At the end of season 2, there were two iconic images of Agent Cooper and BOB that we were left with for 25 years. The first, from the Black Lodge, is that of Cooper’s doppelganger and BOB, side by side, laughing maniacally. Partners in crime, so to speak. In the other, back in the real world, BOB and Cooper face off on opposite sides of the mirror, again laughing at their own little inside joke, “how’s Annie?”.
Because this latter image mirrored (so to speak) that of BOB and Leland from earlier that season, fans of the show assumed the worst, that our hero, Agent Cooper, through his lack of perfect courage had apparently opened himself up to be possessed by BOB. Potentially becoming the new Leland, an unwitting victim forced to enact untold horrors on the people of Twin Peaks in the season 3 that never came to be.
But then came Fire Walk With Me, and a scene (though deleted and not seen by fans until much later) in which Annie tells Laura that “the good Dale” is in the Black Lodge. The good Dale? Implying that there is a “bad Dale” out there somewhere?
And then came the Log Lady intros for the rebroadcast of Twin Peaks on Bravo. In that final episode, she says:
“Where there was once one, there are now two. Or were there always two? What is a reflection? A chance to see two? When there are chances for reflections, there can always be two – or more. Only when we are everywhere will there be just one.”
Now, in the first 4 parts of the season 3 revival, Margaret’s words have become prophecy fulfilled. Not just two, but three Coopers (so far). There is indeed a “good Cooper” stuck in the Lodge and a “bad Cooper” who escaped out into the real world. So it was not our Cooper laughing at his BOB reflection at the end of season 2, it was his doppelganger. The one became two. This is a theme Lynch has expressed interest in, the dual nature of man, having both good and evil within. Only in the world of Twin Peaks, the good and the bad can be physically manifest without, as well.
Cooper number three is Dougie Jones, the decoy Cooper. Bad Cooper has “made” Dougie Cooper. This pathetic loser version of Cooper who owes someone a lot of money, probably from a gambling habit, and skips out on his own kid’s birthday to have sex with a hooker, squatting in someone else’s unoccupied home. Dougie Cooper exists to take Bad Cooper’s place when go-back-to-the-lodge day comes. I believe this is why, when the appointed time comes, both Bad Cooper and Dougie Cooper throw up garmonbozia, but you notice that Bad Cooper fights it back. First one to throw up is a rotten egg, so to speak. Of course, Dougie’s arm went numb before this went down, so maybe I’m wrong about that part. Either way, the call came and the decoy Cooper got taken, not Bad Cooper.
My main point here though is that Bad Cooper *made* Dougie Cooper. That is an act of magic, I believe, furthering a theory I’ve been mulling over that Bad Cooper is a magician. This is not BOB at work doing something like this. This is much more than BOB ever accomplished.
Let’s revisit what we know of BOB from seasons past. He possessed Leland, and when he was in the driver’s seat, Leland didn’t know what he was doing. The pain and suffering BOB caused while in control was what BOB thrived on. When he left Leland, he said that Leland had been a good vessel and it had been a fun ride.
BOB is, as Albert puts it, the evil that men do. In the trading cards, BOB is identified as having existed as long as mankind has existed, presumably as one of Deputy Hawk’s “spirits that rule man and nature”.
Leland remembers BOB from his grandfather’s summer house at Pearl Lake as a kid. He thought BOB was a neighbor, but I think this suggests that BOB was, at that time, inhabiting Leland’s grandfather, who was made to molest his grandson. Thus passing the evil along the family line, a tradition BOB intended to continue with Laura.
BOB is not a magician. Mike (speaking through Philip Gerard) says BOB was his familiar. A familiar, if you’re unfamiliar with the term (pun intended), is “a supernatural spirit or demon, often in the form of an animal, supposed to serve and aid a witch or other individual”. “Other individual” being a magician in this case. Mike was the magician in this relationship, and somewhere along the way he lost control over his familiar, and BOB went into hiding, lying low and not causing a big ruckus. He inhabited Leland potentially for decades, and did not go on a crazy killing spree until the end when everything was coming unravelled anyway.
BOB possessed Leland when he was still young and innocent, feeding on the suffering caused by an incestuous relationship with his grandfather. Then later, he wanted to possess Laura thinking she was the good person she projected herself as to the outside world. When he found out she was not at all what she seemed, and either couldn’t, or no longer wanted to, posses her, he killed her in a rage.
Cooper’s doppelganger is already evil. He is scheming on a bigger scale, much bigger in my thinking. There’s nothing there for BOB to gain by possessing a doppleganger, if he even can. If Bad Cooper is a magician, then BOB tagged along with him as a familiar again. The images of the two of them laughing, both in the Black Lodge and in the mirror at the Great Northern, is an image of two creatures who plan to wreak great havoc on the unsuspecting world.
In My Life, My Tapes, we learn that Cooper has visions in his dreams, a gift that he inherited this from his mother. Much as Laura inherited a similar gift from her mother (Laura, Sarah and even Maddie are able to see BOB). These two have a gift, making them potential magicians. This is perhaps why both are so attractive to the spirits of both lodges. With the creation of Dougie, we have evidence that Bad Cooper at least is capable of actually performing magic. Perhaps he came out of the Lodge knowing magic, or perhaps he’s spent the last 25 years learning and perfecting his art.
I’m going to argue that we’ve now seen the Good Cooper performing magic as well. He avoids the assassins through a timely accident. He is finding slot machines that are sitting on a jackpot, and his luck there is even transferable. Now, this isn’t casting a spell, per se. It’s more like a manifestation of his innate natural talent. This is the foundation which Bad Cooper, who has Good Cooper’s same skill set (like sharp shooting), has built upon to become a full blown magician.
Who else might be a magician? Pierre Tremond, aka “The Grandson”, is identified in the trading cards as a magician. We’ve already identified Mike as the magician to which BOB was a familiar. This might have made Philip Gerard a magician also, but he may have renounced his ability with the cutting off of his arm. The MFAP potentially split Cooper into Good / Bad Cooper by speaking the word “doppelganger”, as if casting a spell. (There is a theory that magicians were identified in the original series / movie by wearing red suits.)
In the new series, the doppelganger of the Arm again seems to cast a spell, “non-exist-ant”, to get rid of Good Cooper. The anonymous billionaire who built the glass box portal in NYC may be a different variety of magician, combining magic with modern technology. Maybe this is even a defining battle line in a larger picture conflict that will be revealed. Philip Jeffries is apparently working with Bad Cooper, and so perhaps is another candidate.
Lastly, there is the voice on the other end of the phone call that Bad Cooper thought he was having with Jeffries. The man looking forward to being with BOB again, once Bad Cooper gets yanked back to the Black Lodge. My guess: this would be the mysterious Mike, former master of the familiar BOB and sometimes possessor of Philip Gerard.
So that’s the theoretical framework that I see building in the first four hours of season 3. While the initial focus is on the day Cooper is supposed to swap back with his doppelganger, that day has already come and gone with 14 hours left to go. There obviously has to be more going on here, and events in play seem to be pointing to a bigger picture battle looming in the horizon. I feel that all is going to come back to that poem, and that it’s going to be about magicians, about two worlds, and finding a way out between them.
I want to give credit to two additional articles that I ran into whole writing this, that have made many of the same conclusions I have but with better research and more details:
Written for Twin Peaks Freaks by Eden H. Roquelaire. Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Twin Peaks the series and Fire Walk With Me. “Through the darkness of future’s past, the magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds… Fire Walk With Me.”