6:2 – Don’t die

Before we return to Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan), Lynch denotes a time cut by taking us to Twin Peaks, by night, to a familiar totem of the town from the show’s early days. It’s the stoplight at Sparkwood and 21.

The light glows an ominous and sickly green, through amber, to red, suggesting the ghost of some imminent danger. Electricity crackles in the air…

In the Black Lodge, Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel) feels the air for a portal. He locates one and appears before Dougie again. As with his previous appearance in Part 4, he appears small and low down, this time in a fireplace.

“You have to wake up,” he tells Dougie. While we’ve pieced together the situation thus far, this tells us directly that Dale Cooper is in effect asleep within Dougie Jones. Later on in the season, Gordon Cole will have a dream which features Cooper. In Cole’s dream, Monica Bellucci gives him the message about a dreamer who dreams. Gerard’s choice of words here gives more weight to the idea that Dougie/Cooper is the dreamer.

That a character played by Kyle MacLachlan must wake up also connects Twin Peaks to Lynch’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, which also starred MacLachlan and features a recurring line, “The sleeper must awaken”. Add to that the narrative preoccupations of both Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive and its clear to see Lynch’s consuming interest in the worlds between waking and sleeping.

“Wake up,” Gerard repeats, imploring Dale Cooper to rise within Dougie Jones. “Don’t die,” he pleads over and over again. The Black Lodge fades away, but its influence remains (‘Don’t Die’ is the name given to Part 6 of The Return).

As Dougie has not ‘woken up’, it seems as though Gerard has arranged for him to receive guidance to help keep him alive as events unfurl. Looking back at the case files, Dougie sees a pin-prick of light fall on the open page before him. Call it ‘divine intervention’ if you like, but some force is guiding Dougie to do the work he needs to in order to keep his job. Angelo Badalamenti’s lush and rueful synths wash the soundtrack and merge with a further echo of Johnny Jewel’s “Windswept” as Dougie uses a pencil to scribble on the case files wherever the pin-pricks of light appear.

Pulling a new file from the stack, the pin-pricks of light fall on the first page beside the name of Dougie’s work colleague and supposed buddy, Anthony Sinclair. Dougie takes a pencil and scrawls a line down the page, marked at each end with circular scribbles, then, beside Anthony Sinclair’s name, he draws a ladder and a set of stairs that ascend to the right. Another scribbled etching is made at the bottom of the page where Anthony Sinclair’s name appears again.

Dougie pulls a third file. This case is another belonging to Anthony Sinclair. This time the light draws Dougie to the names of the investigating officers; Detective Loomis and Detective Stockton. Dougie marks their names quite dramatically. Another ladder is drawn midway up the page and above it another set of ascending stairs. These stairs, however, end in a rapid decline back down to the large scribble at the bottom.

The exact purpose of the ladders and staircases remains a little cryptic, though these guiding lights that are assisting Dougie will have some import to Bushnell Mullins as we will discover. While the nature of the message remains obtuse, the end result is to convey that Anthony Sinclair has acted unethically. Thus the lights’ purpose is to deflect accusation from Dougie, in effect saving him from losing his job in this debilitated state.

They are, in effect, helping him not to die.

Next time:  No Gene Kelly

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