Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return episodes 1 – 7.
In Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 5, we were introduced to a particularly despicable new character, who assaults and threatens a woman, is involved in shady dealings with a corrupt police officer, and, perhaps most devious of all, smokes in a non-smoking area. Many fans were shocked and dismayed to see this character credited as Richard Horne, the potential offspring of fan favorite Audrey. But is he really? What is the importance of Richard in the new series? Why does the Giant mention his name to Cooper?
The first question we have, of course, is, just how is Richard Horne related to the Hornes that we know? Let’s examine all the possibilities.
If he’s not a cousin, related to some branch of the Horne family we’ve never seen before, then he must be the son of either Ben, Jerry, Johnny, or Audrey. Johnny is perhaps the least likely candidate, though not out of the question, as his mental condition complicates social interactions. Richard could always be a bastard son of either Ben or Jerry, as both are well-known philanderers, or Jerry could have had a child with a wife or girlfriend (Maybe Heba?) Of course, Ben and Sylvia could have had another child, but considering the state of their marriage, especially after the debacle at the Haywards’, I’d say this is even less likely than Johnny being the father.
The most probable situation is that Audrey is Richard’s mother, which leaves the question of paternity. The fact that Richard has his mother’s name implies an absent father. Audrey did have sex with Jack Wheeler before he departed for South America, but I find it hard to believe that she wouldn’t tell Jack he was a father, or that he wouldn’t come back for him. Jack seemed like an honorable enough guy, I doubt he’d abandon his child. Something could, of course, have happened to Jack, preventing him from ever returning. But there’s no way Jack was Audrey’s only suitor. Could Bobby be the father? He and Audrey did have some flirtatious moments in season 2. But, as bad as Bobby has been in the past, he seems to have turned over a new leaf, and I don’t think Bobby would be absent from his son’s life. It could also be someone we’ve never heard of, who Audrey met in the aftermath of season 2. But there’s one final, disturbing possibility.
In Part 7 of The Return, Doc Hayward mentions that, after the events of the season 2 finale, he saw Cooper’s Doppelganger leaving the ICU. When questioned about why Cooper would be in the ICU, Doc says that he thought Cooper was visiting Audrey, who was in a coma after the bank explosion. Could it be that Cooper’s Doppelganger impregnated Audrey while she was comatose? The possibility is horrifying, but makes a lot of sense.
Before I continue, I want to address the idea that Cooper was actually visiting Annie, to steal back the Owl Ring, or try to kill her, and the mention of Audrey is just to throw us off. To me, this just doesn’t stand up to closer examination. Why mention Audrey, and not Annie? They had already talked about how Annie was with Cooper the night they both entered the Black Lodge, so why wouldn’t Doc think Cooper might be visiting Annie? I’m not saying that Doppelcoop didn’t want to get the ring back ( he obviously does get it, since Dougie has it later,) but, firstly, it’s no longer with Annie, it’s with one of the nurses, and secondly, mentioning Audrey then makes no sense. Why would Lynch and Frost bring her up for the first time in the new series if she was just a red herring? I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to mention her here and now. I think if he had been visiting Annie, it would have been a time to be direct. And if he had been trying to kill Annie, I think Doc also would have mentioned something about it, either that Annie was dead, or that there was trouble in the ICU immediately after, or something else. SOMETHING. No. I think Lynch and Frost mentioned Audrey because she is important here, and they want us to think about her.
I think, especially in the scheme of the narrative, it makes the most sense for Richard to be the spawn of Cooper’s Doppelganger. It fits. It would explain Richard’s tendency for evil actions (although many characters are evil, without such an excuse), the fact that he has his mother’s surname, and why the Giant mentions him to Cooper in the first scene of the first episode. He is clearly important. All this would make sense if he was Cooper’s son. But, the Giant also says it is important to remember someone named Linda, who is mentioned in Part 6 of The Return. What does she have to do with Cooper and Richard?
For the sake of thoroughness, I want to throw out the idea that Richard is from a previously unseen branch of the Horne family, and Linda could be his mother. Someone has also suggested that Linda is actually Audrey in hiding, and that she was crippled after the bank explosion, hence why she needs a wheel chair. As of now, I don’t have a lot of evidence to support that theory, so let’s move on.
My theory is that Richard and Linda are both the children of Cooper. They are the “two birds,” and Cooper is the “one stone.” Richard is the son of Audrey and Cooper’s Doppelganger, conceived when Audrey was in a coma after the bank explosion. Linda is the daughter of the Good Dale and Annie, conceived before they entered the Lodge at the end of season 2. I think Linda is also a soldier who was crippled in combat, explaining how she could be so young and need a wheel chair, and government assistance. That is also why Carl Rod says “F***ing war” while he and Mickey are talking about Linda, which otherwise is a non sequitor. It also falls in line with the later revelation that Frank Truman’s son was a soldier who committed suicide. He and Linda may have even known each other, both being soldiers from the Twin Peaks area.
Some have suggested that Linda is the result of Doppelcooper’s sexual assault on Diane, but it doesn’t make sense that she would end up in Deer Meadow when Diane lives in Philadelphia. It would be an odd coincidence, even if the child was given up for adoption. I think it’s far more likely that Annie is the mother, and this could possibly be a situation reminiscent of Clive Barker’s novel The Great and Secret Show, in which two opposing entities, one “good,” the other “evil,” sire offspring to battle each other. Incidentally, this novel has a lot of common themes with Twin Peaks: Small towns with many secrets, and lots of supernatural occurrences happening beneath it all. The sequel, Everville, even takes place in the Pacific Northwest.
If all this is true, I think that Richard and Linda will be instrumental to the conclusion of the show. This would nicely bring things full circle, taking us back to that first scene between Cooper and the Giant. I cannot predict what will happen, but I think it will call for an emotional and profound conclusion, with Cooper facing the dark half of himself and having to reconcile with it.
It seems undeniable at this point that Audrey is Richard’s mother, and it’s probably only a matter of time before we get in-show confirmation. The only thing left to really prove is that DoppelCoop could be Richard’s father. Some fans have resisted the idea, finding it harder to believe that Richard is the spawn of DoppelCoop raping a comatose Audrey, rather than him just being the result of her fling with Jack Wheeler, or another man she might have met in the interim, which is, of course, still plausible. These fans ask the question, “Isn’t it much more likely that DoppelCoop went to reclaim the Owl Ring, rather than to sexually assault Audrey for some reason?”
Let me start by saying: I think he did both. It’s obvious he reclaimed the Owl Ring, but that doesn’t negate him visiting Audrey. Especially since many of us seem to be forgetting the most crucial element to DoppelCoop’s character: He is the Shadow Self of Dale Cooper, containing all his darkest, innermost thoughts and desires. It brings to mind the tagline, “In a town like Twin Peaks, no one is innocent.” Not even Dale Cooper. He probably had libidinous thoughts about Miss Horne, which is probably why DoppelCoop targeted her. Perhaps it was even part of DoppelCoop’s endgame to procreate, and Richard Horne may prove to be a bigger player than we might think.
What are your thoughts on this theory? Where do you think Richard Horne’s character will go from here? What do you think this means for Audrey’s role in The Return? Comment below!