The red door on Lancelot Court opens and out come Janey-E Jones (Naomi Watts) and Sonny-Jim (Pierce Gagnon), having completed their breakfast meal from Part 4 (as previously noted, the timelines of the different strands of story in The Return do not sync up). Janey-E tells her son to get in the car and she goes back inside in order to steer Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) out onto the porch.
Dougie’s tie has progressed from over his head to around his neck, but still isn’t tied. As previously, he is dressed in the over-sized green suit jacket. Here it becomes clear to those hopeful that the coffee restored him that this isn’t the case. Dougie is still in his waking slumber. Janey-E ties his tie while telling him that she has hidden the money he brought home from the Silver Mustang Casino. It totaled $425,000.
Dougie is distracted, looking at his ‘son’ Sonny-Jim, who has dutifully gotten into the backseat of the family car. Sonny-Jim himself looks distant
(the prospect of another day at school doesn’t quite seem to have filled him with joy), but this look seems intended to produce in the viewer a sense of connection between the two. We feel that Dougie and Sonny-Jim are kindred in some way (though Sonny-Jim’s mental acuity clearly exceeds that of our dear Dougie).
Angelo Badalamenti feathers in a deft piece of synth score, an addition that adds a sense of yearning as we cut back to Dougie.
Dougie appears to have tears in his eyes, and this is a sensitive and heartfelt beat in the show that allows us to understand a little more about his present state of being. Cooper’s memories – often buried deep – seem almost closest to the surface here than at any other time. Looking at Sonny-Jim, one senses in Dougie a profound sadness or nostalgia, as if he is reminiscing on the simple life of a child – the innocence of that time.
A sense of innocence lost or doomed to be corroded is central to a lot of David Lynch’s art, across mediums. It inhabits a lot of his painting, and is perhaps exhibited most fiercely on film with Blue Velvet (also starring MacLachlan as a character losing his innocence). It is as though Dougie/Cooper looks at Sonny-Jim and sees the inevitability of the world. That try as you might, the harshness and darknesses that we must co-exist with are bound to have their own weaponised effect. It’s a feeling a lot of parents can well relate to. In this scene, Dougie graces universal emotions.
Perhaps, also, he senses a connection between the two of them beyond biological. As mentioned above, the addition of light score from Badalamenti – combined with the way Duwayne Dunham edits the scene – asks us to think of how these two are connected. I wouldn’t go as far as to say a psychic link has been created, but rather an instinctual one. Sonny-Jim perhaps feels closer to his father now than he ever has, as Dougie has been returned to innocence by what has happened to him. Their wavelengths are closer together; a feeling that will be conjured again in Part 6.
Finally, there’s also that yearning of Cooper’s – expressed in his conversations with Albert in season two – for a ‘normal life’. There’s a sense here that the Cooper buried deep inside Dougie is realising, in this scene, that he is as close to achieving this domestic harmony as he will ever likely get. That in a twisted way a dream has been fulfilled.
Janey-E – who has been giving Dougie instructions he’s not been listening to – notices a tear running down her husband’s cheek and turns to follow his gaze. For a second it seems as though she understands or appreciates the feelings that have swelled in her husband, but this disappears as she grabs his face, securing his attention and tells him, “You’re acting weird as shit.”
Janey-E realises here that Dougie’s car is missing – it’s still outside of the house on the Rancho Rosa estate – and agrees to drive him to work.
“Work,” Dougie parrots, following her to the driver’s side. She directs him, impatiently, in the other direction.
Let’s also cover, quickly, a little bit of business that now happens over at the Rancho Rosa estate.
Having been newly reminded that Dougie’s car is here, Lynch takes us back to see how it’s faring. Gene (Greg Vrotsos) and Jake (Bill Tangradi) cruise by to check on it. No movement, no sign of Dougie. They drive on. Lynch lets them drive around a corner out of frame before gently turning his camera back as a new car approaches, blaring aggressive music by Uniform out of its windows. Four young men sit in this car, which also slows to take notice of Dougie’s abandoned car. We get a look at Dougie’s number plate: “DUGE LV“
The young men in the black car converse, unheard, and then drive off. They’ll be back later…
Next time: Case files