Mr. Reindeer wrote:LateReg wrote:I like 17 and 18, but I like 18 a lot more as an ending. Despite its ambiguity, it's 18 that really brought all the themes together and tied everything into a neat little bow, relatively speaking. One major theme is identity, and the sex scene is a huge part of driving that home. As Reindeer notes, I think the sex scene is a brilliantly disturbing thing. I don't know that it would have been more effective with Audrey or Annie, because while we the viewer know them, Cooper has known Diane for a far longer period of time than either Audrey (a month?) or Annie (a week?) has. Diane knows him better than anyone, which is something that The Return focused on throughout its 18 hours, and that's part of what makes that scene so effective, that the person who knows him best either can't recognize him or is seeing that he's a mix of all the good and bad things she's blocked out and is literally trying to block out as her trauma (another focal point) comes flooding back. Furthermore, the meta-element of McLachlan reteaming with Dern, the young lovers from Blue Velvet explicitly referenced by Lynch in the making of feature, is a consummation 30 years in the making. From my point of view, that contributes to the scene's power.
All good points. I think the counterargument for the scene being potentially more effective with Audrey is that the audience has way more history with her, even if Cooper doesn’t. While Cooper may have a far longer history with Diane, we just met her as a character whereas we’ve been invested in Audrey and her friendship with Dale for 25 years. And I think her youth when Cooper raped her and robbed her of her innocence makes that the more heinous and poignant of the two violations. Personally, I think the scene would have probably been even more horrifying with Audrey. In a way, that might have been too painful a scene for the audience. But you make good points about the scene as it stands, and I certainly think it works terrifically for those reasons. I definitely think it would be way less meaningful with Annie because we don’t have any reason to believe Cooper ever violated her, so that would defeat a large part of the scene’s effectiveness.
Re: Audrey, that's very true. The problem for me would be getting her there. The Return was very realistic in how certain characters just aren't as meaningful to the central storyline, so Diane is the only one who makes sense for Cooper to travel through time/space with. There would be no reason for that same exact scenario to occur with Audrey, other than that she is who the audience identifies with, which is not a good reason, imo. Of course, they could have focused on Audrey more throughout, on her violation at the hands of Cooper similar to Diane's storyline, and then eventually got there. But it wouldn't be as simple as replacing Diane with Audrey, because it HAD to be Diane that Albert went to find at that bar, since she is the one who knows Cooper best. A sex scene with Audrey could have occurred, but I think it would have had to have been arrived at through different plotting.
All that said...I'm still not entirely certain we ever truly saw Diane, which further complicates this discussion. We saw her tulpa. We saw a version of Diane who looked like the black lodge/red room. I love this little talked about aspect of the series, that we finally meet Diane and yet still maybe don't truly meet her after all. She still remains a mystery and, Missing Pieces scene not withstanding, may yet be some figment of Cooper's imagination or merely representative of someone who he treats as existent only to respond to his beck and call.