When I wrote my Analysis of Parts 17 and 18, I had originally thought that Alice Tremond showed up just for Cooper’s benefit, well not benefit, but because of Cooper’s pre-determined failure in his fourth Lodge Test. However, I have recently rethought the reason Alice Tremond shows up in this scene and how it ultimately works in my analysis of the final parts of Season Three. The first role is what I term, chaos monster; she is the one to cause as much confusion as possible for mortals in order to ensure the Lodge’s success. This is incumbent upon the Lodge being a truly evil location. If the Lodge is a bit more benign, then Alice Tremond could be a revealer of the hard truth like John Justice Wheeler said, “Tell the hardest truth first.” This will be explored first through a short, very short, summary of my theory. Then we will describe the scenes where Mrs. Tremond showed up physically in the series, from Episode 9 in her bed to the Doorstep in Part 18 (assuming that Alice Tremond and Mrs. Tremond are one and the same, which for the purposes of this article, they are). Then we will analyze each “role” through the lens of these scenes and the actions of the character.
Though I will provide a playlist of the articles that explain my “master theory” in full, (which is just my version and you can believe it or not, it’s not as if I’m a four-hour-long YouTube video or anything that claims to know Lynch’s brain), I will attempt here to encapsulate the theory in a paragraph or two. In the first article, “Ingredients of Perfect Courage,” I explained that Major Briggs’s fear that love wasn’t enough was partially correct. Perfect Courage, the element within one’s self that is completely necessary for winning the Lodge Test, actually requires three qualities within the testee in order for them to succeed: love, a faith in something (even in one’s self) and a hope for the future. Though both Cooper and Laura had love in spades for all around them, Laura passed her Lodge Test and Cooper failed because the former had the other two qualities within her in abundance while Cooper lacked them. This was because Laura kept on going and kept on planning until the end, whereas Cooper loses faith easily (Pittsburgh) and loses hope easily (not really knowing where to go after Maddie’s body was discovered).
Then in my “Interpretation of Parts 17 and 18” articles (there are two), I explain the dual roles that Cooper and Laura play in the Season Three finale. The first article, “Dale Cooper, or How to Lose the Lodge Test Repeatedly and Influence People,” states that Cooper went through the Lodge Test four times throughout the course of his life, and he failed each time, because of certain weaknesses within Cooper that he “thinks” are strengths. The first test, and first failure, was him getting too wrapped up in the mysteries of the Lodge rather than sticking to his mission of rescuing Annie in Episode 29. His second test was a test of trusting someone other than himself by following Laura’s instruction to “Go out now.” He failed by going deeper and listening to the wrong person. His third test was a test of helplessness as Dougie. His fourth test, was a test within himself as he was meditating on the night she died and did something he was not supposed to do. He was not supposed to interfere with rescuing Laura; he was supposed to do nothing, and that was how he was to defeat his Judy, his own negativity. At the same time, taking Jean Renault’s saying that Cooper brought the evil entirely too seriously, Dale changed everyone’s minds to believe that Laura had simply been missing. This had a sphere of influence that only extends to 430 miles in either direction. The scenes in Part 18 is his fifth iteration (or maybe fifth step) in his test. In “The Reincarnation of Laura Palmer,” Laura had succeeded her test when she died and gotten her angel. She is only back in the Lodge at Part 2 because she is getting ready to reincarnate as Carrie Page and is back to tell Cooper that everything is okay with her and that he needs to get on with his own life now. In Part 17, that was vision Laura, and not real Laura. In Part 18, when we see her, she is Carrie Page, her soul has reincarnated. So Cooper took Carrie back to a previous life when he took her home to Twin Peaks.
With that foray done, let’s describe the scenes where Mrs. Tremond shows up.
Episode 9, “Coma”
While taking Laura’s Meals on Wheels Route, Donna delivers to two houses. In the first house, a dishevelled room filled with newspapers and Victorian-eqsue ruination with a little, frail, bedridden woman, Mrs. Tremond, as pride of place. Her grandson, also there, makes small talk with Donna. When Mrs. Tremond uncovers the plate and spots creamed corn, she immediately reacts with disgust and horror. She did not order creamed corn, and she requested none ever be given to her. She asks Donna if there is creamed corn twice. First, Donna says yes. The second time, the corn is gone, transported into the Grandson’s hands, and then immediately disappears. Thus we learn from the old woman that the boy is learning magic. Mrs. Tremond tries to establish who Donna is and why she is here. Finally realizing that she is taking over for Laura’s route (she’s dead) and also realizing that Donna wants to find out more of Laura’s relationship with her clients, Mrs. Tremond points Donna to Mr. Smith “next door.” Her grandson adds an aside of J’ai une ame solitaire (I am a lonely soul). Mrs. Tremond establishes that the neighbor never leaves his house. When Donna leaves, the grandson utters, “She seemed like a nice girl.”
By the time the name Tremond shows up again, it’s in Arbitrary Law, and it’s another Tremond.
Fire Walk with Me: Convenience Store Scene
We see her sitting with the other attendees at the meeting at the convenience store that Jeffries witnesses. The most we see her do is look around and say nothing. She is perched on the couch arm while her grandson is next to her, slouched. Uttering only, “Fell a victim,” he is seen covering and uncovering his face with the smaller version of the Jumping Man mask.
