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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Twin Peaks: The Condemned Woman Twin Peaks
Episode 23: "The Condemned Woman"
TV episode
Written by Tricia Brock
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Original air date: Febr
uary 16, 1991


Josie is shocked at Andrew’s liveliness and has her final confrontation with Eckhart while Hank implicates her in Andrew’s attempted murder and Albert implicates her in Cooper’s; Nadine breaks up with Ed; Ben strives to save the endangered pine weasel.


Read the episode transcript 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.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Windom Earle

Dale Cooper

Sheriff Truman

Caroline Earle

Lucy Moran

Pete Martell

Catherine Martell

Andrew Packard

Josie Packard

Jonathan Kumagai (deceased, mentioned only)

Hank Jennings

Deputy Hawk

Leo Johnson

Albert Rosenfield

Audrey Horne


John Justice Wheeler (Jack)

Ed Hurley

Nadine Hurley (née Butler)

Thomas Eckhardt

Ben Horne

Bobby Briggs

Jerry Horne

Shelly Johnson

Norma Jennings

Annie Blackburn (Norma's sister, mentioned only)

Donna Hayward

James Hurley

Evelyn Marsh (mentioned only)

Laura Palmer (mentioned only)

Maddy Ferguson (mentioned only)




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 Log Lady's introduction for this episode refers to the closing shot of the episode, with Josie's face seemingly trapped in a wooden drawer pull in Eckhardt's room at the Great Northern while Truman clutches her mysteriously dead body. There are some hints in later episodes that Josie's spirit may be trapped in the hotel, that she has become part of the wood of the building, just as the Log Lady's dead husband seems to speak to her through her log.


"A hotel. A nightstand. A drawer pull on the drawer. A drawer
pull of a nightstand in the room of a hotel. What could possibly
be happening on or in this drawer pull? How many drawer pulls
exist in this world? Thousands, maybe millions.

"What is a drawer pull? This drawer pull--why is it featured so
prominently in a life or in a death of one woman who was caught
in a web of power? Can a victim of power end in any way connected
to a drawer pull? How can this be?"


Didja Notice?


This episode opens on Monday, March 20, 1989.


As the episode opens, we see a small owl figurine under glass on Sheriff Truman's desk.


At 2:01 on the Blu-ray, Cooper's microcassette recorder is seen to be a Panasonic RN-105. In "Diane..." The Twin Peaks Tapes of Agent Cooper, his recorder is said to be the fictitious brand, "Micromac pocket tape recorder".


At 2:36 on the Blu-ray, the 1972 novel To Serve Them All My Days by R. F. Delderfield is seen on Truman's desk.


At 3:27 on the Blu-ray, Pete has prepared Andrew's breakfast plate of eggs, bacon, and toast in the shape of a dog's face. Andrew seems quite tickled by it, while Catherine is all but disgusted by the two men's childlike antics. I like that good-guy Pete and somewhat-bad-guy Andrew have such a good friendship with each other. And, of course, Catherine's comment, "You two bring out the worst in each other."


Catherine disapprovingly remarks on Pete and Andrew acting "like the Hardy Boys." She is referring to the characters Frank and Joe Hardy in the Hardy Boys series of juvenile detective novels published since 1927.


Andrew remarks that he leaves for Paris tomorrow regarding investors in the Ghostwood project. Presumably, he is referring to Paris, France.


At 5:16 on the Blu-ray, Truman is reading an article about Jonathan in a newspaper. The articles seen on this page actually have nothing to do with their headlines. In fact, a couple of the paragraphs are repeated!



At 6:10 on the Blu-ray, a book on the shelves behind Truman appears to be Microprocessor Applications Manual.


At 8:00 on the Blu-ray, notice that there is a sign in the Great Northern for the 1989 Tri-County Rodeo Association annual convention. This explains all the women seen in country-style dresses at the Great Northern throughout this episode, as well as the men in cowboy hats.


