This made my head explode
First, a brief apology to those (such as Wife) who couldn't give a flying fuck about David Lynch, but I'm having to post this here for my own reference first and foremost. Also, though, I know a few of you do dig the Lynch.
The following theory is what has fuelled the debate that the first 40 minutes of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is actually all a dream dreamed by Agent Cooper. I have lifted this directly from the thread "Theresa Banks' investigation - que?" over at the Twin Peaks Gazette Message Board.
From John Thorne's "Dreams of Deer Meadow", from issue 60 of Wrapped in Plastic magazine, August 2002
(Paraphrased and quoted with respect)
Vision and Revision
Lynch/Engels Goal: FWWM was intended to be about the Dale Cooper investigation, BOB and Mike, and other characters from the show.
FWWM had to be self contained and work within the framework of established facts of events prior to the series. It had to be integrated into the Laura Palmer story without adding too much new storyline/resolution.
The investigation allowed Cooper to be in the film and part of Laura's living world (and afterlife) just as the TV show hinted in ep 2009 that they shared a dream that would trigger his intuition and he would send an alarm to Laura (in which she receives his warning), and he comforts her/shepherds her in the Red Room.
Problems: this would have been three hours long; Kyle's refusal to commit to his time also led to revisions. It was implied in the show that Cooper investigated the Banks murder, and The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper -- by sometimes Peaks script writer Scott Frost -- has Cooper examining her body with a partner, meeting Cable, etc. With so few Cooper scenes, why bother with the prologue?
The first 30 min and Laura's story feel separate, but...
The Dreams of Dale Cooper
Cooper is actually a dominant presence and Chet only seems to investigate.
In the original script, Cooper has Desmond's lines.
In the working script, Desmond meets a mysterious fate and Coop is sent out, now a passive role. Just as he reworked the Mulholland Dr. pilot in a feature, he adds critical dialogue and restructures the opening as Cooper's dream. (It's in character for Coop and supports Lynch's fascination with dreams.) The dream has to be necessary and contribute to the story, or else it would be arbitrary.
Purpose: Every dream element leads to Cooper's better understanding of Teresa's Owl Cave ring. His subconscious seeks answers while other being enter to aid him, and information gleaned will help with the Laura Palmer case. He can enter the Red Room world in dreams, and the random/confusing elements of the prologue can be solved.
Part 1: Chet
Cooper dreams the real events of Teresa's death and floating body.
First Doubling: two secretaries at Gordon Cole's, blonde and brunette, are symbols of aspects of a double personality. (There was only one in the original script.)
The Chet dream is based on Cooper's memory of his own experiences. Lynch was able to keep his original concept (both CD and DC have the same line -- and the same initials reversed.) Just as Cooper fails to solve the case in reality, so must his dream manifestation of himself.
The blue rose is not in the original script. The blue rose is a figment of Cooper's mind, meaning like a blue rose, the case is an impossibility. Desmond can't explain the rose to Sam because Cooper doesn't know what it means but recognizes it as a case involving the supernatural OR as a subconscious clue to "look beyond the rational." Sam later asks if he's "going back" for it.
Cooper intuits the importance of understanding the missing ring in his dream, which could not be located in reality. When he (as Chet, who goes back to the trailer park for the rose) sees it on a mound of dirt (Laura's necklace is also found on a mound of dirt) and reaches for it, he can't "grasp" it.
Second Doubling: The old man at Hap's asks "Are you talking about that little girl that got murdered?" twice. (It was only asked once in the original script.) Meaning, Cooper is investigating Teresa's death for a second time.
Third Doubling: Sam repeats "We sure do need a good wake me up, don't we Agent Desmond?" (in the script, Sam asks, "You really do like that coffee, don't you Agent Cooper?"), Cooper may be trying to wake himself,
Then, the old woman, the phone pole/whooping noise (the Man From Another Place's call from the pilot), and Carl Rodd says: "I've already gone places, I just want to stay where I am." If Cooper awakens, Rodd will cease to exist. (This was a spontaneous improvisation that Lynch kept, as he sometimes does.)
Cooper submits to the inevitable and abandons his dream persona, but his dream continues. He enters (in Philadelphia) as soon as Chet disappears and tells Cole enigmatically: "I'm worried today because of the dream I told you about." A reference to the Deer Meadow dream?
Fourth Doubling: Cooper sees himself on the closed-circuit camera monitor, re-enacting his doubled presence in the Deer Meadow dream while not stating it explicitly to Cole.
Part 2: Jeffries
Jeffries appears, walks past Cooper's double, relates his experiences, then disappears -- this was changed radically from the original script to appear more dreamlike. This scene is too bizarre to reconcile with reality. In the script, Cooper's double follows Jeffries into Cole's office. After he says "it was a dream, we live inside a dream," Jeffries cries, "the ring, the ring." Cole tries to call his intercom for a stenographer, "static begins to build and the fluorescent lights start to hum," Cooper checks the hall for help and only Albert witnesses Jeffries disappear. (Wouldn't Albert be less sarcastic about the existence of BOB in the series after witnessing this?) The "we" refers to Cooper, Cole, Albert and Jeffries. Jeffries asks "Who do you think this is there?" about Cooper. The answer is: the dreamer, or Jeffries knows Cooper has changed dream identities.
Jeffries subjective experience of the Red Room (Lynch says it changes depending on whoever walks into it) is a sign that he's an entity who has forced his way into Cooper's subconscious mind. Lynch edits the scene as if Cooper's mind is overloaded with information and struggling to process it.
Jeffries supplies Cooper with crucial information (The Little Man says "with this ring, I thee wed," also unscripted) that he is able to warn Laura with. The ring is deadly when taken from the Little Man.
Part 3: Cooper
Cooper returns to the Fat Trout and intuitively looks at the space with the empty trailer, where Desmond found the ring, and sees "Let's Rock" on the car (a line of the Little Man's from the series.) The lines "sorry to wake you" and "I was having a bad dream anyway" were scripted for the earlier Chet scene, then moved to Cooper's visit to emphasize the continuing dream of the prologue.
Fifth Doubling: The last TWO previous tenants were Chalfont, just as Donna finds two Tremonds next to Harold's in the series.
Cooper awakens after his dictation to Diane.
Oh, man! I really want to watch this again now, but I'm holding off until I've finished watching Twin Peaks series 2 again...
In other Lynch-related news, my INLAND EMPIRE DVD is en route to me, so I'm excited about that. And go to Lazy Eye Theatre for a cool look at scene-making David Lynch style. Have a great weekend, and don't have nightmares!