Who killed Ruth Davenport? This still stands as one of the burning, unanswered questions of Season 3. The kill shot to the eye would seem to be the calling card of Bad Cooper, but if he was there, why does he need the coordinates that were written on her body? Perhaps it was Bill Hastings, who experienced the events as a dream because he was riding shotgun while someone else was possessing his body. Beyond that, frankly, there aren’t a lot of other suspects.
However, there are a few additional mysteries surrounding Ruth’s death that might point towards a very unlikely suspect: Dougie Jones. Now here I mean the original Dougie Jones, pre-swap with Good Cooper. Crazy, you say? Bear with me and give the idea a chance.
As a tulpa, Dougie has been “manufactured for a purpose” by Bad Cooper, that apparently being to act as a decoy when the day came for him to swap back with Good Cooper. Bad Cooper seems to know the exact date and time this will happen, telling Darya and Ray that he’s going to need to be on his own for a while on that day. Yet Dougie Jones was manufactured nearly 20 years before he was needed for that particular purpose. Diane was likewise manufactured and put into play even earlier than Dougie, and for an even more vague purpose. We know from The Final Dossier that she probably acted as a mole inside the FBI for a time, redacting Agent Cooper’s tape transcripts. She left the FBI on hostile terms, as evidenced by her reaction to both Albert and Gordon, and the fact that they fully expected that reaction. Maybe she was caught, maybe not. Either way, it seems she was being used, at least initially, in more of a general purpose henchman role. Perhaps the same holds true for Dougie Jones.
It was established that Dougie would sometimes disappear for days. On these little trips to “Benderville”, it’s entirely possible he could have been performing certain tasks for his creator (maybe even getting rewarded with a “ride” afterwards?). Envision, for example, him being the one who interfaces with Mr. Todd, saving Bad Cooper a lot of trips to Las Vegas. It seems to me that the “cow jumped over the moon” call was made, not to the Buenos Aires box, but to the Diane tulpa to activate her (if she was a sleeper agent), or warn her that the FBI would be contacting her (if her role was as a more active participant). Something similar could be set up to activate Bad Cooper’s other tulpa, Dougie. The “119” woman, who has “one foot in the other world” as Mark Frost has put it 1, could even be serving as some sort of handler or go-between.
We know that Dougie’s wedding ring somehow got into Major Briggs’ stomach. An easily overlooked way that might have happened would be for Dougie to have been present at Briggs’ bodily death. Bill Hastings advertised on his blog about their impending meeting with “The Major” a week in advance. Plenty of time for Bad Cooper to put plans in motion, assuming he was keeping tabs on Bill. Just as Dougie and Diane were long term plans set into motion years before the events of Season 3, so too could be Bill Hastings and his “Search for the Zone”. His web page and Dougie’s existence both started in 1997. Coincidence? Is there even such a thing in Twin Peaks?
Phyllis Hastings seems also to have been working with/for Bad Cooper, since she knows him when he shows up at her house, keeping tabs on Bill and possibly spying on his progress. Or is it him she knows? Could it be Dougie that she regularly interacts with? On top of her monitoring, Bad Cooper also seems to use the Woodsmen as henchmen. Smokey Woodsman, who floats off smiling in the jail cell beside Bill after his blowout argument with Phyllis, might have given Bad Cooper info about that encounter, leading him to realize Phyllis has been doing things on her own, like maybe not telling him about her affair with George, nor about Bill’s affair with Ruth. This might explain why he buys into Ray’s BS story about Betty, Bill’s secretary, having the coordinates.
So anyhow, getting back to Dougie’s possible roll in things. Why wouldn’t Bad Cooper just go to the meeting in “the Zone” himself? Maybe Bad Cooper doesn’t want to chance meeting directly with Briggs. Maybe it’s too close to the Black Lodge and he could accidentally get sucked back in. So he sends his look-alike surrogate. He gives Dougie has some loose working parameters to kill everyone there except Hastings (like Diane’s “:-)ALL” text). Maybe Dougie also has orders to plant his wedding ring on Briggs’ body, eventually leading the FBI to go after him, or rather Good Cooper after the swap goes down, in Vegas, and throwing them off Bad Cooper’s trail.
This would explain why Bad Cooper does not have the coordinates from Ruth’s arm. He wasn’t there. Sure, maybe Dougie could have or should have gotten them, but maybe his programming wasn’t that flexible. Team Doppelganger didn’t seem to know where to get them until Diane witnessed Hastings’ interrogation in the Buckhorn police station. She stays on as Bad Cooper’s eyes and ears, ratting out Hastings for termination by the Woodsmen and eventually getting the coordinates and texting them to her boss. Truly Diane is an all-purpose tulpa, and only has problems when her programming runs into interference from the memories she’s inherited from her template, the original Diane. Dougie, templated from Bad Cooper, would not have this design flaw.
From what little we saw of him, Dougie appeared to be a schlep, but he is a Cooper clone ultimately. He could possess Good Cooper’s skills, including his marksmanship skills. Under Bad Cooper’s programming, he could be turned into a ruthless “sleeper agent” type assassin, same as was tried with the Diane tulpa. Bad Cooper is a planner, to the point where his contingency plans have contingency plans. “That’s weird,” but it’s not entirely impossible.
Notes / References:
1The last word on “Twin Peaks” by David Lynch’s co-creator Mark Frost (Salon, 11/7/2017): https://www.salon.com/2017/11/07/the-last-word-on-twin-peaks-by-david-lynchs-co-creator-mark-frost/
2I originally posted this theory to Reddit r/twinpeaks on 10/27/2017: “[All] Dougie Jones, inter-dimensional hitman?” I’ve updated a bit here for this article and added some tidbits from The Final Dossier and subsequent interviews.