The Circle Is (Almost) Complete: Conversations with the Log Lady, part 3

I’m continuing to discuss the lines of the Log Lady and their connection with the events of Twin Peaks: The Return. Today I will be focusing on the following quote from the part 10:

“Now the circle is almost complete. Watch and listen to the dream of time and space. It all comes out now flowing like a river. That which is and is not.”

In the narrative structure of Twin Peaks, and especially The Return, with its confusing changing timelines and universes, I would say that the one shape that is distinguishable is circle, or spiral which itself is an open circle. This applies to the whole story. But the smaller hints can be also seen throughout the film. Circles and spirals sometimes are presented as the objects of different importance like rose or pine cone or donut, they are included as the elements of the scenes (like the scene in which Sarah is watching boxing match clip repeating several times with slight changes), and they represent the shapes of such elements of key importance as the portals to another world.

Both circle and spiral are connected to portals. Circular are ponds of either golden substance or black scorched engine oil-like substance; vortices are spiral. And I just want to add one more detail about these ponds—they differ not only by their color or substance that fill them. The one with the black substance is surrounded by the circle of sycamore trees, while the golden one is connected with the spiral portal. It may be too obvious, but I’ll specify it anyway—moving on the circle is unchanging movement that repeats itself forever. Moving on the spiral is also circular movement, but with the possibility of change and getting to another level with each new circle. So, we can say that the black portal would lead to a circular movement, without developing. The golden portal would lead to a spiral, developing movement.

But I won’t be concentrating on portals in this article. More important thing is the circular storylines which I will be discussing below. There are few of them. Sometimes they cross, one starts from another, and how we see them depends on whose perspective we are looking from. Number of characters can be seen as caught in their cycles: Sarah, Shelley, etc. But it won’t be surprising that the most important of them are the circular storylines of two main characters: Laura/Carrie and Cooper. These characters have their own circular stories that have the crossing point. This central crossing point is the common dream of Laura and Cooper.

I will now explain why I think so. In this dream, Cooper is old and he is in the Red Room with The Arm and Laura who tells him her secret. Laura sees the dream a day before her death. Then Cooper sees it soon after he arrives in Twin Peaks. This dream leads to solving the case of Laura’s murder, and later leads Cooper to the Red Room where 25 years later the dream actually takes place. Some details are different (for example, instead of The Arm this time Phillip Gerard is there), but Laura and Cooper act the same way as in their common dream from 25 years ago. This scene in the Red Room takes place just before Cooper is allowed to leave the Red Room, which eventually leads to changing the past events. Then it is repeated before he leaves the Red Room second time. And finally, it’s repeated again during the end credits, which can be interpreted as happening just after the cancellation of Carrie’s universe. These three similar scenes are the crossing points between the circles. Below I will try to show how exactly I imagine these circles.

The first circle is the part of the ‘unofficial version’. Here the connection of Laura and Cooper through the dream begins. We all know very well what happened in this version: Laura died, Cooper came to Twin Peaks, in the end he entered the Red Room where among other lodge inhabitant she also met Laura. He stayed there for 25 years until the dream events actually happened in the Red Room (though, as I already said, with small differences.) Then he is allowed to leave and the first circle continues with his illusory, ‘non-existent’ storyline. He goes on to live as Dougie for a while, until he is fully conscious FBI agent Dale Cooper again and returns to Twin Peaks to defeat Bob and Bad Cooper and save Laura. This circle completes at Twin Peaks Sheriff Station at 2:53 (10 – number of completion).

But the scene at the Sheriff’s Station shows another Cooper as well—the one who is in the lodge and who says “we live inside a dream”. This Cooper is probably on the next level of the spiral. Completing the first, illusory circle, he is starting the next one.

He goes out of the dream to a liminal space, to the crossing point of two versions, with the help of Phillip Jeffries goes back in time and saves Laura, thus changing the past and creating her new circle, ‘official’ version where she went missing. Cooper would probably come to Twin Peaks in this version too, to investigate the case of the missing girl. He could still end up in the Red Room, but he wouldn’t meet Laura there.

By saving Laura, Copper creates a paradox—for him to come to this point and save Laura, she needs to be in the Red Room 25 years later from the moment when she is being saved. Cooper must end up in the Red Room for 25 years and Laura must be there to tell him her secrets. In other words, the dream must actually take place. But if Laura didn’t die, there is no Laura in the Red Room—the dream events cannot happen; Cooper cannot go 25 years back to save her. So Cooper doesn’t only need to ‘find Laura’ for Sarah, or Leland, or herself, but he needs to find her for these two intertwined circles to be going.

Thus, on the one hand, ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ versions are alternating. If one exists, the other does not, and vice versa. But on the other hand, in order for one to exist, the other must also exist.

“It all comes out now flowing like a river. That which is and is not.”

Probably, this paradox causes Laura to be moved to another dimension where she is not dead and where she is not even Laura. The exact moment when this happens outside the lodge (when Cooper is taking her ‘home’ through the woods) corresponds to the moment when Laura is taken from the Red Room, just after she tells Cooper her another secret. The identical scream sound is what makes it clear. And this is also emphasized by the scratching sound about which Fireman warned Cooper (“listen to the sounds.”) And there is another hint here about circular movement—Julee Cruise’s song The World Spins starting just after Laura is taken from the woods.

With Laura lost, her third circle begins. And here is another hint for these circles on the wall in Carrie’s house:

Third circle starts with Cooper in the Red Room, but this time with Laura absent. He leaves the Red Room to meet Diane and they go to 430 point to cross for the new dimension.

In this new circle, there was never Laura, but there is Carrie. We do not know whether Sarah, if existed, had daughter or not, neither can we be sure that she lived in Twin Peaks, in the Palmer house where Cooper takes Carrie in the end. If Laura is Carrie here, Cooper is Richard, and Diane is Linda, why Sarah should still be Sarah? Dale remembers his old, but not his new identity, while Carrie and Linda remember new identities instead of old ones. So Dale sticking to his old identity and memories, acts as if he still is in the old dimension. He takes Carrie to Twin Peaks where actually there is a very little (if at all) chance to find Sarah. And of course, they don’t find her there. They find the Tremonds instead, who are the indication that everything is wrong and different from what Cooper believes it to be (this was discussed in my previous article.)

We already know that this circle completes with the cancellation of the new dimension and returns Laura and Cooper to the central point—the initial dream. Or shall I call it starting positions?

Finally, I need to mention one more hint indicating on connection of circles through the dream. Cooper in his initial dream hears Sarah’s voice calling Laura. This is the exact same sound that triggers memories in Carrie. When Carrie hears that sound, does she remember herself as Laura alive or does she remember herself in the Red Room? Would this sound connect her to Twin Peaks and her family, or would it take her back to the lodge space?

The darkness after the scream is not the end but the beginning of another circle in the process, in the dream of time and space.

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