In Barry Gifford’s book, Wild at Heart, Sailor Ripley gets re-imprisoned after a feed store robbery gone bad. He was an accomplice to the newly deceased Bobby Peru. Their getaway driver was Bobby’s “girl” Perdita Durango. Barry Gifford immediately wrote a sequel to Wild at Heart focusing on this side character in her own novella length book: Perdita Durango.
Perdita Durango picks up a little after Perdita flees from the feed store robbery. After an introductory section in San Antonio, she travels to New Orleans where she hooks up with (in many senses of the term) a criminal low-life named Romeo Dolorosa. Later Perdita and Romeo, both interested in a Latin American form of witchcraft, Santeria, decided to perform a ritual which involves human sacrifice. They closet themselves in an abandoned ranch nearby to prepare for the sacrifice. They also kidnap a young couple, Estella and Duane, with the intent of using one for the sacrifice. However, Perdita and Romeo take a bit of a shine to the young couple and keep them around against the young couple’s will. Meanwhile, the local law catches on to something untoward happening at the ranch and start a lookout into this. They sort of figure out that there’s going to be a rather seedy ritual happening and call Perdita the “Priestess” of the act. Romeo knows, however, that he needs to keep a getaway in his back pocket, so he turns to Marcello “Crazy Eyes” Santos for means of escape. Santos,ruler of the underworld in the whole American Southeast, gives him a job that requires the transport of (here it gets a little sick and weird so ones with queasy stomachs, you are warned) human placenta to Los Angeles to be used in Santos’s illegal cosmetics industry.
Perdita performs the ritual (luridly described in the chapter entitled “The Other Side of the River”). By this point, the local authorities also learn that Estella and Duane have been
kidnapped and are seeking them. This means that Perdita and Romeo, in order to complete Santos’s job, must drag Estella and Duane with them on the way to Los Angeles. Mostly leaving the teens tied up in motel rooms, the criminals also ‘treat’ Estella and Duane to meals at restaurants and a drive-in-movie. Sometime during the road trip, Romeo is assigned to rendezvous with one of Santos’ men named Pete. This goes south, as the authorities caught up with Romeo. Pete is killed in the ambush. Also at this point, a hapless DEA Agent Woody Dumas goes on the trail of the criminals. Also at this point, Santos, very upset at the death of his good friend and lieutenant, calls orders hits on several people, including Romeo–assigned to Santos’s own Caribe lieutenant, Reggie—and Woody. The hit on Woody proves unsuccessful as the Agent is able to defend himself.
Eventually, Perdita figures “it was over between her and Romeo. She wouldn’t say anything yet, just let the deal go down and pick her spot to split. Maybe take care of this Estrellita bitch before then.” (254). Back in Texas, Estella’s father Ernest Tubbs goes off on his own to search for his daughter and gets killed.
When the criminals and the teens make it to LA, Romeo contacts an old friend, Doug Fakaofo, who will be at Romeo’s side during the exchange. Perdita, Estella and Duane are to stay with Lily, Doug’s wife while the exchange goes down. When the exchange does happen, Reggie completes the hit against Doug and Romeo just as the law comes in. (The authorities are very happy that Santos did the job for them.) Over the radio, Lily learns of Romeo and her husband’s deaths and kicks Perdita and the couple out. The couple finally are liberated and begin to head home. Perdita yet again escapes from the clutches of the law. We last find her Tupelo, Mississippi picking up yet another man on the road. Santos is happy that Romeo was hit, not pleased that Reggie is in prison, and apathetic with Perdita’s escape.
Throughout the course of this book, Gifford keeps the pace quick. Also the two or three interweaving narratives keep the reader involved in the story. Moreover, as in Wild at Heart, Gifford writes quite a bit of the same “slice of life” conversations where one of the characters tells a story, and through that story one learns more about them or someone they once knew. Therefore, with the tone and pacing, there is a sure return to the familiar.
As this is a sequel, Perdita is a strange choice for Gifford to continue the story. In the film, because of Isabella Rossellini’s magnetic acting, Perdita is a charismatic character. Even though she is still spirited in the book, (since the reader first meets her stabbing Peru in the leg), she is almost a superfluous character. Therefore, though the diversion of granting her a story was an entertaining one, there is plenty of uncertainty with how this will add to the narrative structure of the whole series. This is especially the case since Perdita, as of now, is a wholly stand-alone character. Remember, the book doesn’t have her involved in a vast conspiracy against Sailor and Lula as Lynch’s film. Nor does the book have her sister, Juana, make an appearance. In fact, Juana will never make an appearance. “Juana had been shot and killed by her husband, Tony, who was drunk, during an argument. Tony had then murdered his and Juana’s two daughters before putting the gun in his own mouth and blowing off the top of his skull. Perdita missed Juana, and her nieces, Consuelo and Concha, too. She guessed she might forever. Tony she always could have lived without.” (151) Therefore, without this vast criminal conspiracy that features in the film, Perdita is a woman alone, and not a wholly three-dimensional fleshed out character. It begs the question of what Gifford saw in the character to grant Perdita her own story.
It’s interesting that Santos is introduced here too. With Santos, the criminal underworld which is only hinted at in book one and is fully alive in the film, now gains some structure. Though it is interesting that this Santos is no mere second rate capo, he is the fully fledged “god-father” type. The ruler over all the underworld. In the film, Santos is a low-life who seems to lack real power except over the Fortune women. He had to beg Mr. Reindeer for help. One can’t help but wonder if Lynch had divided Santos in half to create both Santos and Mr. Reindeer as a conflation of both characters seem to fit Gifford’s description of his Marcello Santos. Also, with how important of a character Santos was in the film, it begs the question whether or not his character and his involvement will grow over the course of the seven books.
Perdita Durango is a good book. It entertains. It keeps the same tone and pace of the past book. It is just a head scratcher about how this will fit into a larger narrative of Sailor and Lula’s overall tale and about the choice of Perdita to be the subject of the immediate sequel to Wild at Heart when there were so many other characters to choose from. Content note: Gifford does have use of the “n” word in the book. So reader be warned.
