Ronette Pulaski, the other one. The almost victim. She doesn’t get talked about enough. Who was she? Could we cobble together a profile for her based on the little we know about her?
If we take the consensus mentalite of the fandom into account, we question how Ronette was the way she was. We question that fact so much. She seemed like such a nice girl (like Pierre Tremond would be wont to say). She has such sweet and down to earth working class folks. Could it be though that Ronette was the kind to like being rebellious? Could it be that she was a bad girl right under her parent’s noses?
Chronologically, when we first meet Ronette, she is at a party where Laura happens to be at too. Laura recalls though that she once bumped into Ronette in the changing room of a school show. Laura recalls that Ronette smiled, “by the way her eyes appeared sad, but cold.” Cold eyes. Sad eyes. Can we draw anything from this? Was she a girl used to being teased. Her parents were named Janek and Suburbis. Could she have been teased as a little girl by those outside of her family because her parents talked funny (as immigrants)? (Yes, the actors who played the Pulaskis never had accents themselves, but still it’s possible). Could she have been hardening her heart against the teasing of her peers?
Janek, unlike Leland, worked in the mill and hadn’t had a toney job. So sensitive little Ronette didn’t hang out with the more polished upper class of Twin Peaks who could hide their disdain behind nice words. She hung out with those who would tease mercilessly. Could it be that she was bullied at school? Could she have started to hang out with the wrong crowd because the right crowd didn’t want her? Or did she start hanging out with the wrong crowd to fit in? It seems that by the time that Laura and Ronette met each other more formally, as it were, Ronette was used to being a bad girl. “So I’m in this room with Leo and Bobby, and just as we’re about to pass the straw, the door to a bathroom opens. A bathroom off the bedroom . . . and Ronnette Pulaski walked out of it, looking like she had given up junk food, and had started taking pretty good care of everything on her body except her nose. She was pretty high, and just by the way Leo nodded his head toward her and said a quick hey led me to believe this was a regular kind of thing.”
She started dieting and cleared up her skin. She “improved herself” so she could fit in, maybe? Laura, a good judge of character, so knowing of how to manipulate someone so studied in the ways of people so she could get what she wanted from them, figured out that Ronette knew exactly what she was doing. Then they start working at Hornes. Laura recalls: “Not only do I love my job at the perfume counter, but I adore working with someone as cool as Ronnette. She always understands when I’m depressed and doesn’t get down on me for it.” Could it be that Ronette knew what it was like to be depressed because she was always depressed?
Then came the scene from Fire Walk with Me. Laura and Ronette at the Pink Room. It seemed that Ronette came in and was enjoying herself. Where Laura fought against her dark nature always, it seemed that Ronette was a fully fledged convert embracing the darkness of what she was doing and enjoying every moment. She wondered what else Laura and her did together. She was almost deliciously recalling how Teresa was going to get rich on blackmail. She purred with delight when she recalled how this night was almost like the ones that she and Laura spent at One Eyed Jacks. She was also, sadly, catty when she realized that Laura was not alone in the Pink Room, “oh shit, is that Donna Hayward?” Ronette exclaims as if she can’t believe the little goody two shoes Doctor’s daughter and straight A student could possibly be there and doing that. It almost seems as if, at that moment, Ronette became what the earlier version of herself most feared, a bully. She was making fun of Donna at the moment of Donna’s greatest weakness and vulnerability. (As an aside, I kind of see Ronette at this moment as the type to draw all over someone’s face if they’ve been passed out at a party.)
Could this be why in the train car, Ronette finally came to realize that the life she was leading was truly dark. She had gone down the wrong path and was seeking forgiveness. She wanted God to see her now because she was ready to be forgiven?
Cheryl Lee Latter, in her 25 Years Later article called “The Pulaski Girl” stated that Ronette was a shell of herself at the end of Season 2. She also claimed that Ronette gave into the darkness and didn’t survive much longer after Season 2’s finale. I think though, that there may be a different way of looking at this.
What happens if Ronette took that moment in the train car and turned her life around and became a better person? What if she became her more authentic self then, the innocent girl that she knew she once was? Could the American Girl in the alternate dimension be the evil that she sloughed off herself? A bifurcated portion of herself that she got rid of when she turned her life around? I truly hope so. I truly hope that Ronette, after getting the angel to free her and guide her back to her authentic life, that she became a better person?
Link to Cheryl Lee Latter’s Article: