Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Ballad Of Dougie And Janey Dominates "The Return Part 6"


The Good: Good performances, Decent blend of surrealism and concrete elements, Good effects
The Bad: Very disturbing visuals, Very little ties together within the episode and within the larger story
The Basics: Twin Peaks "The Return Part 6" continues the slow transition of Agent Cooper back into the world in Dougie Jones's body.


One of the few definitive statements David Lynch made on his revival of Twin Peaks was that the new season was going to be Agent Cooper's journey, much like The Odyssey back to Twin Peaks. As such, the individual episodes often seem to have the purpose of obscuring or delaying Agent Cooper's return. By the time "The Return Part 6" begins, it is hard not to feel like the new season of Twin Peaks might hold up better for its complete narrative, as opposed to having episodes that are individually strong.

"The Return Part 6" picks up right after "The Return Part 5" (reviewed here!) and it is impossible to discuss the new episode without some references to what came before. After all, "The Return Part 5" climaxed with the military and the FBI both acknowledging that the previously presumed dead Major Garland Briggs has left multiple finger prints at various places over the past twenty-five years.

Dougie's wife has not come to pick him up, which leads a security guard to start asking him questions after it gets dark. The security guards bring Dougie home and they find an envelope on the front step. While Dougie spends time with his son, Janey opens the envelope and finds inside a picture of Doug and Jade, right before the mobsters call the house. Janey makes an appointment with the mobsters to pay them off the next day. After seeing Phillip Gerard, Dougie begins to mark up the insurance files he was sent home with.

Elsewhere, Agent Rosenfeld visits Diane at a bar. In Twin Peaks, the local drug dealer meets with his supplier, who has plans to bring drugs in from Canada. On the outskirts, Karl leaves the trailer park for his daily trip to the park to sit under a tree and smoke. When a child and his mother play a game of tag through the park, it ends in tragedy for the boy, which Karl witnesses. Karl attempts to comfort the mother after seeing the child's soul leave his body. At the Rancho Rosa, Dougie Jones's car is recovered by the police. The next morning, Dougie Jones arrives at work with the files, where his work is torn apart . . . before his boss sees a pattern in the claims. Janey meets the two thugs Dougie owes money to and pays them off, though far less than they wanted.

"The Return Part 6" features more scenes of - currently - disconnected weirdness. There is a prolonged scene with the drug dealer that might be a trip, might be a weird nexus point, may be something else. The scene with Albert is murky as Diane's identity is not made clear in the episode. Similarly, the seeding scene of an assassin who has Dougie Jones as a target does not interact with any other part of the episode. Karl seeing the soul is a presumption; he sees a bright light leave the boy's body, but the nature of his abilities is unclear. When Agent Cooper was able to leave the Black Lodge, he did so through a surreal nightmare that included objects with many numbers on them. The serial numbers for the electrical transformers near where the boy died are probably related to that.

It does not take long into "The Return Part 6" before it is virtually impossible for viewers not to hate Janey. Janey is Dougie Jones's wife and she is pretty oblivious to just how bad Dougie is. She yells at him, orders him around and shows no real compassion for him. Twin Peaks has had some truly reprehensible characters, but Janey might top the list now, as she is a horrible, unloving person who does not seem to recognize how her husband has been replaced. The fact that Sonny Jim - Doug and Jane's son - is more compassionate and observant than Jane makes a pretty big character statement in "The Return Part 6."

To be fair, Naomi Watts plays Janey with a very constant sense of seething anger. Watts makes Janey entirely unlikable, but as an acting task, she is given quite a bit of heavy lifting. Watts has to perform opposite the blank stare of Kyle MacLachlan. MacLachlan's Dougie is more or less insensate, so Watts has to deliver monologues for the most part and she does a decent job of it. Her final scene in "The Return Part 6" gives her more active participants to play against and she rocks that scene.

That said, Kyle MacLachlan is wonderful at playing Dougie Jones. Dougie is being moved in tiny degrees toward being ambulant and MacLachlan is doing an excellent job of making it not happen at an unrealistically fast pace.

Jeremy Davies has a great, brief, part in "The Return Part 6" in what seems to be the trend for the revival where recognizable genre actors show up for minuscule parts. Twin Peaks fans get more scenes with Shelly (very brief) and Sheriff Hill, who finds a clue (possibly to Agent Cooper's disappearance?) in the bathroom.

"The Return Part 6" feels like it is helping the story build, but between a brutal on-screen murder and a surprisingly well-executed shot of a child getting hit by a car, the episode is not the easiest to watch. The episode has a creepy Twin Peaks feel, even if very little of it is set within Twin Peaks.

For other works with Jeremy Davies, please visit my reviews of:
It's Kind Of A Funny Story
Lost - Season 6
Lost - Season 5
Lost - Season 4

7/10

For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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