Who Killed Ruth Davenport? Part 11, There’s Fire Where You Are Going

Oh how I love thee Part 11 of Twin Peaks the Return – you have embodied everything that is brilliant about this series in one episode; terrifying, weird as hell, grotesque and really, really funny. I’ll be covering, as always, the trail of clues in Buckhorn, South Dakota.

2 cars parked outside a pink bungalow with Diane, Tamara Preston, Gordon Cole and Albert Rosenfield standing outside

Two cars pull up on a dusty road, and park outside a fenced off area where a pinky peach run down bungalow sits and abandoned shipping crates are strewn around. Out of the first car steps Gordon Cole, Albert Rosenfield, Tammy Preston and Diane Evans. In the second Detective Macklay and Bill Hastings sit. Hastings is handcuffed, still considered a murder suspect of course.

This is the site. This is where Bill said he met Major Briggs, where Ruth lost her head and from where Brigg’s floated up in the air and into the purple-hued space where he delivered a message to Agent Cooper. This is the entrance to The Zone? It’s not quite the dramatic entrance we were expecting.

Gordon asks Tammy to speak to Hastings, to find out what he saw. “William, is this where you saw Major Briggs?” she asks. Bill who looks devastated, incredulous and beyond scared now, almost as if he’s accepted his fate, tells her that he went in through the hole in the wire fence, about 15 to 20 feet, he admits he can’t even remember what happened after that.

Hastings sees then a blackened woodsman, lurking at the side of the pink house. Bill turns away nervously but raises no alarm, probably thinks it’s all in his head, that he has lost his mind. But Gordon and Albert see him too.

Do you think there’s one in there?” Gordon asks Albert. Now at first, I thought he meant Woodsman, was there a Woodsman in the house? But no, I think they know what to expect from this place, they have seen or heard something about a place like this before. Gordon steps forward towards the pink house, there’s a hum of electricity getting louder the closer they get. Everything starts to blur – this image is one of the first-ever teasers we saw in the lead up to The Return. Seeing it in context is a thrill – we all wondered what on earth this could all mean back then. And now we know just how important it was.

As Gordon gets closer, he looks up into the sky, a vortex starts to appear, the wild whooshing of the wind, appearing to scoop up the trees in a whirlwind. Gordon raises his arms in a bizarre stance, reaching up to the hole that is appearing in the middle. We flash to the others’ perspective. They can see Gordon’s arms raised but they do not see the vortex. How is Gordon able to see this? Is it just because of his proximity to the house? Or does he have a second sight, a special ability to do this? Obviously Hastings was able to access this place too, could anyone stumble across this place? Or do you have to be chosen?

a vortex in the sky in Buckhorn above the pink bungalow

Gordon looks deeper into the centre of the vortex, a black space emerges with flashes of electricity, and inside that space we see a flash of white, three Woodsmen in contrast, standing on a staircase. That staircase we have seen many times before, you may not have realised it, but it’s a rotten, run-down version of Laura Palmer’s house, at the top there might even be a ceiling fan. In between the Woodsmen is a pattern, they are either carrying something or it’s the wall behind them, and that pattern we have seen before too – its the wallpaper in the picture that Mrs. Tremond and her Grandson gave Laura, a gift to assist her access into that room, in her dream. Where she took the owl cave ring – against Agent Cooper’s advice.

How is this possible? Is this really Laura’s house? Was her house a portal? What came first, the Portal or BOB?

The spin of the ceiling fan, the electricity, we always knew this was how BOB was getting in, but now it makes more sense. That inanimate object became something more sinister, a vortex, and we saw Laura in the Missing Pieces being lured inside from those stairs, spellbound as she stared into the void, an evil and grotesque grin spreading across her face. Sometimes the urge to do bad is almost overwhelming.

Laura Palmer grins and looks up at the ceiling fan

When Laura visited this place in her dream, she almost went inside, we saw her peering in, then the picture showed her looking back into her bedroom. Her mother’s muffled wailing of her name was perhaps what kept her safe that night, pulled her back in to our world.

Laura Palmer stands in a door way to the convenience store which has flowery wallpaper

Gordon with his arms still raised starts flickering, disappearing, but Albert luckily pulls him back before he’s sucked in.

