Welcome back to the Bookhouse. Things have slowed down a bit since the excitement of the “119” movement last weekend, when it seemed like the whole world was talking about Twin Peaks and it felt like we were right back in those summer weeks when the show was still on. But there hasn’t been any shortage of conversation about the issues at hand, and one that keeps coming up again and again is Annie…and Diane, and Audrey.
The treatment of women in Twin Peaks has always been a controversial one, but where it concerns the fate of these three women — and especially Diane and Audrey, owing to the horrific details we’ve been left to fill in about their treatment at the hands of Mr. C in The Return — the fan community seems to still be clamouring for answers. We don’t want to imagine that any iteration of Agent Cooper, even his darkest self or the part that makes up his doppel, is capable of violent rape. We don’t want to think about our beloved Audrey unknowingly carrying her rapist’s child while comatose, or hear that Diane’s trust and love for her longtime friend and colleague was violated in such horrific fashion. And for years, we simply wanted to know how Annie was: did she survive? what lasting effects did her brief interaction with Cooper and the Lodges leave on her innocent psyche? We want to know that everything is going to be all right.
I don’t profess to have these answers, but I’m seeking them myself.
Perhaps ironically, the one woman whom we did see in mortal danger during the 40-odd hour run of the entire Twin Peaks saga is probably the one who got off the easiest, at least on the surface. Thanks to The Final Dossier, we now know how Annie is. But her two word answer — “I’m fine” — spoken every year on the anniversary of the question that ended Season 2, isn’t — can’t possibly be— the whole story. As we pointed out back before Season 3 aired (and as John pointed out last week) there are some serious signs that not all is as it seems with Annie, and The Final Dossier goes to great lengths to add to this. Beyond the timeline and age discrepancies in the dossier that Tammy compiles, the simple fact of the matter is that Annie exists, and has existed for 25 years, in an altered state, one that is medically accepted as a kind of catatonia. But as Laura asks in her latest essay all about Johnny Horne, is it possible that Annie is still somehow connected to the Lodge? And if she is, what does that mean for her?
Much like DougieCooper, Annie is stuck in a state of childlike dependence. Her situation is far more dire, as she seems unwilling or incapable of basic personal care, whereas DougieCoop was at least able to learn some of these skills (well, I hope so anyway — if poor Janey-E had to bathe Dougie every morning before sending him off to work…man, I don’t know…) during his week and a half in the Nevada desert. It’s not much of a stretch to assume that Dougie’s state was Lodge-induced; therefore, is it a stretch to assume that Annie’s could be as well? I don’t think so.
But, you may ask, Annie returned from the Red Room at the end of Season 2, didn’t she? She was there on the ground in Glastonbury Grove beside Cooper, Sheriff Truman was able to answer questions about her the next morning, and we saw her in The Missing Pieces; furthermore, Tammy went to visit her in the present day in the facility she lives in. How can she be in the Lodge?
Of course this is all pure speculation, but it’s almost certain that we don’t have all the information about how the Lodge works yet. Consider, though: if part of Cooper can remain trapped while Dougie bumbles around Las Vegas, why can’t part of Annie be trapped in a purgatorial Red Room of her own?
Annie’s agelessness is striking as well, and maybe fits with this idea that her soul (or its closest Twin Peaks analogue) is stuck in a Lodge dimension. In The Final Dossier, Tammy takes great pains to describe Annie as youthful in appearance and demeanour, as if she hasn’t aged a day. Her curious relation to time (which may also extend to her inconsistent timeline in The Final Dossier) reminds me of literally every other character we know of who had prolonged contact with the Lodge — Major Briggs didn’t age a day in the twenty five years between his first “death” and his second, when he was “hibernating”; Agent Jeffries and Agent Cooper both struggle with years and time when they emerge from Lodge realities into the real world again. Just as easily as I can accept that time gets “slippery” the more you interact with it in this environment, I can also imagine a scenario in which a part of someone could remain trapped in a Lodge space while their corporeal form ages more slowly, or doesn’t appear to age much at all; like I said earlier, we don’t know the rules and much of this is speculation, but this doesn’t seem to violate any of the rules that we do know. All of this leads me to the belief that Annie may still be very much trapped in a Lodge-like space; she may say she’s fine, but I suspect her story is far from over.
