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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Twin Peaks: Laura's Secret Diary Twin Peaks
Episode 11: "Laura's Secret Diary"
TV episode
Written by Jerry Stahl and Mark Frost & Harley Peyton & Robert Engels
Directed by Todd Holland
Original air date: October 20, 1990


Leland is interrogated; Andy goes in for a sperm count; Jean Renault delivers a ransom message to Ben; Harold reads passages from Laura’s secret diary to Donna.


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. 


Starting with this episode, Fumio Yamaguchi is listed as a guest star for the next several episodes. This was a stage name used to cover for Piper Laurie's appearances as Catherine Martell in disguise as Mr. Tojamura.


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 burlap sack has moved a bit away from the Log Lady again, but the teapot is now visible again, not seen fully since the first season intros.


"Miscommunication sometimes leads to arguments, and arguments sometimes lead to fights.

Anger is usually present in arguments and fights. Anger is an emotion, usually classified as a negative emotion.

Negative emotions can cause severe problems in our environment and to the health of our body.

"Happiness, usually classified as a positive emotion, can bring good health to our body, and spread positive vibrations into our environment.

Sometimes when we are ill, we are not on our best behavior.

By ill, I mean any of the following: physically ill, emotionally ill, mentally ill, and/or spiritually ill."




Didja Notice?


This episode takes place on Monday, March 6, 1989.


As the episode opens, the camera tunnels out of a hole in the sound-proofing tile in an interrogation room of the sheriff's station. What sounds like a slightly distorted girl's voice repeats "Daddy" and "Leland" before the camera pulls onto Sheriff Truman interrogating Leland. The girl's voice seems like a major clue before the reveal several episodes later that Leland Palmer is the killer of his own daughter, while possessed by BOB.


At 5:02 on the Blu-ray, notice that coffee mugs are hanging from the ram's horns on the wall of the coffee nook in the sheriff's office.


At 6:27 on the Blu-ray, a partially-visible poster hanging on a bulletin board in the sheriff's office reads "think of your best friend dead". This is a drunk driving awareness public service message. The full message reads, "Think of your best friend. Now, think of your best friend dead. Friends don't let friends drive drunk."


The box that Lucy spills when Andy bumps into her is filled with packets of coffee.


At 7:18 on the Blu-ray, notice that a stack of donuts is sitting on the chair next to Cooper in the lobby. But, why there?


Truman tells Cooper that judge Clinton Sternwood will arrive that afternoon, travelling the circuit in a Winnebago.


At 7:28 on the Blu-ray, as Truman and Cooper talk in the lobby, notice in the background that Lucy tosses a pencil over her shoulder at the reception desk. Then she does it again in close-up at 9:08!


Truman reports that Hawk has learned that no one named Robertson ever lived at the house next to the Palmer cabin at Pearl Lakes. The last known occupants moved to Kalispell. This presumably refers to Kalispell, Montana, a city roughly 250 miles from Twin Peaks.


The deputy that Andy bumps into as he leaves the restroom with his sample is Deputy Bob.


When Cooper sees that Andy is wearing Circle brand boots, he notes that they are the same kind they found hidden with the cocaine in Leo's yard (in Episode 8A: "May the Giant Be With You").


A clerk at the Great Northern, a woman named Louie, tells Ben that she received a tip from a friend at the Seattle Post-Dispatch that the travel writer M.T. Wentz will be passing through the area. The Seattle Post-Dispatch appears to be a fictitious newspaper; there is a paper in Seattle called the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


A banner hanging above the Great Northern check-in desk welcomes the participants in the Tri-County Lumber Queen semifinals at 9:46 on the Blu-ray. A sign for the same event is seen later at 41:05 in the Great Northern.


At 11:02 on the Blu-ray, notice that a photo of Audrey on Ben's desk looks to be a shot from Episode 0B: "Northwest Passage", when Audrey was giggling over her success in scaring the Norwegians away from the Ghostwood deal! Audrey photo


The video monitor set up by Jean Renault on Ben's desk has a Video8 playback unit built in. Video8 was a popular camcorder recording format (along with VHS) from 1985 into the early 2000's.


After Jean Renault leaves the office, Ben picks up his phone and tells someone named Janet to find Agent Cooper for him. This is the only mention of Janet. In a couple of later episodes, Ben seems to have a secretary named Samantha.


At 13:24 on the Blu-ray, the "stock pot soup" of the day at the RR Diner is rabbit chili. Later in the day, at 28:04, the sign now reads, "Ask about our specials," presumably in anticipation of the arrival of M.T. Wentz.


During their indoor picnic, Harold pours himself and Donna each a glass of white wine. This could be seen as contributing to the delinquency of a minor considering Donna's still a high school student and Harold is certainly over 21! (The bottle Harold pours from is not specifically identified as wine in the televised episode, so it could, perhaps, be interpreted as cider or something, but the original script does identify the beverage as wine.)


Harold reads an entry in Laura's secret diary aloud to Donna. It is a passage that does not appear in the published book The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch. Perhaps it was on one of the pages that was later torn out by Harold himself, as found in Episode 14: "Lonely Souls"?


