Lost in the Movies: Candie (as well as Sandie and Mandie) (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #54)

Candie (as well as Sandie and Mandie) (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #54)

The TWIN PEAKS Character Series surveys one hundred ten characters from the series Twin Peaks (1990-91 on ABC and 2017 on Showtime as The Return), the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), and The Missing Pieces (2014), a collection of deleted scenes from that film. A new character study will appear every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday although patrons will have immediate access to each entry a month before it goes public. There will be spoilers.

Candie, the most called-upon member of a trio including Sandie and Mandie, is dazzled by the world around her if rather disengaged from the immediate needs of her bosses.

Monday, September 26, 2016
The vicious Mitchum brothers, Las Vegas kingpins, glower over the lowly casino employee they're beating up, but the mood of menace is thrown off every so slightly by an incongruous element - or rather three incongruous elements: young women, personal assistants to the two thugs, who are dressed in short pink chiffon dresses. They're all blonde and bedecked in jewelry, and they stand together against one wall, nonchalantly ignoring the violence right in front of them. One woman in particular - Candie (as opposed to Sandie and Mandie, who flank her) - seems far more attentive to the gentle waving of her own arm than to the man being dragged from the room after an assault.

Wednesday, September 27, 2016
As Rodney Mitchum attends to paperwork in his residence, Candie pursues a buzzing housefly, stalking it slowly and then desperately swatting a twisted red napkin at empty air when she thinks she has a shot. Rodney remains focused on his work when the fly lands on his head, and he is completely unprepared for the blow to come. Candie picks up a remote control and then whacks the side of his face as hard as she can, in order to kill the fly. Only as he screams in pain does she realize what she's done; hours later, as the brothers prepare for an evening visit to the control room, Candie is still weeping and asks how they can ever forgive her. Sandie and Mandie attend to the trio's chores by themselves; Sandie even offers Candie a drink which she tearfully declines. Almost sheepishly, both Rodney and Bradley try to reassure her. The scar has been bandaged, the wound is not so bad, and she should really get over her mistake - but she can't. She continues to sob in the corner of the living room while the brothers watch a news program of interest to them. That night at the office, they send Candie out to escort a visitor. Staring off into space, she has to be called several times before she calmly strolls outside to the casino floor. The Mitchums watch, disbelieving, as she talks to their guest for what feels like minutes on end instead of bringing him in; when she finally returns with the visitor in tow they demand to know what took so long and she explains very precisely and without any reservation that she was informing him about the weather. The other man smirks, but soon he's more flustered; the news he brought has not been received with much excitement. Candie escorts him out at the brothers' command even as he shouts his message to them one more time. That night, back at the apartment, the Mitchums fume while Candie, Sandie, and Mandie mix drinks in the kitchen; apparently the visitor's information made an impression after all.

Thursday, September 28, 2016
Candie pours coffee for the absent Bradley and tells Rodney that his brother is about to leave the bathroom. That evening, the trio join a dinner already in progress although they don't sit down; standing around the plush booth where the Mitchums dine with Douglas Jones, their guest of honor, they smile warmly with a mixture of vacancy and absorption as they always do. Candie pours champagne and cuts the cherry pie - and when asked why they're so late she explains with tremendous cheer about the traffic - "there were so many cars!"

Friday, September 30, 2016
The Mitchums, Candie, Sandie, Mandie, and Mr. Jones form a conga line parading through the Lucky 7 Insurance office after a long night on the town. Celebrating a recent insurance payout, Candie gleefully reveals the Mitchums' gifts to Lucky 7 owner Bushnell Mullins with growing excitement as she opens each gift package: a box of Monte Cristo #2 Cuban cigars, a set of monogrammed cufflinks, and the keys to a brand new BMW to match Mr. Jones! Bushnell beams with delight, and then the conga line leaves the workplace with the same enthusiasm with which it entered.

