Thursday, October 6, 2011


Question: What is that shadow that passes across the curtains in Agent Cooper's Red Room dream sequence in Twin Peaks Episode 2?

Answer: We identified the shadow that passes across the curtains as the planet Saturn, a fact we briefly mention in a former article: TWIN PEAKS - #2 RED ROOM (1990). When explaining our reasons for this deduction to someone privately, we realized our answer touches on many unexplained mysteries from the classic TV series. Many viewers could be illuminated if we share some ideas about the show's White and Black Lodge mythos and the nature of the extra-dimensional entities who inhabit those realms.

Harmony of the Spheres (Crystalline Noise)
Several clues point us in the direction of identifying that shadow as the planet Saturn. One, the sound of crystal glass being rubbed can be heard while the Little Man from Another Place rubs his hands together, echoing an old-time tradition began by the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, for whom the famous Pythagorean Theorem was named. In his theory of the cosmos, if you looked down on planet Earth from outer space, you would see all the planets attached to spherical rings. He believed the motion of these rings rubbing against one another would create a musical sound of sorts, which in concert with the noise generated from all the other planets would create a celestial harmony in space. This theoretical harmony of the spheres (a.k.a. musica universalis) would be similar to the sound of rubbing crystal glasses.
The Greek Mathematician and Philosopher Pythagoras
Wikipedia entry on Musica Universalis: "Pythagoras first identified that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form simple numerical ratios.[1] In a theory known as the Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution,[2] and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear.[3] Subsequently, Plato described astronomy and music as "twinned" studies of sensual recognition: astronomy for the eyes, music for the ears, and both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions.[4]"
From the Series Finale
From the Extended "Closed" European Ending of the Pilot
From the Final Scene of the Prequel Film Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Two, the planet Saturn was the most distant planet discovered by the Greeks, being the last planet clearly visible to the naked eye from Earth. Therefore, Saturn would have likely been viewed with a greater sense of mystical wonder than the other planets. And chances are Lynch wanted to reinforce this theme with the classical Greek statue in the background of the Red Room. Furthermore, the lamp on the desk next to Agent Cooper strongly resembles the planet Saturn, further supporting our conclusion.
Deputy Andy's Reproduction of the Owl Cave Petroglyph
Three, in the series finale, Agent Cooper figures out the doorway to the Black Lodge will only open when the planets Jupiter and Saturn are in alignment. Although the 4H Club-esque symbol is discerned to be the combined symbols of Jupiter and Saturn, we also clearly see drawings of the giant and the dwarf nearby. We can infer that Jupiter (the largest planet) corresponds to the Giant, and Saturn (the smaller planet of the two) corresponds to the Dwarf.
Since the Dwarf rubs his hands together to produce the harmony of the spheres to coincide with the transit of Saturn behind the curtains, this supports our idea that the Dwarf is connected to and represents the planet Saturn in the greater Lodgeian mythos.
Now let's jump back to the series finale, when Agent Cooper enters the Waiting Room to the Black Lodge. At one point the Giant and the Dwarf sit side by side and they say, "One and the same." Then the Giant disappears and only the Dwarf remains with Cooper. The Giant is Jupiter and the Dwarf is Saturn, but they are now one and the same planet from the perspective of Earth. This moment correlates to Twin Peaks' recurring theme of dual identities, one of which is visible to other people, the other hidden or at least obscured from sight.
Therefore, the Giant seems to be a shadow projection of the Dwarf when communicating with conscious mortals on Earth. Whenever the dwarf wants to speak directly to a waking Agent Cooper, he apparently uses the form of the Giant as an intermediary. Just as the planet Saturn is further removed from Earth than the planet Jupiter, so too is the Dwarf further removed from Cooper than is the Giant. And just as Cooper cannot travel to the White and Black Lodge except during an alignment between Saturn and Jupiter, so too must the Dwarf align with his private Jupiter as a megaphone to the conscious Cooper.
While other levels of meaning and interpretation surely exist and should be considered by all viewers, we believe this information may help clarify a lot of confusion about the nature of the Dwarf and the Giant and help you further refine your own ideas about the Twin Peaks mythos. Far from being random, David Lynch and Mark Frost's symbolism seems remarkably coherent, albeit abstract in nature. The Twin Peaks Gazette has a useful resource of essays on their Project Red Room page, which could further help you plumb the depths of Twin Peaks' greater meaning.
One and the Same

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  1. also, in THE X-FILES episode "Jose Chung's FROM OUTER SPACE" (3X20), Jesse 'The Body' (and former Minnesota governor now) Ventura shows up as a Man in Black along with Alex (Jeopardy!) Trebek and when approaching someone who thinks he saw some lights or a craft in the sky, he explains that it's always "the planet Venus." To me this suggests that any and all oddities can be explained away with "It was only the planet...____"

  2. modive dive ! mo ya ya

  3. oh ya, i completeley agrea. If onley wee all know whatt plannet wee com frum

  4. When the giant says, "One and the same," I believe he's actually referring to the "most decrepit room service attendant in the world" and himself. The server and the giant tend to appear at more or less the same times and both are friendly to Cooper. The server had also just appeared and disappeared right before the "one and the same" was spoken.

  5. I too originally understood the remark, "one and the same" as applying to those two. But in the prequel film "Fire Walk with Me" the Giant and Decrepit Room Service Waiter are entirely absent, which always seemed strange to me given their prominence in the series. But then I realized that those two characters only appear in relation to Agent Cooper, whose story is on the backburner in the prequel film in favor of Laura Palmer's story.

