Lost in the Movies: Richard Horne (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #47)

Richard Horne (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #47)

The TWIN PEAKS Character Series surveys one hundred ten characters from the series Twin Peaks (1990-91 on ABC and 2017 on Showtime as The Return), the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), and The Missing Pieces (2014), a collection of deleted scenes from that film. A new character study will appear every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday although patrons will have immediate access to each entry a month before it goes public. There will be spoilers.

A stain upon Twin Peaks drawn from its greatest admirer and one of its most prominent citizens, Richard embodies the darkness that has settled over his town after twenty-five years.

Sunday, September 25, 2016
It feels like a dangerous night at the Road House - and not only because the band onstage is Trouble. Twentysomething hoodlum Richard Horne conspicuously drags on his cigarette, a pack in his other hand, under a prominent red sign reading "no smoking." His only response when a bar employee requests that he obey their policy? "Make me." An off-duty cop intervenes only to ask for a smoke from the vicious-looking young punk. Taking the whole pack, Deputy Chad grins when he sees a wad of cash stuffed inside the container. He winks at Richard and walks off into the night, satisfied. A few young women nearby - with the demeanor of innocent but curious teenagers - glance with excited attention at the man one booth over. Charlotte works up the nerve to ask Richard for a cigarette and he invites her to his table...only to promptly grab her by the throat with one hand, fondling her breast with another while sneering threats in her ear. When Charlotte's friend tries to stand up for her, Richard just cackles at all of them and shouts "I'm gonna laugh when I fuck you, bitch!"

Monday, September 26, 2016
Richard meets with Red, a drug kingpin surveying the area, in an industrial facility near a lumberyard. He's high on what Red calls "Sparkle", impressed by its kick and eager to convince the older dealer that he can operate effectively for him. Red, a strange cat who snaps into random martial arts moves without warning, and delivers non sequiturs like "You ever seen The King and I?", reduces Richard from ferocious wolf to pathetic little chihuahua in a matter of minutes. He is not impressed, warning that he'd better not get fucked over, and laughing when Richard tries to snarl, "Don't call me 'kid'!" Red even flips a dime into the air, makes it appear in Richard's own throat, and then manifests it back into his own palm before informing his underling, "Heads I win, tails you lose." Humiliated by this encounter, Richard only discovers his courage when he's driving away in a flatbed truck. He curses the "magic motherfucker", picks up speed, and swerves around a line of cars waiting at an intersection...where he runs smack into a child frozen on the crosswalk in front of him. Panicking, he continues plowing down the road, noticing local schoolteacher Miriam watching him from the sidewalk with a shocked expression as he passes. In a field with other abandoned cars, he parks the truck and throws water on the bloodstained grill, wiping it furiously and tossing away the cloth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Richard pulls up - in a different car now - to Miriam's trailer. She shouts from behind her locked door as he approaches, warning him not to hurt her because she's already called the sheriff's office and sent a letter describing what she saw. Discovering that she just sent the letter this morning (implicitly, the officer she spoke to on the phone must have been the compromised Chad), Richard races into her home, easily breaking through her door and brutally assaulting her before turning on the gas stove to finish the job. He calls Chad and demands that he intercept Miriam's letter, furious when Chad appears noncomittal.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Nonetheless, Chad holds up his end of the bargain, texting Richard, "It's done." Assured that his hometown troubles will be over, Richard drives to his grandmother's house and storms inside, demanding money so that he can leave town with ease. The elder Horne tries to deny him, but he chokes her, calling her horrible names and threatening to assault her middle-aged son (who watches the scene with impotent horror, tied to a nearby chair). Retrieving the combination for her safe, Richard takes jewelry and cash as well as valuable silverware, along with her entire purse. He then flees Twin Peaks once and for all.

Saturday, October 1, 2016
In a criminal hideout known as "the Farm", Richard stares at a huge wall screen showing an older man, a visitor, questioning and shooting one of their members with impunity. Following this man when he leaves, Richard ends up confronting him outside of an abandoned convenience store later that night. Pulling a gun on the FBI agent named Cooper, whom Richard recognizes from a photo displayed by his mother, Richard is swiftly disarmed and kicked around. But the grim agent then invites Richard into the passenger seat and together they drive away. They eventually pull off the highway onto a dirt road terminating in a field in the middle of nowhere, and Cooper tells Richard that he's been given three coordinates to a place he's looking for. Two of those coordinates match, and Richard advises following that lead; Cooper hands him a device and tells him it will start beeping as he gets close and turn into a continuous tone when he reaches the destination. Eager to help, Richard climbs atop a large rock where the tone becomes continuous; excited, he declares that he's found the spot...only to get electrified for several long seconds, lighting up the whole area around him until finally his body just explodes and evaporates, his head shooting up in a final violent spark. Cooper, who watched this unfold impassively, makes a slight noise suggesting disappointment as the smoke - all that remains of Richard - drifts away. He says, simply, "Goodbye, my son."