Diane sees a Woodsman, but look closely at this scene—it is also one we have seen before. It is a flipped image of the Woodsman that Cole and Albert saw earlier. What is this? Just an editing mistake? An intentional error? or something more? I think the latter. I refuse to believe that there are any accidents when it comes to David Lynch, no-one will have poured over every single frame for longer than Lynch. Either something has happened when this portal opened that created a duplicate, mirror-imaged pink house or and this may be more likely, this is the vision that Diane sees, and Diane sees in reverse.

a dark figure stands between a storage unit and a pink bungalow. 2 of the same image flipped

Is this not really Diane, but her doppelganger? She’s the mirror image of her, but not the real Diane. Which, if true makes you wonder what happened to the real Diane? Where is she? Is the original her still alive or stuck in a lodge or between two worlds somewhere? And when did this happen? Pre or post Coopers own imprisonment? Diane is perhaps the only person, if she listened to all the tapes Cooper sent her, to have more insight into the lodge than anyone else. It would have been very clever of Dopplecooper, who would obviously have known this, to find her, find her tapes and have her replaced. Killing her would have alerted the FBI to the then AWOL Agent Cooper, so replacing her with a fake was a wise move.

When Diane asks Dopplecooper at Yankton Prison if she remembered the last time they saw each other, and he responded, “at your house”. It was heavily implied that Dopplecooper did something terrible to Diane that night and sexual assault was the first thing on everyone’s mind, mine included. But maybe this is not what happened – maybe he killed her or at least the good part of her, leaving only the bad side of Diane. Cooper always said she was ‘an interesting cross between a saint and a cabaret singer’ it seems the cabaret singer is all that remains.

Albert notices something in the grass and alerts Gordon. It is the headless body of Ruth Davenport. Now I know that this is probably an inappropriate reaction but I actually squealed with glee! I mean we all knew she was very dead, it was just great after all the hours of wondering to finally see the rest of her. And she brought with her some clues. Her right arm in rigor mortis was bent, her fingers pointing – this reminds me of the first Woodsman we saw in the jail cell way back when. He was solidified almost, pointing, his head disappeared. This appears now to be a re-enactment of Ruth’s final moments. How creepy. Was this Who Killed Ruth Davenport? Do I finally have my answer?

a headless corpse with no clothes on, arm raised and finger pointing ahead

On her left arm are numbers, the co-ordinates that Dopplecooper is looking for. Where does this lead? To Jack Rabbits Palace? Some of the numbers are a little smudged, but I think it’s a no brainer that the Blue Rose Crew are going to end up at the same place as the Bookhouse Boys at 2.53 on October 1st.

My heart flutters at the thought of seeing the Bookhouse Boys back in action. The Truman Bros (a girl can dream), Hawk, Big Ed, Andy, Joey Paulson, Cappy, Toad and James (yes Laura, James is very sweet and very gorgeous) and I would hope that Bobby Briggs is a member now, and maybe even Jerry Horne is still enrolled! Will he stumble across, or more likely will his/not his, foot drag him there to whatever is going to go down in those woods, and help save the day?

Special Edit: 119! Stop the press! Carl Rodd is an original Bookhouse Boy! Confirmed by Mark Frost himself.

Of course they are missing their honorary member, Agent Dale Cooper – will it be the assembling of his old friends that brings him back to ‘life’? What a moment of pure joy that would be to savour. Patience my dear friends, whatever Lynch and Frost have in store for us is going to be bigger and better than we could ever imagine, and probably utterly heartbreaking too. Brace yourselves.

Diane watches as a particularly terrifying woodsman, his white eyes gleaming with evil, as he creeps up to the car in which Hastings and Macklay sit. She says nothing as he gets inside and becomes invisible. Hastings stunned and rattling face tells us something bad is happening. We have seen this look before, the same look we saw on the radio DJ’s face as the ‘Gotta Light?’ Woodsman crushed his skull. We don’t see what happens thankfully but we hear the pop and see the blood splash against Macklay’s face.

a dark figure creeps up to a car with a detective sitting in the front seat unaware

Macklay screams with terror and calls on the radio control for back up to 2240 Sycamore. That’s an interesting address.

Diane coolly sidles up to the windscreen and says, “There’s no back up for this”. She’s not shocked or horrified at all. Has she seen it all before? Or is she just so numb to what has happened to her in her life that she just doesn’t care anymore? Does she know the Woodsmen’s method of murder so knew exactly what was going to happen? It seems that Dopplecooper has this power too. Poor Jack the mechanic was murdered by jaw rub at Coopers hands, he too was unable to move, scream or call for help whilst it was happening. What a horrific way to go, paralysed by evil until your skull caves in.

