Hellgate and the Bookhouse Boys: 2 Theories About Episode 13 of “Twin Peaks: The Return”

“Life is filled with abstractions. The only way to make heads or tails of it is going through intuition.”

-David Lynch

It’s 2017, and in an age where television has changed the way we think about home entertainment Twin Peaks has found a comfortable place among the trees.  Showtime’s revival of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s mystical take on a small town has evolved into a rich story involving new characters, several locations, and issues that seem relevant to our world today (Dr. Amp’s political rants, Norma’s Chain, etc.). Throw in Mark Frost’s critically acclaimed The Secret History of Twin Peaks, and you’ve got a universe as strange as the X-Files and more interconnected than an episode of Seinfeld. The book follows FBI Agent Tammy Preston as she attempts to dissect a dossier left by a man known simply as “The Archivist”. I won’t go so far as to spoil who that is; you’re better off reading the book yourself as it contains a wealth of information about Twin Peaks, and even more eerily, about our country’s history.

13 episodes in, the series has started to gain real momentum; with another appearance by Audrey, our first look at an older Big Ed, and even a performance by James Hurley at the Roadhouse, the show has brought us back to a Twin Peaks that we both recognize and love. More importantly, the episode provides some potential clues to what exactly is going on not only in the town of Twin Peaks, but everywhere in the show. We’re going to take a look at 2 scenes from this week’s episode that, upon close analysis, tie into not only the original series, but also a theory from Mark Frost’s book.

Big Ed

This week’s episode ended not with a musical number, but a shot of Big Ed Hurley sitting at the Gas Farm. Staring through the window, we can see the same gas pumps that the woodsman inhabit in the bizarre Eighth Episode. Ed sits still, looking out at the cars passing, barely changing his expression. But what Ed does next may point to not only the strange happenings around town, but also the true nature of the “Bookhouse Boys”. Ed pulls out a match and lights the lid of the matchbook on fire; holding the burning paper, he stares deeply into the fire. There is no hint as to why Ed is doing this, and he says nothing during the scene. If he is “playing with fire”, it may be a sinister callback to the original series. Leland Palmer tells Cooper a story from his childhood involving a man who asks him “you wanna play with fire” while throwing matches at him. Could this be the show’s way of telling us that Big Ed is not so good after all? It’s a stretch, but earlier in the episode we see Ed as a man who isn’t happy seeing Norma with another man, could he have reached his limit?


James Hurley’s Fan

This week’s episode treated fans to a performance of “You and I” by none other than James Hurley. As James strums his guitar and recreates an almost identical rendition from the original series, a lone woman looks on from the same booth we’ve seen in several episodes. The woman stares in admiration, and is eventually overcome with melancholy, shown by the somber look on her face. If you look closely, you can see a tattoo on the inside of her arm, which stays in view most of the shot. The numbers “7663” are written in black ink in a standard font.



Given the show’s tendency to hide messages within scenes, I took it upon myself to do some research about the number. The first bit of information I could find pertained to the color which the number represents. Red is no doubt a recurring motif in the series, from the curtains of the Black Lodge waiting room, to the dresses, shoes, and lipstick wore by the various women in the show.



While it was a strange coincidence, I was still not satisfied with the deduction I made, so I researched further into the number’s meaning. This time I decided to split the number into two numbers, in an effort to map them as geographical coordinates. Using http://www.findlatitudeandlongitude.com I typed in the coordinates 76 degrees Latitude, 63 degrees Longitude, this is what showed up on the map.


The coordinates point to an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean called “Novaya Zemlya”. At first this bit of information means very little, until you factor in the area’s importance during the Cold War. Novaya Zemlya was the site of the most powerful man-made Explosion in History, Tsar Bomba. The 27 ton bomb was detonated on October 30, 1961, creating a cloud big enough to reach into the Earth’s mesosphere.


Episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return solidified itself as one of the most experimental moments in television history with its focus on our country’s Nuclear exploits. We see Bob, or at least his face, emitting from the Glass Box creature as a result of the blast.


In The Secret History of Twin Peaks, Frost tells the story of one of the original founders of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “Jack” Parsons. A brilliant chemist, and one of the original “rocket scientists”, Parsons decided to mix his love for science with his other passion, Thelema. Thelema teaches individuals to “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.”, and was developed by a man named Aleister Crowley. Inspired by Crowley’s teachings, Parsons and oddly enough, L. Ron Hubbard, began experiments in the desert involving what can only be described as “black magic.” In the book, an exchange between Doug Milford and Ron Hubbard reveals a location known as a “Hellgate”, a place where one can “summon” other beings. Given chapter’s emphasis on rocket fuel, it’s safe to say that the destructive nature of our modern weaponry has allowed certain entities to emerge. Could the tattoo on the woman at the Roadhouse be a clue as to her origin? There is also a rose tattoo on her left arm; is this a reference to the “Blue Rose”?

Only time will tell, and with 5 episodes left in the limited series, we can only hope that all of our questions will be answered. After all, like the magician, we “all long to see”.


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