The working day is over at Lucky 7 Insurance. Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) stands in the elevator as it descends with his pile of case files. He has his back to the elevator door while all the other passengers are facing it. Dougie is set apart from his contemporaries. They are headed in one direction; Dougie in the other. The fact of his lime green suit versus everyone else’s more sombre office attire underscores this feeling. A sad, closer shot of Dougie finds him staring emptily in the direction of the camera. It’s another striking piece of minimal work from MacLachlan, conveying an emptiness and a longing but with little to no physical expression. The other passengers become irate when Dougie won’t move out of their way.
Outside, Dougie stands at the foot of the statue in the plaza that drew his attention earlier on. Lynch fades through to another angle as the other office workers depart around him. Dougie notices them leaving, but returns his attention to the statue, studying its contours.
The bustle of routine around him – of obligation – is something that Dougie lacks. The codes of modern, middle-class life have been removed from him. Not only does this make him childlike, but it also bestows on him the blank slate of a visitor, removed from all context.
In a strange way, Dougie is like a benevolent explorer from another world, interacting largely by mimicking the behaviour of others. He has become a kind of opposite to BOB and in fact balances the scales better than if a fully functional Agent Cooper has immediately returned to do battle with Mr. C.
As we’ll see later in The Return, Cooper really is all business. But Dougie is more than just a narrative placeholder – as we have discussed and will continue to, he allows Mark Frost and David Lynch to pry into areas of American life – a blank slate that they can reflect on and use to draw amusing and insightful conclusions.
We’ll leave him for now, stuck outside of obligation – Janey-E and Sonny Jim forgotten – hypnotised by the statue in the plaza.
Next time: Dr. Amp’s gold shit-digging shovel