For those that had trouble digesting the very densely packed Secret History of Twin Peaks, The Final Dossier may be more of a fun read. Plus, it’s way shorter.
While I enjoyed the Secret History, it took me forever to get through it because, frankly, some parts of history are boring. It goes all the way back to Lewis & Clark’s expeditions (maybe even before, it’s been a while) up through the 1990s. But overall, I enjoyed how the Twin Peaks mythos was fit into real-world history. I think it’s well worth reading for Margaret and Carl Rodd’s alien encounter as children, the Packard family history, Ed and Norma’s tragic love affair (that we now know has a very happy ending), and why Josie is THE WORST.
Both books are fabulously, intricately designed to look like you’re holding files or newspaper clippings, so having the physical copy is well worth the investment. Especially the Secret History.
While the Secret History focuses more on the origin of the mythology, the Final Dossier focuses on all those Twin Peaks characters we’ve come to know and love over 25+ years. We play catch up with some of them we didn’t get as many details on in the Secret History, learn intricate backstories that we never knew before that may shed light on some things from the original series (especially Norma and Annie) while still leaving us with even more questions as we go over some of the major events of The Return.
Major spoilers ahead…
I’ve compiled some quick snippets about what (almost) everyone has been doing pre/post-Return, as written by the new Archivist, Special Agent Tammy Preston. I still think the book is worth reading but here are the major takeaways:
- Someone shot Leo a bunch of times and that’s how he died, not rancho bites. The autopsy report is written by Albert and is one of the funniest things ever.
- Shelly and Bobby got married about a year after Leo died. From Tammy’s perspective, it seems as though Becky is alive and well, as is Shelly and Bobby’s marriage. Hmmm.
- Donna lives in Connecticut with Doc Hayward and is studying to become a nurse practitioner to keep her dad’s business alive.
- Harry Truman has cancer but seems to be fighting it. Frank came out of retirement to be sheriff for two years in Harry’s absence to get everything settled before Hawk officially takes over.
- Audrey had a salon business, married her accountant (Charlie?), but is now probably, definitely in a mental institution. I think this is far too simple an explanation. Those scenes have me convinced she’s defo in the Black Lodge. E-LEC-TRICITY!
- James was in a really bad bike accident after some run-ins with the cartel (excuse me???), which is why he’s a little strange in The Return. I would argue he is much better now.
- Dr. Jacoby (a.k.a. Dr. Amp) and Nadine are most likely dating now. Yes please!
- Norma and Ed finally got married. James performed the music. (Hopefully not “You and I”…)
- Margaret left her log to Hawk, who has it displayed on his mantle.
- How’s Annie? “I’m fine,” she says once a year at 8:53 AM on the anniversary of the morning after her exit from the Black Lodge. (I’m assuming the exact time BOB Cooper was asking “How’s Annie?” over and over again.) She lives in a private care facility after attempting to commit suicide a second time. Norma could no longer look after her all the time but visits her regularly.
- Sarah Judith Palmer was definitely the little girl in Part 8 (despite all of us arguing that was impossible –whoops!) and that was definitely Judy in the form of a frogmoth crawling into her body to possess her for all of her life. This upsets me greatly because Laura had no chance! Also, BOB, how stupid are you? You were with Judy the whole time and didn’t even realize it??? You boned Judy and created a child and didn’t know it? Or did The Fireman send Laura to the world to defeat BOB and Judy in some sort of immaculate conception???? So many questions.
As for the finale:
Everything that happened at the Sheriff’s station in Part 17 seems to have really happened, according to Tammy. However, Cooper has disappeared again. And as Tammy spent time in Twin Peaks to gather more information for Gordon, she discovered that everyone seems to believe Laura Palmer simply went missing rather than being murdered. So, perhaps Cooper really did alter history. But Tammy still seems to remember it the other way around, as does Gordon I assume since she’s reporting it that way.
She also feels like her mind is clouding over the more time she spends there. So, maybe there is more to this mystery yet to be unraveled. Maybe this is before Cooper brought “Carrie” to her childhood home. Maybe Laura’s scream pierced the veil and broke through the haze in Twin Peaks, revealing Judy inside Sarah, revealing the truth of her death to the residents. Or perhaps the truth of her life? Did Cooper destroy Judy by bringing Laura there? Or are they trapped in an endless loop where he will keep trying to save her? (I think about the finale a lot… Too much perhaps.)
We can speculate all day. We have some answers but not all of them. Not that we need them. Plus, since this is from Tammy’s perspective, we have to take some of her observations with a grain of salt. Her interpretation may be different than what’s really going on.
This book was well worth reading for any major Twin Peaks fan and provided us with some interesting, fun insight. There are some truly laugh-out-loud moments as well. (Albert’s autopsy report for Leo, Tammy’s offhand comment about how she won’t bore Gordon with the details of the James and Evelyn story, etc.) I can hope that maybe we’ll get more answers in the form of a season 4 someday but I’m also content if this is it.
(But for reals, David Lynch and Mark Frost, I would love more Twin Peaks.)