Moth in The Grandmother

Mr. Reindeer

White Lodge
Apr 13, 2022
I don’t think I’d watched The Grandmother since The Return aired, and I’d completely forgotten that there’s a moth in there who seems to fill a kinda-sorta similar role to the frog moth in Part 8. It’s in the last animated sequence (which is probably the most confusing part of the film, which is maybe why I forgot about it). The Grandmother seems to “plant” the Boy in the ground, and then a stalk grows up from the hole with a pod similar to the one the Grandmother was born from. But then, the stalk sprouts a faucet which pours out a pool of urine, and something flies from the pool of urine into the pod. Then, a moth is born from the pod and flaps off, and in the next shot, the moth seems to poison or injure a tree (which seems to represent the Grandmother, since she then immediately becomes ill and dies).

I’ve never been quite sure what to make of this sequence, but I think that maybe the Grandmother is trying to help the Boy be reborn the way that she was, so that he can be like her and free from his parents. But the guilt and shame that has been instilled in him by his parents (symbolized by the urine) corrupts the process, leading to the birth of the moth and the Grandmother’s death.

Curious to hear if anyone else has any thoughts on this, or alternate interpretations. By the way, there are a bunch of other interesting resonances with The Return: the concept of growing people from seeds, the choppy editing during the Grandmother’s “birth” being done in the same style as the Naido sequence in Part 3, the poking scene between the Grandmother and the Boy feeling very Dougie-esque (it’s really striking overall how much the Boy, or “Mutt” as his parents call him, feels like he could be a young Cooper). I believe this film also has the very first instance in Lynch’s work of electricity being used to symbolize the supernatural, as an ominous electric drone sound plays over the scenes of the pile of dirt on the bed after the Boy plants the seed.


Bureau HQ
Apr 12, 2022
We also have the grandmother/grandson pair of Twin Peaks, the Tremonds/Chalfonts. When we first meet the Twin Peaks grandson in the original series, he wears a suit and bow tie like the grandson in The Grandmother.

In FWWM, Pierre wears a mask with a pointed nose, very much like the protrusion sported by the frogmoth, and even jumps up and down outside of the motel.

Of course the jumping man has a nearly identical pointed nose, and obviously also jumps. (Pierre's mask also has a stick emerging from the forehead, and he's seen carrying a stick/branch, while the jumping man likewise carries a stick/branch. In The Return, the frogmoth crawls into the mouth of the girl we generally assume to be a young Sarah Palmer, and we also see Sarah's face flash in the face of the jumping man. At the conclusion of The Return, we expect to find Sarah Palmer at her house, but instead we are greeted by Tremonds. In The Return, Sarah seemed to be taken over by Judy. In the above-the-convenience-store scene in FWWM, Pierre Tremond lifts the mask, and we glimpse the face of a monkey. At the end of the film a (blue) monkey says, "Judy."