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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Twin Peaks: Episode 0B - Northwest Passage Twin Peaks
Episode 0B: "Northwest Passage"
(44:12-end of the 90-minute pilot episode)
TV episode
Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch
Directed by David Lynch
Originally aired April 8, 1990

Page last updated 1/5/2022


Cooper opens Laura’s diary and calls a town meeting; the murder site is located; young Audrey Horne speaks to the Norwegians.


(This episode begins with Big Ed and Donna at the Gas Farm and ends with Sarah Palmer's vision of the gloved hand digging up the locket in the woods.)


Read the complete episode transcription 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.


I have chosen to split the 90-minute pilot episode of Twin Peaks into two ~45-minute parts to maintain the consistency of the 45-minute regular episodes of the series. The original pilot was titled simply "Pilot", with the German title being "Northwest Passage", which was the working title of the series used by Lynch and Frost before they decided upon Twin Peaks. The title doesn't really make a lot of sense since the term Northwest Passage is used to refer to the sea route through the Arctic Ocean historically used by sailors along the northern coast of the North American continent, having nothing to do with the U.S. state of Washington where the series takes place; I suppose Lynch and Frost proposed it as the title of the series simply because the state is in the farthest corner of the U.S. northwest. I've decided to leave it as the title of this episode (0B, part two of the pilot) and called the first part "Wrapped in Plastic" for the iconic line spoken by Pete Martell after he finds Laura Palmer's dead, plastic-wrapped body on the shore of Black Lake.


There is a slightly longer version of the pilot with an alternate ending that "wraps up" the story which was released in Europe as a direct to video feature. In it, Cooper and Truman learn that the killer is BOB and the one-armed man kills BOB, wrapping up the story! Much, but not all, of this additional footage shows up in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer", as elements of Cooper's dream. In the study of that episode, I will present thoughts on this "extended version" of Cooper's dream.


Notes from the Log Lady intros


See Episode 0A: "Wrapped in Plastic" for the Log Lady intro of the 90-minute pilot.




Didja Notice?


Continuing from Episode 0A: "Wrapped in Plastic", this episode opens on February 24 and goes into that night.


The Hayward family station wagon seen in this episode is a 1980 Ford Fairmont.


The pick-up truck of Big Ed's Gas Farm is a 1962 Chevrolet C-10.


The Washington license plate of Mike Nelson's 1964 Buick Skylark is 987 BJH.


Cooper breaks the lock on Laura Palmer's diary. This is the diary she kept in her room, not the secret diary she gave to Harold Smith at some point in the recent past, as revealed in Episode 10: "The Man Behind Glass" (published as a tie-in to the series as The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer). Cooper reads aloud the last entry, dated February 23, on the eve of which she was murdered. The entry is: "Asparagus for dinner again. I hate asparagus. Does this mean I'll never grow up? Nervous about meeting J tonight." It is later implied that "J" was James, her secret boyfriend (her public one being Bobby).


As Cooper flips through the pages of the diary, some additional entries are glimpsed. 

February 5 (presumably 1988) is mostly obscured except for what looks like "new movie today". (Update: a photo of the actual prop diary at Twin Peaks Props shows that the full entry reads: "Saw a new movie today was great!")
February 5 (presumably 1989) is also mostly obscured except for what looks like "isn't any snow [obscured] this morning." (Update: a photo of the actual prop diary at Twin Peaks Props shows that the full entry reads: "There wasn't any snow on the porch this morning.")
February 6, 1988: "Ran 3 miles today. Am I exhausted! Kitty got new collar."
February 6, 1989: "DAY ONE!" with a small plastic envelope containing a key to a safe deposit box and a white residue that is later found to be cocaine. What does "day one" mean?
February 8, 1988 states: "Felt a little on the cheery side. Got a few extra $ today." Maybe the extra $ were from working at One-Eyed Jack's?
February 8, 1989 states: "Day three. Saw the gang at the [obscured] today - walked to [obscured]." What does "day three" mean (it is the third day since Day One as recorded on February 6 above)?


When the sheriff's department bloodhounds find the torture/murder site in the train graveyard, Deputy Andy calls it in to the station and tells Lucy to tell Truman he didn't cry, even though he is crying at the horror of it. This refers back to Truman's mildly irritated reaction to Andy when he started to cry while photographing Laura's body in Episode 0A: "Wrapped in Plastic" and Truman's remarks about his reaction "last year in Mr. Blodgett's barn."


At 48:43 on the Blu-ray, it appears that Lucy is wearing a different sweater now, a plain brown one, instead of the blue, diamond-patterned one she was wearing earlier the same day in Episode 0A: "Wrapped in Plastic". But later we see that she was apparently wearing two sweaters earlier, the blue one over the brown; the blue one is seen draped over her shoulders during the scene where she is patching Doc Hayward in to Sheriff Truman's cruiser.


