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Twin Peaks' Top-Shelf Acting
By Drew Steele Posted in Culture on July 21, 2017 0 Comments
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Kyle MacLachlan, Naomi Watts, and Eamon Farren are stand outs in Twin Peaks

Note: There are spoilers in this article. If you are not caught up on Twin Peaks, I’d suggest that you do so before reading this.

Twin Peaks: The Return has officially crossed the halfway threshold after Sunday’s hysterical and frightening Part 10, setting the viewer up for what is to be expected. We find out that Mr. C, aka Doppel-Coop, is more than likely behind the experiments with the glass box, there is something fishy going on between Dianne and Mr. C, and not only confirming that Richard Horne is an awful human being (Chad is still “the worst,” though), but also he is more likely than not Audrey’s son. Also, if you want to include some of the revelations from Part 9, Sheriff Truman, Hawk, and Bobby have a map that may lead them to one of the Lodges (maybe the White Lodge?) as well as Mark Frost and David Lynch are definitely obsessing with the concept of time; possibly fracturing timelines to tell this story.

It should go without saying that the writing, cinematography, sound, and directing have been superb so far this series. Yet, the one aspect of Twin Peaks: The Return that has truly stood out is the acting, specifically of Kyle MacLachlan, Naomi Watts, and Eamon Farren.

MacLachlan gets double duties playing both Dougie Jones and Mr. C and doing so masterfully. As much as the majority of fans want to see Special Agent Dale Cooper back on the television screen as his charming self, seeing Coop be the lovable, mindless shell that is Dougie Jones has been delightful. The key to this performance has been the way MacLachlan looks at everyone and everything. The kitchen scene in Part 10 where Dougie is eating a dessert while Janey-E is still hot and bothered from the doctor scene (more on that in a bit) truly takes the cake in terms of representing Dougie’s gaze so far this series.

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There is a blankness to the way Dougie looks at the world and the way he is staring back at Janey-E is hysterical, especially because he takes another bite into his chocolate cake immediately after as his wife is coming on to him. Dougie is completely unaware of his surroundings and isn’t processing what people are saying to him. This juxtaposition of seeing Special Agent Cooper not being Special Agent Cooper and the lovable idiot that is Dougie Jones is upsetting and an important source of off-kilter comedy that exists in the Twin Peaks Universe. The sex scene that follows after the kitchen scene is truly laugh out loud funny because of the way MacLachlan is flopping his arms and the face he makes when the camera cuts to him.

The mental emptiness that MacLachlan uses to portray Dougie is subtly changed to compassionless and emotional emptiness to portray Mr. C. The way Mr. C stared and spoke at Gordon, Albert, and Diane during the interrogation scenes earlier in the series was truly terrifying. You can see in his eyes that Mr. C isn’t Dale and that his essence is void of humanity. The emptiness is Mr. C is due to a lack of a soul, whereas the emptiness in Dougie is due to ignorant innocence. Simply put, Kyle MacLachlan has been fantastic so far this series.

Speaking of fantastic, Naomi Watts as Janey-E has been a wonderful addition to the crazy, weird, and quirky cast of characters in the Twin Peaks universe. The character of Janey-E resembles the typical, overbearing, talkative, and nagging wife trope in many films and television series, yet fits nicely within the series because of humor generated from her overall frustration with Dougie. Watts’ performance in Part 10 really stood out primarily because of the way she looks at Dougie. As she stares at a shirtless Dougie in the doctor’s office (quick tangent: that was a CGI body double, right?), Janey-E becomes hypnotized by how her husband’s body is no longer fat and flabby – Dougie is jacked!

The two photos above are taken only seconds apart. You can the subtle changes in Watts’ face, where she’s like, “Oh, Dougie has his shirt off” to “oh…Dougie has his shirt off…and he looks fine.” The slight smirk that plays much better when watching the scene in context, but it’s apparent in the second photo nonetheless. It’s as if she has married a new and improved Dougie – well, it’s technically not Dougie, which makes this all weird and funny. And while Dougie is just sitting in his chair obliviously eating chocolate cake, Janey-E takes her gaze and emotions even further as she really wants Dougie.

And last but not least, we have Eamon Farren, Richard Horne himself. Farren has done an excellent job capturing the sheer terror and fear of the Lynchian villain archetype (think Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet and both Ray Wise and Frank Silvia in the original Twin Peaks). Depicting the horrors of violence against women has been a notable theme throughout the Twin Peaks universe and Richard Horne is the latest of these despicable men to continue the tradition. The scene that stands out the most is when Horne visits his grandmother and robs her of all her cash savings.

There is nothing but evil on the face of Richard Horne and Farren does a remarkable job of portraying that evil. When you watch that robbery scene, you come out of it feeling disgusted and appalled. How could anyone do that to their grandmother? That hatred and disdain you have for Richard means that Farren is truly capturing what Richard represents and what Lynch is trying to portray – violence towards women is truly horrific and should never be done.

It’s exciting to see where these characters continue to go as the story progresses and how MacLachlan, Watts, and Farren emotionally portray them.

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