By Cheryl Lee Latter
‘What you need right now, more than anything else, is a friend.’
Twin Peaks is often a story of love, but more often than that, it is a story of connections, in life, in dreams and in spirit. It is these connections, and the hope of finding them for ourselves, that can speak most deeply to the lonely souls in this community. And hasn’t that been all of us, at one time or another?
Although, in Twin Peaks, these connections often take the form of a romantic relationship, or something even more complicated, what they essentially come down to is two people who recognise a need in each other and are bonded in that need.
All of those fans who longed for Cooper and Audrey to fall in love seem to miss the point of their relationship entirely. There was undoubtedly an instant connection between them. They were both beautiful, bright, and extremely troubled. It is this third trait that bonded them. The two were so similar in so many ways, and recognised that loneliness and need in each other. Audrey could indeed have grown up to be just like Cooper.
The teenage Audrey longed for a strong male figure to love her and protect her, the figure her father never could be. Cooper was her Prince Charming, her knight in shining armour.
Audrey was upset watching Leland mourn for Laura, wrestling with her own emotions and the knowledge (from her point of view, even if not true) that her father wouldn’t grieve for her this way. When needing comfort and guidance, she went to Cooper, but in her immaturity offered her body to him, thinking that’s what men want (again, Ben is not the best role model in this regard).
Cooper could have taken advantage of that situation, but was intuitive and kind enough to see it for what it was. Instead of sleeping with her, he took the fatherly approach of offering milkshakes and fries. And don’t we love him even more for that?
This scene, the rescue from One Eyed Jack’s, and the fact that they confide in each other more than most other characters, are the reasons why their relationship is beautiful, is real, and continues to provoke discussion. Whatever the reason the story didn’t hook them up (yes, we all know the reason), it was a blessing in disguise. Reducing their connection simply to a physical attraction would lose so many of those dimensions. If only we could have seen it develop further in Season 3. The loss of that is a tragedy in itself.
Some of the most touching moments in the show focus on these moments of recognition – Cooper and Truman realising they can work in perfect partnership, Cooper and Annie being awkward and weird together in the diner, Norma treating Shelley like the daughter she never had, Renee and James dealing with the forbidden high emotion between them, Nadine and Dr Amp meeting on a dark late-night street.
Sometimes you connect so deeply with someone, and it is purely friendship. Friendship itself is wonderful and valuable and a precious gift, and shouldn’t be treated as second best. It is a treasure in itself, and is uplifting and life-changing.
What we all want is love. What we need is connection, in any form.
As fans, Twin Peaks bonds us all in one secret language that only we can hear. The deep friendships and connections we make within this community are for life. And that in itself is a powerful legacy for any work of art.