Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

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Rik Renault
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Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Rik Renault » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:02 am

The Return, more than any other iteration in Twin Peaks, has a particular focus on cryptic numbers and number sequences. From the very first sequence we are drawn attention to "4 3 0" and we are presented with a slew of seemingly meaningful numbers after this. Very little meaning has actually been drawn by these numbers due to their sheer impenetrability and I definitely didn't predict any meaning, as Coop seems to imply, to 2:53 (2 + 5 + 3) adding up to 10: the number of completion.

I'm hoping this thread will serve as a collection of all the possibly meaningful number motifs, as well as a forum to discuss what we infer from them...and also to trade notes on how to make the best-fitting tin foil hats.

My thoughts at the moment are that these numbers (or the digits added together) are possibly there to guide us in our quest to answer the most repeated question in this series: "is it future, or is it past?"

* 10 * 2:53 – adds up to 10, the number of completion.
* 9 * 315 – adds up to 9. The number on Cooper's old room key, which also unlocks the door to the basement in the Great Northern.
* 8 * 8 – appears from the Jeffries steam to Cooper and PMG
* 7 * 430 – in the Fireman's initial clues (or warnings) to Coop, who says he understands their significance. Coop and Diane later drive to exactly 430 miles from somewhere to 'cross over'.
* 6 * 6 – appears on numerous occasions on telephone poles in White Lodge visions and outside Carrie's house.

If this is anything more than crackpot rantings, we can see that these numbers all relate to events happening in the final 2 parts, only in descending order (or reverse). Did time stop in 'our' TP universe when BOB was defeated at 2:53? Is time now running in reverse? In the course of these numbers being shown, we see Cooper travel backwards in time to intervene in the night of Laura's death. After 'crossing' Coop and Diane appear to possibly be even further back in time with a 60s era car and the Platters playing in their sex scene. Ultimately it all ends with Cooper questioning the temporal nature of the narrative with "What year is this?" and leading us again to question: is it future, or is it past?

DISCLAIMER: I am very aware that I am quite possibly overreaching with making these numbers that appear fit a pattern: Why start at 10? Why end at 6? Why are some 3 digits which must be added, yet some are digits with significance of their own? Well, if people are interested in the numerology I will maintain a master list of all the numbers below and we can put our heads together to find a cleaner solution, or else just have all the information to come to our own decision.


2:53 – adds up to 10, the number of completion. The time that Doppelcoop was supposed to return to the Lodge. The time that the Dougie switch occurred. The time that Andy and co went to Jack Rabbit's Palace. The time that the clock stopped on after defeating BOB.
315 – the number of Cooper's room key.
430 – Richard and Linda. In the Fireman/Giant's message to Cooper at the start of the season.
8 – or infinity, appears in the steam from Jeffries. "8" is also on the outside of Jeffries' hotel room,
6 – appears on telephone poles in Andy's WL visions and outside Carrie Page's house.
119 – Repeated by the drug addict in Rancho Rosa.
3 – Appears on the first electrical outlet in the Purple Room. Naido warns Coop about this with cutting noises.
15 – Appears on the second electrical outlet in the Purple Room, which Cooper travels through to switch places with Dougie.
1 – Appears on a number of Sonny Jim's clothing.
Last edited by Rik Renault on Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Cipher » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:15 am

I don't normally think Lynch invites viewers to breadcrumb for clues/patterns on this level (sorry, internet theorists), but I think The Return might be a genuine case of it, the way its numerology is highlighted.

Looking at the sums and the range provided from 10 to 6 is really interesting. Does the pattern stop at 10 though? The "1-1-9" scene defamiliarizes the standard emergency call number in a way that asks to look at its pieces as individual components. Taking into account the way Cooper calls attention to the sum of 2, 5 and 3, the sum of 1, 1, and 9 is ...

I'll point out that "8" is also on the outside of Jeffries' hotel room.

Isn't there a recurrence of the typeface used on the Garmonbozia-gathering #6 electric pole as well? I've heard that brought up a few times over the years, going back to Fire Walk With Me, but I've never carefully tracked it.
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Rik Renault » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:32 am

I completely agree about Lynch (less so Frost) using these breadcrumb style clues. I remember sitting up and getting ready to pay attention for a man in a smiling bag, etc after the Giant's clues to Cooper in the original series, only to realise that there was nothing to be done on the part of the viewer for any of them for the most part.

