How the new Twin Peaks book helps explain the finale
What happened to Audrey? How's Annie? Donald Trump?!? And other revelations from Mark Frost's 'Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier'
This post contains SPOILERS — both for the book Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier and all three seasons of the show.
It’s been almost two months since the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return aired, resolving some unanswered questions but mostly leaving us with dozens more. Now, the show’s co-creator, Mark Frost, has published his new novel Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, which follows up on a few (but not all) of the series’ loose ends.
Last year, Frost published The Secret History of Twin Peaks, a sprawling deep dive into everyone’s favorite small logging town. Packed with redacted FBI documents, old Lewis and Clark journal entries, and mysterious newspaper clippings, The Secret History was structured as a cryptic dossier assembled by someone known only as The Archivist and annotated by FBI Agent Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell). Eventually, it’s revealed that the dossier was put together by Major Garland Briggs before his mysterious disappearance — a disappearance that plays a major role in the revival.
The Final Dossier picks up after the events of the TV revival, with Agent Preston checking in with some of Twin Peaks’ most notable residents. Many of the major players are there — from Leo Johnson and Donna Hayward to Dr. Jacoby and the Log Lady — and the book’s a treasure trove for Twin Peaks fans, filled with details and winking callbacks. The book is 100 percent worth reading in full, but below, we’ve broken down a few of the biggest revelations.
The finale explained (?)
Perhaps the biggest bombshell to come out of The Final Dossier is an ending passage that seems to clear up some of the questions surrounding the finale. 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 wackier, as Cooper apparently crosses into some sort of alternate dimension or parallel universe, where he finds a woman named Carrie who resembles Laura in Odessa, Texas. 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.
The Final Dossier doesn’t attempt to answer what went down at the Palmer house, but it 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 reading a newspaper article that refers not to Laura’s death but to her “disappearance, still unsolved.”
“Let me repeat that phrase for you: ‘still unsolved,'” Tammy writes. “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.”
When Tammy goes to the sheriff’s station to question them about this sudden discrepancy, they all become dazed and confused before agreeing that yes, Laura’s disappearance is still unsolved. Ronette Pulaski was still tortured in the train car, but Laura was never there. Laura’s father Leland eventually kills himself about a year after her disappearance, while her mother Sarah descends into alcoholism and depression. (Frost also confirms that Sarah was the young girl in New Mexico we saw in episode 8 of the revival — with the mysterious frog/bug/thing that crawled into her mouth.)
Does this explanation answer all the questions we had from the finale? Not even close. But it does seem to offer a little bit of closure — and the confirmation that the timeline of Twin Peaks as we know it has shifted.
What happened to Audrey?
Many of the story lines in the Twin Peaks revival were wrapped up by the finale — well, at least as wrapped up as they can be by Twin Peaks standards — but one of the most cryptic (and for many fans, frustrating) arcs belonged to Audrey Horne. Early in the revival, we meet her cruel and deviant son Richard, but Audrey herself doesn’t show up until much later. When she does, her scenes are unexplained and seemingly unconnected to the rest of the town — mostly long arguments with her new husband Charlie, capped off with one scene where she goes to the Roadhouse and dances, 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.
Frost reveals that after the bank explosion at the end of season 2, Audrey woke up from a coma several weeks later. Two months after that, she discovered she was pregnant with her son Richard, having been presumably raped and impregnated by Cooper’s doppelgänger. Audrey went on to raise her son as a single mom, opening a Twin Peaks beauty salon before marrying her accountant (presumably Charlie). It was a troubled marriage, marked by Audrey’s unstable mental state and heavy drinking, culminating with her mysterious disappearance from public life a few years ago.
“Four years ago without warning, Audrey closed the salon,” Tammy writes. “Not long after she seemed to vanish from public life, into either agoraphobic seclusion or — one troubling rumor suggests — a private care facility. The Horne family spokesperson has refused to respond to all inquiries regarding her whereabouts.”
One character who didn’t make an appearance in Twin Peaks: The Return was Heather Graham’s Annie Blackburn, the lonely waitress who struck up a relationship with Cooper at the end of season 2. The season originally ended with Windom Earle kidnapping Annie and taking her into the Black Lodge, with Cooper charging in to rescue her. After they emerged, the episode ended with one of 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 answers that question — and it’s not a pleasant outcome. After Annie was found in the woods, she was taken to the hospital, where she soon slipped into a catatonic, passive state. Her sister Norma cared for her for years, until Annie once again attempted suicide by slitting her wrists. She was then transferred to a private mental health facility, where she’s remained ever since. Annie hasn’t spoken a single word since her mental break, with one exception: Every year on the anniversary of the day she was found, she repeats one sentence.
A Trump connection
Perhaps one of the more unexpected figures to pop up in The Final Dossier is none other than the current president, Donald Trump. There’s a section on Lana Budding Milford, the seductive Miss Twin Peaks contestant whose husband Doug Milford dropped dead on their wedding night in season 2, and the dossier describes how she soon went to New York to make her fortune. There, she briefly dated “a notorious resident of a certain eponymous tower on Fifth Avenue, who was either between wives, stepping out, or merely window-shopping.”
Even more intriguingly, Tammy mentions that she found a society-page photograph of Lana and Trump stepping out together — with Trump wearing a familiar-looking jade ring. As for what that might mean for the current president and his possible connections to the Black Lodge, well, Frost leaves his readers to draw their own conclusions.
Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier is out now.