Does anyone know the make/model of Agent Cooper's digital memo pad as seen below?

Cooper's digital memo pad


At 52:47 on the Blu-ray, flyers for various tourist sites in Washington are seen on a display rack at the Great Northern Hotel. Most are too far from the camera to make out, but a Seattle flyer is visible, and one that may be for Pioneer Island in the Canadian Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.


On the concierge desk at the Great Northern, two small, possibly wooden, animal sculptures are seen from behind. They look like they may be of an owl and pine weasel! The "weasel" sculpture is more iffy, like it may be a mountain lion or something, but an interesting possible foreshadowing. concierge desk


The freeze-frame images of Laura's face and eye from the home video on the television screen change several times through the course of the interrogation with Donna, and during Lucy's statements of the overheard conversation between Bobby and Mike.


In this episode, Johnny Horne is played by Robert Davenport. Later, in Episode 1: "Traces to Nowhere" and later appearances of the original series, he is played by Robert Bauer. In 2017's season three, he is played by Erik Rondell.


As Cooper and Truman look at the copy of Flesh World found in Laura's safe deposit box, the photo of Leo's truck across from the photo of Ronette in the magazine is not the same photo that was on that page just seconds before! The first photo seen is of an inflatable love doll, not Leo's truck.


Notice that the photo of Leo's truck in Flesh World has a man standing in front of it. Presumably it's Leo.

Leo's truck


At 1:04:13 on the Blu-ray, why is Shelly wearing a robe over her waitress uniform at her house? Was she just cold?


At 1:05:25 on the Blu-ray, the wooden bear statue in Big Ed's office appears to be holding a fish!


In the same scene at Big Ed's office above, a CCX (Con-Way Central Express) Trucking mug is seen in the background. (Thanks to Vinnie Guidera's article "Northwest Cupboard: The Drinkware of Twin Peaks" in Blue Rose magazine #14.) Con-Way Central Express was a U.S. trucking company from 1929-2015.


Before the Twin Peaks town hall meeting regarding the murder of Laura Palmer begins, the Log Lady starts flicking the lights in the room off-and-on, seemingly in an attempt to get the crowd to quiet down and settle into their seats for the meeting. Her flicking of the lights may also be an indication of her knowledge of one of the spirit world's methods of communication or spirit travel through electricity, harkening back to the flickering flourescent lights in the morgue during the examination of Laura Palmer's body by Cooper in Episode 0A: "Wrapped in Plastic". (Electricity itself is prominently featured in Fire Walk With Me.)


During the town hall meeting, Agent Cooper tells the assembled citizens about the similar murder of Teresa Banks in the southwest corner of the state. In the Twin Peaks prequel movie Fire Walk With Me, the town in which this murder took place was Deer Meadow, WA. This is a fictitious town.


What is the framed photo hanging on the wall in Harriet's bedroom at 1:10:25 on the Blu-ray? It looks like a man standing in front of a metal-framed bed. Could it be a behind-the-scenes photo from David Lynch's 1970 short film The Grandmother? A similar metal-framed bed is a prominent set piece in the film.


On Harriet Hayward's bed at 1:10:27 on the Blu-ray, a small pillow has words sewn into it that may read "SWELL GAL".


At 1:14:22 on the Blu-ray, Sheriff Truman's police Bronco is seen to have a Streethawk police light bar mounted on the roof. This is an actual brand of light bar used by government and safety agencies, made by Federal Signal Corporation.


At 1:15:04 on the Blu-ray, an establishing shot of the Bookhouse is depicted, even though the action is taking place at the Roadhouse. A later shot (1:19:24), shows that the Bookhouse is just on the other side of the parking lot from the Roadhouse! However, the map of Twin Peaks from Twin Peaks: An Access Guide to the Town, shows the two establishments separated by at least a few blocks.


The Roadhouse appears to also have the name the Bang Bang Bar. Some say the Bang Bang Bar was the actual name of the establishment at the external shooting location, but I've been unable to confirm it. Within the continuity of Twin Peaks, it's possible the establishment's real name is the Bang Bang Bar and is simply referred to as "the roadhouse" by locals by the traditional definition of a roadhouse in the U.S., that being an establishment along a highway for long distance travelers to gain a meal, entertainment, and a short-term room.


At the Roadhouse, singer Julee Cruise is singing "Falling", which features the music of the Twin Peaks opening theme. Later, she sings "The Nightingale".


    At the Roadhouse, at 1:15:24 on the Blu-ray, Big Ed appears to be drinking a Coors Light. Norma may have had a couple of Heinekens. However, in both of these cases, the labels appear as if they are genericized versions, made to give the impression of the name brand without specifically advertising them.

