Where Pies – And Dale Cooper – Go When They Die

Homeward Bound, Part 11

Before we get started with the usual, let me just have a quick moment to bask, and then sorrow, in the fact that Bobby and Shelly got together…and now she’s dating another drug dealer. Oh well. That’s TWIN PEAKS, I guess.

Last week I said that Dale, in his Dougie form, is little more than a dog on a leash. This week, I’m happy to say, I got just that. Except the leash was coffee. It doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? Bushnell Mullins sure does have a lot of faith in someone who can’t even make it to his office without being lured there. It’s such a strange combination of things, his apparent incapability to exist as a normal person, and the profound ‘discovery’ of gang conspiracy for which Bushnell has come to respect and rely on him. How would Bushnell, as ‘Dougie’s’ boss, decide what to do? First off, I can’t imagine anyone sending Dale in such a state to deal with gangsters, much less with a check of that size in his pocket, but then, this is TWIN PEAKS after all. And somehow, just like Bushnell says, the Brothers do end up “ecstatic!”

I know that many are finding the Dougie plot to be wearing thin, but I have to still stand by it. Everything is for a purpose in this show. Everything. Each moment that has happened has led to something which was meant to happen. Which is why, of course, Cooper- and Bushnell-MullinsDale has a Red Room vision in this episode, encouraging him to go into a shop with a “Z” in the name (recall Tracey’s To Go coffees from part one?) and buy what we later discover is Cherry Pie. Coffee hasn’t saved the day yet, but Cherry Pie has. Is Dale in heaven? If Dale’s life is heaven, then I don’t think I want to go there.

When Bushnell asked if Dale had the check, I immediately thought back to when Janey-E expected him to call the loan sharks and arrange to pay them off, and, of course, was unable to, simply because he is literally incapable.  The second thing I thought of had to do with what Dale did immediately after Bushnell said “Knock em Dead”.  

Holy Crap Folks. Do you recognize that action? Dale puts his hand over his own face and massages his cheeks. Just like when DoppelCoop ‘killed’ the fella after they stored the car. All recurring dream evidence in this episode aside, I think this moment exists as the biggest tip off that Dale is connected mentally with DoppelCoop, either in the real world or as a submerged personality living in a dreamscape. I was more excited about this moment than any other so far. What a phenomenally subtle hint!

The driver in the limo is the same one that took Dale home from the Silver Mustang the first time, and remembers him, saying “Red Door” and causing Dale to look immediately out his window, reflexively. Apparently some things do stick in his memory, but yet he hasn’t learned how to sit down by himself. Who knows what’s up in that beautiful mind of his?

This week, I kept thinking about how unique the Mitchum Brothers plot is to The Return. They sort of feel like the odd plot out, but not enough for them to feel out of place. We’re just getting to them more thoroughly at a far later point in the story. But it’s the brothers themselves and how they act that stick out to me. An article on Rolling Stone suggested that they are reminiscent of a couple of Coen Brothers characters. I was shocked by how accurate that assessment was in my mind. They’re outrageous, larger than life personalities, who don’t necessarily act like they are anticipated to do because of the world in which they’ve been framed.  Like the great folks at Counter Esperanto said on their Twitter: they are characters who are frustrated with the “Lynchian pacing” of their own surroundings. They act like characters from fast paced scenarios, and constantly defy our expectations of who they should be.

Let’s talk about their penthouse, setting aside the fact that they live together (which could easily be explained by the hint that they dropped about an ‘orphanage’. They eat Raisin Bran for breakfast in silk robes, at 2:23 in the afternoon. This scene, I have to admit, endeared them both to me further. I came into this already half in love with every performance I’ve seen from Robert Knepper, and mildly tolerant of Jim Belushi, who has his good things and his bad things. I can no longer imagine this show in any capacity where they are not a part of it. These two brothers are just so great. Better, even, I’d wager, than the Seasons 1 and 2 relationship between Ben and Jerry Horne.

Bradley Mitchum had a dream – all night. He seems to be very honest about his emotions. Another aspect of the typical gangster profile that doesn’t quite ‘fit’ the brothers. Bradley talks to Rodney like he might to a psychiatrist. And he’s a better patient than Robert De Niro in Analyze This or Analyze That, you know, considering that he’s being honest about how he feels. But I felt that connection especially when he pushed away the cereal bowl. He’s so upset about everything that he can’t eat.  He looks absolutely miserable and somehow it just makes me want to give him a hug, as if he were a child. Mostly, it reminds me of the moment in the aforementioned films when De Niro’s character, Paul, cries while watching the ad on television about a father and son. For those unfamiliar with these amazing movies, please, check out the clip here:

Who are these brothers? Certainly not who they appeared at first glance: hardened criminals? Yes. Who beat people up? Yes. Who put out hits on people they don’t like? Yes. Who make a lot of money illegally probably? Yes. Surprisingly, I do have to say, that contrary to the popular theory, I don’t think that Candie, Mandie, and Sandie are with them in any sexual connotation. I could be wrong, of course, but it just doesn’t seem like they share that sort of relationship.

