Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier
by Mark Frost
Like the book itself, this review assumes that you have already seen The Return. It also reveals several juicy tidbits from the book. If you’d rather discover them yourself, it would be best to delay reading this review until you’ve read the book.
The belated third season of Twin Peaks (referred to as “The Return” by its creators) was bookended by… books. Both are by Mark Frost, and both carry with them the whiff of a cash-in. The History of Twin Peaks is well put-together, but comes off more as an opportunity for Frost to write about some pet UFO theories. And this one, while much more entertaining and satisfying (because it, you know, actually deals with characters and events from the show), is a rather slim volume. But I’d be willing to bet they both sold more copies than Frost’s eleven other books.
An opening note from Tamara Preston to Gordon Cole attempts to justify the existence of the dossier, but her vague explanation requires some suspension of disbelief; most of the content doesn’t relate to FBI business. But the reader, hungry for more after watching The Return, will find it an easy leap to make.
Much of the book consists of tying up some of the loose ends left by the show’s original run, and even a few left by The Return. Lynch would, of course, hate this type of tidying up. But Frost is mindful not to harm the show’s sense of mystery. He mostly confirms things that were heavily hinted at on the show. In some cases, he’s fixing some shoddy storytelling from the show’s second season.
The Final Dossier starts off on the right track, with a funny autopsy report written in Albert’s inimitable voice. It is revealed that Leo died of gunshot wounds (suspect: Windom Earle). Albert also foreshadows the turn for the worse the town would take in the years leading to The Return. (Also foreshadowed: Gordon’s French hotel room visitor.)
Frost writes that Doctor Hayward moved to Middlebury, Vermont after the end of season 2. That is the town where the actor who plays him, Warren Frost (Mark’s father), lived out the last of his days.
Donna gets a lovely backstory that accounts for her absence from The Return.
Apparently, Shelly’s daughter Becky survived the show; she’s working in a bakery owned by Norma.
There is a strong suggestion that Audrey is in a mental hospital when we see her in The Return.
Frost writes about a prison that was built on the Ghostwood lands after Ben sold them. The point of this section is vague. Frost implies it was linked to the town’s downward trajectory, but the clearest discernible reason for its presence is for him to make a political point. (There is also later a distracting Trump reference.)
During the show’s second season, Norma is deeply hurt by her step-mother’s negative restaurant review. The book’s depiction of their past relationship doesn’t jibe with that reaction; it seems there was never any closeness between them to betray.
Cooper’s “Autobiography” is designated as non-canon by stating that the tape recordings had been heavily redacted by Diane’s tulpa.
Annie’s story is fairly haunting. I would like to think that a visit from Cooper would free her from her catatonic state.
Frost winks at James’s much-derided film noir plot: “I won’t bore you with the details.” HA!
The book provides some details that help the Ed and Norma reunion feel less contrived.
Cooper was not seen again after leaving Gordon and Diane in the boiler room.
Tammy mentions that Jeffries was distraught upon learning what year it was when he appeared in the FBI offices in 1989. Sounds a lot like Cooper at the end of The Return.
It’s confirmed that the girl in Part 8 who has a bug crawl into her mouth is Sarah Novack (later to become Palmer).
Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier