The Distinction Is Clear or is it? Time to Analyze Twin Peaks the Return Episode 13 Through a Sherlockian Lens

Episodes 12 & 13:  The Distinction Is Clear

WARNING: Do not read this article if you haven't been watching up through episode 13 of Twin Peaks: The Return.  We don't want to spoil your fun!

“You see, but you do not observe.  The distinction is clear.”
            --- A Scandal In Bohemia

Brian: Things are speeding up as we enter the final third of Twin Peaks: The Return.  While some earlier episodes… have… seemed… mmm… padded (and that’s putting it kindly)… the last few episodes have roared to life, tantalizing us as plot threads intertwine and hint at possible resolutions.   Of all the recent surprises, none have been more welcome for me than the return of fan-favorite character Audrey Horne.  Her scene is split between the last two episodes, and reveals such a wealth of information that it demands special attention.

First, to see; then to observe.

On first viewing, the scene is straightforward:  Audrey is now married and asks her husband to come with her to the Road House to look for “Billy”.  Her husband, Charlie, begs off, stating that he’s too tired and has a lot of paperwork to catch up on.  Audrey states that she loves Billy and has been sleeping with him.  Charlie relents and calls “Tina”, asking if she’s seen Billy.  Whatever Tina tells Charlie seems to upset him.  He refuses to tell Audrey what Tina said.

The scene continues in the next episode.  Audrey is still asking Charlie to come with her, and Charlie still refuses.  Audrey states that she doesn’t feel like herself – “I don’t know who I am, but I’m not me”.  Charlie dismisses this and makes veiled threats to Audrey, who uncharacteristically backs off.  End of scene.

What have we observed?  First of all, the mention of the Road House implies that Audrey still lives in Twin Peaks, or nearby.  However, Audrey says that she doesn’t know how to get to the Road House!  We know from the original series that Audrey has been to this local landmark at least a few times (Miss Twin Peaks Pageant, for example) and as a resident of Twin Peaks, she should be familiar with its location. 

As mentioned above, Audrey does not believe that she is herself.  She cries about how everything seems like a “ghost wood” --- does she not remember Ghost Wood, the forest surrounding Twin Peaks?  The forest where characters interact with denizens of the Lodges?  Charlie finally gets Audrey under control by threatening to “end her story, too”, to which she replies, “Whose story is that, Charlie?”

Clearly, Charlie has some form of control over Audrey.  Mention is made of a contract between the two of them.  He seems surprised that she wants to break their agreement.  Audrey wants Charlie to sign some papers, but Charlie refuses to do so before having his lawyer review them. 

And then there’s the mysterious “Billy”.  In an earlier episode, someone walked into the Double-R Diner and asked if anybody had seen Billy.  So, Billy has been missing for at least a few days… or has he?  Between the last two episodes, story arcs have continued overnight, but Audrey and Charlie are still in the same clothes and same location in both episodes, implying that they are taking place in one continuous scene.   Wherever Audrey and Charlie are, they seem to be out of sync with the rest of the series.  Their scene could be taking place now, yesterday, a week ago… without more information, it’s impossible to tell. 

Derrick:  This is not the only scene which seems out of sync.  In episode 13, Bobby tells Norma and Big Ed that he had found the message from his father earlier that day.  However, this does not seem possible. We saw Bobby in the Double R diner at night after his daughter tried to shoot her husband through the wall of his girlfriend's apartment.  That was the night after he discovered Major Briggs's message.  It seems impossible that both events occurred during the same night.

Then there is the unsettling scene of Sarah Palmer watching a boxing match on TV in her home.  The boxing match is in a strange loop, with a 30 second clip repeating over and over again.  Sarah Palmer earlier that day (Was it the same day?) had been visited by Deputy Hawk.  When he was speaking to her on the front steps of the house, he hear a noise coming from the kitchen.  He asked, "Is someone in your house?"  This makes one recall the Giant in the first episode telling Cooper "It is in the house now."  So what is in the house?  And why does time seem so out of whack? And does this tie in with the incorrect historical facts in Mark Frost's The Secret History of Twin Peaks?  Maybe the most important question: How are Lynch and Frost going to wrap this up in the remaining few episodes?

Brian:  What is in the house?  When Sarah abruptly left the grocery store (her dialogue suggesting that she's being taken over by a spirit from one of the Lodges), one of the clerks says that he could deliver her groceries to her house.  Apparently, Sarah is well-known at the store, since the employees know where she lives and Sarah never actually paid for her groceries before leaving.  When we see Sarah's living room again, we see the vodka bottles on her table.  So, the clerk dropped off the groceries, and it is possible that Sarah, possessed by a Black Lodge entity (a la Leland and Bob) kidnapped the clerk and is holding him prisoner in the kitchen.  The violence on Sarah's TV, replaying in an endless loop, would seem to suggest this as well.

Getting back to Billy, Charlie does mention that someone named Chuck had stolen Billy’s truck and that Billy called the police about it, but never pressed charges.  So, that would mean that Billy is the person who Deputy Andy Brennan was supposed to meet at 4:30 but who never appeared.  This has further implications, as “4-3-0” was one of the things that the Giant told Good Cooper to keep an eye out for back in the Lodge.  Billy had seemed very nervous when talking to Andy.  He may have left town to avoid danger.  He may be dead.

Derrick:  Most likely, he is dead.  While Andy waited for Billy under the sycamore trees, we saw the exterior of Billy's house with the front door left wide open.  It seemed like a sign that Richard Horne had paid Billy a visit and we know what that means.  Still, this is Twin Peaks.  Characters come back all the time, even dead ones.


What we know for certain:

- Audrey and Charlie are married.  It is not a happy marriage.
- Audrey loves Billy and has been sleeping with him.
- Billy is missing.
- Audrey and Charlie have an agreement which Audrey wishes to terminate.
- Charlie has leverage of some kind over Audrey.
- Audrey claims that she does not know who she’s become.
- Audrey does not know the location of the Road House, despite having been there in the original series.

This is the part of the story where Holmes would tie up all the loose threads and announce who the criminal is.  In the absence of the Great Detective, and with Twin Peaks’ own champion currently indisposed (split between Dougie and Evil Coop), we the viewers must reach our own conclusions.  Is Audrey suffering a coma dream?  Is she trapped in a version of the Black Lodge, tormented by her personal Bob, Charlie?  Is she alive, but experiencing memory loss as a result of the bank explosion?

One final thought:  is Szymond’s bakery in Las Vegas one of Norma’s franchises?

Belanger Books is a small press owned by artist Brian Belanger and author Derrick Belanger specializing in new Sherlock Holmes books, Children's books, Steampunk, and genre specific anthologies.  Some of our books have been #1 bestsellers in their categories on Amazon. 


Popular posts from this blog

Could Sherlock Holmes, Franz Kafka, and H.P. Lovecraft Make Sense of Twin Peaks: The Return Episode 8?

Sherlock Holmes Fans Rejoice! Solar Pons is Back!! Available on Kickstarter!

'Tis the Season for Sherlock Holmes Novellas, Hardcover editions of Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of H.G. Wells, and Books From our Friends at MX Publishing