Sunday, October 2, 2016
Candie, Sandie, and Mandie carry trays of finger sandwiches into a hospital room where a comatose Mr. Jones lies in bed, watched over by his tired wife and son. The Mitchums and Bushnell are already there. Candie offers the boy some food with the pomp and pride of a mayor presenting the key of a city to some honored citizen. The brothers and their assistants then proceed to the Jones' house, carrying food inside to stock up their home while they worry and wait. In fact, they don't have to wait long - Candie, Sandie, and Mandie are bustling about the kitchen when the Mitchums receive a call from the thoroughly alert and refreshed Mr. Jones and soon all six of them are packed into a limo, driving to an airfield to catch a private jet to the town of Twin Peaks in Washington. Through Bradley stews in silence as Candie languorously reaches for his Bloody Mary, he and Rodney positively glow when Mr. Jones says they have hearts of gold and Candie affirms, "They do, they really do!" Hours later, finishing the journey to Twin Peaks, Candie peers out the window in awe as a concerned Cooper talks to someone on his cell phone. Whatever was going on in that conversation has concluded by the time Candie, Sandie, and Mandie enter the sheriff's office at the local station, carrying enough sandwiches to feed the odd crowd assembled there: a bloody man in a green glove, several deputies, a stunned sheriff, other FBI agents, the Mitchums (who entered while the girls were preparing food, apparently), and a woman in a pink bathrobe and red hair clinging to Mr. Jones' arm. Before there can be much feeding, the lights dim and a couple men shout across to the room to one another. Candie, Sandie, and Mandie stand at an even distance from one another in the middle of the room like gatekeepers unflustered by whatever has happened or is about to happen, just there to do their job as pleasantly as possible.

Characters Candie interacts with onscreen…

Mitchum Brothers

Anthony Sinclair

Agent Cooper

Bushnell Mullins

Sonny Jim Jones

Janey-E Jones

Impressions of TWIN PEAKS through Candie
Surprisingly, the Las Vegas gangster's molls (or quasi-molls?) who start so far afield do actually make it to Twin Peaks by story's end, carrying sandwiches to local law enforcement and other strangers gathered in the small town sheriff's station. Their bright pink get-ups look quite out of place in this environment, which underscores the point of this odd farewell sequence, bringing together disparate characters who feel almost artificially forced into the same room together (adding to the sense of irreality, a large version of Cooper's face is superimposed over the entire scene although this doesn't have much to do with Candie herself and it's unlikely she sees it). Candie does not have much to tell us about Twin Peaks as a place but she seems particularly keyed to the inner vibe of Twin Peaks the series. Indeed, her appearance in Part 5 - along with her similarly-clad cohorts but with particular emphasis on her dreamy hand movements - lets us know right away that the Mitchums aren't simply conventional brooding thugs. Candie, Sandie, and Mandie bring a Felliniesque air to the proceedings, a reminder that the wacky, quirky, visually iconic spirit of Twin Peaks can exist outside of the title town. Her subsequent behavior heightens the off-kilter mood and offers our first indication that the Mitchums can be sympathetic and even lovable long before Dougie/Cooper melts their hearts. If Cooper's almost magical intervention is what warms and softens the initial harshness of Las Vegas, Candie's presence indicates from the beginning that this place and these people hold the potential for reversal - it's she who forecasts the inversion layer.

Candie’s journey
Aside from her episode of grief and shame after injuring Rodney (from which she quickly recovers), Candie floats serenely through the Las Vegas story's events even as she's directed to facilitate them, a carefree needle subtly stitching the different threads together. The little nuances of her eccentric personality don't transform over the course of her screentime so much as reveal themselves to us the more time we spend in her company. If she and the Mitchums have an arc together, it may involve the realization that they form a kind of appreciative if exasperated family, tolerating and even cherishing one another's quirks (well, they tolerate her, mostly) for the greater good of looking out for each other. Sandie and Mandie are there to echo and amplify this dynamic on an almost purely visual level; neither speaks a single word nor are they asked to do anything independently of Candie. The progress of the narrative they participate in is tonal and spatial - from dark crime story to lighthearted adventure, from grimdark sobriety to joyous camaraderie, from the cold gray deck of surveillance screens to the almost ethereal glow of the rural police headquarters. In this there may be growth after all, or at least consistency where other characters falter. Unlike the flabbergasted Mitchums, Candie, Sandie, and Mandie are collected and purposeful, surpassing their bosses in mastery of the situation at hand because they know exactly what needs to be done.

