i must say, watching the show again has only confirmed what i already knew to be true in my heart;
it's gotta be Audrey
Twin Peaks starts with a wren, a sawmill and a waterfall. Pete Martell, gone fishing, finds the body of Laura Plamer and calls the police. they come and take some pictures. Laura’s mom, realising she’s gone and trying to locate her, calls the school and her friends’ parents. the waterfall again. then, suddenly, smooth jazz kicks in just as Audrey Horne comes out of The Great Northern Hotel with a preppy spring in her step, and there's a shot of the gesture she makes with her feet, in her perfect shiny shoes, before getting into the car. it’s the first hint this isn’t your average crime drama.
when they announce Laura’s death to the class, Donna cries. James is angry. Audrey has the softest smile on her face. she’s not surprised, she’s not happy; she’s interested. she didn’t like Laura very much, but maybe she understood her better than anybody else; her secrets, her self-destructive tendencies, her boredom, her ambition, her perverse, bottomless curiosity.
Audrey is a self-made detective; in some ways she’s more of a detective than Agent Cooper. while Cooper just pays attention and follows his dream logic and intuition, sort of stumbling into big revelations, Audrey puts in the work, going out of her way to get privileged information, connecting the dots and provoking situations that make the case unfold. she monitors her father’s shady dealings through a hole in the wall. she’s the one to tell Cooper about One Eyed Jacks, her father’s involvement in it, and the potential connection with Laura (this alone is half the case). she infiltrates the prostitution ring extremely bravely even though she’s completely on her own and out of her depth. without these links, the investigation would’ve had nowhere to go.
from beginning to end, she sees people for what they really are. she sees the goodness in Agent Cooper, which is what really inspires her to get involved in the case… and with him. she sees how much Donna loved Laura, and encourages her to dig deeper into the circumstances of her death. she sees how manipulative and debased her father is, and uses her unique position to bring him down at every opportunity.
not only is she righteous, fiercely independent, bright, generous, and a great detective, she’s also playful and beautiful. she has no quandaries about manipulating and taking advantage of those who are in a position of power. she weaponises her sexuality to get what she wants. she wants so much; she wants everything. she's also kind of fucked up! her obsession with Cooper would be creepy if it wasn't coming from pretty woman, or if the genders were reversed. it's clear her father has been an extremely toxic influence. she's kinda socially isolated and suspicious of people. she likes weird lounge jazz music and doesn't mind dancing alone in public. she's a rounded, complex, lovable individual.
according to a Wikipedia article i just read, her affair with Cooper was supposed to go much further, but Kyle MacLahlan (Cooper) was dating Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna) at the time, and she vetoed the culmination of that story. instead, new characters get introduced that very quickly become love interests for both, but their arcs hit the same notes that the Cooper-Audrey story would have. given the theme of parallel worlds present in the show, it’s easy to imagine the parallel world in which Audrey and Cooper get the story they deserve.
perhaps as a result of that less than ideal development, Audrey’s appearance in season three is a bucket of ice cold reality, a reminder of just how misguided the expectations about the future people have in their youth can be; of how an initial unbridled craving for “a life of mystery and intrigue”, through years of disappointment, can easily be reduced to spending an evening convincing someone you never loved to let you out of the house.
Ed and Norma’s end, the polar opposite of Audrey’s, is the beaming light at the end of the tunnel. “there’s a part of me that thinks that… this is how it is, when you get at the end of your life and you don’t have anything to show for it” says Norma, of their situation, in season one. it takes them, in total, forty five years to do what’s right for them, but they find a way. one day, suddenly, the sky is bright, the clouds drift away, the wind ruffles the feathers in the trees, Ottis Redding sings his heart out, and you can feel the weight of time, the weight of everything that isn’t love, just evaporating into nothing. everyone else will have to keep wondering, keep fighting, but Ed and Norma have it. even if it’s just for a moment, they have it; it’s there, and it’s real, and it’s theirs. after all, there is hope; for Audrey and for all of us.
i love this show!
ps: season 3 is extremely re-watchable at 2x speed
pps: my choice of man would have to be Bobby but the reasons for that are harder to explain