...The Men Of XWP As The Men Of Twin Peaks
Area tries once again to get Xena to see things his way.
"I am in your blood... .You know you can't fight me... Why don't you just give me what I wanted for centuries?" In the episode called Demons (#13), BOB was described as an "inhabiting spirit" whom "feeds on fear, and the pleasures. They are his children". On April 2, 1987, BOB made a weakened Laura write the following words in her diary:
-- Ares in THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210)
"Remember, Laura Palmer, I can manipulate your conscience so that you feel nothing but what I choose for you to feel... Don't you just feel like giving in to me again. Take me back and I won't cause a horrible accident later today. If someone gets hurt, you can smile knowing it's all due to you." Later that day, a stronger Laura challenged BOB:
"You cheat by never ever having to argue with someone strong enough to fight you... Conquer someone like that, then I'll admit you've won. I'll even follow you. No arguments. Laura Palmer believes you are a cheat". Laura's diary is filled with descriptions of the various strategies she tried to resist/fight/survive BOB. For example, on August 4, 1986, Laura wrote:
"It comes to me now that I have decided to play along. After repeating it to myself for ages it seems, I finally feel a sense of resolve with my joining him for the sole purpose of battle. To join the darkness, and perhaps cling to the bit of light remaining inside me, and use it as the strength it should always have been". Continued two days later, Laura wrote:
"I believe that when he comes to take me, I will either leave home and return harmed although satisfied by the brutal death of an enemy, or I will never return...." On the night before she was killed, as BOB crawled into her bed again, Laura repeatedly asked him who he really was. She looked at him and saw, for the first time, that it was her father, Leland.
Hercules"Finish it! Prove you're the greatest warrior!" FBI Agent Cooper was the irritatingly virtuous hero of Twin Peaks. Although they shared a psychic connection for some time prior, Cooper did not actually arrive in town until after Laura's death. Laura managed to successfully deal with the most evil of foes (including her dark self) without his assistance.
-- Xena in THE GAUNTLET (H12/112)
 For all his wisdom and moral strength, Cooper ended up not being so successful. In the final episode of Twin Peaks (#29), he chose to turn and run from his dark self and, as a consequence, became possessed by BOB. Further discussion of the Cooper/Hercules similarities is well beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say here that the question as to whom was the greater of the two warriors was answered.
Solan"If he stays with me, he'll become a target for all those who hate me. And he'll learn things a child should never know. He'll become like me". In Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the simple and sweet James pleaded, "Don't ever leave me!" repeatedly to Laura. Abandoned by his parents at a young age, James was raised by his one-eyed aunt (and uncle). Only Donna knew about Laura's relationship with James - describing them as the "two closest people in the world to Laura".
-- Xena in ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201)
 In one of her last diary entries (undated), Laura said she "finally felt certain that James was my last chance for light". Nonetheless, just a few days later, she suddenly jumped off the back of his trusty Harley, screamed that she loved him, and ran away into the forest.
Borias always had a soft spot (or two) for Xena.
"What would you do if I told you I'm in love?" Bobby Briggs was Laura's official boyfriend. Although he acted like a bad boy most of the time, like Borias, he revealed himself to be no match for his girlfriend. When Bobby was totally traumatized after killing a man (in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me), Laura could only laugh. Similarly, Laura described in her diary (August 3, 1986) how she chose to laugh at his promises of loyalty and confessions of love. Bobby constantly expressed concern about her drug consumption and other self-destructive behaviors, and warned her vehemently against getting involved with Leo.
-- Borias in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE (69/401)
Caesar"Dividing a woman's sensibilities from her emotions. Yeah, I know his philosophy!" Bobby's passionate warnings about Leo only served to intrigue Laura, as they would Xena. Leo initiated the 14 year old Laura into a world of immorality that she had only ever dreamed of before. He was arguably the most corrupt and cruel character in Twin Peaks. He regularly beat his wife with the most extraordinary of weapons [reminiscent of the "stocking stuffers" Xena used in A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209)] and once hung her up "like a piece of meat... leaving her to burn" in a fire. On the night of Laura's death, he thought nothing of running off and leaving her and Ronette alone with the killer.
-- Xena in THE DELIVERER (50/304)
 As the fates would have it, in the final episode of Twin Peaks (#29), we last saw Leo tied up and haplessly awaiting his own grisly demise (i.e., bitten to death by Tarantulas).
