Too Dreamy: The Truth Behind the Disappearance of Audrey Horne

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Written by Eden. H Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return Parts 1 – 16.

Which will it be, Charlie? Hmm? Which one would you be? Charlie, help me. It’s like Ghostwood here.”

The absence and subsequent appearance of Audrey Horne has left many fans confused, angry, and saddened. However, what at first may have seemed just like a melodramatic plot shoehorned in for no good reason has turned out to be far more intriguing and possibly integral to the story line. Theories abound as to the truth behind her condition, either that she is in a coma, a mental hospital, is a tulpa, or that she is “the dreamer,” or something else. However, I believe I already know the answer, or at least most of it. First, let’s examine the clues in the case of the disappearance of Ms Audrey Horne.

First off, there’s the way that everyone talks about her, in that they don’t. So far, only Richard and Doc Hayward have even mentioned Audrey. Not even Ben, when he meets with Frank Truman to discuss Richard, says anything about Audrey. He only says regretfully that Richard “never had a father.” While this implies that Audrey has been around for some of her son’s upbringing, it makes it even stranger that she no longer is. This is one strike against the coma theory. But, if she was with Richard for a time, where did she go, and why did she leave?

So, Richard is one of the only people to mention Audrey, and what does he say about her, exactly?

RICHARD: I recognized you back at the farm. You’re FBI.

MR. C: How do you figure that?

RICHARD: ‘Cause I seen your picture in your fancy FBI suit.

MR. C: Don’t come any closer. Where’d you see that picture?

RICHARD: My mom had it.

MR. C: Who’s your mom?

RICHARD: Audrey Horne. And your name’s Cooper.

So, depending on whether or not you believe Audrey is still in a coma after 25 years, what likely happened was this: Richard, looking for clues as to his father’s identity, was going through some of his mother’s old things. He found the picture of Cooper, and brought it either to Audrey or Ben, who must have told him Cooper’s name. We can try to derive some info out of Richard’s phrasing, “my mom had it,” but, in truth, it’s fairly vague. The past-tense is only indicative of her having the photo in the past, and he is probably using past-tense to refer to the fact that he found it with her old belongings, which says nothing about the condition of Audrey herself.

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What about Doc Hayward? He mentions her when questioned about his last encounter with “Agent Cooper.”

“I thought at the time he might have been looking in on Audrey Horne.
That terrible business at the bank, and… She was in a coma.”

While this is arguably as vague as Richard’s wording, I would say this gives us a much more clear cut idea. “She was in a coma” implies that she is no longer in a coma. If she was still in the coma, Doc would probably have used language more like, “She fell into that coma,” or “She entered a coma.”

If Audrey were present, wouldn’t Ben mention her to Frank? Better yet, wouldn’t Frank have gone to see Audrey? Wouldn’t Sylvia have called Audrey when Richard assaulted her? All this leaves us with one conclusion: Audrey is gone. And since no one is really making a fuss about it, she has probably been gone a long time. The only question is, how long? I’ll admit that the theory of her being in a coma is thematically congruent, and could even potentially tie in with the real Cooper’s story line. However, there are enough plot holes that this could be argued against. And, though we are in the television world where anything is possible, in reality, people rarely stay in comas for such a long time.

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Next, let’s look at what we do know about Audrey’s current state. The many unfamiliar names thrown at us in her first scene is daunting, but I think it we cut away a lot of the extraneous elements and focus on what we do know, some interesting things will come to light. It has been noted that there are no establishing shots for Audrey’s location. It would seem that she’s cut off from the rest of Twin Peaks. However, we pretty much know that Billy and Tina are people in the real world, even if Charlie’s phone call to Tina might have been faked (It probably was). Someone looking for Billy enters the Double R, and a girl at the Roadhouse says that her mother’s name is Tina. So this is another strike against the coma theory.

The first scene is very confusing, but in Part 13, we are actually given a bombshell, hidden in plain sight: After saying she doesn’t feel like herself, Audrey mentions, “It’s like Ghostwood here.”

Let that sink in for a minute. It’s a confusing line, and one you might have missed. But it’s the most important thing we’ve heard from her so far. Because later, in Part 15, when DoppelCoop goes with the Woodsman to see Philip Jeffries, where do we see them? Walking through a hallway that fades in and out with the woods.

