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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Twin Peaks: The Orchid's Curse Twin Peaks
Episode 12: "The Orchid's Curse"
TV episode
Written by Barry Pullman
Directed by Graeme Clifford
Original air date: October 27, 1990


Cooper discovers Audrey’s note; Nadine has trouble with the refrigerator door; Andy gets the results of his sperm test; the contents of Gerard’s syringe are analyzed.


Read the 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.


The character of Tim Pinkle introduced in this episode is portrayed by David L. Lander, best known for playing Squiggy on the 1976-1983 sitcom Laverne & Shirley.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Agent Dale Cooper

Deputy Hawk

Sheriff Truman

Robertson (grey-haired old man, mentioned only)

Two retired female school teachers (mentioned only)

Lucy Moran

Gwen (Lucy's sister, mentioned only)

Larry (Gwen's husband, mentioned only)

Gwen and Larry's baby boy (unnamed, mentioned only)

Bobby Briggs

Tim Pinkle

Leo Johnson

Shelly Johnson

Judge Sternwood


Leland Palmer

Sarah Palmer

Maddy Ferguson

Deputy Andy


Ben Horne

D.A. Daryl Lodwick

Harold Smith

Donna Hayward

Mr. Racine (Leo Johnson's defense attorney)

James Hurley

Ed Hurley

Nadine Hurley

Dr. Jacoby (mentioned only)

Mr. Tojamura (Catherine Martell)

Tojamura's assistant (unnamed)

Hank Jennings

Jean Renault

Audrey Horne

Blackie O'Reilly

Bernie Lentz (mentioned only)

Barney (mentioned only)

Tony the Tiger (mentioned only)

Nancy O'Reilly 




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 teapot that reappeared in Episode 11: "Laura's Secret Diary" has now been replaced with a sugar dish.


"Sometimes nature plays tricks on us and we imagine we are something other than what we truly are.

Is this a key to life in general? Or the case of the two-headed schizophrenic?

Both heads thought the other was following itself.

Finally, when one head wasn't looking, the other shot the other right between the eyes, and, of course, killed himself."


Didja Notice?


This episode takes place on Tuesday, March 7, 1989.


The nightstand next to Cooper's hotel room bed now has a small statue of an American Indian on it.


Cooper wakes up in bed with the same "mussed-up" hair he had when he woke up from his dream of the Black Lodge in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer".


When Cooper finds the forgotten envelope from Audrey under his bed, it again reads "My Special Agent", as it did in Episode 7: "The Last Evening", but changed to simply "Agent Cooper" in Episode 8A: "May the Giant Be With You".


When Hawk dashes into the Sheriff's station, Truman says, "Hey, I thought we lost you to the Kalispell woods." Kalispell is a city in Montana. We learned in Episode 11: "Laura's Secret Diary", that the last known tenants of the house neighboring the Palmer cabin at Pearl Lakes had moved to Kalispell.


Lucy states that she is going on vacation to visit her sister Gwen and brother-in-law Larry in Tacoma.


Lucy's sweater has diamond-shaped designs on it.


Lucy tells Truman that a Can-Do temp girl is coming to fill in for her at the Sheriff's station while she's away. Can-Do appears to be a fictitious temp service. 


At 5:25 on the Blu-ray, Bobby is reading the November 1989 issue of Shooting Times magazine, though the magazine title is partially altered by white tape or something to disguise it! It's also interesting to note that this issue somehow arrived in Twin Peaks from the future, as the setting of the episode is supposed to be March 1989!
Bobby reads Shooting Times Shooting Times (Nov. 1989)


Mr. Pinkle refers to Leo's new body-lifting contraption as a Porto-Patient. This appears to be a fictitious device created for the show.


Bobby pretends to be a cousin of Leo's during Pinkle's installation and demonstration of the Porto-Patient at the Johnson home.


At 6:14 on the Blu-ray, the power belt on the Porto-Patient contraption is seen to have the Dayco Durapower II brand name on it. Dayco is a manufacturer of industrial parts and supplies.


When the Porto-Patient fails to engage properly, Mr. Pinkle says to Shelly and Bobby, "... sometimes you’ve got to be tough with these things. You got to hit it hard. A machine is like a woman we always say at the machine shop." Ironically, Shelly's husband Leo used to hit her before his recent gunshot wound.


As Judge Sternwood brings the makeshift court to order at the Roadhouse for Leland's bail hearing, notice the U.S. flag on his right and the Washington state flag on his left. Notice also that Toad is sitting in the back row of spectators eating a sandwich!


At 8:34 and 9:06 on the Blu-ray, a neon sign for "Beer Genuine Draft" and Lägerbeer are seen hanging in the Roadhouse. They are generic versions of the logos for Miller Genuine Draft (also seen in Episode 11: "Laura's Secret Diary") and Löwenbräu beers. Two pinball machines and a dart board are also seen in the background of this shot.