Salmoneous"Proud warrioress, I will miss you." Ben Horne was the enthusiastic, opportunistic, lecherous, fast talking, smooth dressing businessman of Twin Peaks. He owned half the town and played a significant role in the organization of events such as "Miss Twin Peaks".
-- Salmoneous in THE GREATER GOOD (21/121)
 Although not beyond exploiting anyone or anything to increase his net worth, like Salmoneous, Ben displayed an uncharacteristic respect and love of Laura. He even used to sing to her. It was a reaction to her death (in addition to some financial losses) that triggered Ben's redemption, just as Salmoneous did the right thing after seeing the dead Xena in THE GREATER GOOD (21/121).
 In episode #22, Ben exclaimed, "Oh hell, who am I kidding? When have I been anything but a sleazy, rapacious heel? But I've changed and I'm determined to be a better person".
Joxer"I see you've kept your family's reputation for undiluted idiocy intact" In episode #26 of Twin Peaks, Ted Raimi played Rusty - a dim-witted, hitch-hiking punk musician lured into the forest with the promise of free beer. Joxer always did have suicidal tendencies. Windom told him, "You have lived your short life in odium and obscurity... but now at the last you will step on the larger stage". He ended up, literally, a dead pawn (foot-soldier) in Windom's game.
-- Ares in THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210)
...The Women Of XWP As The Women Of Twin Peaks
La Ma was a powerful mentor.
"I could serve you, if that's what you mean." In the Twin Peaks pilot episode, the first face seen was that of a beautiful Chinese woman studying her reflection in a mirror. There was much more to Josie Packard than met the eye. She was a master tactician, powerful, complex, and haunted. And like Lao Ma, nothing appeared to phase her, including arson, blackmail, fraud, murder, and a line of cruel men who arrived in town to stake a claim on their former courtesan.
-- Xena in THE DEBT II (53/307)
 Upon having her tyrannical husband killed (or so she thought), Josie inherited the family business and was loved by the workers because she proved more fair than both her husband and his venal sister. Recall that Lao Ma rules Ch'in by proxy whilst keeping her husband comatose using pressure points. "If I did not," she explained to Xena in THE DEBT II (53/307), "his idiot cousin would rule".
 Josie and Laura became close after Laura offered to give her English lessons. There could not be a more appropriate way to repay Lao Ma for what she did for Xena in Ch'in. Or was there? On June 4, 1989, Laura wrote:
"I have been working with Josie on her English lessons for a while now and she shows very few signs of improvement or efforts to improve... She's treating our sessions more like poorly executed seductions... It's not that she's all over me. It's different than that... She mentions Bobby a lot and I can tell she is jealous of him. She makes too many insinuations to my sexual goings-on for me to believe that she is not a darker person than the town thinks". In an episode called Slaves And Masters(#22), Josie was forced to dress as a maid and serve those she hated (her husband and his sister), just as Lao Ma made Xena serve Ming Tzu. At this point, Josie was becoming increasingly phased, and soon after died "from fear" in an episode called The Condemned Woman (#23).
M'Lila"Show me that thing you do. No, not on my leg! Show me on my neck." Ronette Pulaski was a sales girl who enjoyed being treated like a slave girl. Laura wrote of her first impressions in a diary entry dated October 3, 1986:
-- Xena in DESTINY (36/212)
"I guess I was attracted to her somehow... by the way her eyes appeared sad, but cold. I liked her body... anyway, it was strange to see her there. I have no idea what she thinks of me... I doubt it's wise to ask". Laura and Ronette went on to teach each other a lot of different skills. Ronette was with Laura on the night she died. Earlier in the evening, she tried unsuccessfully to stop Leo from tying Laura up. Later in the evening, herself tied up and beaten, Ronette was powerless to do anything but pray and watch Laura's torture. When an angel appeared and Ronette's ropes suddenly became loosened enough for her to escape, Laura looked intensely relieved. M'Lila, after all, had given her life for Xena in DESTINY (36/212).
