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Twin Peaks: Miss Twin Peaks

Norma: “It would be a good day for healing.”
Shelly: “I think we need more than a day.”

Twin Peaks started with a dead girl, wrapped in plastic. Or maybe I should say it started with a town—especially, but not exclusively, men—reacting to the death of a girl. This is a show about many things. One of those things is the objectification of women.

Twin Peaksfridges” Laura Palmer, Josie, and Annie. But it also, especially in these last few episodes, reminds us that doing so is objectification. These women have lives beyond their victimhood, and the loss of life is a tragedy. The beauty pageant brings some of these ideas home. The choreography scene emphasizes the idea of exploitation; even Audrey is resistant to objectifying herself with the pageant. But many of our heroines do so, anyway.

As Coop explains to Harry, Josie was trembling with fear when she died. Her death, and the appearance of Bob afterwards, is still a point of contention for Coop. I do wish that Twin Peaks had spent a bit more time talking about Josie. Like Teresa Banks, she seems to only pop up when the writers remember that she’s relevant, too.

Coop’s affections for Annie are a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around, especially when I consider them in light of some of these ideas. His crush is adorable, but he also referred to Annie as “like a child.” She is appealing because she lacks the affectations most of us have. But it’s a bit creepy to me, because Coop seems to see himself as a potential guide to his child-bride. Coop sees Annie as innocent, but she reminds him that she has baggage and “damage.” Like Laura Palmer, she’s a tainted innocent.

But Katherine, in a meta nod, describes “boxes inside boxes.” She also explains that she “can’t take it anymore.” Closure is on its way; the innocent and the damned will have some sort of reckoning. The point in space and time that will open the doors to the Black Lodge and the White Lodge is arriving. Fear will open the door to the Black Lodge; love will open the door to the White Lodge. In the world of Twin Peaks love is evoked by women and fear is experienced by them.

It is no surprise that Windom Earle wants a woman, a “queen,” in whom to instill so much fear that he can open the door to the Black Lodge. He’s more interested in fear than in love. To him, women are beings in whom to evoke fear—that’s their (our) purpose. That’s what Annie represents to him.

Love and fear can work many ways, though. Leo’s misguided love for Shelly prompts him to do one good thing in freeing Major Briggs to save Shelly. Finally, Leo does something right, even if only because he doesn’t want Windom Earle to get his hands on his prize. Does Leo deserve his fate, to be inevitably eaten by tarantulas once he loses his grip on the twine? It’s hard for me to say, since I can’t get over my hatred of him. His faltering control over the tarantulas seems like an excellent metaphor for what it’s like to live with an abuser, never knowing what will set them off.

Leo isn’t the only one to have a recent change of heart. Ben Horne claimed that he can find the answers to what he’s looking for in the works of great philosophy like the Tao Te Ching. Cooper would agree, but they’d both be slightly wrong: philosophy may tell us about right action and how to live an honorable life, but lofty words of wisdom are useless when faced with the very physical manifestations of evil and temptation inherent in Twin Peaks and the idea of Bob.

Audrey’s speech was ostensibly about trees, but the idea that true evil is inaction—standing by while something you love is in peril—reminds us that Coop is a hero simply because he is willing to try. Success or failure, he’s the man who can, I hope, save Annie from the Black Lodge and defeat Windom Earle.

Windom Earle co-opts the idea that women are victims by dressing as a woman: doing so allows him to slip unnoticed into the pageant. The strobe effect created by the explosion marks a shift from one reality to another, and Andy tells us that reality won’t just be a new state of mind. It will be a place, indicated by the glyph from the cave that is really a map. A map, we assume, to the Black Lodge.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

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