Back to Buckhorn, South Dakota – daytime – and the abrupt and confrontational sight of the headless corpse on the mortuary slab, Y-incision yawning open. Examiner Constance Talbot (Jane Adams) briefs Detectives Dave Macklay (Brent Briscoe) and Don Harrison (Bailey Chase) on her findings. She uses this opportunity, somewhat inappropriately, to hone her comedic skills.
“Took me a while but I think someone cut this man’s head off,” she offers for cause of death. The reaction is muted to say the least. She persists, adding, “Here’s the headline… actually, I just gave you the headline.”
It’s a welcome and fittingly quixotic addition to a character that could’ve been written for mere function; a cipher (as could be said for Chase’s Det. Harrison). She finishes with a little smile and an admission that, “Yeah, I’m still doing stand-up on the weekends.” (Is this itself another joke!?)
Getting a little more serious, Constance advises them that the dead man hadn’t eaten in days but that she did find something of note in his stomach; it’s a ring.
Rings often appear to have significance in Twin Peaks. Dale Cooper’s ring was taken by the Giant and was returned once his visions had come true. Then, of course, there is the Owl Cave Ring and its fantastic capabilities. Rings in general symbolise eternity or the continuous, recalling the time loops and paradoxes that are conjured throughout Twin Peaks. This ring, however, is more earthbound, though its import isn’t inconsequential.
It’s a wedding band and it is inscribed, “To Dougie, with love, Janey-E“. And so the Buckhorn story line makes another clear connection to events happening in Las Vegas, however its an odd connection.
The placing of this ring would draw a line for the police from one place to the other. Again, it is as though Mr. C is deliberately baiting law enforcement to put the clues together, as though this negative doppelganger for Agent Cooper is himself preoccupied with the giving of clues and the interpretive methods of police work.
Mr. C may have foreseen that a connection between Buckhorn and Las Vegas would inevitably be made, one way of another. In that case, the placing of the ring may have been intended to implicate Dougie in the murder of Major Briggs and thus gum-up the works of the investigation and maybe also land Dougie in prison as a sort of contingency plan. This seems like the most likely motive behind leaving such a brazen clue behind.
If Mr. C had anticipated the involvement of the FBI – and by extension guessed that Cole and Rosenfield would approach Diane – then this adds further currency to the idea, as we find out eventually that Diane and Janey-E are quite surprisingly connected. Diane is never shown to be given this info about the ring found in Major Briggs’ stomach. If she had, maybe some of the important connections made by the agents later on in The Return would have been made much sooner.
As it is, this is a juicy little tidbit for first time viewers eager to connect the dots, throwing a complication into the mystery of the body found in Ruth Davenport’s apartment.
Next time: Still with me