Cooper’s Dream from Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is a television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch which aired on ABC from 1990 to 1991. In the series, an FBI agent travels to Twin Peaks to find the murderer of high school prom queen Laura Palmer. The dream sequence is probably the most memorable scene of the series as it is at the same time utterly confusing, ridiculous and frightening. What is particularly interesting is that Lynch, in a very postmodern way, goes beyond classical Freudian psychoanalysis. On one hand, the action, the dialogue, the setting and even the lighting make the scene completely absurd — which makes it more dream-like than most other dream sequences I have seen. On the other hand, the overload of symbols and hints give the dream more meaning than reality itself. The dream is more than the embodiment of Cooper’s desire; it represents an alternate dimension filled with clues that outline the path to the resolution of the crime. Cooper believes in the significance of the dream and, instead of looking for a rational explanation, follows the clues in his investigation. Throughout Twin Peaks, Lynch successfully blurs the line between reality, the subconscious and the supernatural, reflecting the mental state of the serial killer and giving the series a deliciously surreal atmosphere.

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2 responses to “Cooper’s Dream from Twin Peaks

  1. I love this scene from Twin Peaks – one of Lynch’s best.

    What’s also interesting about this dream is how Cooper trusted it so blindly. After all, it was just a dream. Who is to say it was a message from some ethereal power rather than simply a misfiring of neurons in his brain?

    But the clip speaks to the power of the human mind – the same power that Senator Iselin depended on when he made the claims about members of the Communist Party existing in the State Department. He relied on the belief that people, when given a scary or unsettling piece of data, will tend to trust it blindly simply because it frightens them (thus, the politics of fear). One could make the argument that the perplexity this dream caused Cooper was the reason for his blind trust in it. Since he didn’t quite understand it at first, he felt it had to contain a truer meaning.

  2. I just finished Twin Peaks not too long ago and was mesmerized throughout. I admit Lynch lost me at some points in terms of narrative, but his construction of the mystery was both alluring and inventive. I completely agree with your statement about the world reflecting the killer’s mental state and like that you chose the dream clip. The dream sequences and the scenes with the giant were incredibly well done.

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