The following is some quick ideas I developed during a recent re-watch of the new Twin Peaks (Parts 1, 2 and some of 3). I am well aware that all of what I've written here could be proven wrong in just a matter of days, but I wanted to put my thoughts down and maybe get a few reactions.
In Part 2 of the new Twin Peaks, The Arm says to Cooper: “253” and “time and time again.” Can we assume 253 is a time, as in 2:53? Quite possibly. In Part 3, Cooper encounters American Girl in the otherworldly room of the “socket portal.” There, when her watch turns exactly to 2:53, a lamp illuminates on a table next to Cooper, indicating, it would seem, that Cooper’s portal is now accessible. And, indeed, he does travel through the portal and exchange places with Dougie.
But what does “time and time again” mean?
Earlier in Part 2, Cooper encounters the One Armed Man who says, “It is future or is it past?” Cooper then sees Laura and experiences some visions. Then he abruptly finds himself back with the One Armed Man who again asks, “Is it future or is it past?”
Is Cooper caught in a time loop? Does he attempt to leave the Red Room over and over again, only to be shunted off to the “socket room” where he experiences 2:53 “time and time again?” This repetitive experience might be illustrated by what happens to Cooper when he appears in the glass box in New York. He seems to undergo a shuffling of sorts, his image shrinking and growing along a vanishing point within the box. Are these shuffled appearances of Cooper “echoes” of earlier visits to the box? Has he already been there many times before, always to end up in the socket room?
Could it also be that the evil Cooper, or another force, is continually re-routing Cooper to alternate—manufactured—realities (like Dougie’s) to prevent him from exchanging places with the evil Cooper? (After all, hitmen are poised to take out Dougie just after Cooper arrives.)
These are just idle speculations, ideas that seem to fit with what little information we have in the first four hours of the new Twin Peaks. Still, it’s an intriguing scenario: that Cooper has been many times tricked into a manufactured world. (Note that he is referred to as a “dream weaver” by Janey-E (Naomi Watts)). If he is killed there, the Evil Cooper remains at large.
But time-loops within the Red Room continually allow Cooper the opportunity to get it right: To exchange places with his doppelganger either by jumping through the curtains just as the Evil Cooper drives by, or by refusing to exit through the electric portal when urged by the American Girl. What if Cooper’s proper exit from the socket room is through the barred metal door? What if the banging he hears on the other side is not a threat but a warning—an attempt to stop Cooper from leaving via the socket?
It’s all hard to say, of course. The Dougie scenario so far seems to promise much more for Cooper than a simple parallel existence. And right now, after Part 4, Cooper might be slowly “awakening.” There is evidence that implies he remembers being shot or stabbed (note how he looks at his stomach when the boy, Sonny Jim, appears in the hallway).
So who knows? I’ve always liked parsing Twin Peaks and I’m happy to be doing so again. The new show is rich with possibility and it allows for many curious ways to connect the narrative dots we’ve been given so far.