The version of the book I quote from is: Gifford, Barry. Sailor and Lula: The Complete Novels. New York: Seven Stories Press,
First seen in season 2 episode 6 ‘Demons,’ Cappy is described in the script as a studious young man. With his marvelous head of hair this seemingly minor character played by Ron Kirk looks like he could be the bastard son from one of Harry S. Truman’s high school flings, and he possesses a Frank Truman-like knack for investigation. A true Bookhouse boy, Cappy’s favorite book is The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, a non fiction publication on baseball history.
The leather clad Cappy must have been a useful boy because Major Garland Briggs assigns him to research the owl cave petroglyph symbols. Was Cappy examining information already compiled by Douglas Milford and Major Briggs in ‘The Secret History of Twin Peaks’ dossier? It’s difficult to fathom what facts Cappy could have obtained that Briggs didn’t already know by heart. The Major knows a lot more than he’s willing to let on. For instance, when Briggs was injected with truth serum by Windom Earle, he revealed the meaning of the Owl Cave symbols. “There’s a time if Jupiter and Saturn meet, they will receive you.”
There are other jobs for Cappy to do though. On an old VHS tape recording in Briggs’ possession the sheriff squad are viewing, Windom claims the dugpas were evil sorcerers who obtained their power from the Black Lodge and cultivated ‘evil for the sake of evil.’ Secret Agent Dale Cooper immediately tasks the poor Cappy with even more busy work: ‘Cappy, I want you to dig up everything you can about the dugpas.’ How he was to accomplish this feat is a mystery. Hopefully Joey Paulson helped fetch the books.
In my opinion the dugpas are the evil Woodsmen of season 3 who aid BOB and Bad Cooper. The ever inquisitive Cappy may have found out too many particulars for his own good. Imagine if Cappy located their hiding place at The Convenience Store and drove his bike back to Twin Peaks to tell Cooper his findings. It would have been his final ride. Like poor Bill Hastings of Buckhorn, he got his skull cracked like an egg shell.
It’s possible the newly escaped Bad Cooper had other plans for good old Cappy. There might be a multitude of Cappy tulpas out there doing the work no one else bothers with.
Many fan theories exist about what exactly is happening to Dale Cooper throughout Season 3, especially what happens when Cooper seemingly rescues Laura Palmer. Some posit that a real Richard is dreaming of being the hero Dale. Some posit that Cooper did go back and change history permanently, cancelling out Laura’s death through all dimensions and planes of existence. Here is yet another one to consider. Dale Cooper didn’t change history at all. Laura still died, but she lives, just not the way you think. There are parts of this theory that aren’t entirely believable (even by the author), but the idea has merit (to steal from Dwayne Milford) and perhaps someone who has trouble with Parts 17 and 18 may see this and say, “Now here is a theory that makes me feel comfortable.” There will be two articles that unpack this. This current article deals with Dale himself, the second will be about Laura’s end of things.
Cooper’s Largest Personality Flaw
Now we all know Cooper. We know that he has an intense guilt complex. We know that he feels he has to save the world. We know that he took it to heart when Jean Renault said, “Before you came here, Twin Peak was a simple place. My brothers deal dope to the teenagers and the truck drivers. One-Eyed Jack welcome the businessman and the tourist. Quiet people live a quiet life. Then a pretty girl die and you arrive and everything change. My brother Bernardo shot and left to die in the … the woods. A grieving father smother my remaining brother with a … a pillow. Kidnapping, dead. Suddenly the quiet people they’re quiet no more. Suddenly the … the simple dream become the nightmare. So, if you die maybe you will be the last to die. Maybe you brought the … the nightmare with you and maybe the nightmare will die with you.” We know simply by the look on his face that he felt guilty for this.
Cooper always felt guilty for things he could not control. He thinks he’s the only one to be able to solve someone’s problems. He wants to be able to control the outcome no matter what. This is especially evident in a very nuanced way when he was arranging the visit to One Eyed Jacks during the end of Season 1. He came in the Great Northern Lobby bearing a lode of cash for Big Ed and him to gamble with. He said that when he gambles with the Bureau’s money he likes to come back with a 10% return. How could he guarantee that every time?
He is extremely prideful. He always feels that only he could take on the world and all its problems. There is no humility in him. Once someone or some event denies him that victory, Caroline, Maddie, Annie, his shooting, Jean Renault’s words, Windom Earle’s actions, Josie and Truman, he goes into a deep, dark place where none can follow. This is proven when Gordon (S2 E7) said that both Albert and he were worried about Cooper and worried that this was turning into another Pittsburgh situation. It is hinted that Cooper was nearly driven past the point of no return with that one.
The Lodge and Cooper
There is quite a bit of fan consensus that when one enters the Lodge, one never really leaves it and one is always there. This is especially the case when Cooper dreams of being in the Lodge even before he steps in it during Season 2, Episode 29. He is in the Lodge during Laura’s dream where he instructs her not to take the ring. He remembers being in the Lodge in the future when he was an old man. It is also fair in saying that when he does his Lodge test, all the people he meets (like Cheryl Lee Latter said in “The Ghost of Caroline Earle”) is in someway a failure of his. Perhaps his shadow self is his pride and his control freak nature. Mr. C, if that is his official shadow self, is overly prideful, “I want, I never need.” He also is overly controlling, the situation with the prison phone call comes to mind. So the Lodge was meant to burn away his guilt, his pride and his control freak tendencies. The Lodge does know he’s failed. He’s stuck.
The Lodge may have thrown him out. It seems without BOB in the Lodge in Season 3, the place does exist less as a scary hell scape and more a neutral testing place that Hawk’s Nation believes it to be. They threw him out not only to get BOB back in, but also for Cooper to do another test. Again, a test in his pride and his control. He had to have everyone take care of him as Dougie. He couldn’t control one thing he did during the day.
