Twin Peaks: The Return premiered in May of 2017, and consisted of 18 episodes. David Lynch described the work as an 18 hour movie and for fans of the director that's exactly what they got, a confounding and occasionally frustratingly long movie with his usual level of abstraction, ambiguity and strangeness.
Many questions that were left unanswered since season 2 were left unanswered at the close of this new season and the fate of certain characters and the time line of events meant that much was open to interpretation. Added to that were the myriad of new questions that arose from the latest season and the interest on online forums and message boards reached fever pitch as people tried to figure out exactly what was going on.
When co- creator Mark Frost, announced a new book that would help to fill in the gaps and answer the many many loose ends fans were excited. Last year, with The Secret History of Twin Peaks, Frost provided fans of the show with the rich storied lore of the town and its people. It was written in a creative and unique style with archival images, newspaper clippings, FBI reports and annotations by the 'Archivist.' It added much to the series and enhanced the viewing experience for many, me included.
The Final Dossier answers almost all of the main questions, or at least gives the reader enough information from which to draw their own conclusions. Written from the point of view of FBI Agent Tammy Preston, who was ably played by Chrysta Bell in the show, we get extra background information on many of the unique residents.
For those left miffed at Audrey's minimal time on the show and shocking reveal you are provided with information on her background if not her fate as shown in the programme. We learn who funded the observation and operation of the mysterious glass box and what exactly happened to Major Briggs.
Also for those seeking a resolution to the season 2 cliffhanger, we finally find out what happened to Annie!
The information contained in this book is important and explosive for fans but also feels strangely underwhelming. It's hard to explain but it's like reading the Cliff Notes of a Shakespeare play or seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time as a low resolution jpeg. When taken alongside the stunning limited television event, groundbreaking original series, operatic Fire Walk With Me film or even Frost's The Secret History of Twin Peaks, this book, although essential, seem like a lesser piece of work.
Not only are there no entries for the Palmer, Deputy Hawk, Dale Cooper or Diane but the writing style is lacking the verve and sheer excitement of Frost' s other book. I know that as an FBI dossier it is supposed to read as matter of fact but for the reader it is difficult to get excited about what amounts to little more than a brief outline of what happened to each character.
This is a difficult book to evaluate as it contains essential information for any Twin Peaks fan but is also quite dry. Also, as is often the case with revealing too much, the mystique is lost. For example the monsters that were Hannibal Lector, the vampire Lestat or Darth Vader were better before their origins reveal. Did anyone walk away feeling better after knowing Darth Vader was a petulant teen named Anakin who took the death of his wife Natalie Portman so badly that he had to slaughter many Jedi children and turn to the dark side? No, no-one gained from that reveal, it was underwhelming and poorly executed. This is not as grievous as that wrong but I do feel that the heart of something beautiful has been lost with this book.
This book then is a must read for those seeking closure on many of Twin Peaks questions but it comes at the price of revealing too much in my opinion.