A Skeleton Key to Twin Peaks: Part One

Despite its placement at 34 minutes and 35 seconds into Part One, the murder of Ruth Davenport consumes 39% of the narrative focus and is therefore the winning Share of Voice for this Part.

For a primer on how to use this tool, read A Skeleton Key to Twin Peaks: Overview

New Narrative Conflicts Introduced

When we last saw Cooper, he was trapped in the Black Lodge and Laura said, "See you in 25 years." Well, here we are four U.S. Presidents later and we jump right back in where we left off. 

  1. Cooper Escapes: Apparently Dale Cooper has been a good boy and sat in his chair for 2.5 decades and now it's time for him to get up and leave. Unfortunately, BOB and all the dopplegangers walking around and in-between worlds are not going to make that easy for him. This narrative is all about how Dale comes back to the world. 
  2. Mr C Has A Plan: Cooper's doppleganger is as bad as we always expected he would be and he's been busy the past 25 years. He is not going to go quietly into that good night and this is not going to make Cooper's return that easy. 
  3. A Woman is Murdered in South Dakota: Another murder of another woman but the brutality has not declined and now it's a double murder with a dog's leg in the trunk. Things are not looking Sunny in South Dakota.
  4. A Billionaire Has a Plan: There's a glass box and a bunch of cameras, a 24/7 security detail and lots of coffee. Someone is investing a lot of resources in something...
  5. Jacoby Fights the Power: The doctor is not taking patients any more but he's making house calls. This one man army is going to war and it all starts with a delivery of shovels.
  6. Revisit Old Twin Peaks: Check in with your old favorites. Some are gone and those left are a lot sadder than they used to be.

Episodic Structure

Even though we weren't introduced to the murder of Ruth Davenport until nearly thirty-five minutes into the episode, it clearly was the focus as it then went on to control the share of voice (SOV) at 39%. Clearly, Ruth Davenport's murder has a lot to do with kicking us off on whatever journey we're about to make (and hold on to your butts because it is going to get bananas out there). 

That gruesome double murder in South Dakota was followed by another gruesome double murder in New York City, as "A Billionaire Has a Plan" stepped up in line to capture an additional 32% of the SOV. This means that a story about a murder twenty-five years ago kicked off its reunion episode with four new murders that take up a whopping 71% of the episode's focus. 

Way behind that creepy box is the no-less creepy results of 25 years of hard-living that Cooper's doppleganger has put on his face, body and haircut. That's right, "Mr C Has a Plan" puts in 9% SOV to bring us up to our 80% water line. 

And that leaves us with that famed Pareto Principle 20%. And what did Lynch and Frost fill that with? Cooper sitting around listening to records with ?????? in a room that looks like the attic in Eraserhead seized 7% SOV. An additional 7% SOV was taken up with Ben Horne trying not to ogle Ashely Judd while his brother invokes Cheech and Chong in the Great Northern and Lucy shows us how to get rid of commercial solicitors. Rounding out the episode are two small but critical scenes where Jacoby gets a delivery of shovels (2% SOV) and wears sunglasses over sunglasses (and people thought it was weird that I used to wear two pair of socks every day). The final 2% SOV was local pariah Margaret Lanterman calling now Deputy Chief Tommy "Hawk" Hill to tell him something is missing and it's got to do with Cooper and his heritage and, of course, it's a message from the log, so get off your ass Hawk!

Episodic Part Summary By Scene and Focus

SCENE 1, THE BLACK LODGE (0:03:42 - 0:06:05)

The scene opens is what appears to be the Black Lodge and ?????? asks Cooper to listen to the sounds playing from a phonograph. There are scratching sounds. ?????? tells Cooper, “It is in our house." ?????? tells Cooper to remember the number 430 and Richard and Linda and then says, “Two Birds One Stone.” Cooper seems lucid and in control of his faculties, telling ??????, “I understand.” ?????? tells Cooper he is “Far Away.” Cooper then disappears from this lodge with a sound of electricity.