Then he gets himself back. Instead of simply going to Twin Peaks to defeat the “Other One” and get him back in, he travels back to Lodge Land. His reason is unknown. To defeat Judy? But he does go back in. When he does go, it’s obvious from the recitation of the Fire Walk With Me Poem, that Dale is starting a new Lodge Test, though he doesn’t know it. This time, it’s not in a red room with chevron floors; it’s a test in his own mind.
A while back, back in the Twin Peaks Between Two Worlds group, during one of our rewatches, I posited that Judy could be Jeffries’s codeword for general failure. However, what if Gordon Cole said just was Judy is, negativity? Lynch is an avid practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, and the reason he began this practice was to do away with his extreme negativity. One will notice that as Dale enters “Judy’s realm,” Cooper closes his eyes and almost centers himself, like a meditator.
For some unknown reason he chooses this date to meditate on. Perhaps he knows that’s where his “Judy” resides. Though he gets his Judy wrong. His Judy is not in his inability to save Laura. His Judy is his inability to let go of the unavoidable. Cooper just needs to watch and observe one night, the night that he dare not do anything to change. The one night that he cannot do anything about, because the subject of that night is also undergoing her own Lodge test exactly as we speak, the night that Leland Palmer kills Laura and Laura passes her Lodge Test (again, more of this will be in Part two and also covered in my previous article, “The Ingredients of Perfect Courage”). Then, he does change things. He is prideful, controlling, and guilty enough to want to change it. As he starts leading the rescued Laura back ‘home’ his Judy remains unconquered. Therefore, the Lodge knows he’s failed immediately; they end the test by having Laura ripped away from him.
However, the guilt-complex-ridden Cooper can’t leave well enough alone. “I didn’t go because I didn’t wanna influence her. I’m a strong sender.” (S1 E5) Dale Cooper said this to Harry when he explained his reasoning for not going to the Palmer house for the sketching session. He knew he saw BOB but didn’t want to influence Sarah either way with how this, at that point, mystery man looked like. He is able to push out his influence in many ways. Remember Jean Renault’s persuasive mustache twirler? That probably did implant itself into Cooper’s conscience (let alone subconscious) and toyed with it. When Earle does start causing havoc he apologizes to Harry for bringing trouble into town.
He changes everyone’s memories, because he is a strong sender, especially in a focused meditative state. He wants to rid the town of their collective worst memory. Hence the reason why, when Tammy was interviewing everyone for the Final Dossier, she mentions them having a fog over them when they relate that Laura is missing. The fog is because someone, Cooper, is messing with their memories. But here is where it gets interesting, what happens if his sphere of influence only extends to 430 miles in either direction? This is why Tammy has the compulsion to leave. She knows she has to leave and get far enough away from the fog in order for her to think correctly. Therefore, within the 430 mile radius everyone has gotten their memories changed and to them, Laura is missing yet alive somewhere, Leland committed suicide a year after the whole event, Maddie lives. After crossing that 430 line, Laura is dead, Leland died in Sheriff’s custody, Maddie is killed in the Palmer Living Room. All the normal memories remain the same. The past two seasons are not negated.
Now here’s an interesting connection to something about Lucy. Kylee Karre, another Administrator in Twin Peaks Between Two Worlds group, had a mindblowing post a while back that states that Lucy was sort of aware of two timelines existing after Part 8 which caused her to wear two watch necklaces. However, Karre notes that Lucy is wearing only one watch in Part 17. Building on that, I add this. Lucy is aware now that there is only one timeline. Laura was always dead and nothing has changed. She returned to wearing one watch.
Back to Cooper and Part 18
Cooper is back in the Lodge, thinking he’s screwed up without Laura there (the reason Laura isn’t in the Lodge in Part 18 is for Part 2). He also gets a message from Leland to “Find Laura.” He is also reminded by the Evolution of the Arm, “Is this the story of the little girl who lives down the lane?” He follows the murderer’s advice and misinterprets the Supernatural “Help’s” advice. He feels he has to fix everything now, to get Laura back again, to rescue her. He is more powerful now, becoming more Lodge-being than person. He has repeatedly traversed Lodge Space and Reality too many times. He is now starting to “not exist, not in the normal sense,” like Jeffries. Knowing Laura will not be found within the 430 mile radius, he has to cross over.
From that point on, most of this is Laura’s story, except what happened with Dale and Diane in the motel room. Frankly, I’m still lost with that scene. Carrie Page is not really Laura. Cooper, though, blinded by his own ego, pride, hubris, refuses to see that. He should have never drug her back to Washington in the first place. When things don’t work out as planned on that street where she lived, he again failed at yet another test. The Lodge realizes this when it sent a Tremond to meet Cooper at the door. He has failed yet again, and his soul, by the end of Part 18, is further getting absorbed in the Lodge, further getting destroyed.
‘The Renault family have owned The Roadhouse for over 57 years… ‘ -Jean-Micheal Renault
The Roadhouse bar and music venue serves as the base of operations for bartender Jacques Renault and brother Bernard to run their widespread drug smuggling and prostitution rackets, a criminal enterprise which extends all the way from The Power and The Glory bar in Canada to the Deer Meadow sheriff’s office in Washington. Jacques also has ties to hospitality business moguls Ben and Jerry Horne, working blackjack table at their casino/brothel One-Eyed Jacks.
Were the Horne family and the Renault family in business together or were they rivals? They tolerated the other’s presence in their own backyard and employed similar individuals such as teens Laura Palmer, Ronette Pulaski, and the deranged Leo Johnson.
Both families accumulated much of their talent from the town of Twin Peaks. Ben and Jerry entrusted Horne’s department store manager and sleazebag Emory Battis to recruit girls working at the store’s perfume counter. And it’s a safe guess that the Renaults preyed on naive biker teens looking for various types of thrills at The Roadhouse.
