Cut to FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) driving through pouring rain at night. He is in an inner city area. He thanks Gordon Cole (David Lynch) sarcastically, given that he has to endure evident discomfort while the deputy director is at home or in bed somewhere. Cole, it transpires, is on the phone and doesn’t read the sarcasm at all. He only reminds Albert that the work he is doing is very important. It becomes apparent that Cole has company (French) and wine
; perhaps the same ‘friend’ we encounter later on in The Return?. He is having a more comfortable night that Albert.
Albert parks up and gets out of the car beneath an umbrella. The weather is horrendous. “Fuck Gene Kelly you motherfucker!” he yells; an iconic outburst referencing the popular 1952 musical picture Singin’ In The Rain starring the famous star himself. Albert dashes into a bar, the neon sign outside advertises it as Max Von’s Bar.
Inside it has the look and feel of a British public house. The bar has a bustling crowd. Couples enjoy one another’s company. Music plays indistinctly. Albert walks around the bar until he spies the person he has come to find. We see a woman (Laura Dern) sat at the back with a tightly trimmed shock of white hair framed in a bob. She wears an oriental styled dress and has a cigarette in hand. On the bar in front of her is a martini. Albert approaches and calls her name; “Diane.”
Diane slowly turns. She doesn’t look especially pleased to see him. “Hello Albert,” she says.
The appearance here of Diane – full name Diane Evans – is something of a significant milestone for the series. Throughout seasons one and two, Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) recorded messages for Diane on a Dictaphone, messages he presumably issued in the post to the FBI as soon as possible.
During the first season this includes a phenomenally fast turn around in which Cooper requests and receives a pair of earplugs within the space of less than 48 hours. Diane was never seen and became one of those great mystery figures. She hadn’t a direct impact on the narrative arcs of the show, but added curious seasoning. Then, in The Missing Pieces – a compilation of deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me – things grew even more tantalising as a scene was revealed in which Cooper speaks directly to Diane while at FBI Headquarters, yet she is masked by a wall and therefore not seen. This was the closest we’ve ever come to Diane until now.
The casting of Laura Dern is perfect from the perspective of one who knows Lynch’s larger oeuvre. If Kyle MacLachlan is his alter ego on screen (appearing in Dune, Blue Velvet and all iterations of Twin Peaks), then Laura Dern is his most faithful female equivalent (notching up leading appearances in Blue Velvet as a love interest and peer for MacLachlan, and also appearing in Wild At Heart and INLAND EMPIRE in meaty and memorable roles). They are the homecoming king and queen of his output, and so it seems only right that Dern should appear here in a role so historically connected to MacLachlan’s. Her oriental themed appearance and attire we will cover much later on when it comes relevant in Part 17.
Next time: The magician longs to see