Actress: Amy Shiels
Although her breakout performance in Twin Peaks put her on many viewers' radars for the first time, Shiels had already spent well over a decade grinding away in the Irish and American film industries. Her work in features goes back to 2001, with one of her first notable credits a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance as a gangster's mistress in the Hollywood-produced, Dublin-set Veronica Guerin. She showed up more prominently as Gemma in the teen drama Cowboys & Angels, and guest spots on British shows like Jericho, Casualty, and The Clinic followed, as did a recurring role as Danielle in Love/Hate alongside spots on horror films Shattered and Slaughter. Shiels has also consistently found traction as a voice actress in the Call of Duty and especially the Final Fantasy video game franchises. Legendary Peaks casting director Johnanna Ray had her eye on Shiels for years and pulled her into the Lynchverse soon after she arrived in L.A. in the mid-2010s. Her role expanded on set due to the director's whims such as, for example, when actor Robert Knepper was injured by a light and - needing to come up with a reason for the bandage on his face - Lynch improvised Candie's fly-chasing scene. Since Peaks, Shiels has worked mostly in TV, including as Nicole in several episodes of The Detour and especially Nikki Foster-Lyons (and a differently-named but presumably related character) in every episode of the spy series Red Election. Here next role is in The Happy Worker, directed by Peaks editor Duwayne Dunham. (film pictured: Slaughter, 2009)

Actress: Giselle DaMier
DaMier wears many hats as writer, director, musical performer, and actress, getting her start as a child on the Seattle-based juvenile grindset PBS series BizKid$ (yes, this was apparently a thing). She played Zoe in two episodes of The Fosters, four years apart, and showed up as the harpist on the song "Fairy Lady" in the iconic cult film The Love Witch. Before and after Peaks she wrote several short films as well as the feature Dark Hours: Typee, and she was cast as Jade, a high schooler whose camping trip in the woods takes a wrong turn when the national power grid goes out, in all eight episodes of the Rami Malek podcast series Blackout. And in 2021 she appeared in her first feature since The Love Witch, Last Call in the Dog House. A 2018 interview with the podcast Hollywood and Beyond gave DaMier the opportunity to detail her experience on the Twin Peaks set; anecdotes include her process for getting on the show, her anticipation and impression of Lynch, and why they all ended up kissing the director in a much-shared photo. DaMier arrived on the production as a massive fan of the earlier series and was immediately surprised to discover, on her first day, that everyone was calling Kyle MacLachlan "Dougie" and his the character was wandering around in a daze... (film pictured: The Love Witch, 2016)

Actress: Andrea Watrouse
Watrouse, on the other hand, took MacLachlan's strange behavior in stride; asked why everyone was calling the famous FBI agent "Dougie", the actress playing Mandie shrugged and said she figured that must just be his name. Realizing that her colleague had never seen Twin Peaks before being hired for The Return, DaMier invited Watrouse over to her apartment night after night for a full rewatch of the original series, converting a new fan and illustrating what an enthusiastic, tight-knit unit the trio became. A model, equestrian, and veterinarian, Watrouse's only screen credit appears to be Peaks; adding to the confusion, IMDb conflates her resume with a similarly named Brazilian actress who appeared in a number of soap operas ten years earlier. The Miami native was known as Andrea Leal until 2018, the year she married the actor Jesse Bradford (Bring It On, Flags of Our Fathers) with whom she's now raising a family. Watrouse maintains an active social media presence on Instagram and Twitter, frequently posting about Twin Peaks and her appreciation for that experience and the fan community surrounding it. All three actresses often attend fan events (most recently Spooky Empire in Florida) - sometimes in full costume to the delight of the audience, a package deal wherever admirers of The Return congregate. (photo at Twin Peaks pop-up diner, 2017)

Part 5 (Showtime title: "Case files.")

