‘Twin Peaks’ Episode 8 Explained: Top Theories & Clues

Xolo Mariduena and Tikaeni Faircrest in a still from Twin Peaks. (Showtime)

If you didn’t think Twin Peaks had outdone itself yet in the level of crazy-over-the-top-what-on-Earth-just-happened storytelling, then Episode 8 was the day for all of that and more to happen. Remember back in the day when we thought midgets and red rooms and giants were strange? It was a first for television back then, but we had no idea what was in store. Episode 8 was incredibly confusing, but fans have managed to parse some tantalizing clues and theories from the episode.

Spoilers for Episode 8 of Season 3 are below. 

First, a quick rundown of what happened.

Not!Cooper (aka Mr. C) throws his phone out the car window. Ray assures him that he has something important memorized, both numbers and letters, and it will be worth a lot. But then he tricks Mr. C and shoots and kills him. (Note: As some readers have pointed out, Ray tried to shoot Mr. C in the head and was stopped. So it’s unclear if he killed Mr. C with the first shot or not.)

Then the crazy Burned Woodsmen demon creatures appear and cover Mr. C with blood before bringing him back to life (or reviving him, depending on which interpretation you take.) By this point, Ray has wisely taken off and is talking to someone on the phone about how this was his plan and he’s not sure Mr. C is dead. Is Ray a spy or with the FBI?

Next we’re at White Sands, New Mexico in 1945, watching an atomic bomb testing. We watch it for a long, long time, and then see lots of Burned Demons going in and out of a convenience store. Then we see a female spirit figure throwing up a cloud that has BOB in it. Meanwhile, back in the middle of an ocean on another world, we see a tower where The Giant and his female friend live. In this tower is a bell-like structure with coils on top. The bell tolls, he stops it, and walks through the building (passing several other bells), until he’s watching a video of the atomic bomb test. He then floats into the sky, with gold light streaming from his head, and the light turns into a golden orb with Laura Palmer’s face in it. The lady kisses the orb, sends it into a machine, and the machine sends the orb to Earth.

That wasn’t weird at all.

And now some more specific points from the episode:

A Nuclear Bomb *May* Have Given Birth, Somehow, to BOB

Carel Struycken and Joy Nash in a still from Twin Peaks. (Showtime)

Nuclear bombs (or, at least more accurately, one nuclear bomb test from 1945) gave birth to BOB. The most likely explanation is that the nuclear bomb ripped open time and space, connecting our world with the Black Lodge/Red Room/Other Side world. When that happened, it gave these dark, demon creatures that live on pain and suffering a chance to enter our world. We saw a large female-like creature “vomiting up” a pillar of smoke that included Bob, which came to Earth. (Some fans think the female creature was the “Mother” that was talked about to Cooper in the Mauve Room, and the same creature that broke out of the glass box and killed two people in Episode 1.)

Was BOB inhabiting the frog-bug-mutant that hatched out of the egg in New Mexico on August 5, 1956? Maybe. Many fans think that bug held BOB’s spirit, which then entered a young girl.

Interestingly, MIKE once told Dale Cooper that where Bob came from “cannot be revealed.”

He talked about how BOB was like a parasite. But it looks like BOB was literally a parasite at first.

The question remains: who was the girl that the parasite bug entered? Some think it was Sarah Palmer, which would be strange since it was Leland who was inhabited by BOB. You can only believe that the bug went to Sarah if you believe the bug had the spirit of Laura Palmer in it, not BOB. But seeing that the bug seemed to react to the crazy poem that the Burned Woodsman was reading, it appears to more-than-likely be BOB’s carrier. This would mean the girl wasn’t Sarah, but the first host, who later led to Leland’s infection. Leland was 45 when he killed Laura Palmer, who was born in 1971. This means he was born in 1944 and would be around 12-years-old when the Bug Scene happened.

An Alternative Theory About the Atomic Bomb

Reader Gustavo Campello shared in the comments below an alternative theory about the nuclear bomb, and he makes a very good point. In Mike Frost’s book The Secret History of Twin Peaks, the Nez Perce had already found a way to access the Black Lodge. The chief of the Nez Perce gave the green Owl Cave ring to Meriwether Lewis. Apparently everyone who had owned the ring had some kind of encounter with the Black Lodge. So this tells us there was some kind of contact with the other world before 1945.

