In Episode 9, we learn Hastings has visited Major Briggs twice. In the second meeting, he recounts interference by a group of “others,” as he describes them. We know that many of those others are the Woodsmen, but there are still unanswered questions surrounding the events of Hastings’ second meeting.
Mr. C also showed up at the second meeting between Hastings and Briggs.
- The Woodsmen intercepted the meeting between Briggs and Hastings
- Mr. C Built the Glass Experiment Box in NYC
- In Episode 8, the Gotta Light Woodsmen is scene repeated two mantras.
- In Episode 9, Hastings states that one of the people in the Zone pushed him down by the neck and asked, “what’s your wife’s name?”
- In the episode 2 dinner, Mr. C is repeatedly skeptical of Ray, and likewise seems suspicious of both Ray and Darya
- Ruth’s head has a large hole in it, as opposed to being broken into pieces
- Mr. C hires Chantal and Hutch to kill, Warden Murphy, Duncan Todd, and Dougie-Cooper.
- Mr. C assigns Chantal to clean up after he murdered Darya.
- Mr. C has Chantal and Hutch restore his health after being shot by Ray.
- In Episode 9, Hastings recounts his memory of his meetings with Briggs to Agent Preston.
What Does It All Mean?
First, we need to show there was someone else at the meeting in addition to the Woodsmen. Lynch establishes their M.O. in Episodes 1, 2, 8, and 11. And the thing about the Woodsmen is, like Jack, they don’t seem capable of cogent communication. We only see one Woodsman talk at all: the “Gotta Light” guy in episode 8. And even he doesn’t seem capable of conversation; he only has two mantras that he repeats before walking off into the darkness. Based on this, it’s also unlikely that the Woodsmen themselves were the one’s asking Hastings for his wife’s name. Likewise, The Woodsmen kill people in a very specific way, and Ruth’s head was too intact to have been the handiwork of a Woodman.
So, Let’s count backwards as to who could’ve been at the meeting, and who could’ve asked Hastings for his wife’s name. We have:
- Ray and Darya
- Chantal or Hutch
- The Woodsmen
- Hastings himself
- Mr. C
Ray and Darya
In Episode 8, Ray is terrified by the Woodsmen coming to resurrect Mr. C. When he talks to Jeffries, he seems unsure about what they are or how they’re helping Mr. C. This is not the type of behavior you’d expect if he was at the meeting, where the Woodsmen would have been on his side.
Likewise, Mr. C seems suspicious of Ray and Darya before their call in the motel. While at dinner, Mr. C questions Ray multiple times, and seems skeptical of some of the things Ray says. During that dinner, Darya is staring at Ray the entire time, something Mr. C clearly notices, although he seems to tolerate it, and seems upset at Darya for telling Ray about his upcoming sabbatical. So it’s unlikely that he would trust them enough to take them into the portal and expose them to the ‘Zone.’
Chantal and Hutch
These two are a wild card. We know Chantal is in Buckhorn around this time, and it’s clear Mr. C trusts them both immensely. When Mr. C’s at his lowest point, after being murdered by Ray, it’s Chantal and Hutch he turns to. It’s definitely possible that he sent Chantal or Hutch in to meet with the Woodsmen and intercept Bill and Ruth.
Jack doesn’t seem to talk much. Based on his role, and lack of dialogue, I think we can safely rule him out.
Could Bill have killed Ruth? It’s possible, but unlikely. If we take his story at face value, then he’s innocent, and it’s unlikely that he’s lying to the FBI (he’s a broken man by the time Agent Preston talks to him). However, he could have murdered her in some kind of fugue state brought on by the Woodsmen, or accidentally killed her and blotted out the memory.
It seems unlikely, however, that Bill killed Ruth even accidentally or absently. The hole in her head was huge, and resembled an exit wound through her eye (there was also dried blood on her cheek, implying she was shot from behind and fell forward, with her face in the pool of blood). Hastings doesn’t ever seem to have a gun, so the hole in her face would have had to be manually created by him. Not something you can do accidentally.
Finally, although there are a couple hours that are unaccounted for by Bill, he clearly remembers Ruth already dead before he blacks out. Again, he could be misremembering, but there are no other indications that what he’s saying is false, and the portal in the vacant lot verifies that at least most of it is true.
So we already know that there’s someone else in the meeting besides Briggs, Hastings, and the Woodsmen. We’ve narrowed this someone down to either Mr. C, or Chantal or Hutch.
Why Mr. C instead of his Wetworks crew? First, Mr. C doesn’t outsource his lodge-based activity. He personally oversees his Glass Box Project, visits Jeffries himself, and personally coordinates all the hits on Dougie-Cooper. He also personally manages the Tulpas he creates.
Second, Chantal and Hutch serve a specific purpose for Mr. C– they are his goto assassination and cleanup crew. He doesn’t expect them to exhibit any finesse. Intervening in Ruth and Hastings’ meeting with Briggs was sort of in their wheelhouse (it was a murder), but it involved a level of interpersonal communication that is unusual for them.
Third, it’s strongly hinted that Mr. C sleeps with Phyllis. In Episode 2, Bill yells at Phyllis that he knows about her affair with George, and “maybe with someone else, too.” Then, later in that same episode, Mr. C shows up unannounced in Phyllis’ house. An extremely intimidating figure, Mr. C would no doubt instill fear in anyone who found him in their house unexpectedly. Phyllis, however, seems happy to see Mr. C, acting as if they have a pre-existing relationship. Mr. C, therefore, asking Bill’s wife name, makes sense in this context– he likely slept with Phyllis to get close to Bill, and verifying Bill’s wife would be something Mr. C would do.
There’s one outstanding question: If Mr. C was at that meeting, why didn’t he get the coordinates from Ruth’s arm? Well, this meeting takes in rural South Dakota on a late September Evening. Ruth would be wearing long sleeves, which would almost completely cover the numbers on her arm:
But, if Ruth’s body ends up undressed (as we see it in episode 11), how could he miss the coordinates on her arm? The answer is that Mr. C wasn’t around when Ruth’s body was being disposed, although that’s for another post.
There’s no smoking gun that Mr. C was at the meeting with Briggs and Hastings. However, the evidence in favor of it is compelling, and there aren’t any other ready explanations that fit the details of the event in such a straightforward way.