The Ruth Davenport murder is one of the least understood side narratives of the new season. In Buckhorn, South Dakota, Bill Hastings is accused of murdering the librarian which whom he was having an affair, and reveals that the two of them found an interdimensional “zone” involving Mr. C, Major Briggs, and the Woodsmen.
Mr. C killed Ruth Davenport.
- The Woodsmen crashed Hastings’ meeting with Major Briggs
- Mr. C made it to the meeting between Hastings and Briggs
- In Episode 1, we see a close up of the whole in Ruth Davenport’s face:
- In Episode 2, Phyllis is shot in the head by Mr. C. We also see a close up of her face:
- In episode 2, Darya gets shot in the head by Mr. C
- In episode 8, multiple New Mexico residents are killed by the Woodsmen by having their heads exploded
- In episode 9, Hastings is killed by having his head exploded by a Woodsman
- In episode 11, Miriam is savagely beaten by Richard Horne
- In Episode 12, Warden Murphy is shot and killed by Hutch
- In Episode 13, The Farm Leader has his face punched in by Mr. C
- In Episode 13, Mr. C shoots and kills Ray Monroe
- In Episode 15, Duncan Todd and Roger are shot and killed
- In Episode 16, Diane-Tulpa is shot by Albert and Agent Preston
- In Episode 16, Chantal and Hutch are murdered by the Zawalski Accountant
- In Episode 17, Mr. C is shot and killed by Lucy
First, we know Mr. C was at the meeting where Ruth died. Using camera techniques, Lynch reveals to us not only that Mr. C killed Ruth, but how it happened.
To see how, let’s look at Mr. C’s scene with Phyllis. They talk briefly, he holds up George’s gun, then shoots her in the back of the head as she tries to run away. He leaves, we see a wide shot of the room facing her body, then we see something unusual. There is a closeup of Phyllis’ face and wound for four seconds before the next scene begins.
Why is this strange? Because none of the other murder scenes feature an extended closeup on the victim. When Warden Murphy, Ray Monroe, and Duncan Todd are shot, we only see the actual wound for a half a second or so. The same goes for Darya, the Experiment Victims, and the Farm Leader. It’s strange that, out of all the death scenes in The Return, this one would have so much focus on the wound itself.
However, that’s not necessarily conclusive on its own. There’s one other scene that features a close up on the victim’s wounds, and that close up plays a narrative role later in the show. That’s when Miriam gets beaten almost to death by Richard.
This scene serves two purposes:
- Like a particular scene in Blue Velvet, this shot tells an entire story. We see the candle Richard lit, and the open, running oven, and know the trailer is going up in flames soon. We see Miriam clearly breathing and know that she isn’t dead, and needs to escape or will die.
- having that close up on Miriam gives us a clue so when we see her again in episode 11, bloody and crawling, we know who she is a why she looks that way.
Getting back to the point– what does this have to do with Phyllis or Ruth? Phyllis’ exit wound in her eye is remarkably similar to the hole we see in Ruth’s head. Even more telling is Ruth’s face: around the wound is caked up dried blood on one side of her face, implying that she fell forward in the exact same position as Phyllis:
Given Hastings narrative (Ruth just “was dead,” implying he couldn’t see it while his neck was held down) and these clues, we can, without further ado, piece together almost the entire narrative of the Briggs-Hastings meeting:
Hastings and Ruth enter the Zone and give the coordinates to Briggs. Mr. C follows, and enters through the same portal, while the Woodsmen enter either with him or through the Dutchman’s. He pushes Hastings’ head down and asks for his wife’s name. Ruth sees Mr. C and the Woodsmen and turns to flee. As she tries to run, Mr. C shoots her in the back of the head, similar to Phyllis. He knocks out Hastings, and he or the Woodsmen grab Briggs’ body, preventing his body from leaving and forcing his head to detach.