The room Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) finds himself in is graded in a pinkish crimson hue. The sound design changes accordingly – this entire sequence is underpinned with subtly evocative tones and drones that help suggest an almost submerged quality; as though a great weight lies above the ceiling, making the room feel cave-like. The action inside the room is jittery, as though Cooper is now experiencing slightly dislocated time. It occasionally snaps back and forth, like one of those old VCRs with a dial to direct the tape.
In the room, a woman named Naido (Nae Yuuki) sits on a sofa. She has no eyes. Where her eyes ought to be there are scars as though she has been mutilated or operated on. She sits on a curved sofa.
Naido is, of course, in actuality Diane, and she is chambered here as though imprisoned while, in our reality, Mr. C has had a double of her – a tulpa – loose in the world and under his thumb. This is information that will not become clear to viewers until Part 16.
This room, then, may well serve a similar purpose as the Black Lodge, where Cooper was held up until now.
The mutilation or deformation of the eyes is intriguing. In terms of narrative function, it allows for her to both be disguised and to potentially miss the identity of her visitor. “The eyes are the window to the soul”, or so a classic proverb goes. Perhaps this is intended as an indication that Naido’s soul is split, torn or in another way tarnished by the existence of her Diane double (played, as we’ll see, by Laura Dern).
Nae Yuuki – underneath that make-up disguising her eyes – will be familiar to Lynch aficionados. She played the street-person toward the end of INLAND EMPIRE who speaks softly and compassionately to Laura Dern’s destitute Nikki.
As Cooper approaches Naido – you’ll note the name is a near anagram of ‘Diane’ – Lynch cuts to a wide angle of the room, which also contains a fireplace and is lit by two wall-mounted lamps
(more lamps). He only cuts to this angle for a total of four frames. Numerous other images from the room also jump in and out of our field of vision during Cooper’s stuttering progress to the sofa. Time and space feel jumbled.
Naido senses his approach and raises her hands. Cooper takes them and sits beside her on the sofa. Off in the back corner of the room is another dark doorway.
A soft Angelo Badalamenti cue rises and evokes a sense of beseeching. Naido immediately wants to impart information to Cooper but has no language or recourse to do this. Now that we know the true nature of Naido, it may be that she is mystically prevented from being able to speak or, at least, speak in a method that Cooper can understand. Mr. C may have done something to inhibit her. This would also register as BOB-esque, seeing as his violence most often manifests as anti-woman.
Cooper is visibly disorientated by what he is experiencing. Holding onto him with both hands seems to nominally bring Naido’s actions a little peace. It is as though they ground one another
(potentially an obtuse clue to her true nature?). When he asks where they are his voice sounds distant, submerged in the mix; a further choice that underscores the underneathness of a scene which, fittingly, ends with ascent.
Naido’s language comes out as a series of indecipherable croaks. It seems as though her teeth are slightly oversized. It’s a subtle thing but, along with her disfigured eyes, it enhances her otherworldly appearance – perhaps an intentional red herring?
Judging by Diane’s stories told in later instalments, Naido has probably existing in this state for quite some years (this depending on the flow of time in the Purple Realm; as established, it appears dissimilar to time as we experience it).
As Naido runs her hands over Cooper’s face, reading her visitor
(does she recognise him?), a loud and very sinister metallic pounding begins. Cooper is startled. He looks in the direction of what appears to be a black door. It looks as though the surface has been pummelled from the other side, as though someone with great fists has punched indentations into it. As the loud pounding continues, Naido gestures to Cooper to remain silent. It’s a very threatening presence. Lynch incessantly cuts between the black door and the sofa as time is destabilised once again.
Cooper looks behind him over the back of the sofa, and the dark shape we may have assumed to be another door is given more clarity. It appears to be a sort of fuse box mounted on the wall. In the centre is something that looks a little like a speaker. A metal plate has the number ’15’ on it. It seems to emit a pulsing sound that is reminiscent of the noise that The Man From Another Place made when addressing Cooper in Fire Walk With Me; a yodelling noise that recurred on that film’s soundtrack whenever telegraph wires were shown. The evocation being that these entities are tied to – or even involved in – electricity and electronic forms of communication; that they use them as conduits, perhaps (I’ll get into this more in Part 6).
In numerology – previously established as important to Lynch – 15 is a number of harmony, or synthesis between matter and spirit. Perhaps prefiguring the use of the fuse boxes to transport physical beings between realms. It is made up of a ‘1’ and a ‘5’ which total a ‘6’ denoting love and relationships with the opposite sex. Another obtuse clue to the true nature of Naido?
Cooper is distracted by the fuse box, but the pounding persists. He gets up from the sofa and approaches the fuse box. This alarms Naido, who quite clearly doesn’t want him to do so. When Cooper gets too close to it he is repelled back by an unseen force as a hum in the mix intensifies. Whatever the function of box 15, it is not intended for him at this time. Ever a man of instincts, Cooper doesn’t try to force the issue and takes the warning. To underline the danger, Naido rushes in front of him. She gestures emphatically behind her with her free arm as if to confirm that box 15 should not be approached. She makes a slashing motion with her hand in front of her neck; seemingly a universal symbol for death.
This, in spite of the relatively positive read of the numbers based on numerology.
The pounding resumes with intensified urgency and Naido feels her way along the wall to a doorway which she leads Cooper through, away from the peril. The door seems to lead into a small room like a storage cupboard, though we don’t see it from a clear enough angle to know its purpose. A ladder is fixed to the wall which Naido climbs. Cooper follows her up through a dark hatch in the ceiling. This leads them to an altogether new exterior…
Next time: Space