Where does that leave the other two women in Cooper’s life: Diane and Audrey? I have a lot to say about Diane, and I will be covering it in more detail in the weeks to come, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she and Cooper seem to step back in time in order for Cooper to reach Odessa. The “out of time” quality of that strange motel room — with its mid-century Googie decor and decidedly retro veneer — seems suggestive to me that they aren’t (yet?) in the real world, that this is simply another room in the wider Lodge space that exists next to or around or above our own. That Diane can slip into this Lodge space so easily suggests that she could be entirely too at home in that world; we know she was taken somewhere after her rape, and if her manufactured self/tulpa replaced her in the real world, then part of her was almost certainly trapped (as Naido?) for almost as long as Cooper was. Maybe, as has been suggested, spending inordinately long amounts of time in the Lodge blurs the line between real and Lodge, and that this is how Lodge denizens are created; if so, is Diane already lost to the Lodges? We don’t know, and we may never know, but there is almost certainly more to her story, though…
As for Audrey? We learn about her life up to a point based on Tammy’s research1, and from that research we learn that it is possible Audrey has spent some time in a facility, maybe even one like Annie’s; she is not catatonic like Annie, but she is in a kind of altered state, one in which she is behaving and responding to people as though she were still a beguiling eighteen year-old dancing in the Double R on her lunch break from the Horne’s Department Store perfume counter. In light of that slippery relationship Lodge-connected individuals seem to have with time, it’s not impossible to read Audrey’s conflation of her modern life with her past life as a symptom of Lodge infection. We know that DoppelCooper raped her and that she bore a child as a result of this assault. After DoppelCooper raped Diane, he took her to the old gas station that she mentions to the Blue Rose Task Force in Part 16. It stands to reason that Audrey may have also been taken somewhere similar, which means that as early as the end of March, 1989, Audrey Horne was in contact with the Lodges. I’m not of the mind that this means the Audrey we saw in Season 3, or the Audrey we read about in The Final Dossier, is a tulpa or was manufactured the way Diane was. But it’s hard to deny that these are Lodge influences that make the band play backwards at the end of the episode in which she finally makes it to the Roadhouse, to dance to her song, or that made the air crackle ominously around her in the final moments when she “woke up” to her disheveled visage in the mirror. Those were huge tells, and in my opinion they preclude the most simplistic read of the end of her story: that she is just mentally unwell and shut away in a hospital somewhere.
Maybe what Audrey sees and experiences (what we saw her experience throughout Season 3) is what happens to your mind or your soul when it is trapped in the Lodge, and maybe what Annie is going through is what happens to your body.
I kind of love that it’s possible to read a complete story out of these characters, that none of them give you everything you need to understand the whole story and that you can only appreciate it fully when you consider each constituent part. These are the three women with whom Cooper was most intimately connected, both in the original series and in Season 3. It’s worth repeating that Tammy believes Cooper suffers from a White Knight Complex; Annie, Audrey, and Diane seem to be each stuck in a place that Cooper delivered them to, and from which escape may prove impossible without him. But with Cooper off saving Laura (which, arguably, may or may not be the right thing to do) there is no one to care about Annie, or Audrey, or Diane. The pieces of their puzzle have been left scattered by the winds of time, to be compiled into Tammy’s dossier and by us as we comb the various parts of Twin Peaks that 2017 delivered to us.
I guess the scrabbling many of us have been doing since the finale aired is in search of one thing: hope. We hope for some kind of meaning behind what we’ve seen —something that doesn’t leave us bereft and wanting — or that at least presents the possibility of meaning. My hope for a fourth season or another Twin Peaks film would involve a hopeful resolution to the stories of Annie, Diane, and Audrey. I dream that Cooper will recognize the harm he caused these three women, even if he wasn’t aware of it. It would be nice to see them not in a state of suffering, fear, or perpetual ignorant bliss, but to see them each regain their agency and the vitality that made them appealing to Agent Cooper in the first place.
Time will tell if this hope is unfounded, if this dream will come true.
1 …and here is a good time for me to say that, once again, don’t think that’s the whole story, and not just because Tammy’s timelines seem to be pulling from what I think are alternate realities, which could each easily contain a different set of events that make up the Story of Audrey…but that’s for another article.