About twenty minutes into the latest episode of Twin Peaks: The Return, the world shook.
Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) enters a rowdy bar and approaches a woman drinking alone, her back to the room and the world. He says, “Diane,” and the woman turns, revealing that is actress Laura Dern. Yes, the world shook in this moment. At least it did for me and for countless other Twin Peaks fans. Laura Dern made her Twin Peaks debut as the legendary Diane.
David Lynch’s ground-breaking series is an intricate web of character portraits, grisly murder mysteries, and surreal puzzles, so it’s okay if you’re still a wee bit confused as to why this short introductory scene was such a big freaking deal. Here’s everything you need to know about Diane Evans and why she’s about to shake things up.
Who is Diane again?
When we first meet Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, he’s driving through the Pacific Northwest, prattling his thoughts into a tape recorder. He continues to monologue his thoughts, theories, and actions to the tape recorder throughout seasons one and two. The thing is, he’s not just talking to himself. All of these “conversations” are with a woman named Diane. We have never met Diane in either the series or the prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, but she has an obvious pull on Cooper. That is, we have never met her until now.
Oh, so we finally met her this week?
Yes, well that’s the theory. It’s possible that “Diane Evans” is a different Diane. I mean, this is Twin Peaks after all. It’s a series fond of doppelgängers and surprises. Still, Albert tracks this woman down because of her connection with the long-lost Special Agent Dale Cooper. It’s intimated that she might be the one person who will be able to figure out what’s going on with the mysterious man – Cooper’s evil double — that they have in custody.
So, it makes sense that this would be the Diane. And it would follow that she’s probably going to drop some big insight into the plight of Agent Cooper.
Can I be honest? She’s not what I was expecting.
You mean because she’s sporting a glam platinum ‘do and a rainbow-colored manicure?
Yeah…I always assumed that if Diane was connected with the F.B.I. that she’s be a little more staid.
Well, in The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper, a book published in May 1991 to capitalize off the success of Twin Peaks, it’s said that Diane was Cooper’s secretary. Cooper describes her as “an interesting cross between a saint and a cabaret singer.” While the book sketches in a lot of details about Cooper’s life, it also features inconsistencies with the shows and film. However, the look Dern is sporting in Part 6 of Twin Peaks: The Return could certainly be described as a “cross between a saint and a cabaret singer.”
Why do I feel like Laura Dern’s been in Twin Peaks before?
She hasn’t been in the series before, but she has often collaborated with David Lynch. Specifically, she and Kyle MacLachlan co-starred in Lynch’s breakthrough film Blue Velvet.
Twin Peaks: The Return is back this Sunday. You can stream the first six episodes on Showtime.