"I am the arm."

This is a hot one, closely related to my theory on the blue rose and the blue ring. I've taken a while to compose my thoughts on the connection between the statement made by the Man From Another Place: "I am the arm" since it's extremely closely tied and quite difficult to separate as a theory in itself. With this in mind, I suggest you also read the blue rose theory, as I will relate back to it on numerous occasions.

There is an unmistakable trend related to the hand, fingers and arms in the entire series and the film of Twin Peaks. References to these biological parts are relatively easy to decipher; they serve to provide humans with basic tools to survive. The immediate destruction or disability of these tools either undermine a character's ability to function in a specific fashion, or pre-empt darker events to come, often on short notice. In Twin Peaks, this is most notably displayed in either the complete removal of sensory perception such as vision and true understanding or in death or disability.

I'm going to take a trip down memory lane in describing the unfolding of events surrounding the "arm". A year prior to the death of Twin Peaks' homecoming queen Laura Palmer, the Bend, Oregon FBI office was informed of the recovery of Teresa Banks' dead body floating on Pearl Lake, wrapped in plastic. FBI agent Chet Desmond and forensics expert Sam Stanley were dispatched to investigate, making key discoveries (unbeknownst to them, but fundamental to the plot as a whole). During a routine, if not slightly slapstick post-mortem on Teresa Banks' body, Sam Stanley notes a circular highlight around her ring finger, suggesting a ring recently removed. It is her left hand. and begs the question as to whether it was removed during her death or post-mortemly, for what reason, and by whom. However, and this is where it gets really interesting, it's not important who removed the ring, but for what reason. I'll address this later. Furthermore, Sam Stanley reveals a tiny scrap of paper shoved under Teresa Banks's fingernail imprinted with the letter "R".

In the early morning, Chet Desmond and Sam Stanley stop by Hap's Diner, an unmistakable opposite to Norma Jennings' cheery Double R Diner in Twin Peaks. Even more amusing is Irene, the owner and Teresa Bank's short-term boss. Amidst thick smoke clouds, she sheds light on an interesting event shortly before Teresa Banks' death. Echoing Teresa's complaint, Irene recalls explains that "just before her time" Teresa's entire left arm went numb and that "she couldn't use it". She seemed to have a defunct limb, and would be found dead shortly thereafter. Sam Stanley offers to check for neural damage, which is later reported inconclusive.

A short time later, Chet Desmond investigates the trailer park housing Teresa Banks' former home. Led to an ominously glowing trailer, he discovers a small blue ring atop a mound of dirt underneath the trailer. Picking it up, the scene ends and cuts to the FBI headquarters in Philadelphia, where Dale Cooper is agitatedly recalling a recent dream to Gordon Cole. The arrival of a limping Philip Jeffries, an FBI agent who has been missing for two years, triggers a mayhem of scenes. He begins stuttering about meeting above a convenience store (Twin Peaks fans will know this reference) as the scene, superimposed over static, shows BOB, Man From Another Place (MFAP) and the Tremonds at a table. The MFAP is holding the same blue ring found by Chet Desmond, chanting: "With this ring, I thee wed", as the room transforms into the red room in the Black Lodge. As the scene returns to the Philadelphia office, Philip Jeffries has vanished, and news of Chet Desmond's disappearance is frantic. Interestingly, when Dale Cooper visits Teresa Banks' trailer park investigating her death and Chet Desmond's disappearance, he finds the words "Let's Rock" painted across the missing FBI agent's car windshield. "Let's Rock" is the famous quote spoken by the MFAP, associate of the Black Lodge.

Moving on to Laura Palmer, several events occur relating to her left arm prior to her death. At the dinner table one evening, Leland Palmer becomes obsessed with whether or not Laura Palmer has washed her hands, and holding her left hand in his, remarks how dirty her ring finger nail is. An unusually terrified look commands her facial expression, as if his actions are hinting some future treatment with her hand. Later that evening, key events take place as Laura dreams in her sleep. The camera pans into the painting on Laura's wall, leading down a hallway into the red room of the Black Lodge. FBI agent Dale Cooper is present, watching the MFAP who asks him if he knows his identity. Shaking his head, the MFAP answers: "I am the arm." He then holds the blue ring up to view, clearly showing the Black Lodge symbol also inscribed on the wall of Owl Cave. Dale Cooper warns "Don't take the ring Laura. Don't take the ring." Waking up, Laura Palmer looks over her shoulder and finds a bloodied Annie Blackburn lying next to her, who warns that the good Dale is in the Lodge. Glancing at her bedroom door, Laura Palmer glances back to find her bed empty. Unclenching her fist, she finds the blue ring resting in the palm of her hand. In the morning, the ring has vanished, as Laura removes the painting from her wall.

