‘Twin Peaks’ Episode 11 Explained: Top Theories & Clues

David Lynch and Laura Dern in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Spoilers for Episode 11 of Season 3 of Twin Peaks are below. 

Twin Peaks is getting closer and closer to the finale, and we still haven’t seen Agent Cooper yet. Some fans are loving the mystery and even the Dougie elements, but some fans just want their beloved Cooper back. Whatever side of the debate you’re on, Episode 11 had plenty of mystery and “what the heck just happened?!” moments to keep any fan guessing and theorizing for days and weeks to come. Here are some of the more tantalizing clues, theories, and explanations from Episode 11.

The Portal Gordon Saw May Be Hiding Some Clues

When Gordon was checking out the portal where Hastings found Major Briggs in Buckhorn, he was almost drawn into a world that the Woodsmen were living in. This seems a little strange, since you would assume Briggs was in a White Lodge area, but the portal that Gordon saw seemed to reach out to a dark spirit world. At one point, he saw three woodsmen standing on a set of stairs and was almost pulled in after them.

Viewer Dan Fraser commented below that if you look at these pictures closely, you can see that the image on the wall below the three men depicts a nuclear explosion. Interesting.


Some fans think that if you peer closely enough between the two Woodsmen on the far left, in the picture above, you can also see something that looks almost like a flower pattern. Here’s another shot:


Fans think we might be seeing the wallpaper from the painting in Laura Palmer’s room in Fire Walk With Me. Here’s what that wallpaper looks like:


The colors and general shape certainly do seem to match up. Here’s a clip from the scene where Laura visited the room with the wallpaper:

Some fans thought that maybe the staircase led to Laura Palmer’s bedroom, and other fans think it’s a staircase to the Convenience Store. But if the wallpaper is from the painting in her room, then Gordon was seeing a portal directly connected to Laura Palmer’s house. (Unless the painting has since been stolen.)

We did see the staircase once before — in the Twin Peaks trailer. But we weren’t told where the staircase went then either:

Now Gordon’s Hand is Shaking, and That’s a Bad Sign

Gordon’s hand was shaking after Albert pulled him away from the portal. We’ve seen that once before: in Season 2 of Twin Peaks. Cooper (miss him), Pete, and a random woman all got the shakes in their hands before the portal in the woods opened. It seemed to be a sign that BOB was returning. Granted, he was always there, in some form or fashion, within Leland. But the darkness was getting stronger.

Maybe the hand shaking occurs when evil is growing or “Mother” is getting more powerful. Recall that after Gordon was almost pulled into the portal, a Woodsmen took off half of Hastings’ head. This is reminiscent of Episode 8, when that Woodsman was finding a host for Bug Bob and smooshed people’s heads with just his hand. It could also be reminiscent of when “Mother” went through the glass box portal and tore apart those two viewers’ heads.

Bobby’s Encounter with the Honking Woman Was Very Strange

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Then there was Bobby’s encounter after the R&R Diner was shot. That one woman kept honking her horn because she was in a big hurry to get to dinner, and it turned out someone “very sick” was in the car with her. But that someone looked more like a zombie than a sick person. Some people are theorizing that the “zombie” was a dark spirit.

Here’s what the woman said to Bobby:

What are you doing? We’re trying to get home. We’re already late. We’re late for dinner. It’s way past 6:30. Why is this happening? I saw that gun go shootin’ out the window. Her uncle is joining us. She hasn’t seen him in a very long while. We’re late. We’ve got miles to go. Please we have to get home. She’s sick.”

Some fans think that many dark spirits are being drawn to Twin Peaks right now because there’s going to be another Lodge portal opening soon. And maybe the dad and the weird son who shot the R&R were dark spirits, too. Perhaps the woman was heading to a dinner that was actually a “meeting” for the dark spirits. One fan theorizes that maybe it’s connected to the quote that Mr. C texted: “Around the dinner table the conversation is lively.” They certainly are trying to make it to a dinner table in time.

Meanwhile, Bobby himself is having a very bad day. His daughter is married to Steven, a drug addict who’s apparently cheating on her, and she went completely psycho trying to chase down the woman he was with. Some have guessed that Becky is an analog of sorts for Laura Palmer. If so, she has a really tough, crazy streak in her just like Laura did.

Bobby’s conversation with Becky was also reminiscent of when he was a rebel teenager and his dad was trying to help him. It seems that family dynamics sometimes repeat.

But if all of this wasn’t enough, Bobby also had to watch Shelly run after “Red,” a drug lord, and act giddy about seeing him. That was awkward for everyone and really hurtful to Bobby. What happened between Bobby and Shelly to bring them to this point?

