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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Twin Peaks: Drive With a Dead Girl Twin Peaks
Episode 15: "Drive With a Dead Girl"
TV episode
Written by Scott Frost
Directed by Caleb Deschanel
Original air date: November 17, 1990


Leland disposes of Maddy’s body; Lucy returns with her sister; Bobby listens to Leo’s tape; Gerard escapes; Hank returns after 2 days absence; Truman and Cooper argue; Ben receives a message from Catherine.


Read the episode transcript at


Didja Know?


For the titles of the Twin Peaks TV episodes, I have taken the unique approach of using both the episode numbers, which were the only titles given the scripts by series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, and the translated German titles of the episodes that were assigned when the series aired in that country. Frequent readers of PopApostle know I like the aesthetic of actual episode titles, but I also wanted to honor the simple numbering used by Lynch and Frost, hence the expanded titles presented in these studies.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Leland Palmer
Donna Hayward
James Hurley

Maddy Ferguson
Sarah Palmer

Ben Horne

Jerry Horne

Louise Dombrowski
Lucy Moran
Carl (Gwen's baby)
Andy Brennan
Agent Cooper

Diane (mentioned only)
Sheriff Truman

Philip Gerard
Bobby Briggs
Leo Johnson
Shelly Johnson

Norma Jennings
Vivian Niles
Hank Jennings
Ernie Niles

Eric Noland (Daily News reporter, mentioned only)
Pete Martell

Josie Packard

Jonathan Lee (Kumagai)
Audrey Horne 




Notes from the Log Lady intros


When cable channel Bravo obtained the rights to air reruns of Twin Peaks in 1993, David Lynch directed all-new introductions to each episode featuring the Log Lady, portrayed by original actress Catherine E. Coulson. These intros also appear as options on the DVD and Blu-ray collections of the series.


The Log Lady makes her second clothing change (her third outfit) for the intros in this episode. She is also seen drinking from her teacup for the first time in this intro. The burlap sack that was on the table is now gone and the teapot and sugar dish have changed positions from where they were in Episode 14: "Lonely Souls".


"Food is interesting. For instance, why do we need to eat? Why
are we never satisfied with just the right amount of food to
maintain good health and proper energy? We always seem to want
more and more.

"When eating too much, the proper balance is disturbed and ill
health follows. Of course, eating too little food throws the
balance off in the opposite direction and there is the ill
health coming at us again.

"Balance is the key. Balance is the key to many things. Do we
understand balance? The word 'balance' has seven letters.
Seven is difficult to balance, but not impossible if we are
able to divide. There are, of course, the pros and cons of


Didja Notice?


This episode takes place on Friday, March 10, 1989.


The picture that hangs in the living room, next to the foyer, is a poster for the Musée de l'Orangerie, an art gallery in Paris, France.


When Donna and James arrive on Friday morning to say goodbye to Maddy, Leland informs them that he already dropped her off at the bus station just 20 minutes ago. Of course, we know he killed her last night in Episode 14: "Lonely Souls".


The sweater Donna is wearing under her coat has a repeating diamond pattern on it, similar to one of the Owl Cave glyphs.


At 3:40 on the Blu-ray, notice that there is a lamp sitting on its side at the opposite end of the Palmer living room, where Leland has been hitting golf balls.


As Leland adjusts his tie in the mirror at 4:15 on the Blu-ray, it is interesting to note that BOB's reflection does the same...but he is wearing no tie to adjust!


After Donna and James leave, Sarah reminds Leland to sign them up for Glenn Miller night at the club. Presumably, the club referred to is the country club Leland (allegedly) heading to for a round of golf that day. Glenn Miller (1904-1944) was a big band musician in the U.S. Leland was listening to one of Miller's songs ("Pennsylvania 6-5000") when he had one of his breakdowns in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer".


    Leland's car is seen to be a 1975 Chevrolet Caprice Classic convertible with license plate 710-YEP. If you flip "710" upside-down, it seems to spell "OIL", as in "scorched engine oil", which is the smell that pervades a scene when BOB is manifesting himself through Leland (as in Dr. Jacoby's description in Episode 8B: "Answers in Dreams"). The license plate logo of Mt. Rainier was the actual image on the state's plates at the time, but the "Timber State" slogan is fictitious; the actual state slogan is "the Evergreen State".

   The car has a different license plate in Fire Walk With Me, 759-EAK.


As Leland backs his car out of the driveway at 5:27 on the Blu-ray, he hums a song. It is "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" from the 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! He is also singing the song later in the episode as he drives wildly down the highway.