A few days later, Laura is sitting in her bedroom, rethinking the past events - the One Armed Man maniacally yelling at her with the blue ring on his finger (note: the duality of this character may explain why he is not affected by wearing this), the MFAP showing her the ring in the red room; most poignantly, a flashback showing Teresa Banks wearing the blue ring during a visit a year earlier. At this point, it can be argued that Laura Palmer has deciphered that the ring is a sort of "invitation" to death. On a more flammatory note, one could suggest that this is the reason Laura Palmer accepts the ring moments before her death (I won't get into that now).

The last night of Laura Palmer's life is key to the MFAP's arm comment. Getting dressed for her meeting with Leo Johnson, Jaques Renault and Ronette Pulaski, Laura Palmer watches the angel vanish from another painting on her wall. This is a sign that the White Lodge has acknowledged some decision on Laura Palmer's behalf, possibly that of anticipating her death. This will explain the next actions. After hours of cavorting in Jaques Renault's log cabin, Laura Palmer and Ronette Pulaski agree to being tied up by the two men in an innocent bout of role playing. However, Leland Palmer, spying outside attacks both men as the two girls' struggle for movement. Although recognising her father/BOB immediately and panicking as a result, Laura Palmer seems to accept his kidnapping of them without much struggle.

It is vital to acknowledge a comment made by Laura Palmer in the Black Lodge following her death. She is speaking to Dale Cooper, and says: "Sometimes my arms bend back." This is a direct reference to being bound in Jaques Renault's cabin, but also a reference to the limb disability experienced by Teresa Banks prior to her death, and prior to accepting the blue ring. It is almost as if this disabilitating process is a type of preparation of accepting the final token of submission to the MFAP, or the Black Lodge.

This is why the MFAP asserts he is "the arm." In essence, he is the disabilitating force paving the way for new victims of the Black Lodge. Once a victim has accepted that death should visit them, their bodies become disabilitated in some form. The religious metaphor is easily recognised, as Jesus Christ faced incredible disabilitation of all four of his limbs prior to death (being nailed to a cross). This is not to say that David Lynch is intending to wax religious lyrical, but it certainly provides a strong illusion against the angelic and heavenly metaphor of the painting in Laura Palmer's bedroom, the blue lights electrifying several scenes, and the angel appearing to save Ronette Pulaski from the fate of death.

Several characters in Twin Peaks are disabled in one form or other, not always leading to the Black Lodge. However, these disabilities directly link to an inability to communicate or function in some form. Nadine Hurley's missing eye prevents her from seeing the truth about her husband and Norma Jennings, or from social interaction. Ironically, she suffers a further disabling blow when she overdoses on drugs and assumes a completely different identity based on memory loss. Again, she only regains her past once a heavy object knocks her unconscious. Eileen Hayward is confined to a wheelchair, guarding a major secret from her own daughter as to the identity of her real father. Following the death of her husband, the Log Lady only seems to be able to communicate via her wooden log. Harold Smith is unable to step outside, choosing to live in the confines of his tiny apartment, building his own woods with his hundreds of plants. All of these characters have not made the long step to the Black Lodge, but are instead trapped in a type of private hell.

The "arm effect" has a reverse psychology. Dale Cooper is unable to see connections in the investigation of Laura Palmer's death until his own ring is removed by the Giant. Following this, Dale Cooper is on the ball, able to move forward, and notably, remove the One Armed Man's disability (the drugs) and hear the real facts about BOB. In a pivotal scene following the death of Laura Palmer, Leland Palmer and BOB stand before the MFAP in the red room. BOB is gloating from his victory, and in a gesture to cleanse his spirit of Laura Palmer's blood, he jerks his left arm, as blood splatters across the tiles. This allows both the MFAP and BOB to find more victims, and disable them to the point of no return.

I'd like to hear anyone's thoughts on this - tell me what your opinion is.