A First Look Into Doppelganger Cooper and Bob, And What That Says About Leland Palmer

BY JOHN BERNARDY

IMG_0385After the first two Parts of Twin Peaks have aired on Showtime, the general consensus seems to be Bob isn’t as menacing as we thought he’d be in doppelgänger Cooper. I’ve even heard “Bob’s an old demon now, I guess.”
We were expecting, a part of us wanted, to see unleashed Maddie-level violence. What we got was a calculated bad guy. This is what Windom Earle should have been, not a Bob-possessed Cooper. We were supposed to see physical violence but instead we have gun violence, the M.O. being a bullet through the left eye. Because Cooper is a sharpshooter. Anyone who watched season one can remember the scene in the sheriff’s department where he put six bullets through four holes on a paper target.

We know the good Cooper wouldn’t kill anyone without good reason, so let’s assume Bob is in charge of the impulse and see where Bob’s line is: He kills to cover his tracks. If he killed just because he liked it, half his known associates at the location where he picked up Ray and Daria wouldn’t have been alive. Especially that guard who didn’t recognize him.
The good Cooper’s keen observation skills see people’s strengths and wants them to achieve. Bob uses those same skills to take advantage of their weaknesses. If it were Bob just using Cooper’s skill sets, this would be a fairly cut and dry Cooper’s-a-coat metaphor, but this is Twin Peaks and it could never be that simple. Cooper’s personality, and even manners, are in play even as he’s growing into Bob’s visage from the inside out. The Daria scene is a great example of this: he walks in and sees her on the bed in her underwear, but what does he do? He talks to her. He explains efficiently and to the point what information he wants. He plays her a recording of the call she was just on (on the new version of his cassette recorder), and tells her exactly what answers he wants her to give him. He stays calm, and keeps her calm as possible considering the circumstances.IMG_0386And he answers her honestly when she asks if he’s going to kill her. He never leads her on that it will go otherwise. This version of Bob never lies to anyone. He is up front with people. He may not announce he’s there to kill anyone but he wouldn’t say no if you asked him. He’s an honest demon host, as far as that goes. And in that way, he’s definitely Cooper.

So now that we’ve seen Bob inside a host we knew well as an uninhabited man and we’re starting to see where they meet in the middle, what does that say about Bob’s previous host, Leland Palmer? First off, this muddies the hell out of the argument that Bob was the one solely responsible for the death of Laura Palmer.

Cooper volunteered his soul. Leland let Bob in. There’s a comparable origin with the two so I feel good this is an apples-to-apples situation and can continue the comparison. And if you’re good with that, that means the rage and the fingernails thing is all Leland.

IMG_0387
It makes sense that Bob would act like a bogeyman if he’d possessed a child because that’s what acting like a bad guy is at that age. Skulking and personal space encroachment and extreme physical violence. And it also stands to reason that Leland’s personal growth would be stunted greatly if his doppelgänger is the one who grew up in this world. He’d never quite grow out of the childish aggression, and his anger would be rather unchecked as well.
It is terrifying to think about exactly how deeply Bob has effected Leland’s life, and absolutely tragic (almost on even footing with Laura’s own story).

It appears that Bob’s appetite is Bob’s no matter who he possesses. The golden circle of appetite always leads to satisfaction, but how Bob goes about accumulating appears to depend on the skill sets of the doppelgänger of his hosts.

Though I suspect by the end of these 18 new episodes we’ll see Bob’s appetite can also be effected by his hosts as Cooper, a strong man at the point of possession rather than a defenseless young boy, reasserts control. As things change I reserve the right to revisit this, but as of now I believe Cooper will break the golden circle of appetite and satisfaction when he finds his way through the black lodge to the white lodge and his soul achieves an alchemically realized golden state. And I believe Cooper will reach this state with the help of those Bob hurt more than anyone: Laura and Leland Palmer. And I pray for redemptions.

here’s part two and part three of this series

19 Replies to “A First Look Into Doppelganger Cooper and Bob, And What That Says About Leland Palmer”

  1. Wait, hold on…

    The idea that Cooper was possessed by BOB has long been a mistake that many people have made. Coop was trapped in the Red Room/Lodge and the Doppelganger got out. BOB possessed the Doppelganger.

    When BOB was in Leland, sometimes Leland was acting purely as BOB (killing Laura) and sometimes Leland was Leland and BOB somehow went to rest or subsided for some reason (i.e. when Leland killed Renault because Leland wanted to).

    So, Mr. C (the bad Coop) is acting as Mr. C, the Doppelganger… who was already an evil character himself. Maybe BOB isn’t even in him anymore. We haven’t seen BOB emerge in any way yet.

    Read my latest WordPress post.