Cooper Escapes

SCENE 2, TWIN PEAKS, MOUNTAIN (0:06:05 - 0:08:25)

Our return to Twin Peaks the town starts above the mountains and we see a shadow on the mountain move, so we are returning to a somewhat normal progression of time. We see a trailer in the woods on the mountain. There are Rube Goldberg style pulleys and gears. We find out this is Jacoby’s house or work station. Jacoby comes out of a dark trailer wearing a dark pair of glasses over his usual colored glasses. He is getting a delivery of shovels, carefully packaged, in multiple cartons. The delivery driver offers to help him and Jacoby declines, saying that he prefers to work alone. The wind is featured prominently in the sound effects here but the tree limbs are not blowing in alignment with the strength of the wind’s sound. 

Jacoby Fights the Power

SCENE 3, MANHATTAN (0:08:25 - 0:15:39)

We are in a high rise building, staring at a glass box and so is a young man. There is a bonsai tree on a table next to the couch he sits on. We see cameras and cables and blinking lights, all very high tech and expensive. The hum of electricity is prominent in the soundtrack. This is a serious operation. A voice speaks and says a camera name. The young man gets up and changes the camera memory card, placing the full card in a safe that appears to have hundreds of more cards. A delivery announcement calls the young man into a lobby area with a private detective. An attractive young barista named Tracey is there, holding two large coffees from a ‘Z.” coffee house. She wants to come in but it’s not allowed. She seems like a spy of some kind, looking over his shoulder as he types the code into the security pad. He tells her, “You’re a bad girl, Tracey,” to which she replies, “Try me.”

A Billionaire Has A Plan


The scene opens with Beverly Paige walking into a familiar Ben Horne’s office at the Great Nothern, looking very close to how we last saw it. A wealthy woman who is, “responsible for the spa,” has complained about a skunk on the other side of the property and Ben has asked Beverly to deal with it. Jerry Horne enters, looking like an aging hippie. Ben introduces them and Jerry asks if Ben has slept with the new girl, or “woman,” as he changes his description. Ben replies that she is married and Jerry tells him that never bothered him before. It turns out that the hotel business is now just a small part of the Horne empire as Jerry has gone into business as a marijuana edibles manufacturer and this is three times more profitable than The Great Northern.

In this scene, an insurance salesman enters the station and asks for Sheriff Truman. Lucy asks him which one. He doesn’t know. She says (twice) that, “It could make a difference.” One Truman has cancer and the other is fishing (the same might be said for everyone with a doppelganger). The man gets flustered, leaves his card, and runs out as if unnerved for some reason.

Revisit Old Twin Peaks

SCENE 5, UNKNOWN DEEP COUNTRY (0:19:33 - 0:24:27)

The Muddy Magnolias remake of “American Woman” opens this scene as we are introduced to DoppleCoooper or “Mr C” as he is referred to by Otis. His long hair makes him very BOB-like and he looks mean and nasty, driving a very nice luxury sports car. As Cooper walks up to the country shack into the middle of the woods (reminds one of another shack in the woods from Fire Walk With Me), a man comes out to face Mr C down with a shotgun. Mr. C quickly knocks the man out and leaves him unconscious with the shotgun. Mr C enters the shack and is greeted by a poor looking fellow named Otis who is congenial. Across the room is a little man in a wheel chair sitting next to a tall man (a common pairing in Twin Peaks). The guard comes running back in and Mr. C effortlessly dispatches him again. A woman named Buella (looking like a Dopple-Denise) enters and Mr. C greets her, asking for Ray and Darya. They are in the back and before leaving to get them, she says, “The world is full of truck drivers.” Ray and Darya come out and Mr. C tells them it’s time to get going (to do dark business, no doubt). They leave unimpeded and Otis takes a drink of what appears to be moonshine. When leaving, it looks like Mr. C has some kind of clasp in his hair that looks like the Owl Cave ring.