This other dimension overlaps the woods around Twin Peaks, a.k.a., the Ghostwood Forest. This is probably what Jerry was seeing when he was high and freaking out in the woods. It seemed like a Dugpa was even trying to possess his leg (what is it with Dugpas and limbs, by the way?). Why would Audrey say that it was like Ghostwood where she was? Because she IS IN the Ghostwood, but in another dimension. So, what does this say about the rest of the story?

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Let’s make a rough outline of events. After the bank explosion, Audrey falls into a coma. Whilst in the coma, she is visited by Mr. C masquerading as Cooper, who rapes her while she is unconscious. When she wakes up from the coma, she discovers she is pregnant. She may suspect Jack Wheeler as the father, but perhaps DNA testing proves this wrong. Audrey raises Richard for some of his boyhood, but, one day…

She vanishes.

Now, here is the gap. And within the gap, there is a truth which must be revealed, and when it is, I’m sure it will play a large role in the finale. I have speculations, but no answers. That said, here is my best guess, as a literary student and as a fan, at what happened to Audrey: Mr. C returns for her. He kidnaps Audrey and seals her in the Black Lodge. He puts Charlie, a lesser spirit, in charge of her. His job is to keep her compliant and confused, so she won’t suspect what’s going on, or try escaping, or cause trouble for the other Lodge dwellers. To do so, Charlie creates a fantasy world for her, where they live in a nice, large house, and she can go anywhere she wants — Charlie just has to dream it up for her. Charlie becomes infatuated with the beautiful Audrey, and casts himself as her husband. He plays music for her so she can dance for him. Either Charlie or Mr. C also bring other prisoners to this dimension, one of which is Billy, whom Audrey begins to have an affair with. Charlie allows it because it keeps Audrey distracted. All this keeps Audrey confused, but it only works for so long. Audrey eventually begins to break through the fantasy. When she goes to the Roadhouse to look for Billy, she starts to realize it is all a dream, so Charlie creates a scene, a bar fight, to frighten Audrey, so she asks to be taken back. She ends up in a white room with a mirror. I believe this is the “blank slate” of this dream dimension: This is what it looks like before Charlie projects scenes and places onto it.

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There is also a darker possibility. Audrey’s “I don’t know who I am” speech is reminiscent of Tulpa Diane’s right before she tries to shoot Albert and Tammy. This has led to the theory that Audrey is also a tulpa, which suggests that our Audrey is elsewhere, and, as her fate seems to eerily mirror Diane’s, it’s probable that she was murdered. That leaves the question: If the Audrey we’re seeing is a tulpa, what was she manufactured for? All the tulpas we’ve seen so far have a purpose. What could Audrey’s be?

However she ended up there, and whether this is the “real” Audrey or not, there is no doubt in my mind that she is trapped in the Black Lodge, a dimension overlapping the Ghostwood. Perhaps Mr. C took her, or maybe she even went in looking for Cooper and got trapped. Whatever the case may be, I think by focusing on what we do know, and setting aside everything else until later, when things become clearer, we will have a better shot at deciphering the many remaining mysteries of Twin Peaks: The Return.

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Four Reasons Why Audrey is Probably Not Dead

Written by Eden H Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

A lot of debate seems to be going into whether or not Audrey Horne survived the fateful explosion at the bank. While some see it as a given that she must have died (and I agree, in real life, she’d be dead as a doornail), others find it difficult to believe that the character would have been written out of the show. Below are the main arguments for why Audrey probably did not die in the bank explosion.

Audrey chained to the bank vault door.

Audrey chained to the bank vault door.

1) She was a fan-favorite character

I’ll use perhaps my weakest evidence first: This argument states that, because Audrey was (and still is) a fan favorite character, it would have been a bad move to kill her off. This would upset fans and possibly cause the show to lose viewers, although, at the time, Twin Peaks was facing almost certain cancellation.

Back in the day, we probably would have found that Pete and Audrey both survived the explosion: The elderly bank clerk and Andrew Packard were more likely to have died, being relatively unimportant and not that popular (although the bank clerk character, I think, has potential). Now, with Jack Nance having sadly passed away, Audrey will most likely be the only survivor of the bank explosion of ’91.

