So, today is Sherilyn Fenn’s birthday and I figured that this would be the perfect time to share a scene that I love from Twin Peaks: The Return. It’s also one of the most controversial scenes from the entire 18-hour film (and make no mistake, Twin Peaks: The Return is a film). That’s saying something, considering that just about every single minute of David Lynch’s masterpiece was, at the very least, a little bit controversial.
From Twin Peaks: The Return Part 16, it’s Audrey’s Dance!
So, what’s happening here? That Audrey has undergone a great personal trauma is obvious to anyone who compares the Audrey in Twin Peaks: The Return to the Audrey in the original series. The original series ended with Audrey in a coma. In between the end of the first series and the start of the second, she was raped by the Doppelganger (apparently while she was still comatose) and she subsequently gave birth to the thoroughly evil Richard Horne. There’s a lot of horrifying things in Twin Peaks but there’s nothing as horrific as what happened to Audrey.
Where things get murky is what happened to Audrey after the birth of Richard. According to the books that Mark Frost wrote before and after Twin Peaks: The Return aired, Audrey later became a beautician and married her business manager. For that reason, I think we can discount the theory that Audrey is still in the coma and having a dream in this scene. Another popular theory is that Audrey is hallucinating in a mental hospital but again, I think we can discount that because, if she’s institutionalized, how could she become a beautician and marry her business manager?
I think a far more probable theory is that the Audrey who is living in Twin Peaks is another doppelganger and the real Audrey, like the original Cooper, is trapped in one of the lodges. I also think that it can be argued that the Road House, where Audrey dances, is itself a portal. It’s not an actual Lodge but it does seem to have a connection to the Black Lodge. Perhaps the master of ceremonies is like emcee from Mulholland Drive, revealing that everything is an illusion.
Who knows, right?
As for Audrey’s dance in this scene, it’s a callback to a time when Audrey had her entire future ahead of her. What Audrey once did playfully, she now does wistfully and with regret. And yet, there’s a lot of hope to be found in her dance, or at least there is until reality intrudes in the form of two idiots getting into a fight. That’s when Audrey (or Audrey’s doppelganger) is reminded that the world has changed and there’s no more room for happiness.
Hopefully, things have gotten better for Audrey since we last saw her.