We love her. She has style. She is ambitious, focused, and completely focuses our attention on her. No, not Laura…Audrey. Audrey has a way of taking over the narrative in ways that distract from the whole story and sometimes distract Cooper from his path. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing Audrey; I love her too. I feel sorry that she has a very unhealthy relationship with her family and the town at large. I empathize with her tears during Leland’s dancing. She does help out and wants to be useful. But sometimes she does distract and sometimes not in a good way.
A Minor Distraction in Season 1
When we first meet her, she is walking out of the Great Northern to a waiting car to be driven off to school. This was right after Laura was found dead. When the students are mourning Laura, there’s Audrey looking coolly away. It’s almost as if she wants the camera drawn to her and away from the suffering. Not because she’s not caring (she is one of the more empathic characters) but because she wants the attention more than Laura. Laura and her were always competing with each other, for good cause, this was just another source of competition. Then she distracts from the heavy pall of mourning descending on the town to mischievously cause the Norwegians to leave. We don’t know why at that moment except that she likes to cause chaos.
Early Interactions with Cooper
Throughout the first season we see Cooper and Audery share a breakfast table periodically. The first time was to get them to meet and interact so Cooper can get to know some of the prime movers in the town better. The second time, just before Laura’s funeral, she was a distraction. She distracted Cooper by her perfume and she distracted him from waiting for Harry and Lucy. She tried to distract him only a few days later but he was tired and a little on edge. So Cooper didn’t pay attention to her.
But throughout the entirety of the first season she sort of helps too. She tries to solve the murder but not for Laura’s benefit, for her own. Again, a distraction. It isn’t until the Second Season that she is the ultimate distraction and it is mirrored again in Season 3.
When we open up on Season 2, Cooper is shot and he has his encounter with the Giant. Then we cut away from this to find out what happened to Audrey while her father is coming into the Little Flower Room. After Ben leaves because of the s-n-a-g, we return to Cooper’s monologue. No other character do we learn the fate of. Other characters were on the edge of death. Shelly, Catherine, and Pete were trapped in the fire. Leo is shot. Leland has just killed a man. Nadine had just attempted suicide. There are other more dire situations that warrant answers than Audrey’s. Why place her scene right in the middle of Cooper’s shooting, vision and monologue? Maybe to break it up. But it was Lynch directing. He wouldn’t have cared about the length of the scene, as we have all heard his legendary words on scene length. Maybe the mere act of almost incest was to serve as a foreshadowing to the reveal of Leland as the killer. This is entirely possible, but with Twin Peaks there’s always a second motive, a second meaning to everything. Could it be that she was to distract us from Cooper’s shooting momentarily, to make us forget about what the Giant said, to focus our attention away from some important clue giving?
The last we see her in that episode was when Cooper is just getting to sleep, right before the Giant comes again. She has her prayer to Cooper. Again why interrupt a potentially important Cooper scene for Audrey to pray to him? Could it be her taking over the narrative again?
The next scene where Cooper and Audrey are intertwined is the scene where he has “the owls are not what they seem dream” in the next episode. It seems like we were just about to get some crucial information about BOB and there is Audrey, calling him to talk. Granted she’s in a dangerous situation. Again, why is this scene placed there except to prove to be a distraction to Cooper. Moreover, she just asks why Cooper hadn’t come, talks about him in his tuxedo and says that she’s coming home. Why waste time calling him? Just get home girl!
Cooper is suddenly getting answers in the case. Pearl Lakes are a thing. We know at this point that Leland is capable of murder and suddenly Cooper is going off to rescue Audrey from One Eyed Jacks. Why distract himself from the main case?
Granted, the case had yet to be solved. Granted, the killer had already killed two young women and almost killed one more. Granted, One Eyed Jacks just proved to be important to the case. So Cooper may have taken her danger as legitimate. But does anyone have the feeling that Cooper was starting to ken to the truth and he was simply unwilling to admit to it yet? In fact, he absents himself from the station most of the day during Demons. He was caring more for Audrey than the case at hand. The case that was heating up while he was gone. Does anyone feel that Audrey was just distracting him? She didn’t mean to distract him but it fell awfully convenient in the narrative for Cooper to turn his attention away from the Palmer case and focus on Audrey, probably to the detriment of the investigation. Because it was just at that moment when Ben Horne started to look like the perfect suspect.
Audrey even interrupts him just at the perfect moment when he’s reading Laura’s threat against Ben in her torn up diary. Audrey comes in to say that Ben owns One Eyed Jacks leading to his arrest and the ultimate red herring for Cooper. Largely because of Audrey’s coloring of Cooper’s reading of that specific passage of the diary, Cooper misses that the Owls were in the Roadhouse and warning him that it was happening again. They had already captured their man! Cooper probably thought that they don’t need to worry about another murder happening. With Audrey’s help, Cooper not only got the wrong man, but he got put on totally the wrong path for a few episodes.
Audrey proves not to be a distraction anymore once Laura’s murder is solved, until Lynch directs yet again. And yet again Audrey provides the first scene for us right after Cooper goes in and Sycamore Trees sound. Yes, we also have the diner scene but that just is a way to get Major Briggs warned with a little eerie lightness at the beginning. It’s this scene at the bank which really bifucates the action. At least with the Diner, we have a little bit about the main narrative, but here it’s sort of cutting away, distracting us from what is happening at the Lodge.
We wanted to see her, and hear from her again, but all of her scenes are outside the rest of the narrative and started very late in the season. It started in Part 12, and most of her story seems disconnected. She’s worried about Billy, she conflicts with her husband. She can’t leave the house. She obviously feels trapped. She does her dance. While we were at this late point in the narrative trying to make sense of Audrey? Was she distracting us from what was really happening. Was she the hole in the donut? Did Lynch purposefully lump all of her story together in this area to prove as a red herring to focus on while he was setting us up for some major unravelings/ Remember, in this episode we get Diane saying “Let’s Rock” rather curiously. We get Tammy’s induction and first briefing about Blue Rose. We get Sarah’s freak out and anger at Hawk. Yet those are things we barely look at, barely talk about, but, boy, do we hash it out about Adurey’s strange state. Could it be that Lynch placed Audrey’s narrative right there to distract us from other important questions we really should be asking?.
One further observance.
I noticed too that when Audrey proves to be a distraction, besides her kidnapping, when she interrupts Cooper in some way or fashion, It’s always in a Lynch Directed episode. Was she Lynchs’s twisted version of a femme fatale? Is this what I was unknowingly hinting at when I drew the comparison between Audrey and the Sternwood women in the Big Sleep (“Big Sleep and Twin Peaks“) ? The femme fatale distracts the hero from the main case. Proves to be his temptation. Is she tempting us to something?
Audrey, we love her but is she really drawing our eyes away from something?