For viewers who tuned into Twin Peaks: The Return to eagerly find out what happened to fan-favorite character Audrey Horne, the events of the third season proved to be surprising — and, for some, even maddening — for what befell the town’s resident high-school vixen. Finally appearing more than halfway through the season, Audrey’s few scenes were dominated by prolonged chats with a bespectacled, short man who’s later identified as her husband, with her arc ultimately concluding on the jarring visual of her waking up in a bright room. “She’s clearly been in a coma this entire time,” some viewers posited. “No, she’s actually in a mental hospital,” others argued. The theories were aplenty and rife with interpretation, which was only amplified by David Lynch and Sherilyn Fenn’s silence on Audrey’s fate. (What — you didn’t expect an easy answer from them, did you?) However, thanks to the release of Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier — an established part of the series’ canon — we actually get satisfying answers about what was going on with Audrey.
With the novel structured as classified FBI files, we learn that Audrey awoke from her coma — the result of the bank-vault explosion in the season-two finale — after three and a half weeks. As we discovered in The Return, she gave birth to her demonic son, Richard, after she was raped in the hospital by Agent Cooper’s doppelgänger, which halted her plans to continue life as a normal high-school student. She received her GED and eventually opened up a popular beauty salon in the Twin Peaks area after taking some community-college courses, mostly keeping to herself and not maintaining any social relations in the town. This changed, though, when Richard turned 10 and, “without warning,” Audrey married her longtime accountant. “Witnesses close to the situation suggest that this was more of a marriage of financial convenience than affection,” the novel explains, with “troubling accounts of public scenes, heavy drinking, verbal abuse, and sexual infidelity” on Audrey’s part. Although he’s not specifically named, we can assume that this accountant is Charlie in The Return.
Audrey’s life continued along these lines for a few years (during which she consulted a mental-health professional), until four years ago, when — again, without warning — she unexpectedly shuttered her salon and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. “[S]he seemed to vanish from public life, into agoraphobic seclusion, or, one troubling rumor suggests, a private care facility,” the novel explains. “The Horne family spokesperson has refused to respond to all inquiries regarding her whereabouts.” The rest is up for us to decide.
So, what did we learn here? She definitely wasn’t subjected to a prolonged coma, nor did she find herself trapped in the Red Room. Logic dictates — if Audrey’s final moment in The Return is any indication — that she likely suffered some sort of mental breakdown and was confined to a private unit in a psychiatric hospital, where she dreamed up that “Audrey’s Dance” reprise at the Roadhouse. Isn’t it too dreamy?