(Major spoilers ahead for Part 8 of Showtime’s “Twin Peaks” revival.)
Part 8 of the “Twin Peaks” revival appears to be one of the most important episodes of the series, featuring what amounts to a lore dump about the beginning of the conflict between BOB and Laura Palmer.
It all started with a bang, apparently — specifically, the U.S.’s first atomic bomb test in New Mexico in 1945. The implication is that the nuclear explosion somehow allowed the forces of the Black Lodge (the Woodsmen) and BOB into our world. This led the Giant and a woman from another astral plane called Senorita Dido to somehow send the spirit of Laura Palmer to the Earth.
But this being a David Lynch thing, the details are far from clear and we have to make some inferences about everything that’s going on here. And while the lore dump we did see was certainly monumental, there is likely some other monumental “Twin Peaks” lore going on in the background involving a character you likely haven’t thought about much since Showtime’s revival began.
That character is Dougie Milford (Tony Jay). If you have thought of old Dougie lately, it’s probably because one of Agent Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) doppelgangers, Dougie Jones, shares his first name. But while it felt like that name couldn’t be a coincidence, there hasn’t been much there to connect Old Dougie to the new Dougie. Until now, possibly.
You see, the story of Dougie Milford is far more complicated than you’d probably guess from his three episodes in season 2 of “Twin Peaks.” Dougie was was the owner of the Twin Peaks Gazette, and his brother Dwayne had been the mayor of Twin Peaks for decades. Dougie was 79 years old at the time of his appearance on the show, and his arc was about how he was getting married to the very young seductress Lana Budding. That marriage would be Dougie’s undoing, as he died of a heart attack on his wedding night during sex.
It was all very funny, and would not imply that Dougie had played an extremely important part in the lore of “Twin Peaks.” But thanks to the 2016 book “The Secret History of Twin Peaks” that set up the new revival, we know that Dougie’s life was spent helping with the U.S. government’s clandestine efforts to unlock the mysteries of the Lodges.
And we also know, most relevant to Part 8, that Dougie Milford was stationed at White Sands, New Mexico, where that atomic bomb test took place, in 1945.
From there, Dougie would be reassigned to Roswell, where he would be an important figure in the famous UFO incident in 1947. He would later be involved heavily with Project Blue Book, which is what Major Garland Briggs was working on the original series run — Major Briggs had actually been handpicked by Dougie to take his place at the “listening post” at Twin Peaks when Dougie retired. And the reason Dougie bought the Gazette was so he could use the power of the media to suppress any reports of supernatural stuff going on around there. Dougie also worked closely with Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) for a time.
“The Secret History of Twin Peaks” also gave us another important link between Dougie and the revival: the government, in 1972, had one of those mysterious glass boxes we saw in the early episodes of the new series. Dougie and President Nixon were, in fact, present when some entity, dubbed the “Experiment” according to the credits of the new series, passed through the box in 1972. We saw the Experiment again in Part 8; it was the strange figure that had what appeared to be an umbilical cord coming out of its face with the BOB orb sticking out of the side.
After Dougie died, he can be seen wearing a ring that is similar to the “Owl Cave Ring,” which also has a long history in “Twin Peaks” lore, dating back to before Lewis and Clark explored the region — Meriweather Lewis was given the ring by the Native American chief of the Nez Perce tribe. That ring was last seen on the hand of Dougie Jones, who was wearing it when he was taken to the lodge and turned into a small metal ball. I should note that it’s never been conclusively determined if Dougie Milford was wearing the real Owl Cave Ring or just a similar looking one, though he definitely had crossed paths with it numerous times in his life.
What exactly Dougie Milford’s proximity to the event that seemingly started the supernatural war between BOB and Laura Palmer is definitely still unknown at this point, but it, combined with something else that happened in Part 8, begs a new question: could the Roswell UFO incident be related to all this? My thought specifically is that the UFO could have been the Laura Palmer orb descending to Earth from wherever it is the Giant and Senorita Dido were living. Furthermore, is it possible that the government were aware from the beginning what it had wrought, or at least that it had wrought something, with that atomic blast in New Mexico?
These are all just guesses, of course, assuming that all of this is not a coincidence. Hopefully, we’ll get more hints in the remaining ten episodes.