While in recent horror cinema red doors have been used to symbolise mysteries or otherworldly menace (Insidious, It Comes At Night), traditionally the red door has been a symbol of sanctuary and also of prosperity.
In the Chinese art of Feng Shui, a red door brings positive energy and is seen as ‘the mouth of the home’, while in the west there was a fashion, for a time, of painting a front door red once a house was owned outright; a colour-coding of financial stability and by extension a symbol of the prosperous and comfortable ‘nuclear’ family.
The red door of the Jones family leans more toward these latter readings. Though Twin Peaks is rife with sinister supernatural entities, the Jones home fulfils different fantasies; those of the wholesome all-American family and, by extension, fulfilment of the oft-grasped-for American Dream. The Joneses perhaps aren’t flush enough to have paid off their mortgage – not if certain debts are indicative of anything – but they’re still a well-founded traditional family.
The limo driver (Jay Carson) takes Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) home; they move at a crawl through the suburban sprawl of Lancelot Court, looking for Dougie’s red door. The driver has to physically help Dougie out of his seat. Otherwise, the limo driver isn’t especially helpful or intuitive of the amount of assistance Dougie needs.
They eventually find the place; 25140 Lancelot Court (if there’s any particular relevance to these numbers, I am unaware of it). Overhead an owl hoots; a mini-callback to the birds that proved so iconic in the original run of the show. Dougie is distracted by the hooting.
Eventually, Janey-E Jones (Naomi Watts), Dougie’s wife, becomes aware of their presence outside the house and tears out of the front door to confront her husband. Janey-E’s wardrobe tells us a little about her; she’s comfortable in casual clothes; cleaves close to the traditional ‘soccer mom’ aesthetics. It appears as The Return progresses that she is a housewife and has no career of her own.
Naomi Watts’ career really took off following her standout lead performance for David Lynch in Mulholland Drive. Mulholland Drive was initially commissioned as a TV pilot, before creative disagreements between Lynch and network ABC seemingly doomed the project. A year later, Lynch received additional backing from French film producer Alain Sarde and was able to shoot additional footage, turning it into a movie. The resulting film is one of the pinnacles of Lynch’s career.
Since then, Watts has starred in a number of high-profile Hollywood films, including Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong (2005). Her return to the fold is of little surprise. She often speaks highly of Lynch in interviews and the two of them have quite a rapport from the seems of things.
Janey-E often appears exasperated by her husband, and flatly ignores his apparent deterioration in mental faculties for quite some time. At her worst she can appear similar to the stereotypical henpecking housewife as evidenced in Part 5 by Sheriff Truman’s wife Doris (Candy Clark). However, Janey-E also frequently appears strong. She is protective of her family and places herself in risky situations as we’ll see. Her values will be dissected later on in this deep-dive.
Janey-E slaps Dougie, reprimanding him for his apparent disappearance. He’s been missing for three days. He won’t be the last character in The Return to go missing for three days…
She escorts him inside where the detritus from a child’s birthday party remains strewn around the dining room. Dougie and Janey-E have a son
, and only in the folksie world of David Lynch would anyone seriously name their child Sonny Jim.
Janey-E sits Dougie down at the dining table with an itinerary of questions from where he’s been to how he can explain his recent physical changes.
She wrestles the sack of money Dougie’s carried from the casino out of his hands and gasps as she discovers it is full of money – this seems like a pointed echo of Naomi Watts’ role in Mulholland Drive in which she assists an amnesiac woman (Laura Elena Harring) who is calling herself Rita. Naomi Watts’ character – Betty – finds a bag of money in ‘Rita’s’ possession, too. Janey-E’s anger dissipates as she comes to understand the value of Dougie’s haul. His other transgressions are temporarily forgotten.
“This is the most wonderful, horrible day of my life,” she says; a moment of melodrama that evokes both a little of the show’s previous soap-opera spirit and, again, her role in Mulholland Drive. It has something of the same feel as when Betty Elmes exclaims that she’s arrived in “some kind of dream place.” The line is imbued with a similar sentiment of events overwhelming her in a dreamlike manner. She is like the dreamer who dreams, then lives inside the dream.
She decides to fix him a sandwich and a piece of Sonny Jim’s chocolate cake to follow. She kisses him on the cheek. Janey-E is repeatedly revealed to be a very materialistic person; this is the first of a couple of instances which find her easily wooed by wealth or possessions.
The scene ends with Dougie parroting the word “Home“, while distracted by the party remnants all around him; a signifier to the audience, perhaps, that we are to bed in with Dougie, Janey-E and life on Lancelot Court, and that this is to be the way of things to come…
And I can’t help but wonder if a part of Cooper would be at peace with that.
Throughout the second season of Twin Peaks we saw another side of Dale Cooper. It’s perhaps an old truism that great men are wooed by the most ‘ordinary’ pleasures, and the second season revealed a Cooper with domesticated dreams of a simple life with a wife and a family. His apparent devotion to Caroline Earle (née Powell) and some of his comments surrounding that history spoke of a yearning for a more conventional and loving home environment. We saw him search for real estate in Twin Peaks, with an eye to settling down in the area that so quickly came to captivate him (I’m sure the Black Lodge wasn’t what he had in mind…). In short we came to see what Cooper thought of as ideals and, while not perfect, the Jones family set-up on Lancelot Court fulfills many of these things. Dougie is, in a very real way, an opportunity for Cooper to live a life he had always yearned for; a domestic wish fulfillment that he experiences with a kind of purely innocent bliss.
In a sense, Cooper is home…
Next time: The chief of staff