During Tammy’s interrogation scene with Bill Hastings, Bill recounts his meetings with Garland Briggs. During the second meetings, when he’s delivering the coordinates to the Major. He mentions that after he gave the coordinates to Briggs, “people came in,” and pushed him to the ground by his head. They asked him his wife’s name repeatedly until he told them.
The “people” that interrupted Hastings’ meeting with Briggs were the Woodsmen.
- In episode 2, after Hastings finishes talking to his wife in his cell, we pan over to see a woodsman in an adjacent empty cell.
- In episode 7, when Lieutenant Knox is calling Colonel Davis, a Woodsman walks by her and the morgue room with Briggs’ body.
- In episode 9, Hastings mentions that Ruth Davenport was, “really good at finding hidden records,” and discovered that if they visited a certain location at a certain, they meet with Garland Briggs.
- In episode 12 Garland leaves a message for Bobby, telling him to go up to the Jackrabbit’s Palace portal on 10/1 at 2:53
- In episode 9, Hastings maintain composure (relatively) while talking about his time in the “Zone.” However, once he begins talking about his encounter with the “People,” he becomes visibly upset and starts crying.
- In Episode 11, when talking to Tammy in the police car at the lodge portal lot, Hastings seems composed. However, when he sees the Woodsman behind the house, he becomes visibly upset.
- When Cole walks onto the vacant lot and interacts with the portal, he sees the Dutchman’s stairs at the other end, with three woodsmen standing atop them.
Hastings and The Woodsmen
Setting the stage: the Woodsmen seem to be shadowing Bill Hastings and co at every turn. There’s a woodman in a prison cell near his. A woodsman shows up to in the morgue during Lieutenant Knox’s examination of Major Briggs. One squeezes Bill’s head off in the police car. Lynch makes it pretty clear that the Woodsmen are very interested in what Hastings is up to.
The Woodsmen and the Portal
We have two clues from Major Briggs this season; they both lead to portals, and they both have certain dates and times associated with them. The first is Bobby’s hint for Jackrabbit’s Palace on 10/1 and 10/2, and the second is the time and date Ruth discovered which would lead to “The Major.”
Why would Major Briggs put these limitations on his portals? It would indicate the portals were not permanently safe places for Briggs. Hastings’ story validates this–the second time he visits Briggs, he recounts “People” rushing in and forcing him to the ground. If that portal was only temporarily safe for Briggs, anyone traveling through afterward should see the people that usually reside there. Sure enough, when Director Cole is looking through the portal, he sees someone at the other end: the Woodsmen.
Hastings Reactions to The Woodsmen
Finally, Hasting’s himself gives us some pretty strong hints about his interactions with the Woodsmen. In his FBI interrogation, he seems to hold himself together for a guy in jail for a mysterious murder involving zones, interdimensional travel and the deaths of all the women in his life.
However, he finally loses when he starts talking about “The People.” Apparently, after he gives Briggs the coordinates, the people show up and force him to the ground.
Once he gets in the car with the FBI, he seems to calm down. When Cole, Tammy, Bill, and Bruscoe arrive at the vacant lot, he’s calmed down a little. We see a few reaction shots of him talking to Tammy, followed by a POV shot of him looking at the Woodsman behind the house.
When he looks back up, he’s clearly shocked and rattled in the same way he was back at the station. It’s clear here that not only has he seen Woodsmen before; he recognizes them as hostile, malevolent beings– the same beings that pushed him down in the “Zone.”
The Woodsman following Hastings around are definitely a strong hint that they are the people that got between him and Briggs. That the portal Hastings took to meet with Briggs led to The Dutchman’s is enough to call this hypothesis confirmed. The clincher is Hastings mirrored reactions in the police station, and at the vacant lot.