Ode to a Log Lady; R.I.P. Catherine Coulson

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It was with much sadness and disappointment that we learned late yesterday, that Twin Peaks star, Catherine Coulson (better known among fans as the Log Lady) passed away at the age of 71.

While our hearts go out to her family, friends, and co-stars, we’d like to take a minute to relive the glory of everything that was the Log Lady and why ultimately, she was one of the defining characters that helped to make Twin Peaks the show we both know and love.

Perhaps her character can best be summed up through her compelling, chilling, and somewhat awkward introductions to the stories behind Twin Peaks, which were filmed as special intro segments for the shows syndication. The introduction monologue for the pilot reads as follows:

“Welcome to Twin Peaks. My name is Margaret Lanterman. I live in Twin Peaks. I am known as the Log Lady. There is a story behind that. There are many stories in Twin Peaks – some of them are sad, some funny. Some of them are stories of madness, of violence. Some are ordinary. Yet they all have about them a sense of mystery – the mystery of life. Sometimes, the mystery of death. The mystery of the woods. The woods surrounding Twin Peaks. To introduce this story, let me just say it encompasses the all – it is beyond the “fire”, though few would know that meaning. It is a story of many, but begins with one – and I knew her. The one leading to the many is Laura Palmer. Laura is the one.”

This gives us tremendous insight into the show to come as well positioning Coulson’s ‘Log Lady’ as a central, although often overlooked, character. Her ominous words paint a vivid picture of things to come throughout the series and her connection to the now infamous Laura Palmer, lingers in her haunting language.

In the show proper, we’re introduced to the Log Lady in the Double R Diner, where she approaches Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan) after having overhead him discussing the death of Laura Palmer with Nora Jennings. She explains that her log will have things to say about the murder as it saw something on the night Palmer was killed. She gives Cooper the opportunity to directly ask the log about the murder to which Cooper hesitates. She responds with a scuff, “I thought so,” and leaves the diner.

This exchange was one of the first to draft the idea of how odd and almost silly Twin Peaks was willing to get, while maintaining a serious level of intrigue among viewers. This was the ultimately the fundamental draw of the series. It was a show that presented a captivating murder mystery furthered along with elements of humor, horror, and crazy science fiction.

Although her appearance in the show was kept fairly limited, she was a key component and fan favorite character, whom without, the show could not have been the same. Whether it was the syndication introductions that she preformed almost as show ballads or her mysterious insights into the inner workings of the town of Twin Peaks delivered through the cryptic idioms of her log, she was and will always remain a corner stone of David Lynch’s cult classic.

While it saddens us to know that she will not be able to reprise her role in the upcoming 2017 Showtime continuation of the series, what she managed to give us during her time here was gift that won’t soon be forgotten. R.I.P. Catherine Coulson, may you forever be treated to the best damn coffee and pie the universe has to offer.

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