Welcome back to “The Waiting Room”, my weekly Monday night column. Is this Andrew writing, or is this Andrew’s tulpa writing this week? You know I’ll never tell, #keepthemysteryalive. Part 16 of The Return, the penultimate episode has come and gone and now we are just days away from the two hour conclusion from the story we’ve been waiting 25 years for. It’s hard to believe we’re already here. Before I start diving into this week’s topics just wanted to make mention that we ran a poll on both Twitter and on Facebook to see what our readers would like to see from us on the night of the finale. For reasons I’ll never understand, our dear social media friends have voted for yours truly to write a column the night of. You ask for it, and we deliver—this Sunday night after the final credits roll, my laptop will be opening and I’ll be typing out my instant reactions to what I’m sure will be a mind-bending, tear flow inducing finale to end all finales. With that out of the way, let’s rock!
There was a lot of big news to come out of Part 16. In her “Homeward Bound” weekly feature that will be out tomorrow, Eileen will be taking a deeper look at the return of our beloved Agent Cooper and all of the happenings in Vegas. I don’t want to step on her toes so I’ll be brief: Seeing Agent Cooper walk, talk and personify the character that we’ve all been waiting to see again was emotional in ways I’m having trouble describing. Seeing Cooper’s interactions with the family that he’s been a part of, as well as characters like Bushnell Mullins and the Mitchum brothers was worth what I pay for Showtime in a year. The way Angelo’s brilliant “Falling” scored our hero’s exit from the hospital and return to action was deeply moving in ways I didn’t expect. We saw that Cooper while he was “Dougie-fied” knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of his surroundings—he was just stuck for lack of a better term. Perhaps the hardest part to watch was Cooper’s goodbye from Janey-E and Sonny-Jim, seeing exactly how much of a difference our Special Agent made in their lives all while barely speaking a word. He was the husband she always wanted and the father Sonny-Jim always needed. Knowing that Cooper is going to care for them in his own way is comforting. Janey-E and Sonny-Jim are the rare innocents in the Twin Peaks universe. They deserve happy endings. Here’s hoping they get theirs.
Switching over to Mr C, his story started with him and Richard Horne arriving at the site where two of the three sets of coordinates sent him. Being the non-trusting person that he is, Mr C sends Richard to climb the rock the coordinates were taking them too. Upon climbing, Richard Horne is promptly electrocuted and vanishes, falling victim to some sort of Black Lodge trap designed for Mr C. Nice try Phillip Jeffries. Upon Richard’s death, Mr C acknowledges that he was Richard’s father. Knowing what we know about Audrey and her condition, combined with what Dr Hayward said about Cooper leaving Audrey’s hospital room, there’s not much to be left to the imagination: Richard Horne was conceived when his mother, Audrey Horne, was assaulted while in a coma by Mr C. What Audrey knows of this remains to be seen.
While I will never begin to justify the actions we saw from Richard Horne throughout the show, knowing that he was a child born from rape with an absent (evil) father, a mother who was bound to have serious mental, physical and emotional problems and grandparents who likely just threw money at the problem instead of offering love and guidance, Richard’s character begins to look a little different. Twin Peaks did a great job of building a villain in Richard Horne and in his final act, gave that villain a vast added layer of character depth. Masterful, heartbreaking writing.
Continuing on with the Mr C story, Diane received another cryptic text from him and became very intense as she headed to the hotel room that the FBI has turned into their office. Diane began to tell the FBI everything—about how three or 4 years after Cooper had disappeared, he entered her room without knocking. She felt like he was grilling her for answers and then went in for a kiss. Having had kissed the real Cooper once before, Diane knew something was wrong and as she described, Mr. C enjoyed her fear. Mr C raped Diane as had long been speculated and afterwards, took her to the convenience store where she was exposed to who knows what. This is when things start going off the rails, as Diane is crying hysterically (Laura Dern invented the Lynch-crying face) and says things about how it’s not really her and how she’s at the sheriff’s office. Diane pulls out her gun only to be shot by both Albert and Tammy. Upon being shot, Diane flies out of the room (very much like how Laura flew out of the Red Room in Part 2) and was next seen in the Red Room being told by Mike that she was manufactured before being destroyed.
Ok, a lot to take in here. First, it was confirmed that Mr C (presumably but not established while Bob was with him) raped both Audrey Horne and Diane. The cycle of sexual violence in Twin Peaks continued after the cameras quit rolling in 1991 and it is something our own Lindsay wrote about months ago in a brilliant piece Unquestionable Evil: What Happened Between Cooper and Diane?. Second, if that was Diane’s tulpa, where is the real Diane? In the Sherriff’s station? Is Diane Naido? Is anyone else’s head spinning? I’m not quite ready to tie the whole thing together yet but Diane saying she was at the sheriff’s station makes me wonder if now that the tulpa has been disposed of if instead of Naido its Laura Dern sitting in the jail cell in Twin Peaks? A final point from this section, can only tulpas fly like that? Meaning, when Laura was pulled out of the Red Room, was it really Laura or was it a “manufactured” Laura who has a purpose to fill. Remember in his only scene in The Return, Leland Palmer told Cooper to “Find Laura”. We know Laura Palmer has to have something to do with the finale. Is it the real Laura or a manufactured Laura that got pulled out of the Red Room is the question.
My final topic for this week is Audrey Horne and her mesmerizing scene in the Roadhouse. Again, our own Lindsay was ahead of the game when she dropped this article on Saturday evening: Conversations in Liminal Spaces: What is Going On at the Roadhouse? , less than 24 hours after her theory would indeed be proved correct by the show. Audrey danced her famous dance to her signature tune in front of everyone to see at The Roadhouse…except it was all in her mind. A brief cut to a much less made up Audrey in an all-white room, complete with Lodge like electrical sounds and we go to credits. I do find it rather interesting that Audrey and Cooper’s predicaments seem to both be “dreamer-esque” and makes me wonder if Audrey’s end game will involve her Special Agent.
While on paper that sounds like a happy ending to a plot we never saw materialize 25 years ago, there’s one big caveat: How will Audrey react to seeing Cooper after what Mr C did to her? Does she know what Mr C did to her and if she does, how will Cooper explain “Oh that wasn’t me, that was my evil doppelgänger that raped you and left you with a child”. It’s actually really upsetting to think – and I’m not even a Cooper/Audrey “shipper” that they could be deprived of their moment and happiness together because of the actions of Mr C. That’s the power of this dark and complicated story David Lynch and Mark Frost are telling us. I have no idea what will happen this Sunday, but I do know that after The Return, television will never be the same again. Until next time…