Mr. C Has a Plan

SCENE 6 MANHATTAN (0:24:27 - 0:34:35)

The security guard is missing and Tracey is back with her coffee, asking to be let in. The man tells her, “Since there is no one here to stop you.” He then says, “I don’t know how you’re gonna get out if the guard comes back.” He shepherds her into the room and explains that this is a job to help out with school and doesn’t know what it’s for but he’s paid to watch this box in case something happens. He also says the whole operation is funded by an unknown billionaire and that the guy he replaced said he saw something but couldn’t tell him what it was because they aren’t supposed to talk about the box or this place. As things get physically heated, the light inside the box goes out and a creature of androgynous appearance, seeming shy at first, becomes aggressive and smacks the glass. Eventually it breaks the glass and attacks the couple, consuming their faces in a bloody mess.

A Billionaire Has A Plan

SCENE 7 BUCKHORN, SOUTH DAKOTA (0:34:35 - 0:43:33)

A large woman with a small dog named “Armstrong,” comes wheeling down a long hallway of what appears to be an apartment complex. She smells something terrible and runs to her apartment to call the police. We find out her name is Marjorie Grove and she does not seem to be very intelligent. She cannot remember her address (1349 Arrowhead) and reacts strangely when the police officers call her “Mrs. Grove.” We learn the smell is coming from the apartment of a woman named Ruth Davenport. We also learn the building Manager’s name is Barney and Hank Fillmore is the Maintenance Man. When the cops approach the Maintenance Man, he yells at them, “Harvey you son of a bitch!” He asks them, “Who told you I was going to see Chip?” Chip is Barney’s brother and, “Chip ain’t got no phone!” The police get the key from none other than Marjorie, who forgot she had it, and when they enter we see several books on Ruth’s shelf, a couple of which are titled Dreamland and American Image. There is also a large black magnifying glass on a desk. The police discover a woman in the bed who has been shot in the left eye. Outside the building, Hank is speaking to someone and is very upset. He has a bag filled with something valuable and it is all his and Chip’s because Harvey didn’t want to be part of it. When the detectives and CSI team pull the sheets and blanket off the corpse in the bed, we see the severed head of who we assume to be Ruth Davenport but under the sheets is the fat bloated body of a man.

A Woman is Murdered in South Dakota

SCENE 8 TWIN PEAKS, OVER TREES, A CABIN (0:43:33 - 0:45:16)

The Log Lady is calling into the sheriff's station to tell Hawk, “Something is missing and you have to find it. It has to do with Special Agent Dale Cooper. They way you will find it has something to do with your heritage.” Hawk is very patient and treats the call seriously, as we would expect him to do.

Hawk is Missing Something


The female detective is eating lunch and analyzing prints from the crime scene, which gets a hit from Principal Bill Hastings, whose prints were, “all over the apartment.” The woman’s head has been positively identified as Ruth Davenport but the man’s body is yet unidentified as a John Doe. Dave (the male detective) goes to arrest Principal Hastings, an old fishing buddy he’s known since high school, and the man has a wolf knocker on his front door. He greets the detective warmly and seems genuinely surprised but still forlorn when arrested. His wife seems to be more upset that, “The Morgans are coming over for dinner!”

A Woman is Murdered in South Dakota


Hawk is carrying old case files up to the conference room, where he meets Andy and Lucy. We find out that Lucy and Andy have a 24 year old son named Wally (who has never met Agent Cooper). Hawk is running low on patience and is invoking the Coffee & Donut ritual in the conference room.

Hawk is Missing Something

SCENE 11 SOUTH DAKOTA (0:49:30 - 0:58:42)

Detective Dave Macklay meets Detective Don Harrison, a Rapid City State Policeman, outside the interrogation room for Bill Hastings. During interrogation, Bill denies knowing Ruth Davenport or ever having been to her house. He claims he was at a school meeting during the estimated time of her murder but there is a large discrepancy between when he left and how long it should have taken him to drive home. He claims he gave his assistant Betty a ride home. Bill asks for his lawyer George. In the final scene of Part 1, Dave and Don are looking through the trunk and Dave’s flashlight is blinking on and off. He says to Don that, “My flashlight’s broke.” They find something under a cooler in the trunk that looks like a dog leg, to which Dave says, “Woof.”