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    1. Thanks for commenting…I’m making two assumptions with this article: evil Cooper is indeed a doppelgänger but therefore has Cooper’s mannerisms etc in the most twistedly evil ways. But he has the same inclinations. Same thing w Leland, that a doppelgänger of the actual guy grew up instead of Leland but began as the most twisted version of leland’s nature.
      And as for Bob being in the Cooper doppelgänger, I need look no further than the old series finale and the scene I’ll never be able to forget. Until I see the doppelgänger in a mirror as just himself I believe at least a part of Bob is in there. Too much evidence in ABC Peaks right now for me to openly contradict. Hope that clears things up that we’re generally in agreement about the doppelgänger part at least.

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      1. Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I think the possibility of BOB being in Mr. C. is a distinct possibility. But I’m only 60% sure.
        That strange figure that appeared in the third jail cell along from Bill Histings… I’m wondering if that’s BOB.
        And with Leland, BOB was not always exactly in Leland… he was sometimes dormant, sometimes elsewhere or at least nearby.
        I think we’ll learn more about the whole rules and physics of it all in this new season.

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  2. The reason I’m not as scared of season three bad Coop, personally, is that he was so much scarier in the the season two finale. He messed me up so much that I still can’t watch that episode alone. (I’m 36.)

    In that episode (and the missing piece) he was oily and reptilian. I wasn’t expecting the kind of violance like with Maddie’s death, but more like an antithesis of Cooper. I guess one could argue that this emotionless Terminator is that very antithesis, but so far the one at the season two finale scared me to near death and this one really doesn’t. That said, the most scary this new Bad Coop has been so far IMO was at the station with Cole and Rosenfield, so I still have hope.

    I hope we learn more about the nature of doppelgangers and their possible connection to BOB. I for one have always thought Leland is at least partially culpable for the crimes he committed while possessed.

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    1. I hear you about that finale episode…bob wasn’t completely out of my nightmare til I was almost 30.

      I don’t like subscribing to “the doppelgänger did it” either because I’ve agreed with you about Leland being responsible at some level, but that’ll only be explained by how much the doppelgangers are explained to have flip flopped with their lighter sides as well as flip flopping with Bob. Seems like that’s still in play and that Mr C just never ceded control to Good Cooper (rather than an impossible mechanic of their existences) but this is the fun part of the speculation when there’s still 14 parts to go. Sky’s the limit!

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  3. Compelling read. I think in the end I can get on board with some of this and not other parts (and expect some of it may be contradicted by the show as it goes along). First of all, I love the idea that doppelCoop reflects Coop’s traits. As I watched the first 4 parts I generally saw him as his own independent character, not particularly related to Cooper…or, to be quite honest, Bob. People keep talking about how this is Bob, and look how Coop’s hair has gotten long like Bob’s, etc, but perhaps because of Lynch’s quote about Coop NOT being possessed by Bob, perhaps because of John Thorne’s essay which emphasizes the split so heavily, perhaps just because we never see Frank Silva’s face (except that one brief flashback clip) I just never found myself thinking “Bob’s behind that mask.” Instead I regarded Mr. C as, essentially, a third character.

    However, I have always thought that for this drama to have psychological resonance there needs to be an element of what Lynch has put in every film safter FWWM (and to a less overt extent, FWWM itself): a sense that the character’s journey involves some kind of struggle with themselves and that the antagonist they face ultimately springs from within themselves rather than from a purely outside force. I’ve pretty much put that out of my mind as I get engrossed in these four hours on their own terms but as I reflect on it afterwards I do think it will need to play a role. But how? Ideas are percolating as I listen to other suggestions but for now I think it remains an open question. It’s also possible that Lynch could be in a different mode now – working with Frost again, not working with Mary Sweeney anymore, 10 years passed since his last feature. But I really suspect this will end up dovetailing with the Lost Highway/Mulholland Drive/Inland Empire ethos that has become such a distinctive part of his work.

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    1. (Just want to add that your description of how he behaved before murdering Darya is particularly brilliant and thought-provoking. Goes well with the comment I saw about doppelCoop referencing Coop’s line w/ Audrey, “What I want and what I need are two different things.”

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    2. I dig it…more than anything I just saw a conversation worth starting (I’m not interested in being right per se), and I’m so glad you found your way into this. Yours and Daniel’s thoughts at Sparkwood & 21 really started this with me in the first place. Another full circle in Twin Peaks 👍🏻

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  4. I’m still not sure Bad Cooper is possed by BOB. He was bad to begin with and in some way they are both spirits of the red room. It makes more sense for Vad Cooper and BOB to have formed the circle Mike and he once shared.

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    1. Competing theories in Twin Peaks is what it’s all about…the most fascinating thing there is about the show is how completely opposite ideas can bothe be “proven” without being mutually exclusive.

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