During their meeting about the kidnapping of Audrey, Ben tells Cooper that the kidnappers contacted him that morning and they will exchange her for $125,000 cash. But, as seen in Ben's earlier meeting with Jean Renault, Renault never specified a cash amount! He only says that Ben would be contacted at noon the next day as he exits the office. And there is no indication the meeting with Cooper is taking place "the next day".


During Pete and Josie's reunion at the Blue Pine Lodge, notice Pete's tackle and fishing pole sitting on the cabinet in the background. His tackle has the Fenwick brand name on it.


At 20:46 on the Blu-ray, a few of Blackie's tarot cards are laying on the desk in front of Jean. A few seconds later, Jean raises his left hand and we see that he is holding a few other cards from the tarot deck in it. Possibly he was doing a reading of either himself or Audrey.


At 27:06 on the Blu-ray, Toad is seen wearing a PLS cap at the RR. PLS is Pacific Lumber and Shipping, a lumber company in the Pacific northwest and Canada.


At 27:18 on the Blu-ray, the clock on the wall of the RR Diner is seen to be a Gruen. Gruen was a U.S. watch manufacturer, with some promotional clocks, from 1894-1958.


When state prosecutor Daryl Lodwick (mistakenly assumed to be M.T. Wentz by Norma and Hank) asks for the restroom, Hank leads him to it, commenting that they just finished painting it. Earlier, after hearing that Wentz was coming to the area, Hank had run out to pick up some flowers, candles, and tablecloths to spruce up the diner; presumably he also bought some paint to freshen up the restrooms.


When Hank swipes Lodwick's wallet and looks at the Office of the District Attorney identification card inside, notice that the name of the state is blanked out, as if with white-out! Also, where a photo of the man's face should be, there is a fingerprint instead (presumably so that Hank can be mistaken for the D.A. when Jean Renault finds the I.D. on his person outside of One-Eyed Jacks in Episode 12: "The Orchid's Curse")!

Daryl Lodwick ID


When Truman questions Josie whether she was really in Seattle the past several days, she points out the boxes of the purchases she made there, saying, "You think I got them at Cash & Carry?" As pointed out in the study of Episode 3: "Rest in Pain", Cash & Carry is a warehouse grocery chain in the northwest United States.


Harry remarks on the potholes out on Highway 9. Highway 9 is later mentioned again in Episode 12: "The Orchid's Curse". There is a real world Highway 9 in the western end of Washington, but not near the eastern side where Twin Peaks is located.


After introducing Cooper and Judge Sternwood to each other, Truman states that the two of them should have a lot in common. Indeed, just seconds before, Sternwood instinctually read Truman as a man who was having recent trouble with a woman in his life, just as Cooper has been able to read relationships in past episodes with little information.


At 34:31 on the Blu-ray, Sternwood suddenly has a cup of coffee in his hand. I guess Lucy brought it to him in a shot cut from the episode.


Has anyone been able to make out what it is that Lucy says after her fight with Dick, when she has locked herself in Sheriff Truman's office? Her voice is muffled by the closed door and her half-sobbing voice. It sounds like she says something about "trigger" and "ascot".


Judge Sternwood tells Leland that whatever the outcome of their respective roles in the upcoming drama, when they have finally passed from the stage of life, they will raise a glass together in Valhalla. In Norse mythology, Valhalla is one of the two destinations in the afterlife for dead warriors.


RR Diner business card 42:30 on the Blu-ray is the best glimpse we get of the RR Diner business card.


At 42:53 on the Blu-ray, Pete is holding what appears to be a taxidermy mongoose fighting a cobra!


At 43:56 on the Blu-ray, notice that a figure moves behind the blinds as Jonathan spars with Josie about her relationship with the sheriff. Presumably, it is Pete returning with the promised cup of coffee for Jonathan, but the scene cuts away immediately.


At 44:00 on the Blu-ray, a neon sign in the background at the Roadhouse says "Beer Genuine Draft". It's a generic version of the logo for Miller Genuine Draft.


In the same shot above, notice that Cooper has arranged his peanuts and shells in the shape of an inverted triangle on the bar. Is there any meaning to this? (PopApostle reader S. Cattrysse points out that an inverted pyramid is a symbol for opening your third eye and a symbol for the path to enlightenment: starting in one point below, and broading your horizon to the top of the triangle.)
inverted triangle


Apparently, Hank is spending his nights sleeping in the back of the RR Diner, as he comes out in his pajamas when Jonathan pounds on the diner door in the middle of the night.


When Hank goes to the door and finds no one there, he begins to walk back through the diner, grumbling, "Oh, fart."


After tossing Hank around and bloodying him, Jonathan wipes some of Hank's blood onto his thumb and presses their two thumbs together, calling Hank "blood brother". This is a reference back to Hank cutting his and Josie's thumbs and pressing them together to suggest they now have a blood bond between them. Josie must have told Jonathan about the incident.


Memorable Dialog


every cell screams.wav

a sort of living novel.wav

I need one of the Bookhouse Boys.wav

a second diary.wav

who do you have to grease to get some coffee.wav

what's your secret?.wav

filly troubles.wav

a lot in common.wav

Heaven is a large and interesting place.wav

say one more word and I'll scream.wav

in Valhalla.wav


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