Preliminary Report on Mark Frost's The Final Dossier!
Mark Frost's new novel Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier (2017) was finally released today, so the final decompression can finally begin. Peakers worldwide are now meticulously combing it and its prequel novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks (2017) for hints and clues about what the hell is going on in Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). Luckily, Mark Frost's provides several important insights, helping to all but confirm the most prominent fan theory for Audrey Horne.
And just as importantly, most fans are left with huge question marks about what exactly happened to the many beloved characters whose fates also went entirely unaddressed in the series proper. Most of the characters of Twin Peaks did not show up for The Return felt entirely uncharacteristically abandoned in the series, or were touched on so obliquely that we really still have no idea what is really going on with the characters in the show. Such as poor Audrey above.
But with great novelistic power, comes great novelistic responsibility, and Mark Frost is up to the challenge to help provide some satisfying closure for these beloved characters without necessarily closing the door on creating new seasons of the TV series in the future. It is a tight balancing act, but Mark Frost seems more than up to the task in this potentially final Twin Peaks outing.
In a recent interview with Variety, Mark Frost explained "David and I talked for a year before we ever started working [on The Return], so there’s no doubt that some of those ideas [in the new book] came up during that period of time. But also, you know, it was [me saying], 'David, you go make the show, and do what you do best, and I’m gonna do that with the books.' So you have to trust your partner."
Strangely, around the time Twin Peaks: The Return began first airing, David Lynch was questioned about whether Mark Frost's first prequel novel Secret History should be considered canon and Lynch's response was, honestly, surprisingly dismissive. Lynch never read Frost's novel and remarked that it represented Frost's vision of Twin Peaks and not necessarily David Lynch's. And if you wanted to see Lynch's version of what happened, watch The Return.
One assumes David Lynch's remarks apply to Frost's follow-up novel, too, The Final Dossier. At first I was a little dumbfounded at what could potentially sound like a little an undercurrent of hostility between the two co-creators. The two joint showrunners definitely had their disagreements in the past, including an alleged disagreement about making Fire Walk with Me a prequel instead of a sequel film to the series.
But could the two co-writers really be at odds that much, or is there something else being revealed about the Twin Peaks narrative by Lynch's reaction? When I began thinking of an alternate explanation for Lynch's remarks, I began to think about the parallel realities that seem to exist in the TV series and media tie-in novels of Twin Peaks.
Is it possible that the two showrunners have meticulously crafted a multi-dimension crossover story that actually shifts around different planes of Earth? After all, Twin Peaks Limited Even Series "The Return" does imply the existence of several different dimensions and planes of existence, and perhaps even alternate realities.
To avoid spoilers, I will point out that the finale of Season 3 does feature possible time travel undoing a central act of the story before the series even began, implying a different reality might exist other than the one we saw in the original Twin Peaks (1990-91) TV series. We see a certain someone go fishing peacefully, implying a very different set of events transpired. Although, there are difficult leaps of logic to account for still, this would help explain many of the discrepancies between Frost's novel and the original series, i.e. the origin of Nadine losing an eye.
So maybe David Lynch was not trying to be dismissive of Mark Frost's novel, but he was stating a truth that the novel is simply describing a different version of the world of Twin Peaks than the one David Lynch himself is currently exploring in the finale of The Return. And what is interesting is that the many mysteries left open ended in the TV show and the novels might actually have some answers when cross-referenced more carefully in the future.
So I would argue that the important thing to remember is that regardless of potential dimension hopping, time travel, and paradoxes, Mark Frost wanted to give a gift of closure to Twin Peaks fans in his novels, but without closing the door on future seasons of Twin Peaks. And in that respect, he succeeded and his novels are must reads for die-hard Twin Peaks fans.
In some ways, Mark Frost's Twin Peaks dyad of The Secret History and The Final Dossier, remind me of similar world-building tie-in books The Simarillion and The World of Ice & Fire, which complement their respective fantasy worlds, too. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Simarillion augments the characters, mythos, and world of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which was recently adapted into the uber-successful blockbuster trilogies The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, too. And George R.R. Martin's The World of Ice & Fire, of course, similarly fleshes out the background of his famous book series A Song of Ice and Fire, which was also recently adapted into HBO's highly successful TV series Game of Thrones (2011-18).
More casual fans can probably skip these novels without much guilt, but for the more hardcore fans of these various fictional universes, they are all essential reading. So if even a little part of you wants to craft your own theories someday about the open-ended mysteries of the TV universe Twin Peaks, then Mark Frost's novels are essential reading.
Frost's novels have some very entertaining moments, too, and do provide some juicy info tidbits here and there throughout the text. Thankfully, The Final Dossier is a little more pointed in that regard, highlighting the more vital pieces of information than The Secret History did, which was a more sprawling and history-centric text.