Once the FBI started investigating Laura’s murder any sort of weak union these two crime organizations had started to crack. An out on bail Leo Johnson fearing Bernard will tie him to drug smuggling kills him and later shows his newly wrapped in plastic corpse to Ben. It’s apparent during the scene that Ben does not trust the Renaults, disrespectfully referring to them as ‘a couple of glue-sniffing squish heads.’
Animosity between the two families mounts as Horne family attorney Leland Palmer smothers Jacques to death with a hospital pillow, and Emory Battis and One-Eyed Jacks madame Blackie O’Reilly with the help of Jean Renault hold Audrey Horne hostage, extorting money from Ben. Jean, who is the oldest Renault brother, rules much the criminal underworld in this part of Canada with an iron first. He decides to go one step further against the Hornes, taking One-Eyed Jacks for himself and turning Ben’s chief muscle man Hank Jennings against him. With henchmen Leo rendered helpless and the police investigating him for Laura’s murder, Ben has no choice but to work with the FBI to get his daughter back. Ben never returns to criminal activities again after Audrey was rescued and she called him out for his misdeeds.
After Jean is killed we don’t find out who runs One-Eyed Jacks. Maybe Jerry? It’s also not clear who controls The Roadhouse with major Renault brothers out of the picture in season 2. That said, important community events take place there then like court proceedings with Judge Sternwood and the annual Miss Twin Peaks contest. Julee Cruise still holds concerts in the building. Perhaps The Roadhouse is still owned by some unknown Renault relative. As a revenge I think Ben Horne should have tried his own hostile takeover, but he was much too busy winning the Civil War and saving Ghostwood forest’s little pine weasel.
When we flash forward twenty five years, we see a new Renault is bar tending at The Roadhouse and firmly in charge of a prostitution racket. Jean-Michel Renault is as sleazy as Jacques ever was, and his bar’s concerts are huge events. There’s no doubt that he is raking in the cash after booking music powerhouses like The Nine Inch Nails and Eddie Vedder.
I don’t believe the greedy Jean-Michel would give up on a share of drug money especially with dope business transactions being conducted in his establishment. Is he working with the mysterious drug supplier Red? We do see Red at The Roadhouse bar in close proximity to Jean-Michel at the end of Part 2. I doubt this shot was made by David Lynch for no reason.
Red is bringing the Chinese designer drug ‘Sparkle’ down from Canada, which is Renault territory. ‘Twin Peaks: Between Two Worlds’ facebook group admin Pamela Tarajcak suggests Red might be Jean-Michel’s son, which makes sense given the ages of the two actors portraying the roles. I personally think there’s many family members not accounted for on the show. For instance, according to ‘The Secret History of Twin Peaks’ by Mark Frost, Hank Jennings was knifed in prison by a distant cousin of the Renaults.
‘All work and no place make Ben and Jerry dull boys’- Jerry Horne
Ben has lost a lot of his desire to misbehave in the past 25 years since the happenings of season two. He sticks strictly to the hotel business and takes care of his brother who has started a booming and totally legal marijuana enterprise.
Jerry manages to get himself into trouble in season three. After watching the Dr. Amp show webcast, Jerry smokes some powerful drugs and gets lost in the woods. I don’t think Jerry’s marijuana would cause him to think his ‘not foot’ was speaking to him. His experience in the woods is similar to the violent delirium that plagued Steven Burnett and Gersten Hayward. Whatever this stuff is, it’s no joke.
When Ben’s grandson Richard Horne tried a sample of ‘Sparkle’ he immediately starts to trip out, imagining a coin thrown by Red could hang in the air for minutes and then appear suddenly in his own mouth. It’s my own far-out theory that while hiding from the police Richard ran into Jerry in the woods and got him high on ‘Sparkle’ and then managed to steal Jerry’s car in order to escape from Twin Peaks Sheriff Department.
Before the hit and run killing of the little boy in Part 6, Richard struck a deal to sell Red’s dangerous illegal substances. But after he was humiliated by the older criminal I suspect that their pact was tenuous at best. Richard’s dealings at The Roadhouse with the corrupt Deputy Chad would not go unnoticed. Jean-Michel may have decided to introduce Audrey’s boy to Red, starting another doomed to fail criminal coexistence between the two families.
If you take Cooper’s journey out of the equation, and focus only on Laura, it would be very easy to see the otherworldly as a figment of her imagination.
She tries so hard to be the perfect girl that the town wants that detaching herself from the darker side of her personality helps her to feels less guilty about the charade.
The other Laura she talks about is the Laura who embraces the more hedonistic side of things, who parties, takes drugs, and works at One Eyed Jack’s.
She is volunteering for Meals on Wheels and being ‘good Laura’ when she meets the Tremonds, who lure her away with warnings of danger. Is it a coincidence that the decor in the Tremond painting is so much like that at Jack’s?
‘Sometimes I think there is someone inside me, but another, stranger part of me. Sometimes I see her in the mirror.’ – The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer.
When she sees the ‘other’ Laura in the Tremond painting, is it the Laura who is in the Red Room? Or the Laura who spends her nights in Jacques’ cabin with the red drapes behind her? When the real Laura enters the painting, the Tremonds direct her into a different room where the grandson creates fire. He directs her away from her doppelganger. Is that because she doesn’t yet have the perfect courage to face her shadow self?
Perhaps she doesn’t really know she has that courage herself until she puts on the green ring.
Did Laura’s angel leave, or did Laura let her go? The change in the angel painting reflects an absence of hope, but also Laura letting go of childish things and the safety of home. It is Laura accepting her new fate.
Just as Laura could have created the demon Bob to help her young mind process the reality of her abuse, she could have created the red room and the idea of her doppelgänger as a way of containing the dark side of her life away from the real day to day life of Twin Peaks.
IF you take Cooper’s journey out of the equation….
