(Big ole spoilers ahead for Part 9 of the “Twin Peaks” revival on Showtime.)
In Part 9 of “Twin Peaks: The Return,” we finally get to see what Bill Hastings (Matthew Lillard) has been up to since getting arrested for the murder of Ruth Davenport. He’s been crying a lot, mostly.
More revealing — besides how much snot Lillard can generate on cue — is the extent of Bill and Ruth’s relationship and it comes down to paranormal conspiracy theories and investigations, specifically into alternate dimensions and realities.
The FBI note that Hastings has been curating a blog called The Search for the Zone and luckily for viewers, it’s a real site. Check it out in all its late 1990s, designed by Angelfire glory.
At first glance, The Search for the Zone looks like it’ll have a lot to explore. Most links, however, either send the visitor to a site to purchase the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack or to a error page that turns into a clip of the show’s theme.
However, there’s a few things worth noting.
First, there’s one journal entry available for reading. Sadly, it’s not the one referenced in the episode, where Hastings says he met Major Briggs, but it does reveal some enlightening information.
It’s his last journal entry — the sidebar says the site was updated in Nov. 2015, so we can guess it’s from then.
“We will have to reconcile with the question that if someone from outside our familiar world gains access to our plane of existence, what ramifications will that entail? There might be forces at work from deep dimensional space, or from the future…or are these one in the same? Think of the events that could have splintered time? The things that could have laid the seed for a starting point for this development? Perhaps technological innovations or the assassination of President Kennedy?”
(We should point out here that the general thought about the “Twin Peaks” revival is that it’s set in 2014, with Part 9 placing the month as September — 25 years after the events of the original show, which was set in 1989. And so it could be that Bill Hastings kept updating the site after the events of the series. Or maybe we’re a parallel universe from the show. It’s hard to make a guess based on this, but you can assume that date on the website was intentional.)
If you remember from Part 8, which we wrote about here, we theorized that the Trinity nuclear test resulted in BOB’s birth. This event — a milestone in technological innovation and human development — was being observed by the Giant and Senorita Dido and when they saw the visage of BOB floating in the explosion, they sent Laura Palmer to Earth.
So is Hastings unknowingly alluding to that event and if so, is he implying that the birth could’ve created a parallel reality, one where BOB existed?
For those who have just engaged with the show, this idea of alternate timelines might seem confusing, but the more hardcore “Twin Peaks” fans have theorized that some aspects have taken place in another plane of existence since the publication of “The Secret History of Twin Peaks” in 2016.
The book was published by show co-creator Mark Frost and is noteworthy for its canonical discrepancies. It works as a dossier of events surrounding the events of the original series, compiled by Major Briggs (known for most of the book as “The Archivist”) and signed off by Agent Tammy Preston. However, there are a lot of things that don’t add up.
For example, the origin of Ed and Nadine’s relationship is different in the book than it is in the show. In the book, it says they fell in love after Ed went over to Vietnam while in the show, it says they got married right out of high school. Further disparities include birthdates and other major events, such as when Douglas Milford — who we now can assume is way more important than the original series made him out to be — joined the military.
The book also leads to some disturbing implications: that Laura is alive, that something might be up with Norma’s mother (she has an entirely different name in “Secret History”) and that Annie might never have existed at all.
If you’re really curious, you can check out this fan-compiled “error” sheet here.
This has led to many fans saying that the book might take place in an alternate timeline. When people asked Frost about the errors, he only replied “All will be revealed in time.” He either meant that the errors were done on purpose or that he’s not as caught up with “Twin Peaks” lore as many fans are. Knowing the way Lynch and Frost work, we can assume the former.
Hastings’ website provides multiple links on theories behind parallel universes — some more questionable than others — along with links to Nikola Tesla’s speech on wireless electricity transfer and a German website that seems to discuss stock trading.
Also, Hastings is fascinated by famous pulp science fiction author Robert Heinlein and provides many links about his work.
The final piece on the website is links to three WAV files. Two are listed as electrical interference while the third is described as a vortex. The first two links don’t reveal much, but listening to the third link, around half way through, you can hear the voice of a man, either saying “no” or “help.”
In Part 9, we learn that following his and Ruth’s meeting with Major Briggs in the alternate dimension (presumably one of the Lodges), they gave him coordinates and then watched as Briggs’ head floated up. Then Ruth was dead, her head laid next to the body that has been identified as Major Briggs, even though he supposedly died in a fire after getting visited by Agent Dale Cooper.
So in many ways, “The Search for the Zone” is a joke, but what it might imply is even greater.
Below the menu on the left sidebar, there’s another interesting tidbit that we aren’t sure what to make of yet: “The Search for the Zone is primarily maintained by Bill Hastings, with occasional contributions from Heinrich Viegel.” Heinrich Viegel is not a character on “Twin Peaks” and as far as we can tell he isn’t referenced in any ancillary materials, like “The Secret History of Twin Peaks,” before now.
It could be that Heinrich Viegel is an alias for Ruth Davenport — though why she would need one is uncertain given how Bill puts his real name on the site and Ruth worked for him at the high school in Buckhorn, South Dakota where Bill was the principal. In theory, if she were trying to hide her involvement with a goofy conspiracy website, he would be the one she would want to hide it from.
Unrelated to anything we’ve discussed so far, but also note when the site was created: June 1, 1997. Earlier in the episode, the detectives investigating Dougie Jones state how there is no record of him even existing before 1997.
Just something to think about.