A Woman is Murdered in South Dakota


Jane Adams:Constance Talbot

Joseph M. Auger:Delivery Driver

Melissa Bailey:Marjorie Green

Richard Beymer:Bejamin Horne

Michael Bisping:Guard

Brent Briscoe:Detective Dave Macklay

Bailey Chase:Detective Don Harrison

Catherine Coulson:Margaret Lanterman (The Log Lady)

James Croak:Robby

Kathleen Deming:Buella

Erica Eynon:Experiment Model

Allen Galli:Man in Suit

James Giordano:Officer Douglas

Harry Goaz:Deputy Andy Brennan

George Griffith:Ray Monroe

Cornelia Guest:Phyllis Hastings

Michael Horse:Deputy Chief Tommy "Hawk" Hill

Ashley Judd:Beverly Paige

David Patrick Kelly:Jerry Horne

Dep Kirkland:Police Chief Mike Boyd

Nicole LaLiberte:Darya

Sheryl Lee:Laura Palmer

Matthew Lillard:William Hastings

Christopher Murray:Officer Olson

Max Perlich:Hank

Kimmy Robertson:Lucy Brennan

Benjamin Rosenfield:Sam Colby

Mary Stofle:Ruth Davenport

Carel Struycken:????????

Russ Tamblyn:Dr. Lawrence Jacoby

Redford Westwood:Otis

Madeline Zima:Tracey


“American Woman (David Lynch Remix)” :  Written by Kallie North, Jessyca Wilson,Jason White, and Butch Walker : Performed by Muddy Magnolias

“Sub Dream” : Written and Performed by David Lynch and Dean Hurley

“Frank 2000” : Written by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch : Performed by Thought Gang

COMING SOON: Twin Peaks Returns Part Two

JB Minton is the author of POETRYSEXLIFE..AND THE THIRD FLOOR MAGISTRATES TOOK THE RAPE and is a Technologist, Podcaster and Twitch Streamer. Follow JB on FacebookTwitter and the Web.

Follow the Red Room Podcast on Twitter and FacebookReview and Subscribe to the Red Room Podcast on iTunesSubscribe to The Blue Rose Magazine and follow @BlueRoseMag1 on TwitterFollow @ScottLuckStory on Twitter and The Web to keep up with Scott Ryan's fantastic critical and accessible books on Television as an art form.

Purchase JB Minton's Book on Amazon Kindle

Purchase JB Minton's Book on Amazon Kindle

A Skeleton Key to Twin Peaks Returns: Overview


First of all, this is not going to be an exercise in trying to tell you what Twin Peaks Returns means or what is happening in terms of conjecture. Mark Frost has a great quote in his masterpiece The Secret History of Twin Peaks, where he distinguishes between secrets and mystery. The Archivist in that text writes, “Mysteries are the stories we tell ourselves to contend with life’s resistance to our longing for answers.” I believe we can derive the meaning of secrets from this definition of mystery, in that secrets are facts that are simply unknown, waiting to be discovered. As writers and filmmakers, Mark Frost and David Lynch are masters of narrative drama, sound and imagery; they are magicians, constantly pulling a magic trick over on the viewer, one we come back time and time again to enjoy.

That being said, there are still images on the screen that fall into the aura of our pupils. There are still audio cues and music that make their waves in our ears. And there are seconds and minutes that tick by as scenes change along with their narrative focus. These things are unavoidable and, despite the magician’s feint that happens from episodic part to part, these seconds can be mined for meaning. That is what this work of analysis contends and the methodology under which it seeks this meaning is laid out below.


The process begins by watching each episode several times and over the course of these watchings, enacting the following process:

  1. Note each scenes sequential number
  2. Note each scenes location within the narrative
  3. Note the start and stop time, on screen (using the Showtime Now App) for each scene
  4. Describe in as much detail as possible what is actually happening in each scene without slipping into conjecture (this is sometimes difficult)
  5. Note the primary narrative conflict in each scene and any supporting narrative conflicts (again, this can occasionally slip into conjecture and will become the primary points of contention amongst Twin Peaks fanatics and scholars. So be it.)
  6. Record the scenes by sequential number, with start and stop times into a spreadsheet that determines the overall narrative voice within each episode and progressively as parts are aired as sum of total voice
  7. Transfer this information to the Skeleton Key image
  8. Report results


The ultimate goal of this work is to produce a tool that Twin Peaks fans can use, as they engage with this art, from episodic part to part, and understand where the narrative has been and where it is, so they may be better able to determine for themselves where it is going and therefore what it means. Twin Peaks is a mirror being held up to the soul of the viewer and ultimately every viewer will undergo their own experience of this great work of our time. This tool is aimed to assist in that self-exploration. Here is an example of how the tool works and what the reader can expect from part analysis to part analysis.

