Twin Peaks: The Hidden Implications of Diane’s Emotional Confrontation – Vanity Fair
This post contains frank discussion of Episode 7 of Twin Peaks: The Return that aired Sunday, June 18. If you’re not all caught up, now is the time to leave.
This week’s episode of Twin Peaks may have messed with viewers a little (lengthy scene of sweeping in the Bang Bang Bar, anyone?) but it also delivered a long desired meeting between Diane (Laura Dern) and Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan). David Lynch being who he is, however, that meeting (or, more accurately, reunion) had a nasty twist. It wasn’t the real Cooper meeting Diane, of course, it was the evil version who, if we’re reading between the lines of their tense confrontation correctly, assaulted the loyal secretary many years ago. The episode implies that he may have done even more than that.
When Diane sees Evil Cooper for the first time in a long time, the telltale exchange is as follows:
Diane: When did we see each other last?
Cooper: Are you upset with
me, Diane? I think you’re upset with me. At your house.
you remember that night?
Cooper: I’ll always remember that night.
Diane: Same for me, I’ll never forget it.
Dern’s performance and Diane’s later, even more emotional interaction with David Lynch’s Agent Cole (“you and I will have a talk sometime”) makes it pretty clear that this thing that looks like Cooper—a man she likely trusted implicitly—sexually assaulted her in her own home. Diane is now an alcoholic and as Albert (Miguel Ferrer) says to her, no judgment there.
But Diane may not have been the only important woman in Agent Dale Cooper’s life that his evil doppelgänger attacked. A few weeks ago I floated the theory that young, terrible Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) might be the offspring of Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) and Evil Cooper.
At the time, I wrote: “It doesn’t seem too far outside the realm of possibility that Evil Cooper may have impregnated a teenaged Audrey and then left her flat. It would also explain why Richard would have her last name, and not his father’s. It doesn’t explain how Audrey survived the bank explosion that threatened her life in the Season 2 finale, though that answer can be found in the pages of the 2016 The Secret History of Twin Peaks novel.”
But in this week’s episode we learn from Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) that before he skipped town 25 years ago, Evil Cooper may have snuck in to visit a comatose, teenaged Audrey in the ICU. The implications here are even more distressing. Did Coop’s doppelgänger assault an unconscious Audrey? Would Lynch really taint something so lovely as the Cooper/Audrey relationship from the original series?
Of course he would. If you never got around to watching the Twin Peaks film Fire Walk with Me (or maybe it’s just been awhile), it would be easy to misremember even the darkest moments of the original Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) mystery in the sanitized context of early 90s network TV. But in in the less conservative realm of Fire Walk with Me, Lynch really goes there with the traumatically awful things that happened to Laura Palmer including repeated rape by a man who looked like her father, Leland (Ray Wise). And sexual assault is certainly in keeping with some of the truly horrible things we’ve already seen Evil Cooper do in The Return.
If Evil Cooper did assault Audrey while she was sleeping in the ICU all those years ago, it would come as no surprise that the girl might not have the best relationship with her son, Richard. And Lynch may be twisting the knife even deeper for long-time Twin Peaks fans given the scene in the original series when a passed out/drugged up Audrey is gallantly rescued/woken up by the real Dale acting as her white knight and savior.
But as Diane is adamant in pointing out to Gordon, the real Cooper isn’t here anymore. That white knight of the original series is stuck on Lancelot Court living out his days as Dougie Jones. If Coop ever gets back to his real life, he may find his evil self has ruined any loving relationship with the women who matter to him most. And as for Audrey and Diane, well, hopefully Lynch will build them a path towards healing closure. And here’s hoping Audrey gets here soon to tell her side of the story.