In 1990, David Lynch debuted his Palme d’Or winning film, Wild at Heart. Lynch fans all know that the film was based on a novel of the same name by Barry Gifford. Interestingly, upon reading the slim novel and watching the film successively, is that, though the major plotlines and characterizations of the main players remain quite similar, there are some startling changes and nuances that separate the two. Some work better than others, while some differences are understandable within their own media.
Lynch stayed true, mostly, to the major plot of the story. Ne’er-do-well Sailor Ripley (played in the film by Nicolas Cage) is released from prison after a two-year sentence for second degree manslaughter for the killing of Bobby Ray Lemon. Reuniting with his love, toney and sassy Lula Fortune (Laura Dern), the two set out on the road to head to California, breaking Sailor’s parole. Because Marietta Fortune (Diane Ladd), Lula’s mother, doesn’t want Sailor and Lula to be together, she hires sweet Johnnie Farraugut (Harry Dean Stanton) to find her and bring her home. Running out of money in Big Tuna, Texas finds Lula pregnant and Sailor joining with the ‘black angel’ Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) and his girl, Perdita Durango, (Isabella Rossellini) to rob a feed store, resulting in Sailor’s re-arrest, Bobby’s lurid demise, and Lula’s reunion with her mom, who has eventually caught up with her daughter.
Even some of the characterizations remain the same. Lula is still quite a bubblegum vamp whose brains do work quite differently. Sailor is an old-school throwback who enjoys a level of freedom and individuality. As a couple, they both respect each other and treat each other as complete equals. Johnnie is still a complete sweetheart of a man. Bobby Peru is still an evil creep, though less so in the book than in the film.
Other events have some nuanced differences. In both media, Uncle Pooch (Marvin Kaplan) does rape Lula. In the film though, Marietta found out and three months after, Uncle Pooch died in a car crash. Lula is also pregnant from this encounter, and has an abortion. Lula is clearly traumatized by the whole event. In the book, Marietta never found out. At the end of the crime, Uncle Pooch just leaves and Lula resumes making her sandwich. She does not get pregnant from this and continues to receive gifts from Uncle Pooch on all major holidays and on her birthday. Nor does he ever touch her again and only dies within very recent memory as of the commencement of the book. In this way, Lynch achingly showed the trauma such an assault causes whereas Gifford’s blase Lula is a hit and miss.
Sailor’s mom and dad are both dead from various illnesses while Sailor was still a child. Clyde Fortune did die in a fire in both media. “He got lead-poisoned from cleanin’ the old paint off our house without usin’ a mask. Mama said his brain just fell apart in pieces. Started he couldn’t remember things? Got real violent? Finally in the middle of one night he poured kerosene over himself and lit a match. Near burned down the house with me and Mama asleep upstairs. We got out just in time. It was a year before I met you.” (11). Gifford takes that event at face value. Things just happened the way Lula described, no more, no less. Lynch changes this to be something more despicable. Marietta and a character only name-dropped in the books but fleshed out to an extraordinary villain in the film, Marcello Santos (J. E. Freeman) plan an arson/murder of Clyde because they were both having an affair and something to do with the finances.
There are many dialogs that remain the same. Sailor and Lula have frank talks about their previous sex lives and how they feel about each other. Lula still remains worried about the ozone layer (which is entirely reminiscent of Candie’s version layer talk in Twin Peaks, Season 3). She is also disgusted by talk radio and news on one certain stretch of road, though book Lula handles her disgust far more calmly than film Lula’s little meltdown.
More extraordinary changes occur with four characters: Cousin Dell (Crispin Glover), Bobby Peru, and the subtraction of two characters in the film. Gifford wrote Cousin Dell as a completely mentally healthy person, a welder, who at one point has a mental breakdown that leads to many of the behaviors Lynch depicts in the film. Gifford also writes that it was Dell, and not Pooch, who impregnates Lula which leads to her abortion in the book. This happens when Lula was seventeen. Shortly after that is when book Dell devolves into madness. Lynch’s streamlining of Dell turns him into a Johnny Horne type character, which is okay. It is far more acceptable that Lynch did not make him yet another older relative who preyed on Lula at an impressionable age.
Events surrounding Bobby Peru also change in both media. Though both media present Bobby as a “dark angel” and eventually has him trick Sailor into the feed store robbery, there is one encounter that the book never had in it but was a Lynch addition. Peru’s sexual assault on Lula in her motel room is never in the book. Was the addition to make Peru almost another Frank Booth/BOB analog so present in many Lynch films? Was it to show Lula’s strength of will and ability to defend herself? Was it to provide a rock-bottom moment for the young couple? Maybe it was all three.
There are also several characters who are present in one media but not the other. The book contains two characters whose loss in Lynch’s film makes the film just a little weaker, and could serve to confirm a well-held and yet untrue bias that Lynch hates women. Beaney and Dalceda (nicknamed Dal) are friends of Lula and Marietta respectively. Lula’s conversation with Beaney about Sailor getting out of prison opens the book (not the actual attack by Lemon). Dal and Marietta have conversations sprinkled throughout the book, many of which serve to show how Dal is a sensible influence on Marietta. She gives straight talk to Marietta just when Marietta needs it. In the chapter entitled “Old Noise,” Marietta and Dal talk on the phone and Dal tries to convince Marietta that Lula is okay and that Marietta should worry about her own life and maybe hook up with that Farragut or Santos. She also reminds Marietta how in love she was with Clyde and how much they enjoyed each other’s company. She reminds Marietta “You’re just shit scared Lula feels the same way about Sailor as you did with Clyde.” (78). In that way, these two characters allow the Fortune women not to exist in isolation from other women. Also, Dal’s presence humanizes Marietta by making her more just a desperate mother and less the Wicked Witch of the East who is part of a vast conspiracy against Lula’s happiness. Dal is in many ways the Albert Rosenfield for Marietta. She shoots straight with lots of wisecracks, but does it from a place of love.