Gustavo suggested in the comments below that the atomic bomb didn’t actually rip open a portal between the worlds, but was instead created by BOB to give violence and aggression a more open, wider path to this world. In The Secret History of Twin Peaks, we also learn that one of the creators of the Manhattan Project, Jack Parsons, was involved in occultism with Aleister Crowley, who was trying to summon demons. So perhaps BOB created the bomb?

It’s hard to decipher cause-and-effect in this universe, since these beings live outside of time. Did BOB create the bomb? Or was the bomb a result of something else from the Black Lodge, which ultimately led to BOB’s creation or paved the way for him to come to Earth? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Woodsmen & The Convenience Store: More Clues Revealed

Remember those weird woodsmen-like men we saw in previous episodes, such as the guy who looked like he was burnt up, sitting in prison, and then his head goes flying into space? Well, we finally got to see them up close and personal tonight. They’re apparently demon-like creatures who do BOB’s bidding, like bringing BOB/aka Mr. C Not!Cooper back to life. They first appeared after the atomic bomb test in White Sands in 1945. Then one of them came to a small town and said a weird poem over the radio that lulled people to sleep, allowing a bug creature to inhabit one young teenage girl.

Yeah, it’s weird.

You may not realize it, but they might have also been in Fire Walk With Me, they just didn’t look so burnt up. Fans are in disagreement about whether these were the same woodsmen or not. What do you think?

Fire Walk With Me

Fire Walk With Me

The burned-up woodsmen were surrounding a convenience store, walking in and out, and using it as a meeting place. This has actually been talked about before on Twin Peaks, and we explore it more fully in Heavy’s story here. This story has videos of other scenes from the Convenience Store, which appears to not only be a place where BOB and MIKE lived, but also where other supernatural beings spent their time.

The Poem Was Creepy

Is this the same “Mother” that Cooper was fleeing from in the Mauve world? And the same creature in the glass box that killed Tracy and Sam in the first episode?  (Showtime)

Do you remember the poem that the one burned-up woodsman read over and over? Here it is:

This is the water and this is the well, drink full and descend, the horse is the white of the eyes and the dark within.”

There are so many things we could take from this poem. Does the “horse is white” have anything to do with the white horse that Sarah Palmer saw in her visions? Or is the poem simply about how someone who “drinks full” from the well of the demons’ darkness (aka BOB) will then have darkness within?

Some fans who searched for the poem found it in an old forum called “Commercials I Hate.” It appears at the bottom of each page in the template. It hasn’t always been on the website, but appears to have been added on June 24. You can see it on the bottom of the page here, for example. (See a Reddit discussion about it here.) Here’s how it looks:

Poem appearing on Commercials I Hate

Some think this is some kind of clue for the show. Others think it’s just someone who worked on the show and knew about the poem, adding it to the site in advance of the show airing. What do you think?

Laura Palmer Was Supernatural

A golden orb, created by The Giant, was sent to earth right after he saw BOB being created after the nuclear test. It’s safe to guess that this orb was somehow The Giant’s answer to the problem of BOB coming to Earth. Laura Palmer was imbued with some type of supernatural power, it appears, and is the only creature who can defeat BOB. She successfully withstood his advances and was never possessed by him, choosing to sacrifice her life instead of letting him take over hers. The last time we saw her, she was in the Red Room with Cooper, revealing a bright light inside of her, and then she was taken away.

The bright light inside of her must have been the supernatural element that was sent to her from The Giant. The Giant and his kind have been working to protect Earth ever since a bridge was torn between the two worlds, allowing BOB and his minions full access to our world.

One fan theory is that the “Dark Mother” creature that birthed Bob is the sister of The Giant that “birthed” Laura. This would make The Man From Another Place and Laura Palmer cousins. Strangely enough, TMFAP once said this was the case and everyone thought it was symbolic.

A great summary of the episode was written by Redditor Kent_Broswell (originally shared here):

Just as I predicted last week: evil Coop gets shot but then homeless ghosts revive him, then a nuclear bomb explodes for 20 minutes while the giant watches the current episode of Twin Peaks and levitates, while meanwhile sixty years ago zombie Abraham Lincoln goes on a murder rampage before he lulls everyone to sleep so that a mutant bug can crawl into a girls mouth. I still like the show and all, but sometimes I get a little annoyed that it’s so predictable.”

A few remaining questions from the episode:

  • Is BOB still in Mr. C now that he’s been revived? If not, do Mr. C and Dougie need to combine to bring Cooper back? And is BOB free to find a new host?
  • Was The Giant’s room The White Lodge or a different place?

What do you think of these theories? Let us know in the comments below if anything was missed or if you disagree with anything.