"The Black Widow"
Written by Harley Peyton & Robert Engels
Directed by Caleb Deschanel
Original air date: January 12, 1991
Ben rearranges his office furniture
and gives Bobby a job; Dougie Milford has a heart attack; Nadine
tries out for wrestling; Dick fears for his life from little
Nicky; Cooper looks into some property; the Air Force takes over
the investigation into Major Briggs’ disappearance.
Read the episode
transcript at Glastonberry.net
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
The actress portraying
Judie Swayne from the Happy Helping Hands organization is Molly
Shannon, best known for her comic skits as a member of the
Saturday Night Live troop from 1995–2001.
Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode
Chris Gerrity (author's name seen on book cover)
Nadine Hurley (née Butler)
Diane (mentioned only)
Agent Hardy (mentioned only)
Jean Renault (in photographs)
Preston King (in photographs)
Hank Jennings (in photographs)
Notes from the Log Lady intros
When cable channel
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.
"Is a dog man's best friend? I had a dog. The dog was
It ate my garden, all the plants, and much earth. The dog
so much earth it died. Its body went back to the earth. I
a memory of this dog. The memory is all that I have left of
dog. He was black and white."
This episode opens on Thursday, March 16, 1989.
The script reveals the real estate agent Cooper meets with
is named Irene Littlehorse.
|During his meeting with the real estate
agent, the first house photo file Cooper looks at has a
label at the top that looks to read either "Chautauqua Lake"
or "Chautauqua Lane". Chautauqua Lake is in New York state,
so possibly the label reads Chautauqua Lane. The file's
notes also indicate the house is a Victorian style built in
the 1890s. The second house photo file is more of a log
cabin; the label on the top of this one is blank.
The photo file of Dead Dog Farm indicates it was built in
the 1920s and sits on four acres.
Lucy is wearing a black sweater with a diamond pattern on
During the meeting with Judie Swayne from the Happy Helping
Hands organization, notice that Lucy keeps looking at Dick
affectionately, as if she is impressed with his desire to be
a big brother to the orphan little Nicky.
Dougie Milford is found dead in bed the morning after his
wedding to Lana. It may be that the lovemaking was too much
for the old guy. Found on his bed are the books Love
Poems of Lord Byron, The Kama Sutra, and
Hookers and Handmaidens. Andy holds another book and
reads from it, My Secret Life by Chris Gerrity.
Love Poems of Lord Byron is a real book first published
in 1970, collecting love poems of the great English poet
Lord Byron (1788-1824). The Kama Sutra is a world
renown Hindu book on human sexual behavior composed in India
between 400 BC and 200 AD. Hookers and Handmaidens
appears to be a fictitious tome; possibly it is intended to
suggest a pornographic novel. My Secret Life also
appears to be fictitious; the author, Chris Gerrity, was an
assistant director on several episodes of Twin Peaks. There
was a real world sexual memoir made up of 11 volumes by the
title My Secret Life by Walter, published over
seven years beginning 1888; Walter's identity has never been
The script reveals the wrestling coach's name to be Buck
This episode reveals that Mike Nelson is the district
champion in high school wrestling.
During Nadine's wrestling try-out, hand-painted banners
hanging on the gym walls indicate that the Twin Peaks High
School Steeplejacks are preparing for a basketball game against a
rival team called the Warriors. The banners read "Massacre
the Warriors", "Dunk the Warriors", "Steeplejacks Will
Scalp the Warriors" and "The Warriors Can't Reach the Peak".
Another banner on the gym wall, seen at 11:21 on the
Blu-ray, reads "Mike Nelson is the Best".
The school lockers seen in this episode are different than
the ones seen in
"Wrapped in Plastic".
At 12:38 on the Blu-ray, Donna quickly pulls a copy of
Seventeen magazine from her locker.
The "For Sale" sign in front of Dead Dog Farm has "Native
Way Realty" printed in small letters at the top. This
appears to be a fictitious realty office.
At 15:05 on the Blu-ray, notice there is a child's rocking
horse sitting in front of the house at Dead Dog Farm. This
was shot on location in Sylmar, CA, but the actual house has
since been torn down.
Irene drives a 1990
Century as she shows Cooper Dead Dog Farm.
Irene wears a sweater that has a number of patterns on it
that look similar to the petrogyphs of Owl Cave.
