Major Garland Briggs

"Row after row of gibberish and all of a sudden… The owls are not what they seem." Click to Tweet

Screenshot of Don S. Davis as Major Garland Briggs, from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
© Lynch/Frost & Twin Peaks Productions.

Major Briggs, Bobby’s father

Major Briggs is the father of Laura Palmer’s boyfriend Bobby Briggs. Over recent years, Garland Briggs’ relationship with his son has seriously deteriorated.

Major Briggs respects his son’s rebellious nature, however, being his father, he feels obligated to contain that fire of contrariness within the bounds established by society as well as those within their own family structure.

Garland’s otherwise optimistic wife Betty Briggs regrets seeing her son Bobby alienate from his father, who loses his patience when Bobby lights a cigarette during family dinner. She puts all her hopes in family counselling at Dr Jacoby’s practice.

Major Briggs’ story

Major Garland Briggs, Twin Peaks town figure

With his bald head, omnipresent military uniform decorated with shiny objects, and formal manner of speaking, Major Briggs is a well-respected authority figure in Twin Peaks.

Major Briggs gets lots of attention at Laura Palmer’s funeral, when he needs to retain his angry son who speaks out about Laura’s secrete life and attacks James Hurley, Laura’s secret boyfriend, when he arrives at the venue.

Major Briggs can be found regularly at the Double R Dinner. He receives invitations for all important town gatherings where he likes to share his wisdom with other attendees.

Major Briggs – His work is highly classified

Major Briggs’ deteriorating relationship with his son is at least for some part caused by the secrecy about his job that he needs to maintain, even towards his family. It frustrates Bobby not knowing what his father does.

This secrecy pains Major Briggs from time to time. Any bureaucracy that functions in secret inevitedly lends itself to corruption, but Major Briggs believes his pledge to uphold certain rules is sacred.

As U.S. Air Force officer, Garland Briggs travels a lot to far away places. Whereto exactly is never revealed. Major Briggs is described by his superior Colonel Riley as the best pilot he has ever known.

Major Briggs delivers the message: The owls are not what they seem

Major Briggs pays special agent Cooper a visit at room 315 in the Great Northern Hotel. He says he needs to deliver a message. Among Major Briggs’ many tasks is the maintenance of deep space monitors. Aimed at galaxies beyond our own.

Major Briggs routinely receives various communications, space garbage, to decode and examine. Row after row of gibberish and all of a sudden… The owls are not what they seem. And some time later: Cooper… Cooper.

The vision of Major Briggs

Using all that formal language, Garland Briggs has great difficulty to engage in a dialogue with his rebellious son. That all changes when he tells Bobby about a vision he had. A vision about his son’s future.

“My vision ended and I awoke with a tremendous feeling of optimism and confidence in you and your future. That was my vision of you. I’m so glad to have had this opportunity to share it with you.”

It’s Major Briggs’ way of answering his desire to force certain wisdom upon his son. He finally gets through to Bobby.

Major Briggs’ disappearance

Major Briggs gains the sympathy of agent Cooper when he invites him to a nightly fishing trip. During their stay at a campfire, Garland Briggs tells agent Cooper that it is some men’s fate to face great darkness. We each choose how to react. If the choice is fear, then we become vulnerable to darkness.

Major Briggs claims Dale Cooper is blessed with certain gifts and asks him if he has ever heard of the ‘White Lodge’, before mysteriously disappearing.

Has Major Garland Briggs been to the White Lodge?

According to Colonel Riley, Major Briggs’ disappearance has implications that go so far beyond national security, the Cold War seems like a case of the Sniffles.

Apart from the image of a giant owl, Major Briggs remembers virtually nothing when he returns. A vague shape in the dark, then nothing. Until he found himself by the cold remains of their campfire, two days later.

Major Briggs works on Project Blue Book

Major Briggs talks about Project Blue Book, the Aire Force’s investigation into the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects, officially disbanded in 1969. He continued to work on it in an unofficial capacity, examining the heavens as before and, in the case of Twin Peaks, the earth below. He is searching for a place called the White Lodge.

The legends of the White Lodge and the Black Lodge go way back according to Deputy Hawk, who tells Cooper more about these places.

Will Major Briggs rescue Dale Cooper from the Black Lodge?

Cooper’s former partner Windom Earle, who is intent to find the Black Lodge, kidnaps Major Briggs to be able to ask him a question or three.

Major Briggs is drugged by Windom Earle and led to tell what he knows about the petroglyph that was found in the owl cave. Major Briggs has seen the petroglyph after he disappeared and knows what it means. It contains astrological symbols that show a precise planetary position.

When Saturn and Jupiter meet, the doors to the White Lodge and the Black Lodge will be open and they will receive you. Fear and love open the doors. Two doors, two Lodges. Fear opens the one, the Black. Love, the other.

With the help of Leo Johnson, Major Briggs manages to escape and tell Sheriff Truman “to protect the queen”, a reference to the Miss Twin Peaks Contest.

After Cooper’s disappearance when following Windom Earle and Annie into the Black Lodge, Dr Jacoby brings Sarah Palmer to Major Briggs. His patient says she has a message: “I’m in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper. I’m waiting for you.”

Will Major Briggs set up a rescue operation to save Dale Cooper from the Black Lodge?

Maj. Briggs – Quotes

“Achievement is it’s own reward. Pride obscures it.”

“This secrecy pains me from time to time. Any bureaucracy that functions in secret inevitedly lends itself to corruption.”

“The readout took us by surprise. Row after row of gibberish and all of a sudden… The owls are not what they seem.”

“My vision ended and I awoke with a tremendous feeling of optimism and confidence in you and your future. That was my vision of you. I’m so glad to have had this opportunity to share it with you.”

“There are powerful sources of evil. It is some men’s fate to face great darkness.”

“We each choose how to react. If the choice is fear, then we become vulnerable to darkness.”

“Have you ever heard of the White Lodge?”

“Is this meant for the soul? My Soul?”

“I’m not at liberty to divulge that information.”

“Protect the queen!”

“Fear and love open the doors.”

[Windom Earle: “What do you fear most in he world?”] “The possibility that love is not enough.”