   The Coors Light can disappears between close-up shots of Ed and Norma. I guess an unseen waitress took it away as an empty! 


As Norma tries to get Ed to leave Nadine for her, she says, "It's Tammy Wynette time, darlin'." Wynette (1942-1998) was a country music icon, known for her songs of loneliness and broken relationships.


At the Roadhouse, notice that Big Ed's bolo tie has a bull head on the slider.


At 1:15:59 on the Blu-ray, Norma tweaks Big Ed's nose. Is there any significance to noses in Twin Peaks? Oddly, Cooper tweaks Sheriff Truman's nose in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer"! Also in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer", the dream Laura touches the side of her nose meaningfully, Dick gets bitten on the nose by a pine weasel in Episode 24: "Wounds and Scars", Heidi has an unexplained bloody nose in Fire Walk With Me, and Cooper has a neighbor with a crooked nose in The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper.


At 1:16:48 on the Blu-ray, there appears to be a Chevron gas station across from the Roadhouse, though the corporate name appears to be covered over.

Chevron sign


As Mike and Bobby enter the Roadhouse at 1:17:18, notice that Bobby starts playing with the zipper on his jacket sleeve, another example of his compulsive fidgeting behavior seen throughout the series.


When Mike and Bobby sit down at the Roadhouse, Joey Paulson remarks to his friend, "Mutt and Jeff just crawled in." Mutt and Jeff were characters in a comic strip of the same name, about two cheap dimwits.


At 1:18:18, a genericized standard Coors bottle is seen on the bar behind Mike.


At 1:18:45 on the Blu-ray, the Roadhouse jukebox is seen behind Ed and Norma's booth. Anyone able to identify the model?

Roadhouse jukebox


As Joey Paulson is sneaking Donna out of the Roadhouse at 1:19:07 on the Blu-ray, a bottle of Seagram 7 Crown whiskey is seen behind the bar.


Notice that Joey takes Donna from the Roadhouse to his motorcycle, which is actually parked in front of the Bookhouse with a bunch of others.


Throughout the scenes of Truman and Cooper following Paulson and then James through the night streets, the light bar on the police Bronco is alternately on and off from shot-to-shot.


    During their meeting in the woods, James tells Donna that Laura had told him the night before that Bobby had told her that he had killed a guy. It's not until Fire Walk With Me that we learn Bobby killed Deer Meadow deputy Cliff Howard over a drug deal gone wrong just a couple days before (though the drug deal story in the film is much different from the one presented in The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer). But, in both cases, Bobby wouldn't need to tell her about it, because she witnessd it!

    James also remarks that Laura was "like a different person" and then when they stopped at the traffic light at Sparkwood and Twenty-One, she seemed to become herself again; was this an aspect of BOB trying to possess or influence her? Some fans have speculated that Dr. Jacoby was using a red light to bring Laura into and out of hypnotic states during therapy and the light at Sparkwood and Twenty-One with James that night brought her back to herself after slipping into her dark personality (Dr. Jacoby is seen to have a red light in his office).


After Dr. Hayward picks up Donna at the sheriff's office that night, he tells her in the car that he and her mother are so thankful to have a daughter like her, but he has a an odd expression on his face very briefly as he turns his head away from her. It may be an indication that he is not Donna's biological father, as hinted later in Episode 27: "The Path to the Black Lodge".


Apparently Lucy has been somehow made aware that Cooper particularly likes jelly donuts, because she remarks that the nightly donut layout at the station includes extra jelly donuts for him. However, Cooper actually grabs what appears to be a standard powdered sugar donut as she says it! (Oddly, notice that Cooper pulls the donut into several parts before beginning to eat it.)


BOB in mirror As Sarah Palmer has her vision of the necklace being dug up in the woods, notice that the face of Killer BOB is seen in the mirror hanging behind her. This was an accident, set dresser Frank Silva's reflection was unintentionally caught in the mirror during shooting and director David Lynch liked it so much, he decided to cast Silva as the supernatural Killer BOB.


In Sarah's vision, we see a pair of gloved hands dig up the half-heart locket James and Donna buried in the woods earlier. We learn in Episode 1: "Traces to Nowhere", that the gloved hands belonged to Dr. Jacoby.


Memorable Dialog


I sure know how to pick 'em.wav

a small box of chocolate bunnies.wav

tell Harry I didn't cry.wav

Okay, Bob.wav

is there something wrong.wav

the Norwegians are leaving.wav

fire walk with me.wav

snowshoe rabbit.wav

we call her the Log Lady.wav

when your sweetheart's husband's in the joint for manslaughter.wav

a town where a yellow light still means slow down, not speed up.wav

Harry, you're all right.wav

gimme a donut.wav

smell those trees.wav


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