The curtains inside the house at Dead Dog Farm look as if
they've been partially burned, yet the structure itself does
not look to be scorched.
Cooper finds evidence that a drug deal took place very
recently at Dead Dog Farm, finding traces of cocaine and
baby laxative use to cut it. Baby laxative is, in fact,
often used to cut cocaine.
Dick's car that gets a flat tire during his camping
excursion with little Nicky is a 1977
At 18:54 on the Blu-ray, notice that Dick and Nick are
wearing identical outfits. Dick must have bought them with
his employee discount at Horne's Department Store! Nicky's
outfit may be part of the wardrobe Dick had fitted for him
It's possible that the painting hanging next to the door in
Truman's office is of the twin peaks, Whitetail Mountain and
Blue Pine Mountain.
The map on which Colonel Riley points out the location in
Ghostwood Forest where the transmissions pertaining to Cooper
were coming from is actually a map of the Los Padres
National Forest near Santa Barbara, California.
Colonel Riley tells Truman and Cooper that Major Briggs is
the best pilot he's ever known, born with hardware "most of us
only dream about." Considering they are talking about the
major's disappearance and the White Lodge, what does he
really mean by "pilot"? Does he simply mean the pilot of an
aircraft? Or might he be using a term the Air Force has
applied to individuals who are able to navigate the
spiritual/supernatural realm of the woods around Twin Peaks?
When Major Briggs finally turns up again at the end of the
episode, he is wearing what may be an early-to-mid-20th-Century
aviator's outfit, but the significance of it is never
At 21:48 on the Blu-ray, there appear to be a couple of cans
on the shelf in the Marsh garage.
At 23:17 on the Blu-ray, notice that James is holding both
his own beer and Evelyn's as she rushes away to greet her
unexpectedly returned husband.
At 24:53 on the Blu-ray, it appears as if Bobby is stepping
up from a stairway as he enters the hallway approaching Ben's
office. This implies that the office is located on the 2nd
or higher floor of the Great Northern.
Bringing Ben photos of Hank meeting Jean Renault and others
at Dead Dog Farm, Bobby says, "I mean I’ve never seen these
guys before, but they're not exactly from the rotary. You know
what I mean?" By "rotary", he is probably referring to
International, an international service organization
meant to provide humanitarian services in the local
After Bobby is excused from Ben's office, Ben begins to
whistle a tune as Audrey observes from her secret
At the dining room table, Pete makes a champagne toast to
Catherine, "Wine comes in at the mouth, love comes in at the
eye; I hold my glass to my lips, I look at you and sigh..."
He is quoting an abbreviated version of William Butler
Yates' (1865-1939) poem, "A Drinking Song". The full poem
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.
Pete begins to recite the only other toast he knows, a
limerick, but Catherine interrupts him after the first line,
"There once was a lady from Galway..." The full limerick is
an Irish one:
There once was a lady from Galway
Who loved rack of lamb with red Gamay
But one time a year
She only drank beer
To celebrate merry St. Pat's Day.
At 28:39 on the Blu-ray, Cooper looks at his chess response
to Windom Earle in a nationally-distributed newspaper. One
of the other classified ads asks for witnesses to an assault
at Hector's Burrito Heaven. This appears to be a fictitious
As Cooper dictates into his recorder to Diane, he remarks
upon having looked into some real estate in Twin Peaks and
that he still hopes to raise a family someday.
At 30:02 on the Blu-ray, notice that Cooper doesn't appear
to have much of a view out his hotel room window!
|At some point in this episode, Cooper
responds to Earle's chess move (in
with N to QB3 (Knight to Queen's Bishop 3). A defensive move
that is meant to protect his threatened pawn and also
threatens Earle's pawn on Q4. However, Cooper seemingly
should have been more aggressive and taken Earle's Pawn on
Q4 with his own Pawn on K4; since he does not, this allows
Earle to take Cooper's Pawn on K4 with his own Pawn on Q4 in
the next episode (Episode 20:
which he kills a vagrant, showing he will kill someone for
each piece he takes. (See "Patterns and Conflicts: An Analysis of
the Windom Earle/Dale Cooper Chess Game", Wrapped in
Plastic #4, April 1993, which includes input from chess
expert John Jacobs, former chess columnist of the Dallas
|Cooper's (black) N to QB3 move
(diagram from Wrapped in Plastic #4)
|A more strageic move, Knight to King's
Bishop 3, suggested by John Jacobs
(diagram from Wrapped in Plastic #4)
When Audrey hands Cooper the surveillance photos of the drug
meeting at Dead Dog Farm she stole from her father, Cooper
is able to immediately identify Ernie as Norma's stepfather.
