Understanding the Motels in Episode 18


Coop and Diane portal into a night road, seemingly into a new world. They travel until they find a small, neon-lit hotel, and check in for the night. What follows is a very strange sex scene. followed by an even stranger morning after.

Coop awakes, shouting, “Diane,” to an empty room. He finds a note left by “Linda” to “Richard.” He dresses, and upon leaving, finds that the outside of the motel is completely different! Not only that, his car seems to have been upgraded to a much, much newer model.

What’s going on?


The two different motel fronts are not 2 random motels– they’re the same motel 25 years apart– In 1989, and in 2014.

The Facts

  1. When they get there at night, it is smaller, single story motel with 80’s neon lighting
  2. when he enters, he uses the old fashioned tumbler lock key. When he leaves, they have modern magnetic card readers– it was mentioned in an earlier episode by Ben Horne: when receiving Coop’s old hotel room key, he exclaims, “we haven’t used keys like this in 25 years!”
  3. In the hotel, the deco is from sometime in the 40-60s — look at the lamp when they first enter. While this could be evidence of any time period from the 40’s on, the TV in the room is
  4. The original phone is a rotary phone. When he wakes up, it the same rotary phone, but old, and cracked. Likewise, when he wakes up, there is a hither-to-unforeseen remote next to Coop’s side of the bed.
  5. When Coop wakes up and goes outside, he’s driving a more modern version of the car he drove in with. Also, the ‘welcome to Odessa’ sign has the actual 2010 census population number on it.


What does this all mean?

I’m hesitant to say specifically, but at the very least, it means that Dale probably didn’t transport anywhere after going to sleep. He and Diane went into the Motel room, and left the same hotel room 25 years later. There is no distinct reference to the 25 years number, however: we know by the TV that it’s the 80’s or 90’s in the motel, and we know by the Odessa census sign that its at least 2010 when they leave. I guess it could be 20 years, or 17 years, or some other number, but 25 years would fit the best in context.

Also, their transport to Odessa seemed fairly conventional by Twin Peaks Portal standards– there weren’t the effects that happened when he was transported from the Fireman at the beginning, or with Jeffries the teapot — so there is no evidence they time traveled.


Potential Theories

  1. Coop was not in the lodge for 25 years the second time around –makes sense since he wasn’t trapped there by his doppelganger.
  2. whatever trap Mr. C and the arm’s doppelganger set the first time around, it wasn’t there this time, so he could leave on time how he wanted to. You’ll note they also skipped the Laura Palmer conversation in the Red Room- “can I go now?”
  3. When he left and ran into red-diane, it was still 1989.
  4. So it was still 1989 when they were in the desert at mile 430.
  5. Did something they do in the motel cause the fast-forward to happen?

4 thoughts on “Understanding the Motels in Episode 18

  1. I’m having trouble putting this theory into words, but I feel like there could be some connection between this thought and the idea that Cooper could no longer really “exist” in the new world he created by saving Laura, since he would have never gone to Twin Peaks to investigate her murder in the first place (link here: https://www.reddit.com/r/twinpeaks/comments/75k56g/all_a_timeline_theory_ive_been_working_on/). Perhaps Richard is his new identity in the world? Like I said, I’m having trouble putting this into words, but I feel like there’s something to keep pulling at here.


    1. I think I know what you mean. I’ve also wondered if the motel scene is reality “snapping forward” to re-align itself after Cooper disrupted everything by going back to 1989.

      In that case, the new “Richard” identity would be reality making room for Cooper, because he shouldn’t really exist anymore.

      Is this along the lines you’ve been thinking about?


      1. Yeah, I think that’s more or less what I was trying to say. With this show I feel constantly torn between feeling like I’m over-thinking it or that I’m not thinking about it nearly enough.


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