The longer Twin Peaks rolls on, the more it seems like a culmination of David Lynch’s career. Part 8 was certainly the most Lynchian, comparable to Eraserhead and Inland Empire in its complicated narrative that exists on the event horizon of chaos between dream and nightmare. An understandable complaint against the revival is that it has too many Lynchian elaborations and doesn’t quite feel like the series we remembered. While Part 7 definitely felt more like home (it at least spent time in the titular northwestern town), Part 8 was the most complicated and inaccessible episode of the series to date. It’s also, somehow, one of the clearest and certainly the most important. It tells us the story of BOB.
You could say that evil—fictional or real—only has two origin stories to choose from: natural or man-made. Revealed, either one could be a letdown. Many writers have often given their villains some sort of origin story that ends up negating their character’s evil in some way. But the reveal of BOB doesn’t undermine the character’s evil or mystery, and, thankfully, doesn’t answer the elemental question of BOB’s existence.
To connect the revival even more to Lynch’s work, there is a line by a character in Inland Empire played by Grace Zabriskie, herself a Twin Peaks cast member. She appears at the very beginning of the film to tell this anecdote: “A little boy went out to play. When he opened his door, he saw the world. As he passed through the doorway, he caused a reflection. Evil was born. Evil was born, and followed the boy.” This is the story of BOB. Previous episodes had made use of the imagery of the atomic bomb tests, and it finally paid off in Part 8. We see the successful test followed by the creation of BOB.
Following the atomic bomb test, the same female entity we originally met in Part 2 (the one who emerged from the Glass Box to kill the lovers in New York) is seen vomiting a string of protoplasmic, placental eggs. One of these eggs, blacker than night, contains BOB’s face. It is unclear if the atomic explosion created BOB’s mother, though we know through secondary Twin Peaks materials that the Black Lodge existed long before the atomic bomb. The mystery of natural evil or man-made evil is left opaque, which in itself is an answer. In Twin Peaks, nothing is simple, nor is the nature of evil. In the most likely case, Mother was already an existing evil that was given access to our plain of existence thanks to the bomb test. This would mean that, at least in this case, evil only begets evil.
Following the test, we see the Woodsmen surrounding a convenience store - possibly the one that Judy lived above. Given their appearances throughout the franchise and their involvement in BOB/Cooper in Part 8, it’s likely that the Woodsmen are parasitic entities that, like moths to light, are attracted by the evils committed by the entities of the Black Lodge who feed off of garmonbozia (pain and suffering). This would explain their appearances in the jail cell next to William Hastings, near the autopsied and beheaded Garland Briggs, and their swarming of BOB/Cooper after he was shot. Of course, they couldn’t feed off him because, despite taking fatal wounds, BOB cannot be killed - at least not by a schmuck with no taste like Ray Monroe.
The Woodsmen pull BOB from the doppelganger of Cooper, leaving the two separated and now creating two antagonists where there was only one. The Woodsmen may want to feed on the more-evil BOB, or they are working to protect him so they can continue to feed off the carnage he instigates. This could also mean that the Doppelganger of Cooper may not be able to function as he did before without BOB supplementing him. After all, the Doppelganger was pleased when he saw BOB in the mirror, still riding co-pilot when he was in prison.
One last note on the nature of Woodsmen: they are covered in soot. In The Secret History of Twin Peaks, it is established that in 1902, the two primary logging families--the Martells and the Packards--were feuding. Labor disputes turned into a logjam and a fire began that killed eight (about the same number of Woodsmen we've seen) on the same date Laura Palmer would be killed decades later. It's possible that they were killed and corrupted by the Black Lodge.
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