*Part 10 (Showtime title: "Laura is the one." - best episode)

Part 11 (Showtime title: "There's fire where you are going.")

Part 13 (Showtime title: "What story is that, Charlie?")

Part 16 (Showtime title: "No knock, no doorbell.")

Part 17 (Showtime title: "The past dictates the future.")

Candie is onscreen for roughly twenty minutes, with Sandie and Mandie present for about sixteen of those minutes (if ranked separately, they'd hover somewhere around Denise or Carl Rodd, so in the low seventies). Candie is in thirteen scenes (eleven alongside Sandie and Mandie) in six episodes, taking place over a week. She's featured the most in part 10, which includes a solo scene although Sandie and Mandie are still featured in that episode more than any other as well. They are among the top five characters in part 10; counted separately, Candie has the second most screentime after the Mitchums, and Sandie and Mandie have the third most.

Best Scene
Part 10: Although they make for an iconic trio, Candie is alone for her most memorable moment - when she accidentally strikes Rodney Mitchum in the face with a TV remote while chasing a fly.

Best Line
“Oh, that we're in the version layer, that it's going to be hot and smoggy tomorrow, and I told him that we are so lucky to have air conditioning cooling our casino!”

Additional Observations

• Candie doesn't have much of an "offscreen" presence to discuss since she's usually present in the moments she'd be referenced. However, while she's in the midst of bringing Anthony Sinclair to the Mitchums, Bradley turns to Rodney and says, "We fire her, she's got no place to go," and Rodney assents.

• Interestingly, Candie responds much more readily to Bradley than Rodney. On at least four occasions, it takes Bradley's intervention after several Rodney requests to get Candie moving. Maybe tuning out Rodney's voice is a way of blocking out the injury she caused, and suppressing the consequent guilt - even though this ends up making Rodney even more upset!

• For some reason, a popular theory in 2017 held that Candie was actually a projection of Laura, similarly to how Dougie was the altered embodiment of Cooper. Why? Perhaps because the attention Lynch lavished on her seemed thematically inexplicable otherwise, perhaps because her expression while stalking the fly reminded some viewers of Laura's intensity, perhaps just because they were both blonde? Obviously, this one didn't pan out. (For good measure, Redditors later theorized that Annie Blackburn was Candie all along.)

• Then again, maybe the subtle thread linking Candie and Laura (despite their different dispositions and wildly different tonal environments) was a shared sense of trauma and exploitation. No less an authority than Amy Shiels herself speculated as much in a Vulture interview that summer:
"I feel in my backstory that the brothers are actually saving her. She just loves them and appreciates everything in the world. That’s why I love Candie and adore and cherish her so much — it’s because she really sees everything through new eyes and has been through something so traumatic in her past, so absolutely hideous, that now that she’s been saved by these boys, she loves them and she sees everything and appreciates it all. Everyone takes air-conditioning for granted; it’s just everywhere. But no, not to Candie. It’s probably the first time she’s had air-conditioning in her life. It’s amazing. Everything is so good. She loves her bosses, and that’s why she was so traumatized, because they were so good to her and she hurt him so badly. Especially when she saw the blood the second time, that was tragic. His face — what has she done to her savior? She’s just a wonderfully kind and appreciative person who really feels people’s joys and pains and emotions. She’s adorable and loves everyone.
In my mind, Candie is someone who has possibly been human trafficked her whole life. I think she had something really awful like that, and she was saved by the brothers. When I watched the episode on Sunday, it was interesting because I hadn’t heard the line: “She has nowhere else to go.” That wasn’t in my script because I wasn’t in the room."
Shiels goes on to describe Candie as, in short order, an adopted child, a little sister, and a pet dog. "She just wants to make them happy - there's nothing sexy about it, nothing like that. It all comes from a place of absolute love, adoration, and appreciation."

Next (available now): Phillip Gerard
Previous: Carrie Page

To immediately read a month of upcoming entries, updated weekly to stay a month ahead...

(at the time of publication, this includes full entries on new or revised characters among #53 - 39)

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