Oddly enough it was this action that seemed to be a reminder to DougieCoop over in Las Vegas. Mullins squeezes his face, but with affection, and somehow Dougie recognised this  action – something in his subconscious knows. And you know I’m still holding on to my ‘squeeze’ theory – there is something about this word, it’s used in such a bizarre way. Squeezing is something the lodge folk appear to be able to do to kill, and even Dougie managed to squeeze part of Ike’s hand off. What does that say about Dougie?

Gordon, Albert and Tammy run over to the car. They peer into the window. “He’s dead” says Gordon dead pan. Well that is for sure! Poor Bill, only the bottom half of his head remains, the rest is caved in, looks almost like its melting. Is this what the Woodsmen do, set your brain on fire from the inside? What’s left of Hastings head looks remarkably like the leftovers of Sam and Tracey in Part 1&2, but we know that a Woodsman did not do that, that was ‘the experiment’ and it used more of a slicing motion than a crush. Surely Tammy or Albert or Gordon will notice the similarities though?  What is the experiment exactly? Are they combining many sources of evil into one?

I am sad that Hastings is gone. His character was brilliant, Matthew Lillard’s performance was spectacular, he will be honoured in the Twin Peaks community forevermore.

Bill Hastings sits in the back of a police car looking worried

Why did Hastings have to die? And why now? The Woodsmen had plenty of opportunity to do this earlier, why let him lead the FBI to the portal/the Zone? Ruth’s body with the co-ordinates has been lying there for a while now, surely they could have retrieved it before? There must be more the plan. Is BOB the boss of the Woodsmen or do they have their own M.O.? If BOB is no longer with Dopplecooper, where is he now? The Woodsmen appeared to dig the black orb of BOB from Dopplecooper and take it away, but perhaps they did not. Did they revive Dopplecooper so that he could continue being his host and now he’s safely back inside?

Dopplecooper still wants to find the co-ordinates, but it seems he also wants Gordon and team to know them too, why is this? It appears that he needs to have everyone there at Jack Rabbits Palace on the day of reckoning. For what purpose we do not know yet.

Back at Buckhorn PD we see a hand shaking. Its Gordon’s. “Cat on a hot tin roof! That’s never happened before”, he exclaims. Maybe not to him but his did happen a lot at the end of Series 2, even Cooper himself was inflicted with this strange phenomenon, albeit that when this happened to the others there was also a rattling sort of noise which we do not hear with Gordon. The others were Harold Smith, who died shortly thereafter (officially by hanging, but I think otherwise). Then there was Pete Martell, who died shortly after in the bank explosion. We don’t know the fate of the Diner lady, but I imagine the worst. So does this forecast something terrible for Gordon Cole?

We’re supposed to get some coffee, but I don’t think that’s a good idea”, Albert says after seeing Gordon’s hand tremble. Gordon says he would like some coffee, Albert replies, “maybe some warm milk…for the cat… on the roof” which Gordon appears to mishear as “the picture you took of Ruth”. Albert glances at Diane, and takes out the picture of the arm of Ruth Davenport with the coordinates displayed. Diane peeks to look and mouths the numbers, Albert catches her. This is all a little odd. Did Gordon really mishear? Or was this a trick? They know that Diane is up to no good, so it seems they are intentionally leading her on. “What place do those coordinates represent”? Gordon asks. Albert explains that the last few numbers are smudged, but that the numbers indicate a small town in the North… then Tammy enters with coffee and donuts. “Ah the Policeman’s dream” smiles Gordon as Tammy lays down the tray in front of him.

numbers written on the forearm of a corpse as seen in a police photograph

After allowing Diane to smoke, Macklay reflects on the days events. No suspects were found in the area, but they did get a positive ID on Ruth Davenport. Albert asks if they found Major Briggs head, but there’s no trace. There wouldn’t be! It floated off into space, perhaps never to be seen again. Hopefully its safe in the White Lodge now. Macklay says that nobody heard anything, no shots. Gordon tells them that he and Albert saw someone, Tammy looks a little startled at this revelation. Diane asks what he looked like and Albert tells them that he looked like a homeless man, old clothes, beard, wool cap. Diane then tells them that she thinks she saw someone like that getting OUT of the police car. Of course she has to lie here, if she told them the truth that she saw him get in they’d know she allowed Hastings murder.