One such tidbit is Leo Abel Johnson's autopsy report, which shows that although he did have some non-lethal tarantula bites, his cause of death was definitely that of multiple 9 mm caliber gunshot wounds. Whoa! Someone actually tracked down and shot Leo to death in that cabin out in the woods, but after he suffered from the tarantula booby- trap.
Windom Earle was stuck in the Black Lodge with Agent Cooper at the time, having left Leo in a convoluted contraption. Is it even possible Earle could have backtracked back to the cabin to finish him off with a pistol before rushing back? Highly doubtful. So did Mr. C (aka BOB-Coop, aka Doppel-Coop) hunt down Earle's cabin in the woods and eliminate Leo Johnson for... reasons? If so, why did BOB-Coop not use Agent Cooper's recently FBI issued 10 mm caliber sidearm for the job? Where did the 9 mm pistol come from? From Major Briggs, by chance?
Another juicy tidbit revolves around the fate of audience favorite character Audrey Horne, who the last we saw in the classic series was apparently blown up in Thomas Eckhardt's safety deposit box bomb booby-trap. The Secret History revealed Pete Martell threw himself at Audrey Horne to shield her from the explosion.
The Return dropped little nuggets of information about Audrey being in a coma shortly after BOB-Coop left the hospital after smashing Agent Cooper's face in a mirror. Before leaving the hospital, Doc Hayward recalls seeing Coop leave the room where Audrey was being held unconscious. Piecing together things, it soon became clear that BOB raped Audrey via Cooper's possessed body during her coma and she gave birth to a son, Richard. Richard Horne grew up into easily one of the most deplorable human beings of the whole series.
Then The Return showed three very short and obscure scenes of Audrey Horne interacting with her little person husband Charlie with no concern over her son Richard's murder spree through town, but is instead concerned by the disappearance of her boyfriend "Billy." In Audrey's final scene, she surreally dances her classic diner dance from Season 1, but as a much older woman while in the middle of a strangely attentive audience at The Roadhouse before she apparently wakes up to reality of herself in a white room, wearing white, in shock as she stares at her own face in a round vanity mirror.
This instigated several fan theories, the three most popular of which are as follows:
1. "Audrey is still left in a coma from the explosion that went off 25 years earlier at the bank. She never woke up."
2. "Audrey did wake up from the coma, but was left brain damaged from the incident and she is hallucinating while living our her life in a mental institution."
3. "Audrey's rape and birth of a part Lodge entity has caused her mind to get, at least part way, stuck in the Black and/or White Lodges or their various waiting rooms. She requires assistance from Agent Cooper escaping her multi-dimension prison."
Mark Frost offers some clues in The Final Dossier that reveal Audrey spent three and a half weeks in a coma from the bank explosion before waking up. She was pregnant with Richard and had to drop out of high school and later completed her GED (high school equivalency test). She apparently raised Richard by herself while owning a hair salon. Audrey did marry her accountant, in a clear marriage of convenience, who apparently is the little person Charlie from Audrey's hallucinations in The Return.
At the time of the series, Special Agent Tammy Preston is unable to verify where Audrey Horne is, as Audrey seemed to have some type of break down as she shuttered her salon permanently and was never publicly heard of or seen again. Preston does question the Hornes about whether or not Audrey is being kept in a rumored private care mental health hospital, but the Horne spokesperson declined to comment. But it is heavily implied that all the evidence points to that being exactly where Audrey Horne is now. So while we cannot be one hundred percent sure, it seems theory number 2 is correct.
The crucial final words of the original Twin Peaks was a possessed Cooper repeating over and over again, "How's Annie? How's Annie? How's Annie," while maniacally laughing. Annie Blackburn's character was mentioned offhandedly once in The Return in context of Laura Palmer's dream of Annie communicating a message to her about the "Good Dale" being stuck in the Lodge and she should write it in her diary. Aside from this one mention by Sheriff Truman, she is never referred to again throughout The Return.
Oddly enough, Annie Blackburn is apparently also kept in a mental health facility, where once a year and once a year only she speaks the only words she ever speaks on the anniversary of her exit from the Black Lodge, "I'm fine." Although she is alive, her mental state is apparently even more damaged than Audrey's, at this time. A BOB-possessed Cooper certainly leaves a lot of psychic damage to his female victims in his wake, helping to explain the extreme distress Diane always seems to be suffering.
Meanwhile, Donna Hayward apparently left Twin Peaks and never turned back. Not much else is revealed about her fate beyond that, probably in the hopes of bringing her character back for a future season of Twin Peaks.
As for Laura Palmer (SPOILER WARNING), after the events of the Twin Peaks finale we are mostly lead to believe everything changed and was erased from the original Twin Peaks timeline. However, we do discover that Laura Palmer (although never found murdered) did disappear from home permanently and became a missing person. And apparently, Cooper was sent briefly to Twin Peaks to investigate, implying some of his investigation could have still played out similarly to the way it did in the original timeline.
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