In Twin Peaks: The Return’s final scene—spoilers ensue—an Agent Cooper and Laura Palmer out of time (and, perhaps, one version of reality), return to the latter’s childhood home. A woman who is notably not Laura’s mother answers the door and provides an apparently pedestrian rundown of its previous owners, none of whom are Palmers either.
It’s a deceptively straightforward plot point, punctuated a moment later with Cooper wondering aloud what year it is, prompting a stark realization that the unthinkable horror surrounding Laura’s death will resound across infinite time and space. It’s a tragedy that can never be put right. Laura screams and the episode ends.
During all of this, the Palmer house stands in the background, silent and indifferent—stable across time. Outside of the show, it’s presumably far less haunting a place and the woman who answers the door, first-time actor and actual owner of the Washington home Mary Reber, has never provided visiting FBI agents with information so terrible it threatens to tear apart the fabric of reality.
Making sure of this, Vulture’s Devon Ivie spoke to Reber, discussing three years of owning Chez Palmer that include buying it, surprisingly, through a run-of-the-mill open house, what living in a TV-famous place is like (“we love people and love bringing people through the home that haven’t been able to see it”), and, of course, getting a first-time acting gig directed by David Lynch.
Of the last, Reber remembers the Peaks film crew scouting the house and being asked by Lynch if she would be interested in playing a small part in the show. On filming the part, she says “[Lynch] didn’t tell me to act a certain way or do anything other than be natural. I had no idea how it fit into the story at all. I just did the part with Kyle and Sheryl and we had no idea. We didn’t know we were going to be in the final scene. Absolutely none until we saw it on our television.”
Other highlights from the interview include Reber trying “not to geek out” in front of Sheryl Lee as Laura and Kyle MacLachlan as Cooper, Lynch’s answer to questions like why she was cast for the finale (“That’s something you just don’t need to know”), and the crew preparing her neighborhood for Palmer’s series-ending scream.
How anyone could bear to live between walls that have witnessed such powerful manifestations of both pure good and pure evil is hard to imagine, but Reber seems, from the interview, to be remarkably cool with it.