SPOILERS | The Twin Peaks Season 3 Finale: Is it... future?
There are many hints that the epilogue of Twin Peaks Season 3 is taking place a few years in the future.
- The one-armed man asks "Is it future or is it past?" The answer: it is the future.
- Just before they arrive in Twin Peaks, Dale and Carrie stop at a modern corporate gas station. Is this where Big Ed's Gas Farm used to be? A few shots later we roll past the Double R Diner, but it is closed. Maybe Norma sold it on as a "Norma's" franchise? Perhaps Ed and Norma finally have retired to focus on family, they are one of the few characters that get a nicely wrapped, happy ending.
- Ownership of the Palmer house has passed from Chalfont to Tremond. The Chalfonts and Tremonds were always interested in the Palmer family. Perhaps Alice Tremond doesn't recognise the Palmer name, but maybe the voice behind the door does - maybe it is the Tremond Grandson grown up, or his son. Maybe Alice and her husband are vessels for the Tremond spirits. Who knows?
- Carrie Page is the third cousin of Laura and Maddy. She has repressed memories of bad times spent at the Palmer house when she was young. Dale begins to trigger these memories when he mentions Sarah's name at Carrie's door. In the car ride, Carrie starts thinking about her youth. After looking at the Palmer house for a while the memories start coming back, and she screams. The idea of a third cousin to be played by Sheryl Lee was brought up in the 90s during original discussions for how Season Three might go. She was supposed to have red-hair, a trait now incorporated into the Diane character.
- The characters of Laura and Carrie are listed separately in the credits, suggesting they are to be thought of as two separate characters. Laura Dern is listed as Diane, but not Linda, suggesting she is not Linda as some people have said. If Diane was Linda, and Laura was Carrie then surely Laura Dern would get a double listing the same as Sheryl Lee did for her two characters. Unfortunately there are never listings for Kyle McLachlan's character names so we do not know for sure either way!
- While there are many doubles in Twin Peaks, Season 3 also had a lot of triples too: the three Dales (good Dale, Bad Dale, Dougie Jones); the three pink Mitchum girls; Dougie himslef becoming a third Mitchum brother; the Giant/Fireman's clues coming in threes; the three electric pole locations etc etc. Perhaps someone can help make a list of threes. In this way, it makes sense we get a third Sheryl Lee cousin in Season 3.
- Laura was likely named after Otto Preminger's film Laura; Maddy Ferguson was named from character's in Vertigo; perhaps Carrie Page is another film reference? (Also, Carrie is usually short for "Caroline", Dale's first love was called Caroline Earle nee Powell. Probably no connection, but you never know!)
- The portal at 430 miles leads to a motel which is maybe a connection point for different time periods. Judging by her new appearance, and hints given in her transformation in the Sheriff's Office, Diane is a red room spirit, who helps Dale travel to the correct time period. Perhaps she helps him perform the sex ritual that is described in The Secret History book. Perhaps her pushing on Dale's face in this scene is part of her helping him transfer into the new time period. Finally Dale exits from a hotel in Odessa, some time in the future.
- The Fireman leaves clues to help Dale find Carrie. A note left by previous tenants of the hotel room, Richard and Linda helps Dale know he is in the right place, much the same way as the Giant's "smiling bag" clue let him know he was on the right track. The name "Judy" is a pointer to search the diner (interestingly Carrie is not in Judy's realm - she is hiding out at home). Outside Carrie's home is the #6 telegraph pole we saw in the Fireman's vision for Andy. Inside Carrie's house is a white horse, hinting at her relationship to the Palmers who also had connections to white horses (Does it connect to the woodsman's poem also?)
- Finally, as Dale begins to figure out what is going on, and where he is, he asks loudly "What year is this?" If this isn't a clear clue that they are in the future then I don't know what is!
Season 2 ended with an opening for a possible Season 3 in the line "See you in 25 years". Perhaps the "What year is this?" is Season 3's opening for a possible Season 4 in which Dale and Carrie track down Laura, Audrey, Judy, the wierd bug monster thing... whatever!
Most people are reading the ending in relation to Lynch's other work - especially Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE: imagined personalities break down to reveal true identities and vice-versa.
But the clues above suggest a simpler ending: it is the future, and Carrie is a third cousin.