Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier
Flatiron Books, 2017
Written by Mark Frost
The final piece of Twin Peaks, for the time being, has been released. This comes in the form of co-creator Mark Frost’s meta-novel The Final Dossier. The Final Dossier continues the investigation of Tamara Preston from The Secret History of Twin Peaks. In the previous volume, she is pouring through an archive of documents about events in the Twin Peaks area dating back to the time of Lewis and Clark. In The Final Dossier, she has remained behind in the town after the events of the finale to debrief Director Gordon Cole on what has become of the townspeople and her own thoughts on what exactly happened. Beneath the surface, I read this as co-creator Mark Frost’s personal interpretation of the series. David Lynch is known for creating incredibly enigmatic art that he wants everyone involved from the actors to the viewers to interpret for themselves. It’s not too big of a jump to assume even though Frost contributed to The Return he may have different readings of what happened in the show.
The book starts by focusing on some of the outlying characters and plots, saving the meatier parts centered around Cooper and the ending for the latter half. We have some backstory given to characters like Shelly Johnson and The Hurleys that feel like story bible info that was never revealed in the original run. Then Frost offers brief rundowns on what happened between the original series and The Return. We get a few short notes on the Johnson-Briggs marriage. We learn about the string of bad luck that befell James Hurley. It’s revealed that Donna Hayward lives on the East Coast, married to a wealthy businessman. The conflict between her father and Ben Horne drove her parents into divorce and her out of the state.
Viewers are likely interested to know how the fate of Audrey Horne is revealed and the novel manages to subvert what you probably expect. Audrey woke from her coma a few months after the events of the original series. She has Richard and never pursues identifying the father. There is a falling out between Audrey and her father, and she ends up running a salon in town, refusing to live off of his fortune. She eventually married her accountant and rumors of physical and verbal abuse from her on her husband surfaced. Then, without notice, Audrey closed the salon and went into seclusion. The latest buzz around town is that she is currently in a mental health facility. I appreciated that Frost preserved the shocking final moment with Audrey and gives us a few hints of what he believes happened.
The most exciting pieces of the book are the connections made between the files on Major Garland Briggs, Phillip Jeffries, Judy, Diane, and the final fate of Dale Cooper. There is one significant truth that is revealed: Laura Palmer never died. Instead, Agent Cooper came to town in response to her disappearance. Preston still remembers the previous timeline, and it is implied that Gordon Cole does too. In Part 17 of The Return, Phillip Jeffries mentions that “Gordon will remember the official version, ” and we have Cole recalling his encounter with Jeffries, behaving as if he has forgotten it. It would make sense that Lynch would not have an interest in the scientific nature of rewriting time and would leave it as a note to ponder. Dale Cooper vanished from the Sheriff’s Office, and there is no record of what became of him, which leaves me to believe The Return was the ending of the Twin Peaks story. A fan theory is confirmed in these pages as well. The already legendary Part 8 introduced a nameless young girl in New Mexico who becomes infected with a creature birthed by Judy. Frost reveals that this young girl was indeed Sarah Palmer, but all that we know are reports from that night of strange “hobos” and people across the town falling into deep sleep. There is no resolution for Sarah beyond this mention.
The Final Dossier acts as a fun diversion, a filling in of gaps that some fans claim they wanted to be resolved in The Return. Placing them inside this supplement was the right choice because they didn’t have any real bearing on what Lynch was doing in the mini-series. Want to know what happened to Annie Blackburn? She’s in a care facility, never recovered from the attack by Windom Earle. Does it really matter what happened to Big Ed and Nadine after she regained her memories? He went back to living in misery and wasn’t able to be with Norma. There are some interesting notes about the town, such as the fact the Ghostwood property is now the home to a private prison and this has deeply eaten away at Ben Horne who is continuing to try and become a more enlightened person. But this is the thing that addresses the minutiae. It’s not a major piece of literature that will change your life, but it will add a bit to how you see the show and answer some minor questions.