The Skeleton Key Format

The format of this tool is composed of two primary sections:

  1. The left hand column is a list of all the current narrative conflicts in the show. These are the scholarly creation of the author, derived from watching the show as a fan and scholar of television. New narratives will be briefly discussed in the overview section as they are introduced from episodic part to part. 
  2. The right hand column is a breakdown by narrative conflict, revealing the scene numbers and % of overall voice. For example, here we see that the Woman Being Murdered in South Dakota actually consumed 39% of the overall focus of Part 1, despite that it is hidden in the episode halfway through. Lynch and Frost are masters of deception and famous for encasing the primary narrative of Twin Peaks between moment of quirkiness, comedy and outright oddity. This tool seeks to pull the veil back on that magic trick, if only for a moment. 

The Episode Breakdown by Scene

Here are the details behind the image. Each scene will be laid out on the operating table with a name, a place, and a moment by moment recap of what happens, followed by the author’s interpretation of what the primary and supporting narratives are (these are what will be mapped back to the Skeleton Key). A complete cast listing (word for word as broadcast in each episode) will be provided as well as all music and lyrics (as broadcast in Closed Captions) for each episode.

Additionally, there will be a “That’s Our Dougie” Word Cloud provided for every scene in which Dougie (if you don’t know who he is, don’t worry you will by episode 3) repeats specific words and phrases. The author believes these words and phrases may align with scenes and events happening on other areas of the narrative and if that is the case, this tool will provide a common framework within which to perform that analysis in the future. In addition to the Word Cloud, there will be a table in each scene noting what words are said and how many times they are said.


So there we have it, a fairly simple methodology and purpose to this analysis of one of the great works of literary television in our time. There will be much more to say about the meaning of the secrets and mysteries of Twin Peaks but seeking such meaning is outside the purpose of this tool and better left to experts like Scott Ryan and John Thorne of The Blue Rose Magazine. This work was performed as a fan and scholar of great television and the author’s hope is that this tool will improve the enjoyment of this great work of art for the overall Twin Peaks community.

So with this all being said, let us proceed to our analysis of Part One, and then…who knows where we go from there?


JB Minton is the author of POETRYSEXLIFE..AND THE THIRD FLOOR MAGISTRATES TOOK THE RAPE and is a Technologist, Podcaster and Twitch Streamer. Follow JB on FacebookTwitterand the Web.

Follow the Red Room Podcast on Twitterand FacebookReview and Subscribe to the Red Room Podcast on iTunesSubscribe to The Blue Rose Magazine and follow @BlueRoseMag1 on TwitterFollow @ScottLuckStory on Twitter and The Web to keep up with Scott Ryan's fantastic critical and accessible books on Television as an art form.

Buy JB Minton's book on Amazon Kindle

Buy JB Minton's book on Amazon Kindle

Twin Peaks Returns And I Want It All To Myself...
"Wonder" by JB Minton

Twin Peaks has returned and I don’t want to share it with you but I have to. I am a lot more possessive of this Twin Peaks than I was the original two seasons and a movie. 
Let me explain myself. I didn’t watch Twin Peaks until my friend, podcast co-creator and brother-in-law (in that order) Scott Ryan made me watch it, in what he called, “The Right Way.” 

Now, I was not accustomed to anyone telling me how to watch a television show, but I trusted Scott’s passion and let him be our guide into the world of Frost & Lynch as they put a frame around human suffering and showed us beauty and terror with amazing music, dialogue, and photographs that moved at 30 frames per second.