Truman tells the court that Leland Palmer's grandfather came to the area more than 75 years ago.


At 12:05 on the Blu-ray, one of the books seen on Harold's shelf is Firestarter, a 1980 novel by Stephen King.


Harold begins writing Donna's "living novel" in a Mead Composition pad. The Mead Corporation was an actual company at the time, now WestRock.


Harold tells Donna he grew up in Boston.


When Harold takes a step outside his cabin door in an attempt to take Laura's diary back from Donna, his right hand begins shaking. This occurs to a few other characters as the astronomical alignment that opens the Black Lodge begins in Episode 27:_"The Path to the Black Lodge".


Leo's attorney, Mr. Racine, states that Leo does not currently have the perspicacity to take the standard CST competency test due to his current condition. CST stands for Competency to Stand Trial.


Behind the bar of the Roadhouse at 16:47 on the Blu-ray, numerous liquor bottles are seen, most not clearly enough to make out their labels. A bottle identifiable as Jack Daniel's whiskey is seen, as well as a couple small bottles of Perrier mineral water.


As Judge Sternwood takes a brief recess from court to deliberate on the status of Leo Johnson with Cooper and Truman, he orders the three them Black Yukon Sucker Punches, prepared by Sid behind the Roadhouse's bar. This is a fictitious alcoholic cocktail, but fans have come up with their own various recipes for it which you can find through a web search.


Cooper tells the judge he's been in Twin Peaks for 12 days. This is accurate, counting "today".


James suggests to his uncle that maybe Nadine should see Dr. Jacoby, but Ed says the doc is in Hawaii recovering from his heart attack. Jacoby had a minor heart attack after being assaulted by an unknown assailant in Episode 7: "The Last Evening". His Hawaiian wife, Eolani, visited him in the hospital afterward in Episode 10: "The Man Behind Glass".


Mr. Tojamura presents Ben with a cashier's check for $5 million drawn on Yoshita Banking Limited. This appears to be a fictitious bank. Notice the check is dated March 7, 1989, the same day.


At 21:28 on the Blu-ray, we see that Bobby is following Hank as he enters the Great Northern. This is the beginning of the subplot that sees Bobby trying to get a job working for Ben Horne in later episodes.


As Cooper enters the Great Northern at 21:38 on the Blu-ray, he is tooting a duck call instead of the self-whittled wood whistle he liked to play with in earlier episodes.


At 22:16 on the Blu-ray, the phone on Ben's desk is seen to be a Panasonic VB-42210 Digital Business System phone.


During the phone call from Jean Renault to Ben for the payoff on the release of Audrey, Jean says to leave the payment "...across the border, five mile east of Grand Fork on the road to Castlegar...there’s a bar called the Colombian...behind it is a failed amusement park." Castlegar, Canada is only about 30 miles from the location of Twin Peaks, and Grand Fork is about 60 miles from TP. The Colombian appears to be a fictitious bar in the area, nor is there a failed amusement park along the route. Greg Nesteroff of the Nelson Star newspaper (BC, Canada) points out that the location "five mile east of Grand Fork on the road to Castlegar" is actually "the Advance Nursery and orchards off Highway 3."


For the payoff, Ben hands Cooper a briefcase filled with stacks of $100 bills. Unlike the fake $20 bills seen paid to Hank in Episode 7: "The Last Evening", the bills here look real!


As Donna instructs Maddy on accessing the hidden compartment where Harold keeps Laura's secret diary, she tells her a knob on the right-hand side of the bookcase opens the compartment behind a row of fake books. But, at 12:09 on the Blu-ray, it looks like the books concealing the hidden compartment are real ones (a set of the Encyclopædia Britannica to be exact).


At 25:15 on the Blu-ray, Jean spears a couple of strawberries with his spring-loaded wrist knife as a demonstration of what he plans to do to Cooper. But just a second later, there is only one strawberry on the point of the knife.


Jean plans to kill Audrey by an overdose of heroin. Notice that heroine-addicted Blackie surreptitiously palms one of the heroin baggies when Jean goes to answer the door.


Apparently the temp from Can-Do Temp didn't show up or left early, because Deputy Andy is seen manning the receptionist phone at the Sheriff's station in the latter half of the episode!


When Andy calls for his test results, he learns that he had oligospermia, but no longer does. Oligospermia is low sperm count in the semen produced by the testes.


As Andy hangs up the phone at 28:08 on the Blu-ray, notice that, in the background, Sheriff Truman is emerging from the restroom, still in the process of zipping himself up! I guess he doesn't bother to wash his hands after urinating!


At 28:27 on the Blu-ray, we see Cooper's hand-drawn layout of One-Eyed Jacks.

One-Eyed Jacks floor plan


Deputy Hawk reports that the One-Armed Man is staying at the Robin's Nest motel on Highway 9. Robin's Nest motel appears to be fictitious. There is a real world Highway 9 in the western end of Washington, but not near the eastern side where Twin Peaks is located. In Episode 4: "The One-Armed Man", the One-Armed Man was staying at the Timber Falls Motel on Highway 12.