This vast conspiracy and other connected plot points provide the major differences between the two media. The film presents a vast underworld conspiracy to create a heightened paranoia and tenseness that is simply not present in the book. The aforementioned killing of Clyde by Santos and Marietta is just part of a larger conspiracy in the film. Marietta tries to seduce Sailor (an event that never occurred in the book, Marietta is far too disgusted with the lowlife, period). Marietta also calls Santos to kill Sailor. Santos then calls a Mr. Reindeer(W. Morgan Shepperd), another solely film character, who through the deliverance of two silver dollars arranges hits against Sailor (Bobby Peru is supposed to do the job at the feed store) and Johnnie (to be performed by Juana Durango) because Santos, afraid what Johnnie will discover about Clyde’s death, wants Farragut out of the way. Gifford wrote none of this. In fact, at the end, since there is no hit put out against Johnnie, and the fact that Santos is only named in the book, Johnnie lives and is the one who is at Marietta’s side when she picks up Lula in West Texas. Therefore, there is no Juana Durango (Grace Zabriskie) in at least the first book of the series or her voodoo practitioner gang. Perdita doesn’t know Sailor at all in the book until she meets him the first time for the feed store robbery. So the only real tension that the book has is will Sailor and Lula make it out West or will something bad or Marietta, whichever comes first, catch up with them? There is more tension in the film with the inclusion of this underworld conspiracy created as a domino effect from Clyde’s death. Neither difference is more preferable. Books don’t really need heightened tension to work. So the lack of this conspiracy does not make the book weaker. It probably would have complicated the plot of the book to convolution. But the tension is needed in the film to give some sort of connection between largely unconnected incidents. So both changes perform well within the media in which they have to reside.
Since Johnnie Farragut doesn’t die, the reader gets to spend more time with him and learn more about him. He is an amateur writer of short stories. Two chapters contain digressions from the plot as the reader reads a Johnnie Farragut original. Since Johnnie does live, that changes the ending of the book. Johnnie’s (and Dal’s) mediating and rationalizing influence on Marietta makes Marietta’s endgame just a bit different. Though at the end of both media, Marietta still doesn’t want Lula to be with Sailor, book Marietta does the work within herself to understand her daughter’s needs more. She learns to love her daughter not manipulate her. At the end of their last conversation together as Lula is about to pick up Sailor, the book ends with them saying “I love you” and not a phone slam as Lynch depicts Marietta still trying to crazily, negatively control Lula. Book Marietta is far more acceptable and sane than in the film. A further example is that Book Marietta never smears lipstick all over her face (though this part was a Diane Ladd addition, it is still a memorable part of the film and speaks so much about the character). Book Marietta is more likeable and less pitiable or derisive. This leads to an eventual reconciliation of mother and daughter. Also, with Johnnie’s better ending, who doesn’t want more of that sweet man and to see him live and thrive?
Another major difference is the inclusion of the car crash, and dying young woman (played by Sherilyn Fenn) they tried to help, right before the young couple reach Big Tuna. This is not in the book. It has been well stated that this was supposed to be the turning point for the young couple and is seen, in a way, as a curse upon them, an entree into the dark. This is typical in Lynch films where there is one incident that introduces the main character to the dark, whether the Axxon N. door in INLAND EMPIRE, Silencio in Mulholland Drive, Dorothy’s apartment in Blue Velvet, and more. But because the book is not a Lynch film, it doesn’t need that kind of trigger event. The only thing that could come anywhere close to that is in the chapter entitled “Road Kid.” When Sailor and Lula pick up a weird hitchhiker kid who wants to head over to Alaska to be a sled driver and has a box of puppies with which he’s traveling. This makes Lula sick and she has Sailor pull over and drop him off. This quesiness could be the first signs that Gifford makes of Lula’s pregnancy. The final major and well-known difference in plot is the ending. The book ends with Sailor realizing that Lula and Pace are doing fine without him so he leaves them. The last sentence of the novel was, “She let him go.” (146). The film has Lula and Sailor reuniting after an incident involving a vision of the Good Witch (Sheryl Lee) and a street gang. Both serve their purpose well; neither is more preferable than the other. In the book, Lula does become more independent, but the loss is in the happy ending of lover’s reunions. In the film, there is that happy ending element that is hardly present in many Lynch films.
Something to mention in the differences though also has to do with pacing. Oddly enough, Lynch speeds the film’s progress along by getting Sailor and Lula out on the road as fast as possible. Also the Powermad scene allows the young couple to get out of the Cape Fear Hotel room and about in society. The book has them have several conversations (until the chapter entitled “Rest of the World,” specifically) in that hotel room about quite a bit of different things. Therefore, Gifford takes plenty of time for the couple to start out on their road trip. Also in the book, there are more stops along the way to a dilapidated old hotel in Biloxi reminding Sailor of his Granddaddy’s old Confederate unit picture, a dancing joint in Nunez where we see Lula get a little jealous of Sailor talking with another woman, and lunch time in San Antonio where Lula and Sailor reveal their childhood ambitions to be a singer and a pilot respectively. Gifford has Johnnie beat them to New Orleans. For such a slim novel, Gifford really packs in the conversations and slows the pace. There are many “slice of life” conversations throughout the book where the main characters reveal more about their backstories, the main character reveals something about someone they knew in the past, or a character who either Farragut or the couple meet on the road is known a little deeper. All these conversations do show and tell how “the world is wild at heart and weird on top.” The odd events, like the car crash, Johnnie’s lurid demise at Juana’s hands, the events in New Orleans prove that quote in the film. Therefore, because print is printed and not viewed and film is seen and not read, both ways to demonstrate that the world is wild at heart is equally commendable.
The last two differences are motifs which Lynch includes and are absent from the book. These add richness to the characters and the world building that in a way makes the book just a little more mundane. These two motifs are well known and well examined in many articles about the film: Sailor’s Elvis obsession (and his snakeskin jacket) and the Wizard of Oz nods. These provide wonderful visuals and a surreal feel to the movie than the more gritty realist novel.