We Found Out What Happened to Donna’s Sister


Donna Hayward has been AWOL since Season 2 of Twin Peaks. We haven’t seen her in this season and the actress was recast for Fire Walk With Me. But tonight, we got a glimpse of what her sister, Gersten Hayward, is up to. And it was really sad. :(

When Becky was trying to track down her husband, Gersten was hiding in a stairwell with Steven. If you didn’t recognize her, we know it’s her because the same actress who played Gersten in the original series was playing her in Episode 11. (And, as one fan pointed out, she looks a lot like Donna did in the original series.)

Gersten had a lot of promise when she was young. What happened to her?

Diane Was Far Too Calm About the Woodsman


For someone who supposedly has never seen the crazy Lodge stuff before, Diane was far too calm about seeing the Woodsman approach the FBI agent’s car. In fact, she didn’t warn anyone and later said that she only saw him leave the car. We saw in an earlier episode that she was either getting Mr. C’s texts or they were being forwarded to her. She also seemed to be paying really close attention to the coordinates on Ruth’s arm — almost like she was trying to memorize them. Diane has apparently encountered these other-worldly creatures so many times that she’s not fazed by them at all.

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Candy Acts A Lot Like Dougie

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Is Candy just around for comic relief or is there something more going on with her? The way she tilts her head strangely and her eyes seem to glaze over, and the way she really doesn’t register what’s being said to her most of the time, is very reminiscent of how Dougie acts. Maybe that’s coincidence, or maybe she’s been touched by the Black Lodge herself at some point. Other fans think it’s better news than this, and she’s been touched with Laura Palmer’s spirit.

I’m leaning toward the theory that she’s a damaged doppelganger too. But one fan has another interesting take on Candy:

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Hawk’s Map Had Mother’s Symbol on It

It was impossible to miss that Hawk’s “ever-changing” spiritual map had the symbol for Mother on it. We’ve seen this same symbol many times on the show. It’s the SAME symbol that was on the Ace of Spades card that Mr. C. showed to Daria — the thing that he really wanted to find.

This also looks very similar to the head of the “Mother” creature that vomited up BOB in Episode 8, who just happens to resemble the demon creature that killed the two people watching the glass box experiment. (And, not-so-coincidentally, might be the Mother that Cooper had to flee in the Mauve world.)


ShowtimeIs 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?

At this point, it’s pretty evident that Mr. C was funding the Glass Box experiment and, based on the Ace of Spades card he was carrying around, trying to make contact with/capture the “Mother” entity. She is likely the origin of dark spirits and gave “birth” to BOB. She may be a creature that “births” all evil doppelgängers (hinted by Laura’s doppelgänger saying “sometimes my arms bend back,” which is what the symbol looks like it’s doing.)

Her symbol also appeared on the note that Briggs left for his son, Bobby.


Now we can see that “Mother” was on Briggs’ note because his note is leading Bobby & company to a place on Hawk’s map where Mother’s symbol resides.

The only thing Hawk said to Sheriff Truman about the “Mother” symbol was: “You don’t ever want to know about that.” And if Mother gives birth to doppelgängers like BOB, then we know why.

There’s another point to keep in mind about the “Mother” symbol.

As Jawaid Bazyar pointed out in the comments below, the “Mother” symbol is also the Owl Cave symbol that was prevalent in the original seasons of Twin Peaks and is engraved on the green ring that prevented BOB from possessing Laura Palmer (but also led him to kill her.) Many people have worn that green ring over time.

The Owl Cave was in Ghostwood National Forest, and it was covered in petroglyphs carved by natives. Andy struck an ax at a petroglyph in the cave and struck a mechanism that revealed a pole with the Owl/Mother symbol on it. Turning the pole rightside up revealed an Owl Cave Map. The cave was related to the Black Lodge.

Here’s the scene where Andy hit the Owl Cave wall and the symbol was revealed:

And here’s the owl cave symbol (aka the Mother Symbol) as it appeared in Season 2:

Twin Peaks

Coop Made a Brief Appearance Again

Sometimes it feels like we’re just being teased, but Coop briefly appeared again tonight. When Dougie was eating the pie and commented that it was “damn good,” his voice and expression took on the tone of Cooper for just a second. But we could tell that he reverted back to Dougie because he couldn’t remember that he needed to raise his own glass for a toast.

There’s a possibility that the coordinates on Ruth’s arm will lead to Twin Peaks or a place on Hawk’s map. Some people are hoping that Diane is going to text those coordinates to Dougie and he’ll finally meet Truman, Hawk, and other Twin Peaks characters.

What did you think about the latest episode? Do you have any additional theories? Let us know in the comments below.