Twin Peaks: Who Killed Ruth Davenport? 4 Likely Suspects
When Twin Peaks returned on Sunday, it brought with it updates on old mysteries from the original series, but also a couple of new threads for fans to mull over. One of those is the question of who killed Ruth Davenport (Mary Stofle), a librarian in South Dakota whose severed head is found with one eye gone and a rather large hole left in its place. Even weirder, the head is perched on top of a body — but the body isn't Ruth's (and it is as of yet unidentified).
The mystery of who killed Ruth may or may not be an ongoing plot the way "who killed Laura Palmer?" was in the original series. It's unclear right now if the two murders are connected to the overarching story, or if they are merely a jumping-off point to introduce Evil Cooper and what he's been up to all these years. We're leaning toward the murders being important, for a few reasons that we'll get into as we dissect the likeliest killers of Ruth and the unidentified body.
Hastings is the local high school principal whose prints are found all over Ruth's apartment. He's an obvious target for a frame-up (he may have been having an affair with Ruth), so it seems much more likely that Ruth was killed by someone else, and Bill is going to take the fall.
However, there is one thing Bill says to his wife Phyllis that does make us wonder if he did actually kill Ruth, even if it wasn't really him acting on his own accord. Sitting in jail, he tells Phyllis, "I wasn't there, but I had a dream that night that I was in her apartment . . . I swear to you I wasn't there, I swear to you it was a dream!"
It's not unprecedented in the world of Twin Peaks for someone to be possessed by a murderous spirit and do terrible things he can't remember, so is Bill possessed by BOB (or some other evil spirit) and did he kill Ruth?
Maybe. However, in light of the strongest candidates, we're going to keep Bill pretty low on the list. He seems like a nice man (the affairs notwithstanding) who is being set up.
Phyllis reveals to Bill during their prison conversation that she knows about his affair with Ruth, though it sounds like she could also be referring to his affair with Betty, his assistant. Perhaps Bill has been a busy boy having multiple affairs — it sure sounds like that's the case with Phyllis. She's been having an affair with their lawyer, George Bautzer, and possibly someone else. She tells Bill he's going to jail for life for killing Ruth, but she says it in more of an "I framed you for this" way and not an "I think you're guilty and you should pay" way.
So maybe Phyllis got tired of her marriage and decided to kill Ruth and frame her husband for it. That definitely feels likely, though that's a big job for her to pull off by herself. We think she probably had help in the form of . . .
Evil Cooper and The Weird Family
Doppelganger Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and the weird family in the woods spend several scenes talking about Bill Hastings's secretary (who is probably "Betty the assistant" we hear Bill mention in his interrogation). In fact, it sounds like this Betty person has some information that Evil Cooper is dying to get his hands on.
"This information seems pretty important to you . . . she's Hastings' secretary. She knows what he knows," says Ray Monroe (George Griffith) to Evil Cooper at one point. Cooper also disposes of Phyllis after she leaves the jail, telling her she "did good . . . You follow human nature perfectly. This is George's gun," he says, then he shoots her in the head with it, presumably framing George for her murder.
What does all this mean? Well, in regard to the secretary and what she knows and what Bill knows, we are still in the dark. But it seems likely that Evil Cooper and the weird family conspired to commit these murders and got Phyllis to help them by revealing Bill's affair(s) to her. Then Evil Coop kills Phyllis to tie up a loose end.
The Smoky Figure
We would be remiss if we didn't mention the one other (and easily the weirdest) part to this mystery: the smoky figure.
After Bill and Phyllis's conversation in prison, the camera pans over to another cell and a black figure, who looks male, vanishes into a puff of smoke. The only thing really visible had been the whites of his eyes.
A shadowy figure also comes out of the glass box in New York City and killed Sam (Ben Rosenfield) and Tracey (Madeline Zima), so maybe this is what killed Ruth and the unidentified body. This smoky figure is presumably working with Evil Cooper, since we know Evil Coop is an escapee of the Black Lodge and is most likely still possessed by BOB, plus it seems obvious that Evil Cooper is mixed up in Ruth's death, even if he didn't decapitate her himself.
Finally, this is the big reason why we think Ruth's murder is connected to the overarching plot, because there is obviously something supernatural at play here, not merely Evil Cooper and his cronies committing murder for hire (or even just murder for fun).