Orpheus, Diane and the search for the Zone

Episode 9 takes us to the halfway point of the new Twin Peaks season, the point of perfect balance (an important concept in David Lynch’s vision of the world). We are now about to traverse the mirror into the second half of the mystery, the one which should hopefully tie some of the threads developed together. It makes sense that this is the moment, diving into the second half of the show, when we are introduced to the Zone. The privileged path to this realm is indeed through mirrors.


The Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau – 1932)

What is the Zone? I believe the answer to this question lies in the work of Jean Cocteau, the French surrealist artist who was a major influence on David Lynch. To be more precise, the concept of the Zone was developed in his film Orpheus (1950) and its mythological story that merges levels of reality, Greco-Roman divinities and passageways through mirrors. If one looks at the banner for this post and examines the scene when Orpheus (Jean Marais) crosses over to the other side of the mirror, one element should stand out to any Twin Peaks aficionado: the black and white chevron motif on his bedroom floor!

Once inside the mirror, within the Zone that is depicted as a ruined city,  Orpheus travels with great difficulty because the laws of time and space are different here.

In Twin Peaks, Orpheus is of course Dale Cooper, the hero who travels to the other side of the mirror, to the realm of the dead, in order to bring back his beloved Annie.


Orpheus – extract

Reading the following page taken from one of the links found on The Search for the Zone blog (link) concerning the visualization of higher dimensions and the way higher dimensional beings might interact with us, is very close to what I wrote in my book Twin Peaks: Unwrapping the Plastic and on this blog.

Vibrations are the key to higher dimensions

When they mention the importance of vibrations to access higher dimensions, for instance, this connects to what I wrote about vibrations as the source of movement in Twin Peaks that follow the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh yogi of which Lynch is a devotee, echoed in the first appearance of The Man From Another Place (seen shaking from the back before he turns around and declares the now famous “Let’s rock!”, another form of (audio) vibration, mirrored in the chevron motif on the Red Room floor).


As a reminder, here’s what I wrote in my book about the Zone: “In 1950, Cocteau shot another film directly based on a Greek myth: Orpheus. In this film, spirits travel from their world to ours through an area called ‘the Zone’. As Heurtebise (François Perrier) leads Orpheus (Jean Marais) into the underworld, he tells him: ‘This is the Zone. It is made of men’s memories and the ruins of their habits’. This Zone is a sort of no-man’s-land between life and death, where time seems to flow differently than in the normal world. One cannot help but notice a certain resemblance between this Zone and the Lodges in Twin Peaks. The two concepts appear indeed very similar, especially when we learn that the way to enter the famous Zone is through mirrors.” (p.23-24).

And here’s an example of what I wrote about the Fourth Dimension and higher dimensional beings: “As discussed in the first chapter, the waterfall can be understood  from the point of view of the mysterious Fourth Dimension of the esoteric tradition. The intersection of the water’s three-dimensional fall with the two-dimensional plane of the lake is meant to assist the viewer’s understanding that the three-dimensional world can also be similarly crossed by a superior reality. The two dimensionality of the plane thus becomes infused with elements leading to a higher dimension; it reflects elements from another world, just as the viewer’s first glimpses of the true reality behind the mask worn by BOB, i.e. the three-dimensional people that his four-dimensional entity possesses during the series and film, are revealed via various two-dimensional mirrors used to study their reflections“. (p. 53-54).

From Wikipedia: “New possibilities opened up by the concept of four-dimensional space (and difficulties involved in trying to visualize it) helped inspire many modern artists in the first half of the twentieth century. Early Cubists, Surrealists, Futurists, and abstract artists took ideas from higher-dimensional mathematics and used them to radically advance their work“. Marcel Duchamp, another major influence on David Lynch, was also very interested in the possibilities that higher dimensions and non-euclidean geometries offer to artists (link).


Besides the Zone, this episode features another important moment, the one when the FBI officials enter the morgue to examine the body of Garland Briggs. Actually, it’s the moment right before that is of interest, the moment when they enter “the waiting room”. Though the two room don’t appear at first to have anything in common, this earthly waiting room is indeed depicted as a double to the Red Room.

First, in both rooms one can find the chairs and sofas that are typical of such rooms, positioned at a right angle from each other. Both rooms are also rectangular and very bare. They both have geometric patterns on the floor and are connected to nature thanks to the plants and paintings in the morgue and to the curtains in the Red Room (which I link to the idea of a secret garden). Both are also antechambers to realms that take one beyond life, the Lodges and the morgue.

But the obvious link in my opinion is Diane. She appears in both universes, as a human being in the morgue waiting room, and as the statue of a goddess in the Red Room. The Diane impersonated by Laura Dern is a statue come to life. People used to believe that she was not alive, that she was a figment of Dale Cooper’s imagination, and there she is, walking side by side with Gordon Cole and Albert Rosenfield.

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More soon!

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