Note: If you haven’t watched the original Twin Peaks 1990-91 series and/or Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, please be aware that this post will contain a few spoilers.
Twin Peaks, with its bizarre themes and perspective on the paranormal, would certainly not be a top pick for Christian audiences to enjoy with their families. After all, there are very disturbing scenes in this series, namely the graphic references to Laura Palmer’s death, and of course, everything about BOB, the evil spirit that killed her.
However, the movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, contains a small but important scene that all audiences, especially Christians, should appreciate for its simple but powerful meaning: the unexpected appearance of Laura’s guardian angel, which reminds the grieving girl that God hasn’t abandoned her like she originally believed.
Throughout the movie, there are a few scenes revolving around angels:
- Laura’s Doubt: When asked by Donna if she thinks one would go fast or slow while floating in space, Laura gives a long answer that she believes one would go rapidly faster, eventually burning up, without any angels to save you because in her eyes, they’ve all disappeared.
- The Note: According to the Twin Peak’s Wiki page on Will Hayward, in the movie, the father of Donna finds a piece of paper that he gives to Laura, which states that the angels will eventually return, and that Laura will weep joyfully when she sees the angel that’s especially meant for her (aka her guardian angel).
- The Painting: In Laura’s bedroom, there is a painting of an angel watching over a child. Later in the movie, Laura watches the angel seemingly disappear.
- Ronette’s Guardian Angel: In the train car where Laura is murdered, her friend Ronette is kidnapped alongside her, and after she says a desperate prayer, Ronette looks in alarm as her guardian angel appears and cuts loose her bonds after disappearing. Laura looks on in shock and potentially envy, because her guardian angel doesn’t appear in this scene.
The disappearance of the angel in the painting is representative of Laura’s belief that the angels, and likely to a greater extent God Himself, have abandoned her. This is likely due to her feeling that nobody, not even James or Donna, was aware of what was happening to her at the hands of BOB, or the various means she took to hide her pain (such as an addiction to cocaine and prostitution). Going off of that, a possible interpretation is that Laura believed that God and His angels had abandoned her for her choices, and she was left without anybody to care about her.
At the end of the movie, which recounts the days leading up to Laura’s death, along with showing the viewer her flawed personality and the poor choices she made leading up to that grim night, Laura is found in the mysterious Red Room with Dale Cooper standing guard over her. The Red Room, or “Waiting Room” as referred to by the well-known Man From Another Place (the dancing dwarf man), may be a symbolic reference for Purgatory, due to the inference that Laura must wait here before she can properly move on.
In this scene, it’s clear that after her brutal death, Laura is despondent and unsure of what will happen next to her. But then, amidst a flashing white light, an angel appears who looks almost exactly like the angel from her bedroom painting.
Laura’s shock quickly becomes acceptance and joy, especially around the 1:32 mark, where the angel gives her a gesture of assurance. As the scene goes on, with Angelo Badalamenti’s wondrous “The Voice of Love” score playing in the background, Laura’s sadness completely fades away, as she laughs happily and cries not out of pain, but of immense relief that her agony is over forever.
While there is no dialogue in this scene, with the angel’s gestures and Laura’s palpable joy, it’s very easy for the audience to understand what’s going on. The movie ends after this scene, and although it isn’t explicitly shown what happens to Laura after this, it can be theorized that the angel leads her out of the Waiting Room and into the afterlife. In fact, this is affirmed by the last dying words of Leland Palmer, her father, who tells Dale and the others as he dies that the last thing he can see before passing away is Laura greeting him at the entrance to Heaven.
Guardian angels releasing souls from purgatory has basis in Catholic studies, as exampled by this page.
Just as Laura was reminded by the appearance of her guardian angel, no matter how much we doubt it, God and His angels never leave our side, even in the darkest moments of our lives. Although Laura believed that she was beyond God’s mercy because of the choices she made, and while we at times think the same way, God’s love for us is unconditional, and His loyalty to His children always shines through.