As Ben Horne resides in a jail cell under suspicion of murder, notice that he tends to wipe the cell bars, sink faucet handles, etc. with his handkerchief before touching them.


As Jerry Horne enters the jail to visit Ben, notice that he is wearing a Japanese flag on his lapel, an indication that he has been to that country investigating the Tojamura offer. Yet the flag is suddenly missing seconds later. At 7:33 on the Blu-ray, it is seen laying on Ben's bunk, but when the shot cuts away and back again, it is gone!


Sitting down on Ben's cell cot, Jerry opens his briefcase, pulls out a pipe and lights it up! But the lobby of the sheriff's station has a sign posted, "No Smoking." Moments later, Ben pulls a cirgar and lighter from his coat pockets and lights up as well. Would the sheriff's department really allow a prisoner to keep a lighter on their person?


At 6:56 on the Blu-ray, notice that Jerry pulls out a copy of a textbook called Criminal Law from his briefcase.


Realizing he does not have a lot of options in his defense of Ben, Jerry says, "I'm so depressed." He said almost the same thing upon learning that Laura Palmer had been murdered in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer".


In the flashback sequence of young Ben and Jerry watching Louise Dombrowski dance in their bedroom, notice that little Ben is holding a cigar, just as he is in the modern day remembrance!


During the flashback sequence, young Jerry is wearing a sweater with zigzag patterns and thunderbirds on it.


Notice that Lucy and her sister Gwen have nearly identical hairstyles.


Gwen mistakenly refers to Hawk as "Eagle Eye". She is probably confusing his nickname with that of Hawkeye, a white man (Natty Bumppo) who grew up among Delaware Indians in James Fenimore Cooper's classic American novel The Last of the Mohicans.


After Leland's mini-dance routine in the Great Northern lobby, Truman tells him he's looking good and Leland says, "Just call me Fred." He is referring to Fred Astaire (1899-1987), a well-known song and dance man in musical films and on Broadway during his heyday of the 1930s-50s.


Cooper remarks that Jeremy Horne finished last in his law school class at Gonzaga University in 1974, finally passed the bar exam on his third attempt, and has had his license revoked in in the states of Illinois, Florida, Alaska, and Massachusetts. This is the first indication that Jerry's actual first name is Jeremy.


At 15:36 on the Blu-ray, notice that Ben's shirt cuffs appear to be monogrammed with his initials.


As Cooper flips through the pages of Laura's secret diary, showing it to Ben, many of the phrases glimpsed on the pages are actual ones from The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer book by Jennifer Lynch, though they do not appear to be in the correct order. Cooper reads one line from the diary to Ben, "Someday I'm going to tell the world about Ben Horne. I'm going to tell them who he really is." This does not appear in The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer; the closest statement to it is "I'm going to have to tell the world about Benjamin."


At 17:57 on the Blu-ray, Bobby clicks the top of a ballpoint pen to write a note for Ben Horne. But in the close-up seconds later, the pen is a felt tip, not ballpoint!


At 18:07 on the Blu-ray, notice that the notepad Bobby writes his message to Ben on has Leo's name scrawled at the top. I guess Leo liked personalizing all of his belongings (recall that Shelly said that he makes her sew his initials into all his clothes in Episode 4: "The One-Armed Man").


At 19:38 on the Blu-ray, Toad is wearing a G&B Trucking cap. There are a number of G&B Trucking establishments in the U.S. and Canada.


The sweater Norma wears in this episode has a diamond pattern on it.


Norma's mother, Vivian, tends to refer to Hank as "Henry", probably his proper name, "Hank" being a pet form of it.


When Vivian, taste-tests the mashed potatoes on Toad's plate, she remarks, "Hmm, hey those are good. I see they taught Henry some skill in the stockade." While it's possible that the part about Hank learning a skill in the stockade is just a joke at Hank's expense, in retrospect, it seems to be an early indication that she assumes Hank actually did make the potatoes because she has already decided that her daughter can not do anything well herself. In later episodes, she criticizes Norma's cooking, even turning in a scathing review of the RR Diner for newspaper publication as the anonymous food critic M.T. Wentz. The only real compliment she pays Norma at all is in this episode is when she says her figure is still lovely. Maybe she had expected/guided Norma towards a modeling career or something similar (after all we learn later Norma was once Miss Twin Peaks), something bigger and better than Twin Peaks, and was disgusted when her daughter chose to marry a local boy and stay in the small town for the rest of her life.


