Thursday, November 17, 2016
My Goodreads Review of THE SECRET HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS
My Goodreads review:
I've forgotten how to obsess over something. When I was younger I went all in on a lot of stuff. If I found myself attracted to something, I had to find out everything there was to know about it. Like when I discovered books by Joe R. Lansdale. Or when I found the music of Nick Cave. Or when I saw my first film by David Lynch. I don't do that anymore. I don't know why that is. Have I reached a point where I just don't care enough to obsess over something?
The Secret History of Twin Peaks brought it all back to me. I figured it was going to be just another ho-hum media tie-in for the new season in 2017. Just something to reintroduce you to beloved characters and maybe let you know what some of them have been up to in the last 25 years. But no, this book is vastly different from what I expected.
From page one, I knew I was hooked. It opened up a whole new way of looking at the series. It goes all the way back to when Lewis and Clark first discovered Twin Peaks, and it gets into some serious esoteric American history. Some of it was just so crazy that I had to look it up. There was no way that there was documentation of this in real life.
Surprise! Nearly everything in this book has been documented, regardless of truth or falsity, in real life. Real life conspiracies that I've never even heard of, and I go deep with conspiracies. Author Mark Frost has merely bent them to suit his purposes.
My favorite of the bunch is Jack Parsons, though. I've never even heard of the guy before, and it turns out that he was one of the most important innovators of the 20th century. It also turns out that he was a real life version of a Lovecraft character. He genuinely thought he could summon entities if he put his mind to it. Take the occult side away from him, and he's Howard Stark. He even looked like the Dominic Cooper portrayal of the character.
Another thing that surprised me was how incredibly important minor characters on the show are to the secret history, in particular the aged mayor and his brother, Doug Milford. Without Milford this book would fall apart. We also get to learn a lot more about Big Ed and his love life and his military service, and we get a peek at Dr. Jacoby's studies before he came back to Twin Peaks. I love the cover blurbs he gets from Jerry Garcia and Timothy Leary. And the entry on Josie is pretty crazy. We all knew she was a swindler, but it goes deeper than we ever suspected. I was surprised to find that Hawk doesn't like his nickname and considers it to be racist. It turns out his first name is Tommy, so . . .
I am in love with the structure of this book. It is a genuine mystery, and we're trying to figure the whole thing out. The dossier is composed by two people, and one of them is the Archivist. We all know it must be a character from the TV show, but we have to figure out who. All the evidence is there, you just have to put the pieces together. He eventually reveals himself, and I'm super excited that I was correct in my guess.
The best part is that we're reading the dossier with the agent assigned to investigate it. The mysterious TP is an interesting filter to read through. For the most part he (or is it she?) is all business, but there are moments when TP gets a little personal. TP is a skeptic, but (s)he gets unsettled with a lot of the information in the dossier. I tried figuring out who TP is, but I was disappointed when TP's identity was revealed on the very last page. It's a character we haven't met before. Maybe we'll get to see him/her in season 3.
I have to wonder how much of this was in Frost's mind from the start. Did he and Lynch plan for this from the very beginning? If so, they play a very good long game. I hope some of this makes its way onto season 3.
What I didn't put into the review:
I didn't mention this in my GR review because I don't post spoilers there. Consider this your warning that beyond this point there will be a ton of spoilers.
I've always admired Maj. Briggs. He's strictly a military man, but there is a sensitive side to him that makes this character truly blossom. My first guess as to the Archivist was Dale Cooper, but it quickly became obvious that he had no hand in this. I suspected Harold for a little bit. He's the kind of guy who would put this together, but it didn't ring true to me. Remember: he was skeptical about Bob's existence. By the time the Archivist started adding documents that should be locked up under the highest level of security, I knew it had to be Briggs. There was no one else on the show that could have had access to this material. I was very glad when Briggs confessed to being the Archivist.
I'm also glad to have two of my questions from the "series finale" answered: Did Audrey, Pete and Andrew die in the bank explosion? Two of the three did. Audrey survived. Also, did Ben Horne die when he hit his head on the fireplace? No, he did not. It wasn't directly addressed, but given that these two events happen at roughly the same time, and Ben is in Audrey's hospital room after, it stands to reason he was only injured.
I have a few questions, though. The biggest question probably won't be answered until the new season, and it might not even be answered then. I wonder: how does the Black Lodge fit in with the aliens? Nixon says there are six different species of aliens. It is mentioned earlier in the book that there are two in particular who are warring with each other. Could one of these be behind the Black Lodge while the other is behind the White Lodge? If so, why does the Black Lodge manifest itself in the form of Bob & Co.?
Another big question, something that I'm almost certain will be answered by the new season, regards Jack Parsons's jade ring. Doug Milford meets with him twice, and both times he describes Parsons's habit of fiddling around with it. I'm 95% certain that this is the same ring that Chester finds in FIRE WALK WITH ME. How the hell did it get from Parsons to Teresa Banks? There is only one person who possibly knows the both of them: Doug Milford. The Archivist and TP seem to suspect that Milford was actually behind Parsons's death. If so, did he take the ring? If I'm right about this, why did he give it to Teresa? It's revealed late in the book that Milford was quite the cocksman, and he liked them young. Is it possible that he had a relationship with her? What was his purpose in giving her the ring? Was it just a gift? Or did he have nefarious intentions?
That ring fascinates me, especially now that I know that it belonged to Parsons. It also helps shed some light, little as it seems, on why Chester disappeared when he touched the ring. It could be a portal to the Black Lodge. Is it possible that Phillip Jeffries has used the ring--or a similar ring--to travel through time from the Black Lodge in FIRE WALK WITH ME? I looked at every scene Bowie was in, looking for that ring, and I sadly didn't find it. (It's worth noting that Bowie was supposed to return as Phillip Jeffries, but he sadly passed away before filming his scenes.)
So many new questions. It's a delicious mystery. I need the new season immediately. Can we put a rush on this, Lynch and Frost?
[EDIT: There was one thing I left out that disappointed me, considering Frost's otherwise spot-on attention to detail. Some of the documents early in the book are handwritten letters and journal entries from Lewis, Clark and Thomas Jefferson. I looked up actual samples of their handwriting, and it doesn't match. That's the ONLY thing this book got wrong.]