6:9 – “Battling” Bud

[Apologies for the small delay between posts; a lot has been going on and now, suddenly, not much is going on at all. This might give me time to get back into a Between Two Dougies groove…]

Where were we…?

Ah, yes. Lucky 7 Insurance.

With helpful prompts from Phil Bisby (Josh Fadem), Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) starts another day at work. He is in his better-fitting black suit today, which Janey-E (Naomi Watts) must have secured from the dry cleaners. He has his case files and, most importantly, he has his coffee.

After enjoying the opening and closing of the elevator doors and a sound that may or may not have reminded him of his experiences crossing back into our reality from the Purple Realm, Dougie is called into Bushnell Mullins’ (Don Murray) office. Dougie pretends not to have heard his calls, as though aware he may very well be in trouble. This moment could easily be overlooked, but it’s a signpost of self-awareness that is almost unprecedented in our experience of the ‘Dougie’ Cooper, and potentially represents the largest ‘development’ of self in the character so far, even when compared to his occasional fits of remembrance triggered by words or objects. Still, it is something of an aberration, and not that start of a steadily increasing trend.

Phil guides Dougie into Bushnell’s office. Anthony Sinclair  (Tom Sizemore) watches from across the bullpen, poorly concealed by his office blinds; cowardly and nosy.

Bushnell reviews the case files, initially scoffing at the scribbles that Dougie has made on the pages, while Dougie is immersed in his coffee. “What the hell are all these childish scribbles?” Bushnell asks, “How am I going to make any sense out of this?”

“Make sense of this,” Dougie parrots. Bushnell suggests that Dougie could use some professional help (finally!), leading Dougie to reply, “Help Dougie”.

Johnny Jewel’s “Windswept” echoes quietly in the ambient score, reminding us of the guiding lights that helped Dougie earlier on in Part 6, and Dougie focuses on the framed poster on the wall behind Bushnell, showing him in his younger days as a boxer. It brings to mind similar clippings in Sheriff Cable’s office in Deer Meadow in Fire Walk With Me, that also spoke of that man’s muscular physicality. Dougie mimics the stance in the poster by making meek pugilistic fists.

The framed poster for “Battling” Bud is another example of Lynch’s fondness for that ‘Pretty ’50s’ aesthetic that we’ve discussed already, and which has permeated many aspects of his filmography. The font, use of colour, the black and white photo, even the hairstyle and demeanor of the Bushnell depicted – these all hark back to another time and sensibility that is often viewed as idyllic by Lynch. The touches of “Windswept” on the soundtrack may remind us of Dougie’s helplessness, connecting on a subconscious level to scenes we’ve already witnessed, but it also acts as a tonal compliment to this sense of winsome nostalgia.

Bushnell grows more exasperated on seeing Dougie’s evident vacancy, yet as he does so he opens another file and pauses, finally making a connection in the scribbles that Dougie has made. He compares files, growing more impressed. The guiding lights have done their job. The haunting sound of Johnny Jewel’s music fades away.

“Dougie, thank you,” Bushnell says, closing the files. Dougie looks just as surprised as we are. Bushnell points at him, “I want you to keep this information to yourself. This is disturbing, to say the least.” Bushnell offers his hand for Dougie to shake. Dougie mimics the gesture, but doesn’t complete the handshake, instead he turns, and the two men are framed together as though Bushnell were Dougie’s shadow and now the other way around. This, at least, makes Bushnell laugh. “You’re an interesting fellow.”

It’s safe to say Dougie gets to keep his job.


Next time:  Tough dame

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