Las Vegas, and we return to the Silver Mustang Casino. Employees look on with faces that mix anger and worry as Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) continues to score jackpot after jackpot on the slot machines, each time issuing his signature, “Helloo-oo”. We are informed that this number of mega-jackpots has risen to 29 since we left him in Part 3.
The Lady Slot-Addict (Linda Porter) asks for direction to a winning machine from Dougie and, when it pays out, she thanks him for pointing her in the direction of a minor fortune. This unthinking act of kindness will come back to Dougie later on in The Return, further exampling his good nature to the owners of the Silver Mustang Casino; the Mitchum Brothers.
Perhaps this is a good time to talk about the decision to deny fans the thing they might’ve wanted the most from a Twin Peaks revival – Agent Dale Cooper.
A majority of belated returns or revivals lean heavily on fan-service in an aim to appease a fan base hungry for what made them fall in love with a show or series in the first place. It’s that increasingly complex creator/consumer dynamic.
We’ve seen, in recent years, a rise in toxic fan entitlement, fanned by the flames of online forums and social media. Star Wars being the most obvious example, with obnoxious ‘fans’ complaining about creative decisions and risks being taken with ‘their’ franchise.
With this kind of vocal negativity, show runners and networks are perhaps even less eager to take risks or deny what is deemed desirable in their creations.
Granted, The Return predates the furore caused by Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, but this wasn’t the first instance of such fanboy outcry. It’s a credit to Mark Frost, David Lynch and Showtime that The Return dares to fly in the face of one of the show’s biggest draws, especially considering the backlash against Fire Walk With Me on its release way-back-when. It’s also pretty savvy.
Frost and Lynch understand the difference between wanting and having, and that there can be advantages in not giving an audience what they want.
The initial appearance of Dougie was intriguing, but as episodes rolled out, the fan base grew nervous of how long we’d have to endure a character that is not Cooper. This denial of a fan-favourite created its own sense of tension that coursed through The Return. Like Mr. C, the fans were forced to confront that they might want some things, but they don’t need them.
The fan base’s good nature and trust is rewarded. With just a couple of weeks, Dougie had been embraced and the memes began rolling out. People still wanted Cooper, but Frost and Lynch had shown that they didn’t need him. Twin Peaks could be just as strong with other focal points, so long as the right people were controlling the narrative and its mysteries.
For now, thanks to his phenomenal success at the Silver Mustang Casino, Dougie has earned another name; “Mr Jackpots” as he is affectionately called by the Lady Slot-Addict.
Ethan Suplee – most famous for a series of comedy roles, including My Name Is Earl and Clerks II – makes a brief cameo as Bill Shaker, a former associate of Dougie’s. Shaker mentions his home and Dougie parrots the word, “Home“.
Shaker’s wife Candy (Sara Paxton) – one of the few other people to notice Dougie’s condition; the female characters seem more perceptive in this regard – suggests that Dougie might want to go home and between them they manage to give Dougie enough information for the next step on his journey; he lives on Lancelot Court in a house with a red door. It’s not an exact address, but it’ll do.
A staff member catches sight of Dougie trying to leave, having been given directions to a taxi rank and he is escorted in another direction; off to see flustered floor manager Burns…
Next time: Burns