Back in Las Vegas, we return to the offices of Lucky 7 Insurance. Our arrival is signposted by an establishing shot of the statue of a policeman.
At the time of writing, the use of our public spaces to lionise individuals with statues has suddenly become quite debatable. Who ought to be memorialised in this way, and why. There are now, also, widespread protests of police brutality and calls for defunding of the police. Mark Frost and David Lynch could not have anticipated this present climate, and there’s little reason to politicise The Return for it’s interest in statues. Still, it lands as suddenly quite curious and almost provocative. I’ve even seen memes lately using footage from the show – particularly footage of Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) staring at this very same statue from back in Part 5 – to satirise or make political statements. Here, if we want to talk romantically, we find Twin Peaks inadvertently helping to invent the future.
Janey-E (Naomi Watts) waits outside for Dougie, seemingly having learned from his delayed return the day before that her husband can no longer make it home under his own steam. She appears small in comparison to the imposing statue of law; perhaps metaphorically in the shade of it following her recent dealings with Dougie’s moneylenders.
Inside, Dougie looks over a form in the presence of Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore).
One wonders what it is that Dougie does in the office all day; he can’t possibly be that productive. It’s a rabbit hole of wonder I could really get lost in…
Anthony questions why Dougie isn’t talking to him, seemingly unaware of his friend’s changed mental state, instead assuming that there is some new conflict between them. Another person taking Dougie’s condition for granted, or assuming its irrelevance. He tries to provoke a response by playing innocent. Regardless, Dougie doesn’t answer, which is of little surprise.
Impatient with waiting, Janey-E closes the car door and strides toward the building.
Anthony pushes Dougie for information on what he and Bushnell (Don Murray) were discussing earlier, revealing the intention behind his visit seeing as those files certainly implicate him in wrongdoings. Dougie ignores him, instead continuing to make scribbles at this desk. Lynch pans down to reveal, with dark humour, that Dougie isn’t even scribbling on one of the files anymore; he’s wandered off course and is instead now etching his own desk. Rhonda (Elena Satine) arrives and advises that some police officers have arrived to see Dougie.
“Police,” Dougie parrots as Anthony quickly excuses himself. The word has set off chimes in his suppressed memories of being Dale Cooper. Their mention causes Dougie to rise from his seat. Rhonda makes a beckoning gesture for him to follow her, but Dougie merely mimics the gesture, not comprehending the meaning behind the signal. Rhonda reads this as a request for the police to be shown to his office.
Rhonda shows in three fat, balding detectives; the very definition of stereotyped characters and clearly a playful and deliberate wink from Mark Frost and David Lynch. The detectives are all named Fusco – they’re brothers – D Fusco (David Koechner), T Fusco (Larry Clarke) and ‘Smiley’ Fusco (Eric Edelstein). D Fusco shows Dougie his badge and of course Dougie reaches for it. D draws it away from him. Then Janey-E arrives. The set-up has the feel of a farce unfolding.
Part of that immediate sense of farce comes from cinema’s long-established history of the trio, as well as the idea of comedic brothers. Comic relief provided by bumbling or squabbling sets of three or more, similar in appearance and prone to slapstick. Our minds wander back to The Three Stooges or The Marx Brothers; classic meddlers of pratfall comedy in America, of an era that has already been established as nostalgic for Lynch (and very likely for Frost, too, I would imagine). Maybe we even think of Huey, Dewey and Louise from old Walt Disney cartoons.
The Fuscos do have a habit of providing a kind of comic relief. Throw in the doziness of Douglas Jones, contrast that with the authoritative henpecking of Janey-E and you have a recipe for disaster.
“We’re here about the car,” D explains to Janey-E and she advises that’s the reason she’s there too, seeing as it is missing.
T asks if it was stolen and Dougie parrots, “Stolen.” Notebooks are produced.
Janey-E argues with the detectives over why the car hasn’t previously been reported as missing or stolen; she speaks for Dougie. She is protecting her husband at this point, protecting her family as she has done since this unusual trouble began. Janey-E describes the car for them and it is only after Bushnell Mullins arrives and interjects that the detectives reveal that the car has been located and was involved in the explosion we saw previously.
“Why didn’t you tell us that to begin with?” Janey-E asks, incredulously, the farce revealing itself. D reveals that the gang members who perished in the explosion had ties to a ring responsible for multiple car thefts.
Janey-E makes remarks that remind us that this is still the same day as her dealings with Dougie’s gambling associates.
D advises that they’ll need to fill out some paperwork. Seeing Janey-E’s agitated expression, T eases the situation, advising it can be taken care of later. Janey-E wants to get Dougie home. When T placates them by wishing them a pleasant evening, Dougie parrots, “Evening”. Dougie may be responsive to words that associate with law enforcement and duty, but he is also roused by the mysteries of night.
When D makes a gag that Dougie won’t have any trouble collecting on the insurance, ‘Smiley’ makes his first substantive contribution to the scene; a childlike blurting laugh that comes to define his comedy-sketch style character.
The detectives leave, but their appearance prefigures a forthcoming event; a dramatic moment that will require further police activity. Bushnell advises he wants to talk to Dougie further about the files he showed him, but that too can wait until the next day.
Next time: Quick reflexes