Our visit to the Roadhouse this time isn’t at the very end of the episode, but here – the first time The Return has broken formula since it established the closing songs at the end of Part 2. The band Trouble play a jazzy stomp called ‘Snake Eyes’ that was written especially for the scene. Lynch’s own son Riley is a member of the band. It’s a dark driving piece of music, one that recalls prior jazzy accompaniments to Lynch’s work, from Fred Madison’s screaming sax solos in Lost Highway to “The Pink Room” and “Blue Frank” that soundtrack the nightclub scenes of Fire Walk With Me. This kind of snarly rhythm is used to transmit a feeling by Lynch. Something bad is coming, or a kind of erotic danger. It works as the perfect backing for the introduction of one of the season’s nastiest surprises.
Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) sits in a booth smoking a cigarette beneath a ‘No Smoking’ sign. He disrespectfully flicks his ash onto the table. As the name rightly suggests, he is related to the Horne family, though just how isn’t properly articulated at this time. Indeed the only indicator in Part 5 that he is a Horne at all comes from the end credit crawl giving the game away.
The bartender comes over and asks Richard to stop smoking which he refuses to do. “Make me,” he says, getting the attention of the group of girls in the next booth along. Deputy Chad Broxford (John Pirruccello), off duty, comes over and assures the bartender that he’ll take care of it. He intends to do nothing of the sort, and it is established that there is a shady business connection between the two of them. Richard gives him a pack of cigarettes in which a wad of cash is tightly packed. Hundreds.
Emboldened, one of the girls, Charlotte (Grace Victoria Cox), from the next booth asks for a light, hoping to join Richard in breaking the rules. A flirtatious advance. The bad boy image clearly never goes out of style in Twin Peaks.
Richard calls on her to join him and she comes over, looking nervous or tentative now the situation has become more real. She is young, perhaps late teens. Richard is in his early 20s; something which syncs up with other events revealed later. He invites her to sit and she plucks up the courage to squeeze in beside him.
In a direct echo of Mr. C’s violent mistreatment of Darya back in Part 2, Richard Horne grabs the girl roughly and pulls her across to him, ensnaring her in his arms. He asks her name and she tells him, “Charlotte”. He asks if she wants to fuck.
This immediately brings to mind associations with the similarly-minded villain of Blue Velvet, Frank Booth. And they’re in a booth. The comparison feels more pressing. Richard holds her by the throat, also kindling the motif of S&M which also runs through Blue Velvet.
One of Charlotte’s friends, Elizabeth (Jane Levy), turns round to stick up for her saying, “Hey, leave her alone.”
“Little fucking smoking babies,” Richard snarls at Elizabeth before turning his attention back to Charlotte, “I’m gonna laugh when I fuck you, bitch”.
The show’s recurring preoccupation with hateful misogyny rears its ugly head again. We know most of what we need to know about Richard from this one scene. He has been squarely positioned as a so-called ‘black hat’. A bad character. An evil one. What is troubling is the show’s tendency to shorthand this by having it’s evil men degrade or attack women. It sits uncomfortably, as well it should. Much later in the season, we’ll be given greater context for Richard’s actions and personality and it will, ultimately, very much fall in theme with the larger story elements slowly working their way to fruition. For now, we’re assured that this is a dangerous, odious and unpredictable character who could cause mayhem within the show, and that Twin Peaks still isn’t a safe town, despite how picturesque it may be.
Lights strobe as we exit the scene. Again, flickering light is synonymous with danger in Lynch’s world, or supernatural activity. This strobe effect is man-made, however. It is different. Richard is an evil of the real world. A character type we might find by ourselves on a night out, should we be so unfortunate.
Next time: Cooper’s prints