By Carl Hershberger
‘The Renault family have owned The Roadhouse for over 57 years… ‘ -Jean-Micheal Renault
The Roadhouse bar and music venue serves as the base of operations for bartender Jacques Renault and brother Bernard to run their widespread drug smuggling and prostitution rackets, a criminal enterprise which extends all the way from The Power and The Glory bar in Canada to the Deer Meadow sheriff’s office in Washington. Jacques also has ties to hospitality business moguls Ben and Jerry Horne, working blackjack table at their casino/brothel One-Eyed Jacks.
Were the Horne family and the Renault family in business together or were they rivals? They tolerated the other’s presence in their own backyard and employed similar individuals such as teens Laura Palmer, Ronette Pulaski, and the deranged Leo Johnson.
Both families accumulated much of their talent from the town of Twin Peaks. Ben and Jerry entrusted Horne’s department store manager and sleazebag Emory Battis to recruit girls working at the store’s perfume counter. And it’s a safe guess that the Renaults preyed on naive biker teens looking for various types of thrills at The Roadhouse.
Once the FBI started investigating Laura’s murder any sort of weak union these two crime organizations had started to crack. An out on bail Leo Johnson fearing Bernard will tie him to drug smuggling kills him and later shows his newly wrapped in plastic corpse to Ben. It’s apparent during the scene that Ben does not trust the Renaults, disrespectfully referring to them as ‘a couple of glue-sniffing squish heads.’
Animosity between the two families mounts as Horne family attorney Leland Palmer smothers Jacques to death with a hospital pillow, and Emory Battis and One-Eyed Jacks madame Blackie O’Reilly with the help of Jean Renault hold Audrey Horne hostage, extorting money from Ben. Jean, who is the oldest Renault brother, rules much the criminal underworld in this part of Canada with an iron first. He decides to go one step further against the Hornes, taking One-Eyed Jacks for himself and turning Ben’s chief muscle man Hank Jennings against him. With henchmen Leo rendered helpless and the police investigating him for Laura’s murder, Ben has no choice but to work with the FBI to get his daughter back. Ben never returns to criminal activities again after Audrey was rescued and she called him out for his misdeeds.
After Jean is killed we don’t find out who runs One-Eyed Jacks. Maybe Jerry? It’s also not clear who controls The Roadhouse with major Renault brothers out of the picture in season 2. That said, important community events take place there then like court proceedings with Judge Sternwood and the annual Miss Twin Peaks contest. Julee Cruise still holds concerts in the building. Perhaps The Roadhouse is still owned by some unknown Renault relative. As a revenge I think Ben Horne should have tried his own hostile takeover, but he was much too busy winning the Civil War and saving Ghostwood forest’s little pine weasel.
When we flash forward twenty five years, we see a new Renault is bar tending at The Roadhouse and firmly in charge of a prostitution racket. Jean-Michel Renault is as sleazy as Jacques ever was, and his bar’s concerts are huge events. There’s no doubt that he is raking in the cash after booking music powerhouses like The Nine Inch Nails and Eddie Vedder.
I don’t believe the greedy Jean-Michel would give up on a share of drug money especially with dope business transactions being conducted in his establishment. Is he working with the mysterious drug supplier Red? We do see Red at The Roadhouse bar in close proximity to Jean-Michel at the end of Part 2. I doubt this shot was made by David Lynch for no reason.
Red is bringing the Chinese designer drug ‘Sparkle’ down from Canada, which is Renault territory. ‘Twin Peaks: Between Two Worlds’ facebook group admin Pamela Tarajcak suggests Red might be Jean-Michel’s son, which makes sense given the ages of the two actors portraying the roles. I personally think there’s many family members not accounted for on the show. For instance, according to ‘The Secret History of Twin Peaks’ by Mark Frost, Hank Jennings was knifed in prison by a distant cousin of the Renaults.
‘All work and no place make Ben and Jerry dull boys’- Jerry Horne
Ben has lost a lot of his desire to misbehave in the past 25 years since the happenings of season two. He sticks strictly to the hotel business and takes care of his brother who has started a booming and totally legal marijuana enterprise.
Jerry manages to get himself into trouble in season three. After watching the Dr. Amp show webcast, Jerry smokes some powerful drugs and gets lost in the woods. I don’t think Jerry’s marijuana would cause him to think his ‘not foot’ was speaking to him. His experience in the woods is similar to the violent delirium that plagued Steven Burnett and Gersten Hayward. Whatever this stuff is, it’s no joke.
When Ben’s grandson Richard Horne tried a sample of ‘Sparkle’ he immediately starts to trip out, imagining a coin thrown by Red could hang in the air for minutes and then appear suddenly in his own mouth. It’s my own far-out theory that while hiding from the police Richard ran into Jerry in the woods and got him high on ‘Sparkle’ and then managed to steal Jerry’s car in order to escape from Twin Peaks Sheriff Department.
Before the hit and run killing of the little boy in Part 6, Richard struck a deal to sell Red’s dangerous illegal substances. But after he was humiliated by the older criminal I suspect that their pact was tenuous at best. Richard’s dealings at The Roadhouse with the corrupt Deputy Chad would not go unnoticed. Jean-Michel may have decided to introduce Audrey’s boy to Red, starting another doomed to fail criminal coexistence between the two families.