We bought and ate the donuts when they ate the donuts, drank the coffee when they drank the coffee, and we ate the pie when they ate the pie.  As instructed, I read Laura Palmer’s Diary when Cooper and Truman read Laura Palmer’s Diary, and I read Cooper’s Autobiography halfway through Season 2 so I would be prepared for what the fictional world Twin Peaks was about to suffer from as a second round of tragedy when they lost Special Agent Dale Cooper and he was replaced by a malevolent spirit, hell bent on stoking the flames of hatred and violence in the world to increase the quality of garmonbozia (human suffering in the form of creamed corn that these demons feed on as a source of energy).

Cool Story Bro, but Scott owned the experience of having watched the show and the film time and time again for twenty years. He read every Wrapped In Plastic and collected and framed all those amazing Twin Peaks playing cards. I couldn’t muster the passion to devote myself to a show that old and that far out of an immediate experience. It is similar to how I imagine my children respond when I make them put their electronic devices in a basket and sit down and watch Little House on Prairie.

But then the announcement came from Frost & Lynch on Twitter and suddenly the narrative and the imagery and the sound was taking on new meaning for me. It became a meditation on suffering. There were so many questions to think about that we needed three years to process and prepare for what just started a few weeks ago. 

As I write this, there have been four published “Parts” to the saga of Twin Peaks. Mark Frost published The Secret History of Twin Peaks, a masterpiece of deception and intrigue that put a frame around what we were about to experience with an 18 hour film, slow dripped out over a third of a year, a 33% progression in the Earth’s revolution around the Sun.

But time moves very slowly in the Red Room and in the Black Lodge and in whatever that fucking power station in space is, so we have plenty of time to allow the metaphors to wash over us and tell us secrets about why human beings are born to suffer and die, some of us so much more so than others.

Something is in our house and something is missing. We have to find it and bring it back. Like all Twin Peaks fans, this ongoing work of art has become very special to me, a touchstone of morality and humor and darkness and humility. And I’m willing to share it with you, because it’s immediate and we are experiencing it together, in our waking lives. While the world is burning around us, we walk with the fire and watch how it burns and ignites the next moment in flame. We get to experience this together and perhaps that’s the answer to the question we are asked every second of every moment in Twin Peaks and the world it exists inside, in the Red Room and Black Lodge which feeds off human energy in that world and we get to walk with each other in our "real world," which needs people who understand suffering more than ever so that we can become the change that is needed to let that suffering dissolve in our waking moments together.

JB Minton

JB MInton is the author of POETRYSEXLIFE, ..AND THE THIRD FLOOR MAGISTRATES TOOK THE RAPE and is a Technologist, Podcaster and Twitch Streamer. Follow JB on Facebook, Twitter and the Web.

Follow the Red Room Podcast on Twitter and Facebook. Review and Subscribe to the Red Room Podcast on iTunes. Subscribe to The Blue Rose Magazine and follow @BlueRoseMag1 on Twitter. Follow @ScottLuckStory on Twitter and The Web to keep up with Scott Ryan's fantastic critical and accessible books on Television as an art form.

128 "The Catch Up Episode"

Scott and Josh discuss what they are watching now #veep #siliconvalley #thirteenreasons #bettercallsaul #fargo #billions and catch listeners up on their personal projects #bluerosemagazine #poetrysexlife #thirtysomethingatthirty #thelastdaysofletterman

Joshua MintonComment
126 Live Twin Peaks Podcast Event

The Red Room joined forces with Gateway Film Center to host a screening of Lynch's Fire Walk With Me. We also screened A Voyage To Twin Peaks. The audience got to see the locations where FWWM was filmed before watching the film. We also talked about John Thorne's dream theory, Scott gives his Annie theory and we talk about the new Blue Rose Magazine.  We are hoping to do these for all the Lynch films playing at the Gateway all this year.

After the event, Scott and Josh talk about what it was like to watch FWWM in 35mm with a sold out audience.

Listen here to the live event:

Scott Ryan and John Thorne has started a new Magazine about Twin PeaksCheck out the Blue Rose website to place orders Click Here.

Buy or Rent A Voyage To Twin Peaks at Amazon. It is the documentary Scott screened at this event. See the actors, the set locations and interviews with the fans.