Fire Walk With Me: Laura gets the Painting
Laura is preparing her food trays for her meals on wheels route. She puts a tray in the diner station wagon. She looks up and sees Mrs. Tremond, not ill looking at all, dressed in a smart suit and escorting her grandson, sporting his miniature Jumping Man mask. She is bearing the famous painting. At first she is a fair distance away, but seems to move at an incredible speed when Laura approaches her. She presents Laura with the painting saying it would look nice on her wall. The grandson then proclaims “The man behind the mask is looking for the book with the pages torn out. He is under the fan now.” Laura shoots home. Mrs. Tremond and her grandson calmly walk away.
Fire Walk with Me: Laura’s Dream
The very last time we see Mrs. Tremond, outside of Season 3, Part 18 is Laura’s dream sequence in which Mrs. Tremond beckons Laura deeper into the Room Above the Convenience Store and her grandson, snapping his fingers, lights a room.
Cooper is ushering Carrie Page up the stairs to what he supposed was Laura’s House, to present her to her mother. But a blonde woman opens the door, and claims that no one by the name of Sarah is present. She also swears that there had been no one there living previously as the previous tenant was named Chalfont. Cooper asks her name and she says, “Alice Tremond.” Carrie looks annoyed. Cooper begs forgiveness and walks down the stairs in shock. We hear the fateful words, “What year is this?” and Carrie hears “Laura’s” name being called out, and screams.
Theory 1: The Chaos Monster
Mrs. Tremond was built or has the job to bring Chaos. Now she is not The Experiment Model (as far as I have worked it out in my own head, it may change). This is not the reason I call her Monster. Just because, if the Lodge is entirely malevolent, all beings residing within are monsters.
When she meets with Donna, Donna’s life enters a chaotic time not to be healed or remedied for a long time. The chain of events after her Tremond encounter goes like this. Donna meets Harold. Harold trusts her. She finds the diary. The acquiring of the diary becomes of paramount importance to Donna. Donna and Maddie infiltrate Harold’s house and are confronted. Harold commits suicide. (Coincidentally, Laura Stewart in her article “Donna Hayward, Tragedy’s Best Friend” agrees that the Tremonds planned Harold’s demise perfectly.) Maddie, in distress and realizing that she doesn’t belong, decides to leave and she is killed. James, guilt-ridden, leaves and later embroils them in the Evelyn situation. She returns home and eventually, because of the growing psychological trauma and trust issues that has been fomenting in her for a weeks, Donna urges along the reveal of the paternal truth. This leads to one of the more chaotic scenes in the chaos-ridden Episode 29, you’re my daddy. Donna’s life is a whole lotta chaos thanks to Mrs. Tremond leading her down that path.
In the Convenience Store Scene, it could be that she is simply present as one of the evil beings gathering together to plot the ultimate destruction of Laura Palmer.
In the Picture-Giving-Scene and it’s natural progression Laura’s dark dream, helps Laura to her demise and all the chaos that follows. Without the picture being given, Laura would have never run home and been scared senseless by BOB. The dinner table scene would have not happened. The dream would have never disturbed her. And all the things that happened down the line really started with that picture giving. I often say during any rewatch of Fire Walk With Me, “Laura don’t run home. You’ve hidden your diary with Harold. What do you need to worry about? Just keep on surviving. You’re almost eighteen and ready to leave. Don’t go home. What does going home prove?”
So when Mrs. Tremond shows up on the Palmer Front door, she could be causing chaos. She is making sure that there’s a maximum amount of damage done to the situation as possible and creating as much negativity.
Theory 2: Truth Teller
In the first instance, Mrs. Tremond’s encounters with Donna lead her to the diary and the truth of what happened to Laura. Eventually everything points to a truth needing revealed for her. The truth is that Laura kept that diary. The truth is that Laura feels ashamed of Donna knowing how terrible she “is”. The truth is that Harold knew things. The truth is that the diary holds everything. The truth is that Ben is her father. The truth is that James and Donna needed to work out a lot in their relationship for it to work. There is a lot of truth that needed to be revealed and Mrs. Tremond leads Donna down that path to know the truth.
In the convenience store, could Mrs. Tremond be there to help usher Jeffries into knowing the truth of what will come with Cooper (who do you think this is there)? Or knowing who really runs the world…hint, it’s not girls?
With the picture giving and the dream, it leads Laura to the truth that her father is the one that was raping her. This leads her to take back her life and eventually allows her to pursue the path of perfect courage, enabling her reincarnation.
So when Mrs. Tremond shows up on the Palmer House Doorstep, it’s really a revelation of truth. But not how you think. Carrie must stay Carrie. When you are in your current life, you have to stay in that current life. So Dale taking Carrie back to turn her back (regress her) into being Laura again, is not good for Carrie’s soul’s growth. Mrs. Tremond showing up on the Palmer House Door is preventing Carrie from seeing Sarah again and remembering her past life as Laura Palmer. Alice is forcing Carrie to stay within her own truth, her own life path and not resuming Laura’s.
Chaos Monster or Truth Teller? Which is it? Both make sense according to the theories I have written.
Link to Laura Stewart’s Article: