For any “Twin Peaks” fan whose head is still spinning after Part 18 of “The Return,” consider Mark Frost’s new novel, “Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier,” an essential purchase. The new book is considered canon and helps fill in the 25-year gap between the Season 2 finale and Showtime’s event series. Frost provides some of the answers David Lynch did not, such as what actually happened to Audrey Horne, and the co-writer even goes a step further in setting the final chapter of his book after the events of Part 18.
David Lynch ended “Twin Peaks: The Return” with a baffling final hour that expanded the mythology of the show by raising a hundred new questions. Agent Dale Cooper was granted entry way into the past by Phillip Jeffries to prevent the death of Laura Palmer. Cooper succeeded in preventing Laura from making it to the railroad cart where she was murdered, but sensing an interference with the real timeline, the all-powerful entity known as Judy ripped Laura from our world and brought her…somewhere else.
Many theories believe most of Part 18 is set in this “somewhere else,” which seems to be an alternate dimension where Agent Cooper is now Richard and Laura Palmer is a woman from Odessa, Texas named Carrie Page. The show ended with Page apparently remembering her alternate past as Laura Palmer and letting out a series-ending scream. Frost’s last chapter of “Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier” does not explain what happens next to Page/Palmer and Cooper/Richard, but it is set in a Twin Peaks that is very different than what fans will remember.
Vulture has written out the excerpt below from “The Final Dossier.” The final chapter centers around Agent Tammy Preston (Crysta Bell), who stayed in Twin Peaks for several days after the events of the finale and researched old newspaper articles.
You know what else I discovered, Chief, in that same article, a few sentences later? This:
“Agent Cooper had come to town for a few months earlier, to aid in the investigation into the disappearance, still unsolved, of local teenage beauty queen, Laura Palmer.”
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.
When Cooper prevented Laura Palmer from making it to the site of her murder, Lynch made viewers witness scenes from the pilot episode of “Twin Peaks” change. Palmer’s dead body on the beach disappeared into thin air, for instance. Frost’s novel confirms that Cooper succeeded in the real timeline in preventing Palmer’s death as we know it, and the fact that her “disappearance” is still “unsolved” supports the claim that Judy pulled her into an alternate timeline. But because Laura went “missing,” the fate of her family followed a similar path: Her father killed himself out of grief and her mother become a depressed alcoholic with a prescription drug addiction.
The information Frost reveals only makes the ending Lynch created for the series more tragic. Cooper “succeeded” in preventing Laura’s death, but in return his actions led to her disappearance, creating the same unfortunate outcome for the Palmer family in the real timeline. As we saw in Part 18, Cooper then entered the alternate timeline to save Laura all over again and try to fix everything, but we all know how that turned out.
“Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier” is now available for purchase.