Jack tells Audrey he just flew into town on his own jet. He must have landed at the airstrip indicated on the map of the town in Twin Peaks: An Access Guide to the Town called Old Unguin's Field.


Audrey calls Jack, "Mr. Rockefeller". This is a reference to the Rockefeller family, made rich by John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1839–1937), founder of the Standard Oil Company. Her reference is to Jack's obvious wealth, if he is able to afford his own jet.


Jack tells Audrey he has an "unbelievably cute" picture of her wearing a dirndl dress when she was little. He goes on to call it "little Audrey Horne as Heidi". A dirndl is a traditional dress worn by Alpine peasants in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Heidi is a character who has appeared in Swiss children's books and international movies since 1881. Recall that Audrey used the alias "Hester Prynne" from The Scarlet Letter when she went undercover at One-Eyed Jacks and "Scarlett" (probably borrowed from the novel Gone With the Wind) in earlier episodes, so it may be that Audrey has a literary bent that is not obvious about her at first glance.


At 11:05 on the Blu-ray, Ed is replacing the figurines on Nadine's knick-knack shelf, which was knocked down during her pummeling of Hank in Episode 20: "Checkmate". Notice that the same cat figurine is seen on two different shelves!


At 13:00 on the Blu-ray, Catherine flips open the Venetian blinds between two rooms in Blue Pine Lodge in order to hear Cooper and Josie's conversation. But, of course, she needn't have done so to still hear them clearly! It is done for the benefit of the television viewer! In fact, realistically, she would be much better off leaving them closed to ensure her eavesdropping isn't noticed by them!


At 15:09 on the Blu-ray, a copy of War and Peace is seen on the bookshelf behind Catherine. War and Peace is an 1869 novel by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. It is considered one of the best novels ever written.


As Josie grabs the gun hidden in the bookshelf at 15:32 on the Blu-ray, the books Mary Queen of Scots, The First Deadly Sin, a volume of Reader's Digest Condensed Books, and Public Administration are seen. Seconds later, a textbook called Microbiology and one about psychology are visible, as well as The Hurricane Years. Mary Queen of Scots is a 1969 biography of the 16th Century Queen Mary of Scotland by Antonia Fraser. The First Deadly Sin is a 1973 novel by Lawrence Sanders. Reader's Digest is a general interest magazine published in the U.S. and a few other nations; it's Reader's Digest Condensed Books volumes were published from 1950-1997, when new volumes were retitled Reader's Digest Select Editions. Public Administration may be a collection of the quarterly journal by that name. The Hurricane Years is 1968 novel by Cameron Hawley.


The gun hidden and revealed by Catherine behind the books on the bookshelf, and which Josie takes, is a Walther PPK. This is the same model gun used to shoot Cooper in Episode 7: "The Last Evening" and which killed Jonathan Kumagai later, both revealed to have been perpetrated by Josie. Was this then Josie's own gun? How did Catherine get a hold of it?


Notice that from this episode onward, Ben seems to carry celery stalks or carrot sticks on his person instead of cigars! I guess part of his new attempt to be good is to give up smoking! (Though Ben does begin to light, and then put out, a cigar during his dinner with Audrey and Jack later in the episode.)


The athletic jacket Ben is wearing at 15:56 on the Blu-ray is made by Fila.


At 17:29 on the Blu-ray, notice that the top left pane of the French doors leading outside in Ben's office is blacked out! It was a normal pane of glass when glimpsed in previous episodes. What happened? Was it an accident on set?


At 17:47 on the Blu-ray, notice that Jerry has a small bandage between his eyes!


Ben refers to his overall business as Horne Industries Incorporated.


At 18:02 on the Blu-ray, notice that Audrey scratches her pretty knee and adjusts her skirt over it, possibly trying to distract Jack, sitting next to her. He definitely notices!


At 18:13 on the Blu-ray, the 1965 book Three Coins in the Birdbath  is seen on Ben's desk. This is a collection of the humorous remembrances and musings of Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Clifford Smith (1916-1996).


