Patriotism manifests in a number of different ways over the course of The Return, from Dr. Jacoby’s mountainside broadcasts railing against the government to how the American flag kindles memories of Cooper in Douglas Jones. It is used as a tool by various characters for different purposes.
For FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole (David Lynch), patriotism provides reassurance and faith in what he has devoted his life to; working for the government to uncover strange multi-dimensional truths. But how does one quantify patriotism? In acts? In symbols? The American flag is perhaps the most obvious emblem for this complex combination of feeling and ethos, but another might be Mount Rushmore; South Dakota’s mountainside sculpture boasting the faces of former US presidents. A monument to democracy and a tourist attraction and landmark for the state.
On announcing that they would be headed to South Dakota the day before, Cole seemingly misheard Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) about wanting to see this great expression of patriotism during their visit. Knowing that they won’t have time and that other matters will require their attention, Albert knows that a sightseeing stop isn’t on the cards. Nevertheless, he brings along a token by which his friend can get his required dose of patriotism…
Cole, Rosenfield and Agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) exit a local airport through automatic doors, greeted by a pair of agents sporting suits and shades – that classic FBI look. Even Tammy sports shades, flanked by her two older male colleagues. They get into a black car with one of the agents (Stephen Kearin) who will act as their driver. Cole expresses disappointment that they’re not anywhere near Mount Rushmore. Having anticipated this, Albert hands him a photo of it to look at.
“There they are, Albert,” Gordon says with pride, “Faces of stone.”
Tammy rides up front as she apparently gets travel sick. Cole’s faltering hearing is played for another laugh as he mistakes the phrase “car sick” for Cossack. Albert barks at this. It is evident from his ability to do so that the agents have grown quite accustomed to one another’s company. There have an informal shorthand that isn’t limited by the prospect of reprimand or admonishment. Still, Albert’s outburst makes everyone jump. The driver – with a comic flourish – asks if Albert wants him to pull over.
We cut to Yankton Federal Prison as the FBI’s car enters the parking lot. The agents all get out, save for their (different?) driver.
Inside, Cole is debriefed on how Mr. C (Kyle MacLachlan) was found and arrested. The agents have been joined by Warden Dwight Murphy (James Morrison) and Inspector Randy Hollister (Karl Makinen).
James Morrison might well prove familiar to fans of other cult TV shows from the 90’s; he portrayed Commander T.C. McQueen of the 58th squadron in the short-lived sci-fi war series Space: Above & Beyond, though he is perhaps more recognisable from another FOX series; 24.
Inspector Hollister refers to the substance Mr. C had been vomiting as “some kind of poison” which suggests that it has yet to be identified properly. That garmonbozia
– if that is what it was – would be considered poisonous to people seems of no surprise. “Exposure to it sent the highway patrolman to the hospital” – we never learn whether the man recovered from his encounter, nor what the analysis performed by the lab turned up in examining the substance. I remain curious,
The five of them proceed into a room where the contents of Mr. C’s car are laid out for them. The scenario rings strikingly familiar to some of the final moments of Part 3, when Albert and Cole presented an array of clues pertaining to ‘The Congressman’s Dilemma’. On the table are a large parcel of cocaine, a machine gun and a severed dog leg. The first two almost go without comment. The dog leg is a grizzly yet absurdist note. You’d be forgiven for thinking it totally incongruous and immaterial – another of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s irreverent flourishes – but it does come up again
(not that this prevents it from being meaningless seasoning)…
“What, no cheese and crackers?” Albert chimes in with his trademark sarcasm.
“Apologies in advance for Albert,” Cole is moved to add.
Hollister brings up a mug shot for Mr. C, along with a set of fingerprints and his incarceration ‘application’. He has been listed as Dale Cooper. A number of other details are just about visible from the application. He is listed as being 6 ft, 170 lbs, with a date of birth of 15th August 1973. If this is Dale Cooper’s birthday, then it would have made him far too young to have been an FBI agent at the time of Laura Palmer’s murder.
Place of birth is listed as Buckhorn, South Dakota. Is this where Dale Cooper was born? If so, it makes the events surrounding Ruth Davenport’s murder and the involvement of Major Briggs even more curiously coincidental. Are these personal details from his FBI record, or has Mr. C willfully given them incorrect information?
The date of his arrest is listed as 22nd September (year omitted).
Intriguingly two addresses are listed, though the text explaining their import is too small and blurry on the bluray for me to make it out. One is 6147 Bend Dr., Harrrisburg, PA, the other is 1000 Appleton St., Philadelphia, PA. It would make some logical sense for Cooper to have a residence in Philadelphia, near to FBI headquarters. The Harrisburg address is more notable to me for being on Bend Dr. It makes me think of Bend, Oregon. “Lotta shaking going on in Bend!” Cole once memorably enthused.
Mr. C’s prisoner number is 75425.
On seeing the mugshot, Cole is moved to utter one of his peculiar folksy phrases – the kind of thing I’d imagine Lynch himself having in his day-to-day vocabulary – “Holy jumpin’ George.”
He follows this with a decisive, “Let’s go talk to him.”
And go talk to him they shall.
Next time: The interview