Triangular key

Keys - (woodlouse)

Blue box
Lynch's clue #5: Who gives a key, and why?
The Color Blue: A Symbol?
- (checkmate)

Pictures: Visual echoes - shirt pocket


  • Key at Sierra Bonita Key at HavenhurstAt Havenhurst Betty drops the key on the coffee table on the outer edge, just like where we see the blue key resting on Diane's table at Sierra Bonita.

  • When Coco gives Betty the key she says "Well, you and your aunt probably have an understanding, so here's the key." Diane had a sort of "understanding" with Joe regarding the blue key - that it would be where he told her when "it" was done.

  • Notice where the hitman tells the hooker she can find a cigarette... in his shirt pocket, and that's the same place the blue key came from, and then he escorts the hooker into the back of a blue van. The cigarette and the van become substitutes for the key and the blue box.

What does the key open? 

"Darkness - the darkness in Diane's soul. It opens the worst aspects of herself. Like Pandora's opening the box containing the ills of the world, Diane's commission of murder provides a mechanism whereby the most evil parts of herself will flourish and find expression. Her hire of the hitman is the key that opens her darkness, which up to this point has been contained."

Wrapped in Plastic #57

Meaning of the key

The importance of the blue key signifies many areas of her psyche. From within Diane’s dream, the blue key bears a different form to that in reality. The significance of the relationship remains the same; accept that within the dream the blue key extends its meaning further. On close examination, the blue key within the dream resembles a triangular form. In acts of literature this can represent the triangular love affair of Diane, Camilla and Adam! When the blue box is opened with this key, it represents the realisation that the fantasy is no more then false! 
The importance of the key in the dream connects Diane with the memory that it was the hitman’s key which was the signal for the success on Camilla's assassination! Furthermore within the dream, it was Rita that had the key together with the money, so this suggests that within Diane’s dream, her unconscious had developed a recollection that the fantasy was created as a form of denial due to Diane paying the hitman for the assassination on Camilla, and the key was a form of acknowledgement that the act was completed. - (bsharporflat)

Shirt pocketThe shirt pocket

ashtray with cig buttsIn the dream, lot of attention is paid to Joe pulling a cigarette out of his breast pocket to give to a blonde hooker. In Winkies, the blue key comes out of the same breast pocket, so key and cigarettes are somehow related. The red lamp is in Diane's apartment and we see a close-up of cigarettes in an ashtray near the red lamp. They have brown filters like Joe's not white filters like Adam's (Diane doesn't smoke).
So my best interpretation of all that is that Diane knows Joe through call girl connections and he had access to her apartment and perhaps spent time waiting there to make the hit on Camilla next door. After the hit he returned to Diane's apartment and left the key on the coffee table ("where I told you" in their first conversation). The coffee table is where she found it and spent hours staring at it (but couldn't bear to touch it) until guilt drove her to suicide. - (Rob Ager)

The hitman's key

Blue keyDiane did not have the key delivered to her house and placed on the coffee table after the murder, as some reviewers suggest. That doesn't make any sense because the hit man is trying to use the key as a secret signal between the two of them whose significance only they will understand. The reason he is doing this is because both of them want to have no contact with one another after Camilla turns up dead or missing. Either one of them might get caught if they are seen with the other person after the killing. So then with that logic, why would the hit man go into Diane's house and put the key on her coffee table when for all he knew, the house might have been under surveillance?

Instead, I believe that the hit man left the key somewhere away from the house and Diane went to that place periodically to see if it had shown up yet. When it did show up, Diane took the key home and placed it on her coffee table herself. 
But the fact of the matter is, when Diane saw the key, that moment changed her life. The existence of the key told her that Camilla was dead, and Diane's innocence had died along with Camilla. This is why I believe that the key was behind Winkie's, because Dan, an innocent bystander who saw the key earlier when Diane saw it for the first time, died when he saw the horror that existed there. Seeing the key led to the complete destruction of any innocence still left within Diane's life. The key opened Diane up to an existence like the one the Crying Lady experienced after killing her children. It opened a door to a life of utter guilt and shame. Diane could never again be like that innocent girl that her aunt had loved, and in addition to this, she would never again see Camilla. The key opened up a life of desolation, loneliness and ruin for Diane. - (Alan Shaw)

We’re still left with the question of why Joe would choose to leave a blue yale key as his calling card. Does he just happen to carry around random blue yale keys for that purpose? Diane’s response to the blue key in the diner is a cryptic indicator. She asks “What does it open?” Joe looks surprised and begins laughing, but Diane doesn’t share his amusement. Carefully, watch the interaction again. When Diane is shown the key she doesn’t look surprised. She glances from the key and sees a dark haired man at the counter who turns and looks her in the eye. She leans back uncomfortably and then asks “What does it open?” She knows what it opens, but has just had a moment of paranoia that the dark haired man has overheard her conspiratorial conversation with Joe. She asks Joe what the key opens in an attempt to fool any onlookers that she has never seen the key before. It’s this pathetic attempt to disguise her motives that makes Joe start laughing. - (Rob Ager)

Diane's apartmentApartment 17 is blue inside, which makes sense because when the camera moved into the blue box at the end of the previous dream, this is where it wound up. The blue box is the apartment Diane lives in. 
The hitman says to Diane: “When it’s finished you’ll find this where I told you” and he shows her a blue key. Earlier in the movie we see Diane wake up in that apartment and we also see the blue key on the table. The blue key is the key to that apartment, and Diane finds it where Joe told her: that is, in the apartment. What does it open? Diane asks. I think the answer is just that it opens that apartment, which is a horrible place, where Diane lives her last days. So what the hitman means is that after it’s finished Diane will wake up in this horrible place. What the hitman says just predicts the bad state that she’s going to find herself into, of which we learn while seeing Diane in this place in the last half an hour of the movie, dreaming or remembering scenes from her life.
Also, toward the end of the movie we see the bum with the blue box in his hands and then the old people get out of the box. They are small, just as the box is small. But when they reach the apartment where Diane is, they take the proportions of the apartment. How can that happen, and why do they go there? Well maybe because the box and the apartment are the same, just with different proportions. - (Myst4)

A connection to the tale of Bluebeard?

Could it be that David Lynch was making a reference to the Bluebeard story? My recollection of this fairy tale is that a woman marries a man with a blue beard, despite the fact that her intuition is telling her that there is something not quite right about him (as symbolized by his blue beard). Bluebeard tells his young bride that she can have access to all the rooms in the castle with the exception of one room. The young bride ultimately gets the key to this room and finds it to be full of corpses (of dead wives, presumably). 
Bluebeard represents the natural predator who inhabits all women's psyches - a force that can take over when women let go of their intuitive powers. It seems that like the bride in Bluebeard, many of the MD characters let go of intuition to engage in fantasy. Diane continues to engage in fantasy with Camilla, despite all the messages that Camilla gives her suggesting that she does not care about maintaining the integrity of their relationship. Similarly, Camilla seems to not attend to the predatory dangers that exist within Diane. When Rita unlocks the box with the blue key, the more predatory nature of both women unfolds and the fantasy falls away. Similarly, as the bride of Bluebeard unlocks the forbidden room in the castle, the predatory nature of Bluebeard is revealed and her fantasy of their marriage disintegrates.
Finally, the woman with the blue hair in the end may also be be a reference to Bluebeard in that she has blue hair and is calling for silence. Perhaps she is commenting on the silencing of intuition. Certainly, the whole club scene seems to be commenting on our eager willingness to disengage for instinct and information regarding deceit because we naturally want to engage in the fantasy. - (Jennifer Schantz)