    If the Giant were only necessary for the Dwarf character to use to reach out to a conscious Agent Cooper, then that character would be superfluous in the film seeing as how the Dwarf communicates directly with Laura Palmer via the framed picture doorway dream. No conscious intermediary would be necessary.

    And since the Dwarf identifies himself as Mike's severed arm, an arm removed ostensibly for the purpose of ending his killing spree with BOB, it makes an odd kind of sense that the Dwarf must use alternative means to express himself in our realm. The Dwarf's power to speak in our realm has been diminished and he must therefore use alternative means to communicate with Laura and Cooper. This would also explain why in the only conscious encounter Cooper has with the Dwarf on Earth itself, when Josie Packard is killed by BOB, Cooper could only witness the Dwarf dancing on Thomas Eckhart's bed. I believe the Dwarf is unable to speak to a conscious Cooper except via his Giant shadow projection.

    This also explains why the Giant seems to have such a delicate connection to this realm through such a decrepit human host. If the Giant really is a shadow projection of the Dwarf, then he is of limited power and barely strong enough to use the elderly man as a psychic relay of sorts. In other words, the ethereal connection is extremely delicate between the Giant (Dwarf shadow projection) and the elderly man (a weak human apparently nearing death). This particular connection seems particularly weak when compared to the hold that BOB and Mike seem to have had over their younger and stronger human hosts.

    So the theory presented in this article would also explain why the Giant and Decrepit Room Service Waiter do not appear in the prequel film, including the key "Convenience Store" Lodge sequence that David Bowie's character recounts at FBI Headquarters in Philadelphia. Since this was a glimpse of an internal meeting between the Lodge entities, the Giant would not be needed and is therefore not present.

  6. When speaking to someone recently, we saw another point we want to clarify: The Little Man From Another Place (LMFAP) is Mike's Arm AND The Giant, not just one OR the other. The LMFAP is simply perceived differently in different circumstances.

    As mentioned earlier in the article, the LMFAP is cut off from Mike's powers, being a small remnant of evil leftover from Mike's days of killing. Since LMFAP is an incomplete or unwhole Lodge Entity, we believe his powers are diminished and he cannot do the same things BOB can do. This is why the LMFAP can only talk to Agent Cooper via dreams and could not engage Cooper directly in conversation when dancing over Josie's body in Episode 23. The LMFAP is not strong enough to directly communicate to a waking Cooper.

    The LMFAP's weakness is hinted at when he must temporarily rejoin with Mike in order to order BOB to give the garmonbozia (pain and suffering) collected from Leland Palmer. This also explains why only the LMFAP slurped up the garmonbozia after it was transformed into a substance resembling creamed corn. Mike was reformed and did not absorb it himself.

    So since LMFAP cannot speak directly to a conscious Agent Cooper in the human world but can after Cooper crosses the threshold of the Black Lodge in the series finale, we believe the LMFAP's statement to Cooper: "one and the same" is a double entendre. In other words, LMFAP is using a parallel statement to reflect two truths simultaneously. The Giant projection presented to Cooper and the elderly room service attendant are one and the same in the human world when a connection is being made with Cooper, but The Giant and the Dwarf (LMFAP) are one and the same in the Lodge world.

    And as mentioned earlier in the article, this explanation is the only reason we can think of that reasonably explains The Giant's absence from the prequel film Fire Walk with Me, even though all the other Lodge Entities show up in the Convenience Store Meeting scene (including some Lodge Entities we never met previously). If The Giant is a projection reserved only for a conscious Cooper's eyes, then The Giant character would not be needed in the film, given Cooper's limited involvement in the story at that point.

  7. "one and the same" might be a buddhism reference. echoed in the theme that life is a dream.

  8. In Greek mythology Zeus (Jupiter) is the son of Chronos (Saturn). According to the Illiad, Zeus is also the Father of Aphrodite (Venus).

  9. In the 2013 USC Twin Peaks Series Retrospective (week 1, video 4), Director of Photography Ron Garcia said that David asked him, “Can you put a shadow of a bird in the spotlight...?"

    The anecdote begins at 10:45. The statement is at 12:32. The volume is very low in these videos, and can be hard to make out.

    The word “bird” is clear.
    Your identification of the shadow was incorrect.
    The shadow was not Saturn.

    1. Thanks for reference and statement, Proph. But the question was not, "What prop item was used to cast that shadow?" But "What is that shadow?"

      Therefore, I appreciate knowing how a Saturn-like shadow was cast through the red curtains, but to me regardless of the item used to cast the shadow, the shadow itself seemed either intentionally or unintentionally designed to appear like Saturn transiting past the Sun.

      Was this anyone's intent? I do not know. I am not David Lyncha and Ron Garcia, nor their propmaster. But what I can tell you is that if the intent of the shadow was to convey the flight of a bird, then it was a total failure.

      The wings do not move once and the path it travels is along a horizontal line without variation for the aerodynamic properties of a bird flying, flapping its wings, or even gliding at a flyable trajectory.

      No amount of behind-the-scenes facts about the special effect and its execution can therefore replace the subjective viewpoint of the viewers watching and interpreting the shadow for themselves.

      Whether David Lynch's authorial intent or not, the shadow appears to be the planet Saturn passing between us and the Sun.