This article contains major spoilers from Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. If you have not watched the aforementioned television program and film, it is strongly recommended that you do not read this article.
Laura Palmer was a high school student whose death shook the town of Twin Peaks, Washington and sparked an investigation led by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper. She was Donna Hayward's best friend and the girlfriend of Bobby Briggs.
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Laura (played by Sheryl Lee) was her town's favorite daughter; she volunteered at Meals on Wheels, was the high school Homecoming queen, and was (apparently) the darling of her parents, Sarah and Leland.
However, Laura led a double life — she was a cocaine user, a victim of child abuse and had briefly worked at One-Eyed Jack's, a casino/brothel just north of the Canadian border. The discovery of Laura's body in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks brought Special Agent Dale Cooper to town and the investigation of her death, and the effects it had on those around her, propelled the first season and the first 9 episodes of the second season. Laura remained prominent afterward, as her death had exposed many secrets related to her, and also — in some cases — unrelated, such as the Packard saw mill conspiracy.
Laura's diary was uncovered in the first episode, but her secret diary was not recovered until later, and it contained passages suggesting that she had long been the victim — sometimes willingly — of abuse from a malevolent entity named BOB, who wanted to be close to her, or even be her.During the second season, the identity of her murderer was revealed: her father, Leland, who had been possessed by BOB and made to molest, rape, and kill his own daughter. When Leland dies in police custody, it is implied that Laura appears before him in a vision, forgiving him and welcoming him to the afterlife.
Twin Peaks (1990-1991)Edit
Later, her father comes and identifies her body. Her mother notes that the last time they saw each other was around 9:00 the previous night and that Laura's final words to her were "good night," and that she had a phone call.
FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper arrives in town and examines her body, finding a small piece of paper with the letter 'R' under the nail on her left ring finger. Her diary is also examined, which contains a safety deposit box key. A video tape of she and Donna is also found, filmed by James Hurley, who she had been secretly seeing. In the video, she wears half of a heart necklace, the other half being in James' possession.
In the evening, James tells her best friend, Donna about his activities with Laura the night before. He says that she seemed like a different person and said there were things about her not even Donna knew, and that her boyfriend Bobby had killed someone. James says that she wrapped her arms around his neck, screaming "I love you," before running away. James and Donna bury his half of the heart necklace, for the authorities believe it is in possession of the killer.
Laura's autopsy results are presented by Doctor Hayward. The results reveal the time of death to be between midnight and 4:00am, the cause of death to be loss of blood, bite marks on her shoulders and tongue, and lesions on her wrists, ankles, and upper arms. It is also found that she had sexual relations with at least three men within twelve hours before her death and that her killer also attacked Ronette Pulaski, who was probably at the scene of the crime.
James confirms that he filmed the video of she and Donna, but denies knowing who the missing half of the necklace was given to.
Doctor Lawrence Jacoby later listens to a tape made by Laura and takes half of her heart necklace out of a coconut.
She is seen in a dream by Agent Cooper. When Cooper asks if she is Laura, to which she answers she feels like she knows her "but sometimes [her] arms bend back. A little man describes her as his cousin and being full of secrets. When the little man begins dancing, she goes to Cooper and kisses him, and whispers in his ear.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with MeEdit
Laura walks to school with Donna, passing Mike and Bobby on the way. When they arrive, she stops briefly with James, then goes into the restroom, where she snorts cocaine before heading to class.
At 2:30, she secretly meets James and says that she's "long gone" like a "turkey in the corn." James requests her to never leave and they share a kiss. On the way out from school, Laura and Donna encounter Bobby, who is angry over the fact that he hasn't known her whereabouts for the last hour. However, she easily calms him down and they go to Donna's house, where they discuss James and Bobby, the former being "the one."
Laura goes home and to her room, where she looks into her diary and noticing pages have been ripped out. She frantically goes to Harold Smith's home and tells him that Bob is responsible, though he says he is not real. She tells him about her history of Bob coming for her and says "fire walk with me" before bursting into tears. She has him hide the diary before she leaves, saying she does not know when she can come back.
Later, she loads up a Meals on Wheels delivery with assistance from Shelly, then sees an elderly woman with a young boy wearing a mask. The woman gives her a painting and the boy says that the man with the mask is looking for her diary in her hiding place. Laura then tells Shelly she can't do the Meals on Wheels delivery and frantically leaves for home.
When she arrives, she goes to her room, where she sees Bob searching her hiding spot and she runs out of the house, hiding in a neighbor's bushes. She looks back at her house and sees her father leaving. She tearfully gears that her father may actually be Bob, but she denies it. She goes to Donna's house to be comforted.
Later she returns home, where her father sits at the dinner table. He insists that she has not yet washed her hands and examines them, noting one fingernail in particular. He then asks about her necklace - half of a heart. He insists that it was not from Bobby and he frightens Laura, with her mother coming to her aid. Leland then tell her to wash her hands, which she gets up and does in tears.
