BY JOHN BERNARDY
After 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.And 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.
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.