After I read author Mark Frost’s epistolary novel Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, I realised that not every last question that burned in the back of my brain would be answered — not completely, at least. But the more I sat on that fact, the more I asked myself, “Isn’t that the absolute beauty of Twin Peaks? Isn’t it’s ambiguity and mystery also part of it’s alluring and fever dream inducing charm?”
Allow me to open the doors to the Double R Diner once more and let you in on some secrets, maybe answer some of your questions and maybe answer none at all. *cue Angelo Badalamenti’s haunting score*
Welcome back to Twin Peaks.
As I lamented in my review of Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, the dossier-style read offers partial satisfaction, and when it comes to addressing queries the world longs to know, it both does and doesn’t succeed. Here are the five major things as close to answers that we got within the pages of this book. Don’t get your hopes up too high, and don’t read on if you’re trying to avoid spoilers!
What happened to Audrey?
As hard (or not, depending on who you ask) as Lynch and Frost tried to tie up each of the characters’ dangling storylines in The Return, more than a few were left to hang unceremoniously and for many fans, frustratingly. One of the most cryptic arcs belonged to Audrey Horne. Before we were even close to getting our eyes on her in the revival, we were accosted by her horrible son, Richard. When she does appear, her scenes are unexplained and unsettlingly disconnected to the rest of the town — consisting of mostly long arguments with her new husband Charlie, capped off with one scene where she goes to the Roadhouse and dances (deliciously echoing her iconic dance from season one), only to suddenly wake up screaming in a bright white room. That’s the last time we see her for the rest of the revival. Fans were up in arms: This was no way to treat our Audrey.
Frost gives us the following context, and it’s as much of an answer as we can hope to get from the creators. Several weeks after her presumed death in the bank explosion at the end of season two, Audrey woke up from a coma. Two months after that, she discovered she was pregnant with Richard, having been presumably raped and impregnated by Cooper’s doppelgänger (horrible, horrible, horrible!). Audrey went on to raise her son on her own, opening a Twin Peaks beauty salon before marrying her accountant.
“Four years ago without warning, Audrey closed the salon. Not long after she seemed to vanish from public life, into either agoraphobic seclusion or — one troubling rumour suggests — a private care facility. The Horne family spokesperson has refused to respond to all inquiries regarding her whereabouts.”
The book does not exactly directly address her final scene in the series, but it does give credence to the theory she’s suffering a psychotic break and is stuck in a mental hospital. (I know, my heart broke into a thousand pieces, too.)
What happened after Log Lady’s death?
Quite possibly the most devastating moment in The Return was the in-show death and real-life passing of Margaret, our wonderful Log Lady. (If it didn’t make you cry, fight me.) Referred to in The Final Dossier by her maiden name (and the late actress’ real-life last name), Margaret Coulson’s chapter is almost entirely made up of the speech she asked Hawk to read at her funeral. Reportedly held at the edge of Pearl Lake and so heavily attended “it seemed like the entire town showed up,” Margaret’s funeral was far from conventional and “many, many people shared their favourite Log Lady stories.”
She requests her ashes be scattered at Ghostwood Forest and that Hawk keep her beloved log. It sits on his mantle, and though it hasn’t said anything to him yet, he’s “keeping an ear open, just in case.”
Literally, excuse me while I fling myself into the sea and cry for the next thousand years. I don’t know whether it is out of mutual respect and love for Coulson or what, but this storyline is as close to satisfying (if not a bit sad) as any of the storylines get from Frost and Lynch in Twin Peaks.
Who the crap is Judy?
The frustratingly mysterious Judy — an evil force introduced in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me — gets some really vague clarity in the book thanks to Tammy’s research into Phillip Jeffries (played in the film by none other than the legendary David Bowie). It turns out he actually referred to her as Joudy, which is the name of an ancient entity in Sumerian mythology, dating back to 3000 B.C. The name described “a species of wandering demon,” which were generally known as “utukku.” These demons escaped from the underworld and feasted on human flesh, but preferred to steal their souls. (I feel like Twin Peaks just gets darker and even darker the more time David Lynch has to think about it. Just when you think he’s done messing with you… nah, mate… he comes at you with soul-stealing demons.)
We also find out that Joudy isn’t acting alone: Joudy is the name of the female demon, and Ba’al — later referred to as Beelzebub, a.k.a. the devil — is the male demon. If the two “ever united while on earth […] the resulting ‘marriage’ would create something far more perilous: as in, the end of the world as we know it.” THEN HE COMES AT YOU WITH SATAN! Chill out, Lynch. (But actually never chill out, You’re doing amazing, sweetie.)
