Friday, October 21, 2016

A few thoughts on The Secret History of Twin Peaks [SPOILERS]

This is going to be a quick, type-it-as-you-go posting.  Please forgive my mistakes and half-thought comments....

As everyone knows, Mark Frost's The Secret History of Twin Peaks is out and it is getting some strong reaction from fans.  Almost everyone is happy to have it in their hands, to be reading it at long last, and to be returning to the world of Twin Peaks that Frost and Lynch created back in 1989-1990.

But with happiness has come distress.

Some are many who are quite alarmed by the book.

And here is where I get into spoilers.  I'm about to discuss a big, over-arching structural spoiler (not detailed spoilers). If you haven't read the book (or all of the book) you may want to stop reading NOW.




go  . . . .

The "history' recounted in the book is not the history most fans know.  A great many details are just plain wrong.  How can this be? Some suggest that Mark Frost simply didn't do enough homework about Twin Peaks and messed things up. Others think he may have purposefully discarded established backstory in favor of new details which he preferred.

But neither of those seems plausible once you hear what Frost has said in various interviews, and once you see what kind of effort he put into the look, structure, and writing of the book.  Mark Frost knows what's what.  On Twitter, Frost has declared that "all will be revealed in time."  So, clearly there is a bigger scheme at work here: a more intricate plan is in place.

Many are suggesting the new history is the result of time-travel or alternate timelines.  Well, I think they are onto something.  When David Lynch was making Fire Walk With Me, he purposely introduced a time-travel element.  When Annie Blackburne appears to Laura, she is the Annie from the future attempting to alter the past!

How do we know?  Lynch said as much in an interview with Chris Rodley in the indispensable Lynch on Lynch.  Below is the full passage:

Lynch on Lynch, p 187.

Look at that last paragraph!  Lynch says he had hopes that someone would see Annie's message and "sort of see it all." See what?  See the future!

And then he says, "I had hopes of something coming out of that, and I like the idea of the story going back and forth in time."


There it is. I believe Lynch's interest in the story going back and forth in time stayed with him--that he and Frost discussed the idea--and implications--of time travel and then introduced those ideas into the new series. This helps explain the altered nature of the new Twin Peaks history.

What else could explain it?

UPDATE: I just found this quote on p 19 of Lynch on Lynch:

Lynch on Lynch p 19.

Lynch says there's no problem with time (which I interpret to mean time travel is possible). Did Annie go back in time and change the course of events?  Did she end up never visiting Twin Peaks? Could the Good Cooper also go back in time--maybe further back in time--and change even more events?

I'll try to provide a more detailed review of Frost's new book in the next few weeks or months.  I'm still digesting it.  There is much to study . . . . . . .

Research Materials


  1. I think you are on to something but then my next problem is this: I found Annie Blackburn going to Laura to be incredibly interesting. I don't find the topics discussed in this book to be very interesting (i.e. it feels like an elaborate expansion on the middle of season 2). Even if there is a "mystery" here regarding time travel and playing with time, why couldn't it have been about the characters and events from season one?!? Maybe I just like griping! Haha. I do feel very disappointed by the book; particularly because my expectations were so high. But why shouldn't they be? If they are going to resurrect the greatest television show ever and then sell books and merch they are going to make a ton of money (rightfully so) but it better be good! This has in no way diminished my excitement for the third series because I always thought the real joy of Twin Peaks is not in the facts and figures but in the overall mood conveyed. Thanks for posting this interesting viewpoint, John!

  2. Thanks for your note! There is so many questions about the book out there. I suspect that we may have to wait until season 3 to make better sense of it. I will be rereading it at some time (I still need to let it settle in my head). Many of the mistakes in the book are deliberate. But are they really clues--or simply artifacts of a bigger scheme that has yet to be revealed? Perhaps more research will reveal a pattern or a solution. I hope so!

  3. Hi, thank you for the article.
    But I don't see how a time travel can change the identity of a character's mother, without changing the character itself.

  4. Yes, that's a tough question and one that would point us toward forged documents as an explanation, rather than time travel. Still, i wonder at the possibility that this is merely an alternate Twin Peaks that does not connect with the story we know. Rather, it is a retelling, and one that allows for different narrative. But, whatever else it is, the book is certainly a tease!

  5. I just finished the book and start researching about Said inconsistencies.
    Some Of the major flaws everyone seems to talk about are Norma's anachronic postcard stamp, Norma's mother (????), and the whole miss Twin Peaks deal concerning none other than Norma's Sister Annie!
    So I wonder that if there's some sort Of time travel and alternate Reality created by such phenomenom, it is somehow related directly to Annie and, in some manner, affecting her whole family.

  6. My hypothesis: Vivian was killed or disappeared after Norma's birth, and the father married another woman, who was her foster mum. And the point isn't specifed in the files.
    And without Vivian, no Annie.

    (NB: we notice that Norma's birthname is not Blackburn, so Annie was her half-sister, br their mother).

  7. I just started a second read of the and am making an itemized list of every inconsistency between this book, the series and the other books (mainly the access guide to the town). I am.also writing what page each one occurs on
    Maybe by looking at every inconsistency we will be able to see a pattern and reason.

    1. Hi Josh, would love to read what you find out!

  8. Hello Guys, did you notice that also the story of Big Eds and Norma love story in the book differs from Ed's story in original series? Is this possible that Mark Frost forgot some detailes he mentioned in the script? :D

  9. Thank for your very good article.! i always enjoy & read the post you are sharing!