Back to the plot of part eleven. We return to the mention of the dream. Rodney doesn’t seem to get it. He’s the harder of the two, the more grounded, firm hand, yet not unreasonable. He seems quicker to anger, but also practical. I keep wondering who is the older brother. I know that Jim Belushi is older than Robert Knepper by some years. The look close enough in age, but I think most would suspect this to be true, though age of an actor has very little to do with age of a character they play. Rodney looks like a younger brother, but acts, to me, more like the older one. Of the two, I’d say he’s the Ben Horne – he’s the one who is in charge, practical, who runs things and keeps them running smoothly. Bradley is the more emotive one, also reasonable but a bit more petulant. He’s second fiddle to his brother, even in what I suspect is a fairly even-keel relationship.

Back to Bradley’s dream. He never describes how the dream came to him, or what it was like, other than he apparently dreamt about it ‘all night’. We, the viewers, I should hope, get the sense that this is a Red Room engineered dream. I think that this is also extremely noteworthy. Other people do not just have Red Room dreams for no reason. Dale is not just some random person among many who dreamt of such a place, or received dreams from them (at least as far as we know).

Now, by saying Red Room, I don’t meant that Bradley Mitchum saw the chevron floor and the velvet curtains. I mean that the dream, the scenario that we know is about to happen was engineered by the Red Room entities, possibly Phillip Gerard, and sent to Bradley Mitchum to match the vision Dale received. The Red Room is prodding Dale along a particular path, that much is obvious. Nothing is by chance here. Not one thing.

The dream is as follows: First, Bradley says, Rodney’s “Candie Cut” is healed (who the hell would ever think to call it a Candie cut?), which, after a brief struggle from Rodney, who is afraid it will hurt, they discover is true.

Dale arrives and exits the vehicle with the box, jogging Bradley’s memory of the dream, which he apparently “can’t remember.” Sound familiar to anyone? Like Dale, not being able to remember what Laura said. If a “once certain thing” is in the box, then, Dale is not their enemy. Rodney always seems willing to listen to his brother, even if he is the more skeptical of the two. After Bradley whispers into Rodney’s ear what should be in the box, he pulls his gun on Dale and proceeds to go about things in a practical manner.

“Okay, what the fuck.  In that box there, is that a cherry pie?”  Rodney asks, his voice inflection in this moment sent me over the edge with laughter.

“Cherry pie,” Dale replies. That habit of his to repeat the last words people say is really getting him out of trouble. I can’t imagine trying to write the dialogue of the people around him just so in order for it to work out every time.

Side note, I also think it’s hilarious that, according to Bradley as he frisks Dale, he doesn’t even have a wallet on him. But, there is the check! Which, of course, he’d never have remembered to give them because he’s literally incapable. The discovery of the check delights the brothers immensely. They are, as Bushnell put it, ecstatic. They howl a bit, in the vein of Mark and Bobby. This moment was amazing. I really can’t say why,  I don’t really know, I just enjoyed it a lot.

From there, we cut to the restaurant and the most gorgeous piano music (the sheet music for which I am already clambering. If someone can help me out on that front, I’d be in your debt!). From the first lines of dialogue it’s clear to me that they are trying to ‘repay’ Dale in some manner, as they are discussing Sonny Jim’s apparent lack of a play set or as the brothers call it a ‘gym set’. Now, I’m from Wisconsin and here we call it one of two things, a “play set” or a “jungle gym”. Never heard a combo of the two before and it honestly took me a moment to fully understand what they were talking about. The brothers are exceedingly patient with Dale as he fails to grasp the concept of a toast, again, something I find to be outside the realm of their character archetype definition. These brothers certainly defy stereotyping.The Mitchums have dinner with DougieAfter the first toast, the music changes a bit, and it has an affect on Dale, because he turns towards the pianist with an actual emotion in his eyes, recognition? The few soft notes that capture his attention immediately reminded me of “Under the Sycamore Trees”, though it didn’t remain in that vein.  Nor, should it escape anyone that the majority of the decor is Red Room red. And that the wallpaper is chevron…

The homeless woman that Dale helped in the casino appears and thanks him profusely but Dale is pointedly not looking at her, but rather, looking past her. And her son’s name is…Denver! (I thought immediately of TSHOTP.) She goes on to say how special he is which Bradley agrees upon, and then kisses Dale’s cheek. The corners of his mouth twitch a bit, and it looks like he might smile, but it falls away. He’s still looking past her, but he does repeat her words.

And then…the pie! Along with a change in the mood of the song again. Candie is still acting almost as strange as Dale. The brothers look at her bemusedly and with no small amount of exasperation. She never really does ever answer any of their questions.

Meanwhile, Dale reacts to pie in a way that he certainly didn’t react to cake, and repeats Rodeny’s phrase (and his own of course!) “Damn Good”. The second toast goes the same way of the first, and the brothers continue to humour him. This time, however, Dale doesn’t drink, instead going in for the pie. Bradley has Candie give him another. That’s TWO pieces of that spectacular pie that puts an actual real emotion on Dale’s face.

Just another piece of the puzzle falling back into place. At this point, things are definitely ramping up, and I think that we’re headed somewhere spectacular.

What do you think about my theories? Did I miss something? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know what you think! Leave your thoughts a comment!

Some images Courtesy of Showtime

Written by Eileen G. Mykkels

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