Princess Diana"Tell me what to do to be a convincing Xena." Madelaine Ferguson was Laura's identical lookalike cousin (played by the same actress) who arrived in town for the funeral. She was brunette where Laura was blonde, helpless whilst Laura was extremely resourceful, and always wore the same innocent wide-eyed look whilst Laura ran the entire range of facial expressions. Nonetheless (in episode #7), Madelaine donned a blonde wig and did her best impersonation (ie. a bad one) of Laura in an ineffectual ruse to catch the killer.
-- Princess Diana
"Well, for starters, stop crying."
-- Gabrielle in WARRIOR...PRINCESS (15/115)
...Special Guest Stars:
Aphrodite and Hephaestus
Aphrodite works more mischief.
"I call it Obsession. One whiff and whatever you're talking about at that minute turns into an overwhelming obsession. Cool, huh?" In a town with that much narcissism, illicit sex, irreproachable love, and overwhelming obsession going on, who could doubt the presence of Aphrodite? In addition, in The Black/White Lodge there was a statue of her and one of the Venus De Milo.
-- Aphrodite in FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318).
 After her death in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, I propose that Laura actually becomes at one with the goddess of love. In the last scene of the European pilot episode, a little lame man in The Black/White Lodge "waiting room" explained that although the girl beside him looked exactly like Laura Palmer, it was not her. He said that she was his cousin. The Laura lookalike added, "Sometimes I think I know her... but sometimes my arms bend back". I believe that this was a reference to the armless Venus De Milo.
 Further, I propose that the little lame man represents Aphrodite's cousin/husband, Hephaestus. Considered the god of fire, Hephaestus became lame after being flung out of Olympus. His blacksmith forge was in a volcano crater - the fires of which tempered his metals. He was married to Aphrodite. In Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Laura had a dream in which this man held out a ring and stated, "With this Ring I Thee Wed".
Amphipolis as Twin Peaks"A country girl at heart, Miss Amphipolis enjoys the simple things in life: weaving tapestries, making candles, and doing volunteer work with her local Hestian virgins". Meaning "on both sides", the real town of Amphipolis was a strategic transportation center on the border of Thrace and Macedonia. Similarly, Twin Peaks was situated between two mountains near the U.S. and Canadian border. It boasted many lakes, waterfalls, and lush forests full of mysteries.
-- Salmoneous in HERE SHE COMES...MISS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211)
 Like Amphipolis, Twin Peaks also held its own annual beauty pageant. The last "Miss Twin Peaks" won the crown on the strength of her rousing speech that concluded with the statement: "We are mystic warriors who love the earth and try to save it". It comes as no surprise, then, that the soul of Xena chose to visit the town of Twin Peaks.
Fish as Fish"The fate of the whole world lies in our hands! We've got no choice. We're going fishing!" Not only could Xena catch fish the conventional way, she also displayed the uncanny ability to lure them, punch them, pull them, fling them, and send them into orbit. Although we can neither confirm nor deny that Laura Palmer shared these skills, fishing nonetheless played an important role in Twin Peaks. Complete with tackle in hand, it was the keen fisherman Pete who first found Laura's dead body (caught, lured, punched, pulled, flung, sent into orbit - and wrapped in plastic) washed ashore on the lake.
-- Xena in FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318)
 In episode #27, Pete explained that "there are many cures for a broken heart... but nothing quite like a Trout's leap in the moonlight". In episode #17, Cooper used a fishing lure called the "Green Butt Skunk" (GBS) which was more than a little reminiscent of the "Gabfly" (with the addition with a few green fibers from Gabrielle's BGSB) Xena used in FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318). Ironically, it was Cooper's fishing partner who disappeared into orbit in this episode.
Dream Visions as Dream Visions"In a dream vision I saw a warrior that could travel the dream passage and defeat Morpheus. You must be the one. A woman with a dark past, strong and brave." In episode #3 of Twin Peaks, it is explained that Blackfoot legend depicts people as having several souls including "a dream soul that wanders... [to] faraway places... the land of the dead." Laura visited The Black/White Lodge through/in dreams many times before she actually "officially" entered it. Her diary also contained many descriptions of nightmares that seemed to be reliving events in Xena's past. For example, on November 20, 1985, Laura described a dream she had about rats:
-- Elkton in DREAMWORKER (03/103)
"I turned back to look across the room and there was an enormous rat sitting there. I knew in the dream that it was coming after me, and that it wanted to bite my foot off. I became so afraid! I saw it come closer and closer to me and I tried to think of a way to stop it, or a place to run away, but there wasn't anywhere to go, or anything I could do!... And so, in the dream, because I knew all he wanted was my foot, I bit my foot off myself... I can still see the rat, and I think it was after me because something was wrong with the room, or I was being punished for something". Of course, in LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/407), Xena chose to fight off the rats by sinking her teeth into THEM.