    At about 29:54 on the Blu-ray, the large paper pad at the receptionist's desk in the Sheriff's station has various scrawls on it, including "Margaret Campbell", "Bernie Lentz Lives", the phone number for Barney's Beauty Salon (223-1712), "Duckey Boys", C O O P E R, and a sticky note reading "Call Tony the Tiger".

    The reference to Margaret Campbell is interesting. An actress by that name appeared in numerous silent films from 1919-1930. She was sexually assaulted and then bludgeoned to death by her own son in 1939. Might this reference be a sublimnal clue to the killer of Laura Palmer (her own father)?

    The references to Bernie Lentz and Barney's Beauty Salon are unknown; the 223 telephone prefix for Barney's is one of the prefixes in the state of Washington.

   "Duckey Boys" may be a reference to the Ducky Boys Irish street gang active in The Bronx, New York, whose area included the Twin Lakes of the New York Botanical Garden. Maybe Twin Peaks has a gang called by this similar name?

    The 206 area code for Gwen and Larry is in the Seattle/Tacoma area of the state.

    "Tony the Tiger" is probably a playful nickname of someone named Tony in the Twin Peaks area, based on the animated mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes cereal.

    A note with two phone numbers under the heading of "Gwen and Larry," (206-555-1666 and 206-555-28--) is clipped to the larger pad with an ACCO plastic paperclip.

    A sticky note with the words, "(C)all Harry Payton 're' Nickey" is seen stuck to the large paper pad. This may be a reference to series writer Harley Payton and the upcoming character of little Nicky Needleman.

    Some kind of hardcover notebook (or something) with an embossing tape title "Pulse Transkiss" is also seen on the reception desk!


Dialog between Jean and Blackie suggest that they were lovers before Nancy entered the picture.


The story Donna tells Harold during the second session of her "living novel" is one that Laura also told in her diary, as related in The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer. Here, Donna substitutes the Roadhouse for the Bookhouse and says only that the young men they met were "about 20 years old", not 22 as Laura wrote. Donna adds she fell in love for the first time, with Tim, that night but never saw him again.


At 36:02 on the Blu-ray, an owl observes Cooper as Truman moves in to take down the guard outside One-Eyed Jacks and Cooper eyes the bird strangely, probably remembering the Giant's warning, "The owls are not what they seem."


When Truman takes down the guard outside One-Eyed Jacks, he appears to punch him in the groin and squeeze his testicles to subdue him before bashing his head against the door!


At 36:35 on the Blu-ray, a sign inside One-Eyed Jacks reads "Future Tiberian Baths, Pardon Our Mess!" This may be a reference to the natural hot spring baths in the Israeli city of Tiberias, world-renown, especially in Roman times, for their alleged healing powers. Any baths at the brothel would probably be intended as more like a sensual bath than healing.

Pardon our mess


As Cooper and Truman walk through the hallway of the brothel, notice that the closed doors to the rooms have a picture of a playing card on them. These may be meant to indicate that the room is for the use of the specific 52 Pick-Up girl who wears the corresponding card designation.


At 38:37 on the Blu-ray, notice that Jean uses a playing card as a drink coaster.


Perhaps because he's acting as a Bookhouse Boy on the One-Eyed Jacks raid instead of as Sheriff, Truman is seen packing a Colt Python .357 Magnum instead of the usual Smith & Wesson Model 10 (though he also carries it in Episode 23: "The Condemned Woman").


When another guard stops Cooper and Truman in their tracks at gunpoint (holding a Beretta 92FS) as they're about to exit the brothel with the unconscious Audrey, Hawk saves their hash by throwing a knife into the man's back, felling him instantly. But isn't that kind of a harsh way to take the guy down? Didn't Hawk have a gun so he could have just told the guy to drop his weapon?


Hank calls Ben on a portable phone and tells him there's been gunfire at One-Eyed Jacks during Cooper and Truman's rescue of Audrey. But there was no gunfire during the rescue, only some punching and a couple of knifings!


At 45:25 on the Blu-ray, a couple of book titles are visible in Harold's bookcase as Maddy is seen standing next to it: Popular Science and Science Year. Popular Science is probably a compilation of articles from the magazine of the same name. Science Year is an annual publication of assorted science articles published by World Book, Incorporated.


Notice that the hand garden fork Harold holds as he confronts Maddy and Donna already has his blood on it before he has even scratched his face with it! Notice also that the actor accidentally brushes one of the prongs against his cheek, leaving a "blood" drop there before he actually begins to gouge his face with it.


Memorable Dialog


Diane, I am now upside-down.wav

a machine is like a woman.wav

I grew up in books.wav

there's things you can't get anywhere.wav

keep your eye on the woods.wav

you love a good steak.wav

I'm a whole damn town.wav

the ultimate secret.wav


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