While The Return’ may have dealt with confusing alternate timelines and inter-dimensional travel, all orchestrated by Joudy, that’s only half the potential trouble Cooper will be fighting in future installments of Twin Peaks.
One character who didn’t make an appearance in Twin Peaks: The Return was Annie Blackburn, the sad, lonely waitress who struck up a strangely quick but loving relationship with Cooper at the end of season two. The season originally ended with Windom Earle kidnapping Annie and taking her into the Black Lodge, with Cooper following in to rescue her. After they emerged, the episode ended with one of the most notorious (if not the most notorious) cliffhangers in television history: Cooper’s double slamming his face into a bathroom mirror in the Great Northern, grinning and hysterically repeating, “How’s Annie?”
The Final Dossier finally actually answers that question, and (surprise, surprise) it’s not a pleasant answer.
After Annie was found, she was taken to the hospital, where she soon slipped into a catatonic, passive state much like many other characters in the universe. Our favourite pie maker, her sister Norma, cared for her until Annie once again attempted suicide, slitting her wrists along the scars Cooper asks about in season two. She was then transferred to a private mental health facility, where she’s remained ever since. Annie doesn’t respond or speak again after her mental break, with one exception: Every year on the anniversary of the day she was found, she repeats one sentence — “I’m fine.”
Note: This is a perfect example of proof that Lynch and Frost both clearly enjoy making fans suffer by creating wonderful characters and then dealing them the worst hands possible whilst simultaneously tying their suffering to really compelling and fascinating story arcs that make you so angry for what they’ve done but also so completely intoxicated by the drug of their creation.
What the heck happened in “Part 18”?!
Perhaps what readers are most keen to discover in The Final Dossier is an ending passage that seems to clear up some of the questions surrounding the finale. I’ll repeat: some of the questions.
To quickly get you up to speed, after the final sheriff’s station showdown with BOB, Cooper travels back in time to apparently prevent Laura Palmer’s death, stopping her from ever meeting her grisly fate in that train car. And indeed, some of the scenes we see in the finale seem to imply that, as Pete Martell never encounters Laura’s body wrapped in plastic and washed up on the beach. From there, things get even crazier. Cooper apparently crosses into some sort of alternate dimension/parallel universe, where he finds a woman in Odessa, Texas named Carrie, who resembles Laura. He returns her to the Palmer house in Twin Peaks, only to discover that the Palmers never lived there. As a baffled Cooper asks, “What year is this?” Carrie/Laura lets out a bloodcurdling scream. I don’t think I can accurately describe the insane satisfaction and simultaneous devastation of this moment when I watched it. It is nothing like the ending I wanted, but it was exactly the ending I expected.
Frost doesn’t attempt to answer what happened at the alternate universe Palmer house directly (to my dismay and glee), but he does confirm that something has gone very wrong with the town’s timeline — and in this new timeline, Laura Palmer never died. The book ends with Tammy having read a newspaper article that referred not to Laura’s death but to her disappearance, sending her into a spiral of self-doubt.
“Let me repeat that phrase for you: ‘still unsolved. No mention of ‘murder,’ ‘wrapped in plastic,’ or ‘father arrested for shocking crime eventually dies in police custody of self-inflicted wounds.’ It’s right there on the front page: Laura Palmer did not die. So, fairly certain I’ve not misplaced my own mind, I go back and check the corresponding police records. They tell me this: Laura Palmer disappeared from Twin Peaks without a trace — on the very same night when, in the world we thought we knew, it used to be said she died — but the police never found the girl or, if she had been killed elsewhere, her body or made a single arrest. In every subsequent mention in an edition of the Post, the case is still listed as an open and pending investigation.”
Damn you, Frost. Damn you to heck!
Does this answer the questions surrounding whether or not Cooper saved Laura from her timeline and rewrote history by jumping inter-dimensionally and letting her live an alternate life? Kind of?!
What we really need is more Twin Peaks. Although, in my heart, I know it will only raise more questions and give me fewer answers. Maybe I’m addicted to this kind of pain. Maybe David Lynch and Mark Frost have turned me into a masochist. Maybe we’re all doomed to never know all the answers, and maybe that’s okay.
Have any of you read Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier? What were your thoughts? Hit me up on twitter @mickeyralph and let me talk about this for the rest of time because it’s my favourite thing ever!