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It’s official: BOB is indeed still in DoppelCooper.
It’s also official: It’s not as simple as an on/off switch duality where it’s either Doppelganger or BOB in full control.
I don’t even think it’s just the Doppelganger we’re talking about. I think the good Dale identity is part of the equation too, regardless of how simple “the good Dale is in the lodge and the bad Dale is in our world” makes it sound. Because this is Twin Peaks. Simplicity is an unknown concept; only ambiguity can win out in the end. Whatever we think we know about doppelgangers right now, the darkness inside a person couldn’t be exclusively on doppelgangers and Lodge demons.
I think it can be as simple as one aspect having full control (such as BOB killing Maddie, which I still think BOB did alone, or at least in partnership only with DoppelLeland, completely leaving good Leland out of the loop for the final moments), but these extreme moments are rare. For the day-to-day moments, we need some complicated sabermetric pie charts to figure out which entity (between good identity, Doppelganger and Bob) is processing what information during every single interaction of a character’s life, and which entity decides to complete what action with said information.
It seems to me every decision works like the School House Rock Bill as it gets passed through the House, Congress and the President, and the resulting action is a combination of all their influences, possibly satisfying everyone but probably leaving an appetite for satisfaction for all parties. Hence the constant unsatisfied hunger.
Hayley Inch of the always entertaining Twin Peaks The Return: A Season Three Podcast had this to say about BOB’s part in the equation on their episode covering Part 5: “BOB is after fear and BOB is frightening and BOB can suggest things and BOB can push you to certain edges, but you have to make those decisions to fall over yourself. And then perhaps BOB takes over and does things you’re not aware of, but it’s your decisions to follow your worst impulses that lets BOB take over you.” This makes sense to me.
But if the Doppelganger is the only other identity BOB interacts with, then the good Leland and Cooper are exonerated. It’d be BOB exerting his will through the worst aspects of a person, and the good identity would be none the wiser. It can’t be that simple. I don’t pretend to understand the full dynamics of how the Doppelganger interacts with the good identity, but what I suspect is this: BOB asserts his influence on the Doppelganger, who then somehow influences the good identity to acquiesce. Because they’re inside too. We know the good identities are aware of what is going on.
Leland, possessed as a boy, knew how beyond that day he’d married Sarah and that his wife gave birth to Laura. If he was a completely ignorant hostage inside the Lodge, he would know none of this.
And Cooper, who seems even less present today, would have had no flashbacks whatsoever in that moving Part 4 scene where he stared at himself in the mirror in the Jones’ bathroom. He would’ve also never asked Truman and Doc Hayward “How’s Annie.” We know the good identities experience memories through their physical bodies, for at least some of the time.
How can this work if we take Lynch at his literal word that DoppelCooper’s the one in our world while the good Coop has been in the Lodge this whole time? Because there’s still only one body. I think, even though Lynch really believes in the literal split between the good Cooper and DoppelCooper, that the Theosophy Twin Peaks’ mythology has been rooted in by Frost comes into play here. The (admittedly rudimentary) understanding I have of Theosophy so far is that your true self is a form of energy I’ll refer to as a soul, and for a while your soul travels inside a body. It can leave the body for other states of reality when dreaming, and it essentially stays its own quality even after the body dies (to pick a random emotion, if you’re a generally disgruntled person, your soul will continue to be generally disgruntled as it moves onto its next stage). I assume what’s happening to satisfy both Frost and Lynch’s take on the mythology is that there is one physical body that is Cooper. The soul of Cooper is what’s split in two, and therefore the good Cooper and bad Cooper can coexist in Cooper’s body, as well as allowing room for their wacky roommate BOB to assert his presence as well.
What other data is there for me to believe in this angle? Laura has proven herself to be a shell who is filled with nothing but spiritual/electrical light. I’d easily call that a Theosophic representation of a soul.
As I look more into Theosophy, and as more Parts air on Showtime, I’ll continue to explore Cooper’s identity issues. As of right now I am absolutely convinced that none of us have enough information to wholly understand what’s happening to Cooper, but I hope I’ve given you some more things to think about. Please leave a comment for me with your thoughts, because I need help as I feel my way through this Cooper conundrum.