Through this analysis of both media it is obvious that though much of the major elements remain the same, the inherent differences of both media necessitated some marked changes. Though some changed elements remain more preferable in one element or the other, many are not unsatisfying either way. Both film and novel are excellent works that do show in their own respective ways how the “world is wild at heart and weird on top” and probably the only thing that could save it is the love between these two crazy kids.
The version of the book I quote from is:
Gifford, Barry. Sailor and Lula: The Complete Novels. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2010. The Barnes and Noble Nook E-Book edition.
10:10 am, February 16 (1988 or 1989) – Cooper reminds Gordon about a dream he had some time ago. The dream was about Phillip Jeffries’ appearance in Philadelphia office. Then the events of that dream actually happen. But as Gordon later confirms (after his Monica Bellucci dream), Jeffries appeared and did not appear in Philadelphia office. What does this mean? Was his appearance in fact a dream?
My answer is yes. I want to say, that appearance of Jeffries could be a dream soaking into reality. What Cooper saw as a premonition dream, then became a collective dream shared by him and his dream characters. I’m not sure we have ever seen Jeffries outside a dream. Even Buenos Aires part from FWWM and Missing Pieces doesn’t seem real. It feels like those scenes are full of some clichés about the city and its atmosphere with tango dancers in the hall of the hotel.
Jeffries consciousness might already have been locked in a machine. He attended ‘one of their meetings’ and it’s possible that he couldn’t find his way out of their world. Or he was able to attend that meeting only because he was already part of that world. He says “it was the dream”, and he continues dreaming. “We live inside a dream” – this line is first said by Jeffries. He is one of those dreamers who dream and then live inside the dream. Though he was lost and confused then. He was just starting figuring out what was happening to him.
Another ‘dreamer’ is Cooper. He is sensitive enough to dream world to serve as some kind of mediator. I argue here that Jeffries’ appearance was only possible through Cooper’s dream. Cooper knew he would appear, he knew about his own image on CCTV monitor. That image could be his double, or the monitor could be just showing dream world.
Gordon, Cooper and Jeffries communicate through dreams. Gordon has all those equipment and that strange hearing aid to be in tune with different layers of reality. Probably that allows him to be grounded enough to avoid getting lost in other dimensions himself. He has also Albert at his side who is the most grounded person of them all.
Years later, in his dream, Gordon is reminded of the abovementioned event by Monica Bellucci. Thisdream begins with Cooper whose face Gordon cannot see. I think it is the easiest part for interpreting – Cooper is enigma to Gordon at that point. Then come those lines about dreamer said by Monica, and then he’s reminded of Cooper and Jeffries from 25 years ago. Is it possible that it was again Jeffries communicating with Gordon, this time through the image of Monica Bellucci? Jeffries is now well aware of where he is and what he has to do. He can manage time travel. Can he manage dreams too?
Windom Earle was a good father figure to Cooper, and a good role model. When difficulties arose in his career and his marriage, no doubt due to his declining sanity, Cooper stepped in to help.
It may be inevitable that these two lonely souls would find comfort with each other, and that Dale’s loyalty to his mentor would be tested.
It is easy to assume that this betrayal, Windom’s violent reaction, and Caroline’s death, is what truly sent Windom over the edge and set him on a mission to destroy Cooper.
However, Caroline’s previous abduction was also orchestrated by her husband. Windom was a psychopath, and was spiraling long before Cooper set his sights on his wife.
The chances are that just being in Windom Earle’s vicinity at the moment he snapped was enough to make Cooper a lifelong target.
Cooper didn’t cause Caroline’s death, but he didn’t stop it either. He let his guard down for the possibility of love, just as he did years later with Annie, and in the face of the same danger. Love was the only thing that was a consistent failure in his life.
All the women he encountered in the Lodge were the women he failed to rescue. Did he think that by going back and saving Laura, he could amend for this?
Cooper entered the Red Room with a lot of emotional baggage. He had spent years haunted by the memory of Caroline and the nature of her death.
Caroline represented all the damsels in distress that needed him to save them, and she reminded him of a better time, when he was less flawed in his own eyes.
Perhaps he was simply in love with the idea of her, and the ghost of her. Maybe he clung to what they had because that was a time when his life was still a success and he was climbing the career ladder of his dreams.
Was Caroline the love of his life or just his biggest failure?
The theme of revealing someone’s or something’s true name is very common in philosophy, religion, or folklore. True name expresses and contains the nature, the essence of its bearer. In mythology and fairy tales, knowing someone’s true name gives one the power over them. True name is often hidden to avoid danger. Names are powerful and they have deep meaning.
Let’s take a look at some names in Twin Peaks. In the seasons 1 and 2, there were character-doubles sharing names: Bob and Bobby, two Mikes. Spirit Bob and Mike have common names. They function in this world and have chosen the names that humans would understand. These names fit with the time when they live among the humans. They can blend in. Mike in The Return becomes Philip Gerard, i.e. takes his host’s name.
If we look at other supernatural beings, those who we meet in the Lodges have descriptive names (The Arm, The Fireman), or presumed names, like Laura in the Red Room (who is and is not Laura). Also, Jiao Dai, which as far as I know has several meaning in Chinese, strikes me as descriptive name too. In short, these might not be their true names.
Tulpas, I imagine, get their names according to their creator’s purpose: Diane keeps her name because she needs to be recognized, while Dougie is a new name because he needs to stay unidentifiable as Cooper’s tulpa.
Mr. C is somehow special among them. He is, if my memory serves me right, the only doppelganger we meet outside the Lodges. According to Laura’s diary and Major Briggs’ note, there are two Coopers. But is “bad Dale” actually Cooper? In fact, Frank Truman confirms that he is not. In response to Hawk’s “That is Agent Cooper” Truman replies: “No… It’s not.”
