In Yankton Federal Prison, South Dakota, Mr. C (Kyle MacLachlan) lies on his bunk in his cell and predicts the arrival of his evening meal.
“And now food is coming”.
The guard approaches and passes the tray through the slot in the bars. Mr. C washes his hands and looks in the small mirror above the basin.
In order to elaborate on the moment that follows, Lynch and editor Duwayne Dunham employ one of the few direct flashbacks seen in The Return, harking back to footage from the season two finale, in which BOB (Frank Silva) and Mr. C laugh maniacally together inside the Black Lodge. The message conveyed being that they are one and the same; they are in sync, in unison, and very soon to be combined in body and spirit.
Seasoned viewers will need no reminder of BOB, but it is reasonable to assume a proportion of The Return‘s audience might have never seen the original run before, therefore re-introducing BOB in this way is good, practical storytelling. It might still appear a little obtuse or elliptical, but its a small touch to help first-timers understand what’s happened and what’s to come.
To elaborate further, we’re also shown the moment in Cooper’s en suite at the Great Nothern Hotel, when Mr. C headbutted the mirror, affording us a view of BOB in his fractured reflection. The state of things is made clear; the two are connected and Mr. C is host to BOB.
Cutting back to the jail cell and Mr. C stares intensely at a slice of himself in the mirror. The effects team on The Return very slowly and neatly blend the feature’s of BOB’s face into those of Mr. C, reaffirming that the two are still one. It’s an inventive and economical way of reaffirming this status to the audience. Frank Silva who played BOB sadly passed away in 1995 following a fight with HIV and AIDS. This scene shows the kind of deftness used elsewhere across The Return by its creators to continue the story in spite of the sad departure of some of its actors.
“You’re still with me,” Mr. C says to his BOB reflection, “That’s good”. His reflection returns to normal.
Next time: Feedback