “a deeper glimpse into the central mystery that was only touched on by the original series.”
I am predicting that the rescue of Cooper by Briggs will be addressed in this book, but I am not sure how the content of the book will be incorporated into the new series. His story is so closely tied to the mythology of Twin Peaks, that his life beyond the finale would be a perfect opening to answer a lot of the questions we still have about the Lodges and their inhabitants. Will Mark Frost and David Lynch start the new series assuming viewers will have seen the original series and read the bridging book? That seems like an extraordinary proposition, but the extraordinary as already happened – Twin Peaks is returning (!) and just like the first series, I am sure that it will change the rules of what we are to expect from TV.
I would love to hear your thoughts and theories on Major Briggs and the mysteries of Twin Peaks that he is so intrinsically linked to.