In the last episode of David Lynch’s television spectacle, Twin Peaks, its romance hero, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, appears to have triumphed over the reversals of the Black Lodge and purged the community of its demons. The last scene declares otherwise. In the mirror Cooper sees the malevolent grin of Bob, the series’ primary figure of evil. As the camera returns to Cooper, his benevolent, saintly smile becomes a wicked sneer, itself a reflection of the mirror image. The convention of the mirror, used throughout the series as the hackneyed trope signalling the reversal of inside and outside, appearance and reality, is given another turn: subjects are chillingly presented as no more than reflections of the mirror. As a reversal it is predictable enough in a series that continually played with generic and cultural codes. But as a double reversal, from inner depth to external surface and then from superficial image to superficial image, it is more disturbing, an index of evil: ‘the principle of evil is synonymous with the principle of reversal’ (Baudrillard 1993, 65). The reversal doubles the identification with Cooper as image of romance hero, the only figure holding the playful fragments of the series together, and as metaphor of romance identification, staging the duplicitous play of coded images. While the former would have offered a way to close the series as a story of good’s triumph over evil, the latter offers no exit from the play of narrative surfaces that flicker with the ambivalence of evil.
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