2) It was done to cause sensation

As I said earlier, at this time, Twin Peaks was facing almost certain cancellation. They’d already been cancelled, in fact, but were brought back for a final three episodes; an opportunity which Lynch and Frost used to wrap up some story-lines, but more so to throw many characters’ fates up in the air in order to hopefully cause an uproar among fans, who would want to see what happened to their favorite characters. If the demand was high enough, maybe they would be brought back for the third season after all? Though the ploy, ultimately, didn’t work, it does imply that Lynch and Frost only had the intention of stirring up interest by making people believe that a fan favorite character might be dead, and the writers probably had no intention of going through with it.

3) Certain people have claimed she was slated to survive

Also in a Fangoria interview, Billy Zane mentioned that he would have likely returned for the third season as well. Apparently, Audrey was going to find out she was pregnant, which would have necessitated the return of John Justice Wheeler to Twin Peaks. This confirms that Audrey survived the bank explosion.

Source: Twin Peaks Episode Guide (Blogspot)

(Note: I have not yet found the actual Fangoria interview to verify this.)

AVC: It seems like there was set to be a lot more Audrey if things had gone differently. Reportedly, there was a discussion about Audrey getting spun off into her own series, and Billy Zane has said in the past that Audrey and his character [John Justice Wheeler] were supposed to get together on the show.

SF: Oh, my God. [Laughs.] Um… the Audrey spin-off that would’ve come about, it really ended up being the original idea for Mulholland Drive. That was either in between the first and second season or after the second season, but they were like, “What if we did a movie, and it’s Audrey in California?” And they talked about an opening scene of her driving along Mulholland Drive, and how she’s a little bit older. Whatever it was going to be, it never ended up happening for me. But I was young, and I thought it sounded weird, because no one ever really did that. I was, like, “Okay, but do people do that? Go from TV to a movie as the same character?” Then all those years later, David made the other one, and I didn’t have anything to do with it.

(Source: A. V. Club)

Audrey Horne and John Justice Wheeler.

Audrey Horne and John Justice Wheeler.

While anything short of confirmation from Lynch and Frost themselves still leaves room for debate, it has been said by Billy Zane (John Justice Wheeler) and Sherilyn Fenn that Audrey was supposed to survive the explosion. Also, at the time, Lynch had the idea in his head that, after the events of Twin Peaks, Audrey would go off to Hollywood to become an actress. Though this plot never came to fruition, it mutated, and became the film we now know as Mulholland Drive.

4) Twin Peaks uses soap opera logic.

One of the most common arguments I’ve come across is that Audrey, realistically, would not have survived the bank explosion. And I agree, but that is thinking realistically, which Twin Peaks has shown us many times that it does not do. If the Twin Peaks universe worked with realistic medical logic, many things would go out the window, including Nadine’s super-strength, Cooper getting up and running around a day after having been shot, Sarah Palmer would be seen coughing a lot more, and Leo wouldn’t have had time to regrow the muscle tissue to be able to just walk around like nothing had happened (even with physical therapy, it would have taken months for him to be able to hobble on a cane again). Furthermore, while we’re talking about Audrey and medical realism, she would also most likely have been physically dependent on heroin (or methadone) after having been drugged repeatedly at One-Eyed Jack’s. One does not simply recover from a nearly fatal drug overdose and, yet, the next day, other than looking maybe a little sleepy, Audrey is fine.

Pictured above: Audrey, not on methadone.

Pictured above: Audrey, not on methadone.

And finally, what may have happened if they’d done season 3 back then:

This is complete speculation, but here’s what I think they were planning on doing with Audrey: The bank explosion results in Audrey falling into a coma, trapped between life and death. Because she is on the verge of death, her spirit is drawn into the Black Lodge, where she interacts with Cooper, Annie, and maybe also Benjamin Horne. Meanwhile, the doctors discover that Audrey is pregnant, and send out a call for John Justice Wheeler to return.

Twin Peaks is known to be partly inspired by soap opera-style story-telling, and soap operas are notorious for having characters come back from absolute death all the time. With this in mind, I find Audrey’s death to be less than certain.