Written by Mark Frost
Published by Pan Macmillan
“Twin Peaks” is over.
Yes, yes, I know… Season 4… it could happen, yadda yadda. I say, “Nope”; and more importantly, it’s clear with this book that the “Twin Peaks” story started by Mark Frost and David Lynch all those years ago is over. Whatever may come in the future won’t be that, won’t involve the vast majority of the locations and characters in that world, and I suspect Mark Frost might not be involved at all.
The Final Dossier is named what it is for a very good reason: It’s the final word on the case of Laura Palmer, the Blue Rose investigations into the phenomena around Twin Peaks, Washington, and virtually every event shown in the three seasons of “Twin Peaks.”
The Final Dossier is a short book, only 166 pages, and those pages aren’t exactly dense with text. That said, it’s exactly as long as it needs to be. Compiled by Special Agent Tamara Preston, this is the follow-up to the Secret History archives that were presented in book form earlier this year. In effect, this is the stuff they couldn’t talk about in that book without spoiling Season Three of the show.
As Preston notes early on, this is presented in a traditional narrative rather than a collection of documents like the first book. I’m fine with that, as everyone reading this just wants their damn answers and wants them now, this writer included.
Following the most hilarious autopsy report in history of one of the first series’ most infamous characters, written of course by Albert Rosenfield in his most glorious snark, the remainder is a collection of reports by Agent Preston to Gordon Cole explaining various characters and events.
I’ll cut to the chase: This is everything you want. I think it’s clear this is Frost saying, “Okay, David had his fun mucking around with that final episode and elsewhere in that last season, so here’s the real story he was hesitant to explain.” This is Frost’s mythos come to a close. Everything is here: Jeffries to Judy, Laura to Log Lady, everything. Did you wonder where Donna was in the last season? How about Annie? Everything is here.
Here’s what’s missing, to ease your expectations, without spoilers as to what IS in the book:
There’s no explanation of Audrey Horne’s current status, although we get all of the other blanks filled in regarding her history between the original series and this one.
Chet Desmond, sadly, doesn’t appear in the Dossier and oddly seems to be forgotten almost completely by everything following Fire Walk With Me. He’s referred to vaguely in Secret History and once or twice in the most recent season of the show, but without any elaboration. I have no explanation for this and admit to being puzzled as to why Frost and Lynch would consider leaving him simply vanished, while taking so much time to explain characters like Philip Jeffries in painstaking detail. Chet is doomed to forever be a footnote despite being a founding member of the Blue Rose team.
Finally, there’s no reference to what happened in the final episode of the show. It seems as far as Frost is concerned (and as far as I’m concerned, for what that’s worth), the show ended in Episode 17, and that’s where the information in this Dossier ends. Since that episode closes up almost all of the loose ends from all three seasons of the show, this makes sense.
That’s it. The rest is in there in plain English. Mind you, there are other incomplete sections in the book and character details left out, but those can be filled in just by watching the show again and paying close attention. There’s still plenty of “WTF?” Lynchian stuff in the show, don’t get me wrong, but most of the actual plot and character points are here. The biggest incomplete fact is possibly the biggest question of the show: Who is Judy? Between the Dossier and the show, that answer is apparent. My wife and I figured that out before this book and were glad to have our theory confirmed. There’s more that isn’t laid out in plain sight, but using this book as a filter to view the show, you can solve every mystery save the two I mentioned above.
It has to be said that this is, quite literally, the end of Secret History and not a standalone book. If you watch the show and read this without reading Secret History, you’re going to be lost in several places. Preston refers to that chunk of her investigation frequently, and both it and Season Three build upon events within it. The show can stand by itself, although it is much easier to understand having read Secret History. The Final Dossier cannot. Read both, or don’t read this one, plain and simple.
I suggest the following order: “Twin Peaks” Seasons 1 and 2, Fire Walk With Me, Twin Peaks: The Secret History, “Twin Peaks” Season Three, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier. Frost recently recommended another sequence on social media, and his memory must be failing. If you follow his order, you’ll have large portions of the first series spoiled for you.
That said, if you love “Twin Peaks,” READ BOTH BOOKS. If you watch all three seasons of the show, watch Fire Walk With Me, and read these books, you’ll understand everything that’s possible to understand about the world of “Twin Peaks.” After almost 30 years of following this mythos, The Final Dossier is the perfect cherry on top, a gift from Mark Frost to fans, allowing us to see everything Lynch didn’t show us clearly, if at all.
(Note on the score: I’m knocking half a star off for the lack of Chet Desmond. Dammit.)