Mr. C – shortened from Cooper, I suppose, is the name he’s called in the criminal ‘world of truck drivers’ as Buella would call it. Later Mr. C is asked about his name twice, or more correct, he’s told that he is Cooper – first by Jeffries, then by Richard Horne. Mr. C neither admits it, nor denies. He simply does not respond. Maybe he just cannot say it because it is not his name? The only time he admits it in response to Sheriff Truman, is with the words: “In the flesh.” He actually is only flesh, without soul. That might be why he cannot say it clearly himself, unlike ‘the one and only’ Cooper who says itintroducing himself to Alice Tremond. So I would say, Mr. C actually has no name, as he has no distinct identity. He is merely “not Cooper”, negative Cooper.
In the new timeline all names are changed, firstly, because personalities are changed, and secondly, maybe for protective reasons. Only Cooper insists on his old-timeline name and tries to force what he knows on the reality around him. He simply doesn’t accept that it is Carrie Page in front of him. In case of Dougie, Cooper easily takes up his name when swaps places with him. Cooper is not complete and, well, his ego is probably damaged – so he assumes the personality that other people assign to him. But after he is whole again, he doesn’t accept any other personality than Dale Cooper’s. But in the new timelines names must be changed for reason. What leaves me wondering which of these are the true names: Laura or Carrie, Dale or Richard, Diane or Linda?
Oh, and I almost forgot about two Trumans. This double has reasonable explanation but still gets the poor insurance man confused.
When Major Briggs was being questioned by Windom Earle, he said that his greatest fear was the possibility that love was not enough. What if he is right? What if love is not enough to endure the trials of the Lodges? What constructs perfect courage? Love certainly is one of three crucial ingredients to constitute perfect courage. The other two are: a faith in something and a hope for something. Laura had perfect courage, which led to her eventual angel and cathartic release at the end of Fire Walk With Me. But Cooper lacked perfect courage which led to his soul being annihilated (read: split irrevocably into too many forms). Both had love, but one had faith and hope, the other didn’t.
Both Laura and Dale expressed love in various ways. They of course loved through romantic love: Laura with Bobby and James, Cooper through Caroline and Annie. They loved their friends. Laura did everything possible, including a very harsh form of tough love, to steer Donna away from her destructive life. Cooper accepted his coworkers in the Bureau just as they are.
They did acts of kindnesses to their neighbors. Dale almost innately through his Boy Scout persona. Laura performed her charity through Meals on Wheels and her helping Johnny Horne. Even though she felt she had to do this to keep herself clean and to purge herself of her dirt, there still was empathy behind all of her acts of kindness: feeling sorry for the elderly person, who had no means of getting a meal and having a kindred feeling with Johnny. So though these acts were guilt tinged, they were done with love. Therefore, both had love in spades.
Here is what separates the two characters into the perfect and imperfect courage catagories. Laura had a sureness about her. Yes, she constantly questioned who was under the BOB guise but otherwise, through her diary we see her going through her torturous live with resolve. She never questions why this is happening to her nor does she question the justness of her being abused while others are living such wonderful lives around her. Rev. Brocklehurst described her as headstrong and bold. She was more than that, she just lived her life. She soldiered on through all of the evil deeds done to her. Nor does she ever doubt herself. Though she thought of herself as dirty and not good, caused by her abuser’s grooming of her, she was very sure of herself in other ways. Even in her dream sequence, she was very sure with what was going on, even when an injured Annie appeared in her bed. Finally, it takes great reliance on something else to know instinctively to put on that ring in the train car and to actually put a strange painting on a bedroom wall.
Cooper, on the other hand, is filled with questions. Being a doubter is not a bad thing, if tempered with some surety. But he questions everything, even things he needn’t, like the Kennedy questions at the beginning of the series or what happened to the Lindburgh baby. Not only does he question the Giant but doubts every word the Giant says later, having to have the clues proven to him. In the end,Dale’s doubting caused Laura to have to basically solve her own murder because of Cooper’s lack of resolve.
He doubts every action he’s ever done including the end result of what happened to him with the Earles. He can’t admit that somehow Windom manipulated the whole thing to drive Cooper crazy. This is proved when he took all the blame on himself. He doubts himself and all the good that he did when Jean Renault claims that Cooper is the cause of all the horror that happened in the town. He again doubts himself, and the truth, that he wasn’t the cause of the evil in the town. He is a constant doubter. Even in the Lodge, he is shocked and unsure of where he is. The blank or confused look on his face throughout his Lodge test prove this.
Laura had hope. Though there was this doomed feeling oozing throughout all her diary and her story, there is a hope there. She always felt that if she could keep on moving, keep on staying awake, keep on persevering things will remain alright and BOB will remain at bay. Of course, she was surprised when that didn’t work. Even when she was nearing the end of her tether, she didn’t give up on making plans, including going through her Meals on Wheels route. When she sought comfort at the Haywards, there is a return to hope that she only momentarily lost. The only time that she may have lost hope completely, was when the Angel disappeared from her painting. Even before that, even when writing in her diary that tonight was the night that I die, she kept on making plans, even with James to meet in the woods. She kept on making plans up until the end.
Dale though lacks hope. Through the previous two examples of Renault and Pittsburgh showed that Cooper fell into despair too many times. Both Blue Rosers were worried when Cooper got shot because they felt that was an eerie reminder of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was when Earle claimed that he brought the boy almost to the edge that time. That meant that he almost succeeded in driving Cooper to a depth that he couldn’t emerge from. In his Autobiography, there were times when tragedy struck Cooper and he could barely emerge from it, or he would disappear for times on end to recollect himself from the depths which he had to emerge out of. He fell into shadow too easily. He lacked hope when Renault gave him that load of lies, as if he felt that he was truly done for. Maybe he even lacked hope during his Lodge trial as if he knew he couldn’t (or maybe didn’t want to) get out, especially when the Lodge recreated Pittsburgh for him in a sense.
Is this the key? Is this the reason why Laura gets her Angel in Fire Walk With Me and Dale is eternally never whole again? Are these three ingredients what truly constitute perfect courage, a love for others, a faith in something (even in yourself), and a hope (a perseverance) for something?