Macklay and Tammy say they didn’t see them, Macklay was in the car so should have. Then Gordon remembers, he saw them, in a room, he saw the bearded men. The same type he and Albert saw. Dirty, bearded men in a room. Sounds like my local.

At Twin Peaks Sheriffs Station Hawk and Frank Truman are discussing the information that Briggs left for them on the piece of paper.  Hawk has a map that he tells Frank is very old, and almost like a living thing.  He shows him Blue Pine Mountain which is close to where Briggs worked at Listening Post Alpha. There is a fire symbol that Hawk explains is a type of fire, like modern day electricity. Frank asks if its good, and Hawk says that it depends on the intention.

a Native American map with many symbols painted on it

Hawk says that the stars on the map reveal a date, the same date that Briggs had written, 1st/2nd October. Then he explains the image of blackened corn, corn meaning fertility, but this is diseased and unnatural, this is death.  The two images of fire and corn combined equal Black Fire.

Frank asks what the strange black shape on the map and on Briggs note means – Hawk tells him that he doesn’t ever want to know about that. Really.  No Hawk we really, really do want to know about that!

The phone rings, its Margaret Lanterman.  Twice she asks Hawk if she can hear her. The second time she says it feels more like, ‘do you understand what I am saying’. He assures her he does. “You found something didn’t you? What did you find Hawk? My log is afraid of fire. There’s a fire where you are going. There’s a fire where you are going“.  Margaret’s voice crackles as she says this, she knows that something bad is going to happen, and I have serious concerns for our dear Hawk.

There is so much going on here in this map that is left open to interpretation. That its ‘like a living thing’ suggests that it tells a story, and can change depending on circumstance, destiny, events that happen in the future or are changed in the past. What it currently shows is the path our heroes are on.

So what next for them? It seems they are on a path to Jack Rabbits Palace now, as are the Blue Rose Crew. Dougie Coop has ‘friends’ now, and to be fair the Mitchum Brothers are pretty good back up to have. What is Candie’s role in all this? Why is she like she is? She’s not unlike Dougie herself, but is she really someone else? Or has her past just been so awful that she no longer thinks, she just sees, and obeys?

It seems to be that Dougie needs to find a way to get to back to Twin Peaks – to be there for whatever is about to happen at 2.53 on the 1st and 2nd of October.

It seems to be the case that only the gifted or the damned can see the Woodsmen, which means that Tammy, Cynthia Knox and Detective Macklay should be safe. But what does it mean for the others? Gordon, Albert, Diane and Ray? Are they gifted or damned?  What part does Phillip Jeffries play in all this?

Until next week….

Lets Rock written in red lipstick on a dirty car windscreen

All images courtesy of Showtime/CBS unless stated otherwise


Written by Laura Stewart

Laura is the Assistant Editor-In-Chief, a Writer and Assistant to the Webmaster at 25YL. She has been part of the team since May 2017 when she began writing about her favourite TV show of all time: Twin Peaks. She currently oversees the Film, Music and Gaming Departments. 25YL is her passion project and is constantly delighted at how big and beautiful it has grown.

Laura lives by the sea in Gower, Wales, with her husband and very special little boy.


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  1. Hi Laura, fascinating article thank you! I, too, thought this week that Diane may be an evil double, with the real/good Diane squirreled away somewhere and I think you may have found the answer as to how! Maybe this is what Gordon/Albert detect in her and why they are keeping such a close eye on her. Regarding your comment on the Zone website, do you perhaps mean Heinrich Viegel rather than Robert A Heinlein? Heinlein was an actual writer (my avid sci fi reading dad has some of his books!) whereas “Heinrich Viegel” is mentioned on the website as an occasional contributor.

    Anyway, things are coming to a head, all the strands are being pulled together and next episode it will be 10/1!

    Thanks again! ieuan

  2. One thing you didn’t mention is the sort of halfway vision that Albert (and maybe Diane?) had of the scene – the shimmering, and Gordon fading in and out. I think the idea that we’re seeing Diane’s evil doppelgänger is a bit of a stretch. Why did Gordon, Albert and Diane clam up when Tammy came in with the coffee. Do they distrust her that much? Thanks as always for the recap.

  3. Fun fact: ‘The Policeman’s dream’ was uttered by Harry Truman in Season One when he and coop were looking at some donuts.

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