How does he know this? I guess it is a small town!
At 33:56 on the Blu-ray, notice that the windshield wipers
on Truman's sheriff truck are on as the rain pours down
outside the station, but no one is in the truck! Why are the
As Dick enters the sheriff's station at 34:02 on the
Blu-ray, notice that Lucy primps up her hair when she sees
him, assuming he is there for her. But he doesn't even look
towards her desk as he seeks Andy's help in learning more
about little Nicky's past.
Dick and Andy begin to fear that little
Nicky is the Devil. "Old Nick" is an English colloquialism
for the Devil, so "Little Nicky" could be interpreted as a
"young" form of the Devil or, perhaps the son of the Devil.
Nicky's last name is revealed in this episode as
"Needleman", possibly an allusion to the points of a
pitchfork and the man (Devil) holding the pitchfork.
It is also interesting to note that, while the main
protagonists of the show, Cooper and Truman, are dogging the
footsteps of the evil spirit BOB, the witless heroes Dick
and Andy, in a comic parallel, are coming up with theories
that their young charge Nicky is the Devil.
At 34:46 on the Blu-ray, we see that the folding doors in
Truman's office are opened up to connect to the room next to it.
But when we see the exterior angle (from the lobby) as Mayor Milford leaves Truman's office a minute later,
the folding doors are almost completely closed as he exits
Upon spying a glimpse of Lana, Dick remarks, "Oh, she doth
teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon
the cheek of night. Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear,
beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear." These are
lines of Romeo's from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Towards the end, Dr. Hayward starts quoting along with Dick.
When Agent Bryson shows her DEA ID to Ernie, the photo on it
does appear to show her as a woman (long-haired), rather
than the male photo he must have had before deciding he
preferred living a woman's identity.
At 42:08 on the Blu-ray, notice that the Briggs family has
a U.S. flag flying on a pole outside the house. But the
scene here is at night, and the proper protocol for flying
the U.S. flag is that it should be taken down before
nightfall or, if left up at night, should have a light
shining upon it. The flag here does not have a light on it
and one would think that a major in the U.S. Air Force (and
his family) would follow the protocol.
At 42:09 on the Blu-ray, notice there is a telescope pointed
out the window and up towards the stars in the Briggs home.
Does the major have a habit of looking at the stars? Or at
Notice that the lamp Mrs. Briggs turns on at 42:17 on the
Blu-ray has an owl sculpture as the base!
Just before Major Briggs reappears in his home two days
after his disappearance, the power goes out briefly and
there is no sound of the front door opening or closing. He's
just suddenly there in between flashes of lightning. It
seems as if he did not just walk in, but was returned by a
When Major Briggs reappears at his home , he is wearing what I at first took to be an
early-to-mid-20th-Century aviator's outfit, wondering why he
is dressed so? Did he travel back in
time? When he disappeared from his and Cooper's campsite in
"Dispute Between Brothers",
he was wearing typical camping clothes. In the study of
The Secret History of Twin Peaks, I
present another possible explanation.
What exactly happened to Major Briggs between the time of
his disappearance in
"Dispute Between Brothers"
and his reappearance here? Why is he dressed as an old-time
aviator (or something) upon his return? What does he mean when he says,
after his wife's question of, "Is everything all right?",
"No, dear. Not exactly."
I am surprised that Leo could master the technology.wav
Dead Dog Farm.wav
persistent random misfortune.wav
look at that Indian go.wav
pretend you're still my girlfriend.wav
the best and the worst are drawn to Dead Dog.wav
just moments before the major disappeared, I heard an
our monitors are pointed at deep space.wav
a place called the White Lodge.wav
far beyond national security.wav
I still put my panties on one leg at a time.wav
waiting around for our lives to begin.wav
life starts before you know it.wav
incredible as it may seem.wav
did you check him for witchcraft?.wav
an extraordinary human being.wav
is everything all right?.wav
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