That night, when she is sitting at the desk in her room, her father comes in, crying, and tells her that he loves her and kisses her on the head before going back to his room. She then begins to cry and looks at a painting of an angel, asking, "is it true?" She then looks at the painting given to her by the old woman and hangs it up before she goes to sleep.
As she sleeps, she hears a man's voice saying "don't take the ring." She wakes and turns to see a woman named Annie in her bed. Annie tells Laura "the good Dale is in the Lodge and can't leave" and to write it in her diary. Annie then disappears and a ring appears in her hand. She gets up and starts to leave her room, noticing herself appearing in the painting. However, she in then back in bed.
She wakes in the morning and takes the painting down. That evening, Laura makes herself a drink with plans to go out and Donna comes, asking where she is going, but Laura says she is not going with her. She goes to the Roadhouse where she encounters the Log Lady.
She goes inside, where a blonde singer performs onstage. Laura watches her and breaks down into tears. She smokes a cigarette and nods to Jacques Renault, who sends two men to her table, wishing to pay for her services as a prostitute. However, Donna comes over, the men wondering if she is "part of the deal," which Laura denies, but Donna's actions insist she join them.
The group goes up to Canada with Jacques, to the Pink Room. Laura dances with one of the men, who identified himself as "Buck," who removes her shirt. Ronette Pulaski soon joins them. Jacques comes to them and they talk about Teresa Banks. He also invites the girls up to his cabin later in the week.
Laura and Ronette then sit in a booth, receiving oral sex from Buck until Ronette points out Donna, topless with Laura's shirt tied around her waist. This causes Laura to become upset, saying she does not want her to wear her clothes, and that she wants to go home.
The next morning, Laura and Donna are at the latter's home, Donna questioning why Laura lives the way she does. Leland comes to pick up Laura for breakfast and along the way, they are followed by a man recklessly driving a camper. Laura says she smells something burning - the car's engine. The man drives around the block and stops next to Laura and Leland, shouting "you stole the corn!" among other incoherent-seeming statements, including "it's your father!" to Laura. She is frightened as they stop at a mechanic. They both sit and question about the man. She then asks her father if he had come home the previous week, which he denies until Laura says she thought she saw him, when he says that he came home briefly to take aspirin on Friday.
Laura sits in her room and thinks about the ring she had seen in her dream, as well as on the man's finger, and previously on Teresa's finger. She later puts a plastic bag with a key inside in her diary.
At school, she meets Bobby, who says there is a big score of cocaine to get that night. At night, they drink in woods, also taking what little cocaine they have left until the drug supplier shows up. He says he is sent by Jacques and shows a bag of cocaine before drawing a gun. Bobby pulls out his own gun and kills him. Laura keeps insisting he killed Mike, much to his anger.
The next day, James shows up outside the Palmer home and Laura goes to him. He asks where she had been the previous night, sure that it was drug-related. He asks when he can see her, but Leland shows up and Laura says she has to go. James leaves.
In the evening, Laura sits in her room, snorting cocaine. When she is in bed, she hears the hallway fan turn on. Bob comes in through her window and he begins to assault her while she asks him who he is until she sees her father's face.
At breakfast the next morning, Laura does not eat much and does not wish to speak with her parents. She leaves the dining room and when Leland follows, she tells him to stay away from her. She has trouble making it through the school day, the world seeming to spin around her.
Later, she goes to Bobby's house, asking him for more cocaine for the night and tells him that she's "going home." Bobby gives her some drugs from his private stash.
When home, she tells her mother goodnight, then goes to her room, using the cocaine Bobby gave her. Her phone rings, with James calling. She arranges to meet him in fifteen minutes. She looks at the angel painting again and leaves through her window. James is waiting for her and they ride away and to the woods. She tells him about the murder Bobby committed and begins to act strangely. She says that he does not know her, and even Donna does not.
James begins to take Laura home, but she jumps off of his bike. In tears, she tell him she loves him and runs off into the woods, where Jacques, Leo and Ronette wait near a cabin, where they engage in sex and cocaine. Jacques ties her up against her will. After he has his way with her, she requests Leo to untie her, but he angrily refuses. Leland then shows up, possessed by Bob and takes Laura and Ronette to a train car. Bob places a mirror in front of Laura's face, in which she briefly sees Bob and screams as he taunts her. Ronette escapes and the ring appears on the floor. Laura places it on her finger just before Bob murders her and wraps her in plastic. He sends her body afloat and enters the Black Lodge.
Laura appears in the Lodge, with Dale Cooper placing his hand on her shoulder as she sees an angel and cries while smiling and laughing.
Sheryl Lee is to return in the 2017 revival. Whether she is playing Laura, Maddy, or a new character is unknown.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Cards released during the show's run and The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer state her birthdate as July 22, 1972. However, since the show takes place in 1989, this would make her 16 at the time of her death, when it is explicitly stated that she was 17 years old. Because of this, this birthdate cannot be assumed as canon.