I think possibly these numbers which are thrown at us without context are supposed to make us feel like they are meaningful, and that we try to rationalise them in some way adds to the surreal disorientation Lynch creates.

The 1-1-9 lady in particular gives this feel, as I think these are the only words she ever speaks and her character is given a fair amount of screen time.

I'll add that "8" is also on the outside of Jeffries' hotel room to the list!
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:17 am

DKL definitely believes in the power of numbers. He has talked about adding together numbers on license plates that have his initials to determine if they add up to an unlucky/unlucky number. So I definitely think you're on to something, but I'm not sure there's any real "answer"/intent other than his own intuitive superstitions. FWIW, doesn't he say in the "Slice of Lynch" feature that 17 is his favorite number? (I might be misremembering the number, but he definitely has a discussion about it with Mädchen.)
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Jasper » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:15 pm

I remember one story about Lynch being on the way to the set of Twin Peaks (the series) in the 90s, when he spotted a 666 on a license plate, which caused him to be late to work, as he insisted on driving around for some time until he spotted a plate with the proper auspicious digits needed to cancel out the 666.

I'm pretty sure that I read this story right here on the forum a few years ago. Someone else can probably add more details.

The 666 reminds me of the way that The Fireman shows Andy three #6 telephone poles in row.
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Isis Unveiled » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:44 pm

Timecode gematria doesn't seem like Lynch's forte, however, I wouldn't discount that kind of thinking from Lynch in The Return.

However, of the two, Frost seems like he would be a greater candidate to use numbers to add another layer of symbolism to the whole. Seeing as he is the one with the vast knowledge of Occult history.
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Fred » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:31 pm

I agree with the idea that there is lots of numerology (and genuine mathematics) in Season 3. Recently, I have gone through the various numbers, and there seem to be several triangular numbers. A triangular number defined as: "any of the series of numbers (1, 3, 6, 10, 15, etc.) obtained by continued summation of the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc."

3 (2nd triangular number) Electrical socket through which Cooper travels!
6 (3rd triangular number) Telegraph pole from Fat Trout Trailer Park!
10 (4th triangular number) The number of completion
15 (5th triangular number) Electrical socket that Cooper does not go through

253 (22nd triangular number) Occurs several times, sometimes as 2:53pm, sometimes as 253 yard from Jack Rabbit's Palace.
2+5+3=10, the number of completion (which is itself a triangular number!)

I'm not sure why triangles are important. They are used to represent the twin mountains, eg, in Major Briggs' note. Also in Mark Frost's Secret History, there are lots of triangle motifs on the early pages.

Any thoughts on this?
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Cappy » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:24 am

I don't really know enough about numerolgy to begin reading into allusions to it in Twin Peaks, but I do think Leland Palmer's license plate ("710-YEP") might be some sort of weird callback to Dorothy Vallens apartment number (710) in Blue Velvet.

But maybe it's just a coincidence.
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:17 am

Cappy wrote:I don't really know enough about numerolgy to begin reading into allusions to it in Twin Peaks, but I do think Leland Palmer's license plate ("710-YEP") might be some sort of weird callback to Dorothy Vallens apartment number (710) in Blue Velvet.

But maybe it's just a coincidence.

710 is “oil” upside down. It’s a cute allusion to the “burnt engine oil” smell when Leland murders Jacques. Essentially confirming, “yep, he’s Bob.”
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Re: Numerology in TP:TR (spoilers)

Postby AXX°N N. » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:57 pm

Just to add a certain perhaps useful angle:

I was reading a book about alchemy in relation to Finnegans Wake, and a lot of it, strangely, kept making me think of TP. Particularly the numerology system. It might be good to compare the two. From what I can remember off hand, there's an emphasis on 3, that 3 becomes 2, becomes 1, which makes me think of Cooper, Dougie, Doppelganger > Cooper, Doppelganger > Richard... and a rather cryptic theme of incest and hermaphroditism, something about the father joining the daughter as a unifying, earth-absolving/destroying ritual... I might look into it more, clearly I'm working off shaky memory.

I've also thought often of TP while reading about Kabbalah, and Frost's 2 books show an overt interest in mysticism, though iirc neither alchemy nor kabbalah are mentioned. Regardless, and perhaps just because they're all, at base, intuitive methods to systemize in various symbologies this whole mystery of life, there's some similarities!
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