At 18:39 on the Blu-ray, notice that the pine weasel image hidden under the white sheet is actually visible through the sheet before Ben unveils it.


The endangered pine weasel introduced in this episode has the scientific name Mustela pinus according to the label on the unveiled image in Ben's office. This is actually a fictitious creature, though Mustela is the genus to which weasels of various species are assigned. Ben states that the pine weasel is found only in their tri-county area and is nearly extinct. Apparently, the pine weasel is also known as a food source, for Jerry remarks, "They're incredible roasted."


Ben remarks that after he saves the pine weasel, he's considering a run for senate.


At 20:28 on the Blu-ray, notice that Shelly has a gauze bandage wrapped around her right elbow instead of the sling she wore in the previous episode Episode 22: "Slaves and Masters".


At 20:32 on the Blu-ray, the day's Stockpot Soup at the RR is rabbit bisque.


Norma remarks to Shelly that when she was little, she always used to think that Annie was from "another place and time". Is this phrasing about Annie something we should pay attention to? Recall that the Dwarf is referred to as the Man From Another Place in series credits and that travel back-and-forth and possible alterations in time occur the TV series and Fire Walk With Me.


At 23:29 on the Blu-ray, notice that Earle is wearing a cap with a "CD-M Courtwright Diesel and Machine" logo on it. Courtwright Diesel and Machine is an equipment manufacturer in Tacoma, WA.

Earle's cap


Notice that Earle's commandeered cabin has fresh, green branches sitting on top of the roof. Presumably, he (or Leo) has placed them there to cover up holes in the roof of the dilapidated abode.


As Earle emerges from the cabin to check on Leo's work, he's singing "The Foggy Dew", an old English folk song from the late 18th-to-early-19th Century.


After approving of Leo's work, Earle quotes, "Fly to my breast, pierce me in colors autumnal, speak to me only of love." It seems as if he's quoting a poem, but I've been unable to identify it.


Notice that the sticks Leo is whittling will become the shafts of the arrows Earle will use to kill the itinerant in Episode 26:_"Variations on Relations".


Notice that Leo is amused when Earle accidentally pricks his finger on the point of the arrowhead at 24:02 on the Blu-ray.


At 24:17 on the Blu-ray, the floor of Hank's cell is littered with white feathers. Since this was Ben's cell in Episode 15:_"Drive With a Dead Girl", where he tore apart a feather pillow in rage, it seems as if the sheriff's department has not done a very good job of cleaning cells between prisoners!


Norma's line to Hank, regarding her relationship with Ed, "I'd rather be his whore than your wife," is also stated word-for-word by Kate Winslet's character in the 1997 film Titanic. In fact, she says it to a character played by Billy Zane, who also appears in the episode!


Contemplating the next chess move against Earle, Pete begins to remark on a strategy used by Capablanca against Lasker in St. Petersburg, 1914, before Cooper interrupts him. Pete claimed to owe his chess skill to José Raúl Capablanca in Episode 22: "Slaves and Masters". Capablanca played against German chess champion Emanuel Lasker in St. Petersburg that year, losing to him, his only route of that tournament. St. Petersburg is a city in Russia.


Cooper has been publishing his chess moves to Earle in the classifieds of the Twin Peaks Gazette.   


Cooper asks Pete to construct a stalemate strategy in the current game against Earle, losing as few pieces as possible. Thus, Pete decides Cooper's next move, P to QN3 (Pawn to Queen's Knight 3). This would normally be considered a bad move, as Cooper is accepting the loss of his Pawn previously (in Episode 20: "Checkmate") without taking Earle's Pawn in return at little risk.

   After Pete makes his move on the chessboard, he promises Cooper and Truman that Earle can't remove another piece from the board for at least 5 or 6 more moves. But, Earle does remove a Pawn legitimately just 3 days (moves) later in Episode 26:_"Variations on Relations". Wrapped in Plastic #4 points out that the second issue of the series official fanzine the Twin Peaks Gazette, printed Pete's move as B to QB4 (Bishop to Queen's Bishop 4), a much stronger move. It may be that this was the move originally written, but it was changed to the lesser move during shooting for unknown reasons.