Characters Richard interacts with onscreen…

Deputy Chad

Roadhouse Gang (Charlotte & Elizabeth)

Sylvia Horne

Agent Cooper ("Mr. C")

(also killed Hit and Run Boy & probably Farmer)
*retroactively added in March 2024

Musicians whose performance he is present for


Impressions of TWIN PEAKS through Richard
Although eventually he'll leave town and meet his demise far away, Richard is initially introduced and integrated with the town throughout all of his heinous deeds. We meet him at that most iconic of Twin Peaks locations, the Road House; encounter him next in proximity to the lumberyards that defined the area's industry so long ago; and watch him find his dark dramatic purpose in a hit-and-run at the same intersection where Laura and Leland were confronted by the one-armed man. His attempt to murder a beloved local schoolteacher is framed by the towering mountains in the distance, and his last appearance in town confirms him (beyond the credits' implications) as a member of the Horne family, that most distinguished - if always devious - communal presence. While I'm not sure the town has fallen as far as many viewers perceive, to the extent that Twin Peaks has hit hard times, the young Horne perfectly conveys this decline. Most notably, it's eventually revealed that Richard is the offspring of Twin Peaks' most desired relationship: a romance between Cooper and Audrey which is only realized as rape of a comatose hospital patient by a diabolical demon from another realm. Perhaps more than any other character in the third season, Richard's very existence is a subversion of the old show's warmth and good cheer. He indicates that The Return will be a harsher, more violent experience than the first two seasons but also that this violation of the more convivial spirit arises from the very heart of that world's charm.

Richard’s journey
Richard is a vicious bastard when we meet him as well as when we see him off to hell, so it might be hard to discern an arc over his screentime. Indeed, I've found myself frustrated by Richard's storyline and wondering if it really needs to exist (at times, it reads as a relic of David Lynch's and Mark Frost's original conception for Audrey, in which she'd be running a hair salon in town and - it's often implied in various interviews - supplanting Sylvia as victim of Richard's attack). Nonetheless, there is dramatic development in how Richard' story unfolds. These primarily involve his power position. Initially, he resembles Frank Booth from Lynch's Blue Velvet, a volatile, terrifying presence dominating everything around him. This mask of confident violence quickly slips, however, when Richard is confronted by Red's alpha energy, sending the increasingly pathetic "kid" into a spiral of pathetic, self-righteous desperation from which he'll never recover. Notice how even the loser Chad disrespects Richard during their phone call; for the most part - excepting his disabled uncle and the barman attempting to enforce a "no smoking" rule - Richard can dominate women and children, but other men usually dominate him. This is revealed over the course of his storyline; the more overwhelmed he becomes, the more despicable his actions. It's hard to imagine he could go downhill from his vicious strangulation and mockery of Charlotte, but somehow every episode makes us hate him even more. Finally, confronted with the Big Bad of The Return in his own father, he becomes docile and even eager to please. This reverses the trajectory of his villainy while reaching the logical conclusion of his journey: toward complete victimization at the hand of much stronger bullies and manipulators (despite his own best efforts).

Actor: Eamon Farren
Farren likely owes his place in Twin Peaks directly to Lynch...not David, but Jennifer. The daughter of the Peaks co-creator cast him in her film Chained several years before he shot The Return; he plays a young man raised from childhood and groomed for murder by a serial killer (Vincent D'Onofrio). The character's name is the very (David) Lynch-sounding "Rabbit", with further Lynchian connections established way back in his first screen appearance as a teenager in the Showtime film The Outsider, starring fellow Australian Naomi Watts. After that debut, he showed up in guest appearances on Australian shows like The Sleepover Club and All Saints as well as the major HBO production The Pacific. One of his most prominent roles prior to Peaks was as Ava in the Australian biopic Carlotta, about a transgender pioneer on the continent, which earned him a Supporting Actor trophy from the Australian Academy Awards. Indeed, much of Farren's work has been in his home country, including films like Dark Frontier, Careless Love, and Girl Asleep although he's also shown up in British or American productions including The Dig, Mohawk, and Lingua Franca (plus the Poirot reboot series The ABC Murders). He's consistently appeared on stage too, most notably in the Cate Blanchett-helmed version of Chekhov's The Present, which wound up on Broadway the same year as The Return. Much of his work in recent years has been on the series The Witcher, where he's played Cahir in fourteen episodes. (film pictured: Chained, 2012)

*Part 5 (Showtime title: "Case files." - best episode)

Part 6 (Showtime title: "Don't die.")

Part 10 (Showtime title: "Laura is the one.")

Part 13 (Showtime title: "What story is that, Charlie?")

Part 15 (Showtime title: "There's some fear in letting go.")

Part 16 (Showtime title: "No knock, no doorbell.")