Notice that the special at the RR today is Potato and Spam!


When Norma seems concerned that she didn't know to expect her visit for the next couple days, Vivian says, "You know me, dear, I'm easy." But subsequent episodes suggest that Vivian is not so easy to please at all.


The newspaper Ernie leaves behind at the RR is called the Daily News. There are a number of papers by that name in the U.S., including a couple in Washington state. One of the reporters for the Daily News is seen to be Eric Noland.


At 22:43 on the Blu-ray, the newspaper the deputy outside Gerard's room is reading has an ad on the back page for Pavilions. Pavilions is a supermarket in the southern California area, so it's unlikely a newspaper in Washington would have an ad for it!


Notice that the hotel room Gerard is being held in at the Great Northern does not appear to have a TV!


At 23:33 on the Blu-ray, a bag of Gold Medal flour is seen sitting in the kitchen of the RR.


When Hank comes back to the RR after being absent a couple days, Vivian says, "Well, the prodigal son returns." This refers to the parable of the prodigal son told by Jesus in the Bible.


At 25:32 on the Blu-ray, Truman and Pete use binoculars to look at a bird through the sheriff's office window. They both agree it is a pileated woodpecker. The stock footage of a woodpecker pecking at a tree used here does, in fact, appear to be a pileated woodpecker.


Truman remarks on Josie leaving town after selling the Packard Mill to Ben Horne and Pete sheepishly responds, "Well, not exactly," and Truman tells him he doesn't have to explain. They are referring to the fact that Pete had to sign off on the deal as well, as Catherine's heir.


At 27:10 on the Blu-ray, notice that there is a dart board hanging in Truman's office.


Pete seems to have snuck into the jail cell area of the sheriff's station for his confab with Ben. Wouldn't that area be more highly guarded and locked down than to allow an interloper to get in unnoticed?


Leland sings "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" as he drives wildly through town. When the scene changes to Truman and Cooper driving the opposite direction on the same road just seconds later, note that Cooper is whistling the same tune! It must he his own extrasensory perception keying him into Leland without his conscious knowledge.


The license plate of Truman's sheriff's truck is 4257SR.


When Leland offers to show Cooper his new golf clubs, he looks as if he is going to bash Cooper on the head with one until Truman shouts back to Cooper that they're needed back at the Great Northern where the One-Armed Man has been found near the waterfall.


When Mike "examines" Ben at the sheriff's station and says "He's been close. BOB is not here now," Jerry interrupts with "Who’s Bob? I don’t know a Bob? Do we know a Bob?" and Ben shakes his head "no". But we saw in Episode 0B: "Northwest Passage" that there is a seemingly fairly high-up employee at the Great Northern called Bob helping to coordinate the signing of the Ghostwood contract with the Norwegians.


During dinner at the Great Northern, Norma, Vivian, and Ernie all drinking wine, while Hank drinks beer.


When Hank slaps Ernie on the shoulder with his pork-rib-grease covered hand, notice that Ernie quickly brushes off his shoulder with a napkin.


Hank refers to Ernie as "The Professor", apparently his criminal nickname.


Ernie claims to Hank that he loves Vivian and has no designs on her money. He says they met at a Republican fund raiser. He is referring to the Republican political party of the United States.


When Hank proposes a toast to Ernie and Vivian's happiness in the future in the dining room at the Great Northern, notice that a few fellow clientele join him in raising their glasses.


At 42:42 on the Blu-ray, the Indian statue on Cooper's hotel room nightstand is different than the one seen previously.


Audrey asks Cooper if he arrested her father for the murder of Laura Palmer, which he has. But the arrest occurred the previous day...why doesn't Audrey already know about it?


As mentioned in a previous study, Cooper's hotel room still appears not to have a latch on it...and it can be seen that the door starts to bounce back after Cooper closes it at 45:27 on the Blu-ray.


At 45:52 on the Blu-ray, the sign at the waterfall site of the discovery of Maddy's body reads, "DANGER, Strong Currents, Stay Clear of Falls".


Memorable Dialog


the last thing a good defense attorney needs to know is the truth.wav

some of my best friends are white people.wav

he may have been a seer, a shaman-priest.wav

get yourself a better lawyer.wav

48 hours is not late.wav

Josie's gone.wav

I have a bad feeling.wav

women beware.wav

if I had a nickel for every time.wav

all you could think of was spawning.wav

your mean Aunt Lucy.wav

BOB is not here now.wav

good move, Jer.wav

I've had enough of the mumbo-jumbo.wav 


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