   (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 Times Herald.) 

Pawn to Queen's Knight 3 (Cooper) Knight takes Pawn (suggested move) Bishop to Queen's Bishop 4 (from Twin Peaks Gazette)
Cooper's/Pete's (black) P to QN3 move
(diagram from Wrapped in Plastic #4)
The only move a real chess expert should have made in this case, Knight takes Pawn, suggested by John Jacobs
(diagram from Wrapped in Plastic #4)
Pete's move as published in the second issue of the Twin Peaks Gazette official fanzine
(diagram from Wrapped in Plastic #4)


The scene with Josie applying make-up at 28:55 on the Blu-ray is almost a mirror of the opening scene of Episode 0A: "Wrapped in Plastic".


This episode is the final appearance of James in the series, though Donna does receive a post card from him in Episode 25: "On the Wings of Love". James tells Donna he'll be a witness at Evelyn's trial. This implies that, despite his taking off for Mexico or other climes unknown, he will be back in the area in the relatively near future.


At 33:46 on the Blu-ray, Catherine is reading Great Expectations, an 1861 novel by Charles Dickens. Cooper was reading this same novel in Episode 1: "Traces to Nowhere" and Episode 5: "Cooper's Dreams". In fact, her copy looks like the same edition; maybe Cooper loaned it to her when he finished it!


At 33:51 on the Blu-ray, Pete appears to be tying a fly lure.


During dinner in the Timber Room with her father and Jack, notice that Audrey begins choking and coughing when her father tells Jack to think of him as "an open book...upon whose virgin pages you shall scribe." Presumably, she is 1) shocked that he should describe himself in even a metaphorical way as a "virgin", and 2) her own thoughts about Jack himself in regards to her virginity.


When Donna sees Shelly at the Roadhouse, she walks up to her and says "hi" and Shelly lets her have a drag off her cigarette. Later, in Episode 28: "Miss Twin Peaks", the two also are seen to share a cigarette (and they sit together at the Miss Twin Peaks meeting in Episode 26:_"Variations on Relations"). This all seems to imply a friendship between the two that is not openly mentioned in the series. It's quite possible they were friends in school before Shelly chose to drop out and marry Leo.


Cooper's book on Tibet is seen on the nightstand in his room at 42:23 on the Blu-ray as he practices casting a fly lure. Notice also that his Bookhouse Boys patch is sitting there, too.


Notice that the footboard of Cooper's bed at the Great Northern has a fish design elevated on the center portion.


Truman carries a Colt Python .357 Magnum instead of the usual Smith & Wesson Model 10 when he enters Eckhardt's room. He also carried the Colt in Episode 12: "The Orchid's Curse".


As the Dwarf dances on the bed near the end of the episode, notice that actor Michael J. Anderson wears an elevated sole on the shoe of his left foot. His left leg must be shorter than the right.


Unanswered Questions


To quote Killer BOB, "What happened to Josie?" Did she die of fear, dread, or humiliation? Does the appearance of BOB to Cooper indicate that he was feeding on her fear and sorrow (garmonbozia)? Is her soul trapped in the Great Northern? The following episode, Episode 24:_"Wounds and Scars", reveals that Josie's body weighed only 65 pounds when weighed by the coroner, much less than that it should have.


Memorable Dialog


it's your move.wav

you two bring out the worst in each other.wav

Pete's a prince.wav

that tempest raging inside you.wav

I just checked into room 215.wav

we're breaking up.wav

I don't know what place he occupies in your heart.wav

the little pine weasel.wav

about to become a household word.wav

it's our turn.wav

I'd rather be his whore than your wife.wav

you deserve haunting.wav

the local sheriff.wav

rarer than the pine weasel.wav

Love's Philosophy.wav

what happened to Josie?.wav 


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