Richard is onscreen for roughly twenty-six minutes. He is in nine scenes in six episodes, taking place over a week. He's featured the most in part 6, when he hits the kid with his truck. His primary location is the industrial area where he talks to Red - unless you count "the road" as its own location since he spends so much time driving. He shares the most screentime with Cooper (as Mr. C). He is one of the top ten characters in parts 5, 10, and 16, and one of the top three in part 6. And he is the ninth-highest ranked character introduced in the third season (tenth if we include Diane despite original series dialogue addressed to her).

Best Scene
Part 5: Richard is introduced with a thick air of menace as he smokes at the Road House and harasses other patrons.

Best Line
“Little fuckin' smoking babies.”

Richard Offscreen

Part 10: Ben receives Sylvia's distressing call and learns that Richard has just beaten her up and stolen money - "thousands of dollars" (which she wants Ben to pay her).

Part 13: Frank visits Ben to tell him about Ben's crimes and asks if he'll pay Miriam's hospital bills since she doesn't have insurance. Ben immediately agrees, and informs the sheriff, "That boy has never been right." He also references Harry's run-ins with Richard over the years, "each worse than the last" and laughs when Frank wonders if the fugitive will contact his grandfather: "We pretty much lost contact when I refused to give him any more money." Ben then relays the information to his assistant, tells her that the grandson never had a father, and then shares a story about his relationship to his own father.

Part 17: Ben receives a call from Wyoming informing him that Jerry is in police custody there, claiming that "his binoculars killed somebody." No one involved realizes that the death Jerry witnessed was Richard's.

Additional Observations

• In addition to the scenes described above, Richard's storyline also unfolds in action and dialogue that doesn't reference him at all. Few other characters in The Return spur so much activity outside of their own direct or even indirect presence. Several minutes are spent with the grieving mother after her son is run over, with Carl Rodd providing what comfort he can. In Part 7, Andy questions a farmer who owns the truck that Richard was driving during the hit and run; they arrange a rendezvous later but the farmer never shows and a shot of his door left ajar suggests that maybe Richard paid a visit to shut him up. Chad follows through and intercepts Miriam's letter in Part 10 (though in Part 14 he's arrested, possibly for the discovery of this tampering). In Part 11, we see a bloodied Miriam crawl out of the woods to be discovered by a group of kids and in Part 12 we see her lying bruised and asleep in her hospital room.

• Likewise, Richard crosses over into quite a few other characters' stories, a rarity in a season where many townspeople keep to their own closed loops. His maniacal spree connects to the corruption at the sheriff's office, the drug trade involving Shelly's lover and daughter, Carl Rodd's role as comforter and visionary, Ben's melancholy relationship to Beverly, Mr. C's trek across the northern country, and even Jerry getting lost in the woods. And, of course, Richard implicitly links up to his own mother's sequestered entanglement with Charlie - although we're never quite sure how. (Some read her cryptic references to Billy, Chuck, and the like, including a stolen and returned car, as sideways nods to Richard and the farmer although the anecdotes aren't exactly 1:1.)

• Richard is mentioned a few times in Mark Frost's novel The Final Dossier, though the passages are mostly devoted to other characters. Tammy acknowledges that he remains at large as far as law enforcement is concerned, and writes about how Audrey raised him without any contact with Ben - which is not exactly the implication left by Ben's comments to Frank (this also seems hard to imagine with the mother sticking around a small town).

• Wearing a similar if not identical costume in most scenes, Richard blurs the lines between different days in his story arc. As noted in the Chad entry, the attack on Miriam and Chad's interception of her letter must be a day apart, given how the U.S. post office works, but even so they make more sense in immediate conjunction with one another (perhaps why Lynch and editor Duwayne Dunham squeezed them into the same episode). Since Miriam survives and crawls through the woods to be rescued, wouldn't the cops already know who attacked her and be on the lookout for Richard before he had a chance to escape (let alone go after his grandma, whose guards at least would presumably be alerted to his danger by the police)? Or is Miriam unable to speak, and the knowledge that Frank conveys to Ben only arrives when they somehow discover the letter than Chad was supposed to hide, a day or two later? Since we never really learn the grounds for Chad's arrest, this is all the more up for speculation. Whatever the intent, contextual clues lead us to place Richard's departure from Twin Peaks a couple days after the hit-and-run.

• Richard's last name is not revealed in dialogue until one of his final scenes, but for whatever reason Lynch decided to spoil the surprise immediately after his first appearance in that episode's end credits. By the time Frank Truman learns that Doc Hayward saw Cooper walk toward Audrey's hospital room a couple episodes later, most viewers were putting two and two together.

• The character's introduction takes on a "meta" quality considering that we cut from director Lynch's own son (who is in the group Trouble) to main character Cooper's offspring. Riley Lynch and Richard Horne even have a similar haircut and facial structure although presumably the parallels end there.

Next (available now): Evelyn Marsh
Previous: Harold Smith

To immediately read a month of upcoming entries, updated weekly to stay a month ahead...

(at the time of publication, this includes full entries on new or revised characters among #46 - 33)

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