 The last dream detailed in Laura's diary (undated - but written just before her death) calls to mind Xena's swim to the underworld in MORTAL BELOVED (16/116):
"I remember thinking in the dream that if I dove in and swam far enough, I might come up in another world that was not filled with so much badness... so much hatred. When I did dive in, I remember swimming half the length of the lake... I think it was a lake - only to be pulled down by a hand as it grabbed my wrist and took me deeper and deeper and deeper".
Tartarus as The Black Lodge"Now, looking to the left, you will see the caves of despair. And just coming up ahead on the right, you will see the hanging gardens of disgusting diseases". In episode #26, Windom (probably inhabited by Alti) described The Black Lodge as:
-- Charon in MORTAL BELOVED (16/116)
"...a place of almost unimaginable power, chock full of dark forces and viscous secrets. No prayers dare enter this frightful maw. Spirits there care not for good deeds or priestly implications. They are as likely to rip the flesh from your bones as greet you with a happy "good day!" And if harnessed, these spirits in this hidden land of unmuffled screams of broken hearts offer up a power so vast that its bearer might reorder the Earth itself to his liking. Ah, this place I speak of is known as the Black Lodge and I intend to find it".
The Elysian Fields as The White Lodge"He told me once, that in Tartarus, he learned to carry the Elysian Fields inside him. Let him bring that love to paradise where it belongs..." In episode #26, Windom told the following story:
-- Xena in MORTAL BELOVED (16/116)
"Once upon a time there was a place of great goodness called the White Lodge. Gentle fawns gamboled there amidst happy, laughing spirits. The sounds of innocence and joy filled the air. And when it rained, it rained sweet nectar that infused one's heart with a desire to live life in truth and beauty". In the final scene of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Laura was sitting forlornly in The Black/White Lodge "waiting room". Her guardian angel appeared. Laura suddenly began to smile, and then giggle, and then to laugh in total abandon, and as the final credits rolled, she was surrounded by white light and looked incomparably happy.
Conclusion And that is the joyous conclusion of this article: Xena's soul courageously walked the gauntlet one more time, fought evil, accepted her dark side, completed her lessons, and was subsequently granted admission into Paradise, where she belongs. Meanwhile, she has left behind many less than heroic relatives, friends and foes who still have unfinished karma to clear up before they can expect to join her (if ever). Thankfully, as evidenced in DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN (90/422), this permanent residency does not preclude the occasional escapade to the earthly world to check on them.
 Well, that's my theory anyhow, and there are as many theories of Xena: Warrior Princess and Twin Peaks as there are explanations of Hell and Heaven, Black and White Lodges, Tartarus and the Elysian Fields. Which theories are right and which are wrong are neither here or there. We will never know. Actually, some day we may well know. And, when you get there, I'll be the one talking to the Warrior... Princess... Tramp...Homecoming Queen...Goddess...Whatever!
DisclaimerNo one was hurt whilst reading the above article as long as they accept that myths transverse, transcend, and transform consciousness, art, culture, history, time, space, fiction and non-fiction.
CreditsLynch, David. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992). Feature Film (Prequel - covering the last 7 days in the life of Laura Palmer).
Lynch, David. Twin Peaks (1990-1991). Television Series.
Lynch, Jennifer. The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer (1990). Pocket Books, New York, NY.
BiographyRobyn C. Walters
And suddenly, when asked to describe herself, Robyn is at a loss for words. To say she has "many skills" would be too unoriginal. To say she is "protean" too pretentious. To say she has the "attention span of a gnat" not pretentious enough. Suffice to say that not since Twin Peaks has anything maintained her interest as long as XWP.
Favorite episode: THE DEBT II (53/307), BITTER SUITE (58/312).
Favorite line: "The fate of the whole world lies in our hands! We've got no choice! We're going fishing!" -- Xena in FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318).
First episode seen: THE DEBT II (53/307).
Least favorite episode: Eventually, even those pesky Xena-lite episodes have grown on me.
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