Breakfast. Janey-E (Naomi Watts) is at the stove in their expansive kitchen; typical of detached American homes that exudes middle class affluence. Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” plays prominently on the soundtrack. The makings of the day’s first meal are strewn around. Coffee mugs. Orange juice. A typical domestic scene.
Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) zombie walks into the living space; the tie Janey-E gave him comically draped over his head
(oddly not where she left it; Dougie has put it there himself. The best he can muster or some greater sense of irony that we’ve as yet not seen from him?). Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon) sits at the breakfast table, eating pancakes. His dad’s foolish get-up makes him laugh. The scene moves at the laconic, chilled pace of the music.
Stanley Kubrick once said that film had more in common with music than any other art form, and that’s something that seems to be true in Lynch’s work quite often. A mood or a feeling can have equal importance to any narrative development, and this scene feels like its about taking it easy, as exemplified by the source music choice.
The scene is nicely colour-coded, too. Dougie’s lime-green suit jacket is complimented by dotted items around the room – a plastic cup, a spatula, a plate. Otherwise, the kitchen is bathed in warm wood tones, themselves complimented in the orange juice and the pancakes. These colours convey a sense of nature, life and vitality.
In spite of this, however, Lynch once more imprisons Dougie within the shade of some blinds. He stands before Sonny Jim, cut up by the shadows. It’s a lighter touch than on previous occasions, but its still there to be seen, subtly reminding us of his condition.
Father and son remain in tableau together, Sonny Jim slowly finding his dad’s new schtick a little less funny. He recognises that he needs help so he pulls out a chair for his old man. During this wider angle, we get a glimpse of an interesting piece of set decoration on the worktop behind the two of them. In keeping with the aforementioned colour scheme sits an orange cookie jar shaped like an owl.
Owls have always been an important part of the Twin Peaks mythology. In the original series run, it was inferred that the otherworldly entities surrounding the town might have used the owls’ eyes to see, and that the owls were, in a sense, spies for the likes of The Man From Another Place. Owls were also central to the ancient naming of Owl Cave; the place where Agent Dale Cooper finds the petroglyph that will help lead him to the Black Lodge; a similar guide as Deputy Chief Hawk’s ‘living map’ which is still to come. The Owl Cave symbol appears on the signet ring that enables people to move between dimensions, giving it the widely-agreed on name; the Owl Cave Ring.
Are we supposed to infer from the presence of this owl shaped cookie jar that Dougie is being spied on in this scene? I don’t think so. But its a small, fun and knowing piece of set design, almost certainly placed there for fans to spot and comment on.
Dougie is provided with pancakes by Janey-E who smiles, seemingly not noticing the tie draped over his head. In silent interplay, Dougie intuits from Sonny Jim how to eat them as Janey-E grabs an apple that also compliments the colours popping vividly in the scene.
The stuttering drums of “Take Five” provide a humorous counterpoint to Dougie working out how to use his knife and fork, bringing us very tenuously back to Kubrick and his use of music to suggest the evolution of thought in the apes during the Dawn Of Man sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
What Lynch and Frost are presenting us with here is a very traditional – some might even say outdated – picture of the wholesome American family with different family members fulfilling certain roles. Janey-E is the stay-at-home mom and matriarch who makes the meals; Sonny Jim is the dutiful son. Only Dougie smears the image; a collapsed version of the bread-winning husband; a clown in his own kitchen.
“Here’s your coffee,” Janey-E says pleasantly, placing a mug on the table for him. The word and the smell of the coffee work in tandem to provide Dougie with the most overwhelming sense-memory from his time as Agent Cooper yet. He takes a big gulp and spits it out. Either a) it is too hot, b) the taste sensation is even more overwhelming or c) this is a deliberate callback to the time Cooper spat out coffee because it was so good, back in season one.
“Dougie!” Janey-E exclaims, to which he loudly and resoundingly responds, “Hi!”.
During the initial airing of The Return this scene was liable to be misconstrued as Cooper’s awakening, as Dougie’s “Hi” is the most direct and alert response he’s given thus far. This is also the last time we see him until Part 5. It seemed possible that the coffee might be enough to shock the dormant Cooper into regaining control. This doesn’t prove to be the case. Still, his clownish greetings puts a smart cap on a bright little scene that helps instill a sense of (relative) normalcy into the Las Vegas environment.
Next time: Access denied