[COOPER] Do you have the seed? Do you have the seed? I need you to make another one.
[GERARD] I understand.
With this little exchange, we were given a glimpse into the process for manufacturing a tulpa, this time for making Dougie Jones v2.0. You need a DNA sample (a little hair ripped from the back of your head will do – ouch), a “seed”, and of course, a magician (presuming that Gerard is one). It might also be the case that manufacturing tulpas has to be done in the Lodge space. In her meltdown exposition, Diane says that Bad Cooper took her, the real Diane, to the Convenience Store, where presumably she, the tulpa Diane, was created.
But how does Cooper know this? What exactly has he been up to in the last 25 years, while imprisoned in the Black Lodge? He was not just sleeping, we know that much. Recall that he knew in advance about Freddie Sykes when he shows up at the Sheriff station. Likewise, he seems to already know about Dougie Jones and his family. Even through his catatonic state, Cooper works to systematically right all the wrongs committed by his tulpa counterpart. Now, as he prepares to depart, he wants to make sure that they continue to be looked after in his absence.
The wording of his request could be interpreted that he, not his doppelgänger, was the original requester in the creation of Dougie Jones v1.0. He needs Gerard to make another one for him, just as Gerard made the first one for him. Or, even more intriguing, it could be interpreted that Cooper made the original himself, and he now needs Gerard to make another one either because he’s too rushed for time or because Gerard is back in the Red Room. (Of course, Gerard is also in possession of the seed, but he could have handed that through to Cooper just had he did the Owl Cave ring.)
Coincidence and Fate Figure Largely in Our Lives
So there’s our premise. Good Cooper, not Bad Cooper, made the Dougie Jones tulpa. Yes, I know, we all think that Dougie Jones was manufactured by, or at least for, Bad Cooper. It’s part of his “plan” to not get pulled back into the Black Lodge. Good Cooper swaps bodily with Dougie Jones instead of him, and then he has several layers of hit men lined up to kill Good Cooper immediately after the swap. One of the more straight forward things to be interpreted out of the event of Season 3. However, it is just an interpretation.
Bad Cooper’s “plan” could have been solely related to the glass box in New York. After all, he was supposed to be in New York at the time of the swap, but had to stay in Buckhorn to deal with events there. When Good Cooper is sent to “non-exist-ent” by the Arm’s doppelgänger, he is first drawn into the glass box. Bad Cooper is the “anonymous billionaire” behind the glass box and it appears to have been designed as a trap for “some kind of entity that moved … free of the constraints of time and space”, as Agent Preston puts it in The Secret History.
The question we really need to address is why would Agent Cooper need or want to make a tulpa of himself? Well, he’s trapped in the Lodge, unable to interact in the real world. He’s aware though, able to watch events unfolding in the real world, just not able to affect those events directly. Meanwhile, he’s learning to become a magician, or at least fine tuning his own innate abilities. He can do the hand-wavy thing to part the Red Room curtains, he can feel the 4-3-0 boundary, things like that. So maybe he finds out about tulpas (if he didn’t already know from being on the Blue Rose Task Force). He realizes this could be his own loophole in the rules that govern the Lodges.
Maybe Major Briggs helps him in this. Briggs is also moving about in Lodge spaces at this point, hiding and hibernating, but also poking out into the real world at least 15 times over the past 25 years. We know Briggs is aware of Dougie Jones. He somehow swallowed his wedding ring after all. Perhaps he even contributed the “Dougie” part of the name as a nod to his recently (to Briggs) deceased friend and mentor, Douglas Milford. Briggs would be the perfect guy to help set up Dougie Jones’ fake identity in 1997. That is also the year that Bill Hastings started his blog, “The Search for the Zone”, kicking off events that would eventually lead him to be present at the bodily death of the Major. 1997 is also the year that Phillip Jeffries’ hotel room is remodeled and his “Joudy” carving is wallpapered over, covering that trail for all but the most diligent investigator. Multiple plans set in motion in the same year. Coincidence? In Twin Peaks? Yeah right.
A (Brief) History of Tulpas
There are three definite tulpas presented to us in Season 3: Dougie Jones, Diane Evans, and Lois Duffy. Four if you count that there are two versions of Dougie. Lois Duffy is the first tulpa we know of, dating back to 1975, as relayed to Tammy by Albert in the story of the first Blue Rose case.
[ALBERT] Case number one. This started the whole thing. Nineteen seventy-five. Two young field agents investigate a murder in Olympia, Washington. They arrive at a motel to arrest a suspect named Lois Duffy. They hear a gunshot outside her room and kick the door in. They find two women inside, one on the floor dying from a bullet wound to the abdomen. The other holds a gun, which she drops as she backs away when they enter. They recognize the wounded woman as Lois Duffy. She speaks her last words to them: “I’m like the blue rose.” She smiles, then dies, then disappears before their eyes. The other woman screaming in the corner, they now notice is also Lois Duffy.
Lois Duffy, the one that was shot, seems to have known she was a tulpa. She is like the blue rose, a thing that does not occur in nature. The Diane tulpa likewise seems to have known she was a tulpa:
[GERARD] [oddly reverberating] Someone manufactured you.
[DIANE] I know. Fuck you.
Dougie, on the other hand, did not seem to know he was a tulpa:
[DOUGIE] I feel funny. What’s happening to me?
[GERARD] [oddly reverberating] Someone manufactured you.
[GERARD] For a purpose, but I think now that’s been fulfilled.
[DOUGIE] It has?
Why doesn’t Dougie know he’s a tulpa? This exchange between Mullins and the detectives Fusco is also enlightening:
[D. FUSCO] So what’s his background? How long has he been with you?
[BUSHNELL] Twelve years now. He’s a good worker. He’s slow, steady.
[D. FUSCO] Little more emphasis on the “slow.”
[SMILEY FUSCO] [laughing]
[BUSHNELL] Dougie had a car accident, as I recall, not long before he came to work for me. Every once in a while, he shows some lingering effects. His wife can talk to that better than I can.
So part of his back story is a bump to the noggin that accounts for his occasional “episodes”, but maybe also accounts for his lack of history. The detectives discover that he has no written records prior to 1997, but maybe he also has no personal memories prior to that as well. From what little we saw of him, Dougie Jones does not seem to have a lick of “Cooper-ness” about him. The Diane tulpa seems to have most of the real Diane’s memories (though a few were perhaps suppressed). She even functioned for some time as a mole in the FBI, working for Bad Cooper. Dougie Jones just doesn’t seem like someone who has memories of living out the first twenty-some years of his life as Agent Cooper. He has no Cooper nurture, but does he have Cooper nature?
He’s a Good Worker
It probably goes without saying, but Bad Cooper is bad, 100%. He’s Agent Cooper’s “shadow self”. The distilled evil version of Agent Cooper. Good Cooper is good, but as we know all too well, not perfectly good. My Life, My Tapes established him as a flawed hero, setting up the “White Knight Syndrome” scenario that would play out in Season 2. Even in the pilot episode though, when he first arrived in Twin Peaks, Cooper could be kind of a jerk. In fact, “jerk Cooper” has been a fun recurring meme theme on the “Dwellers on the Threshold” Facebook group. So what about Dougie Jones?
It’s easy to look at what we know about Dougie Jones and say that he wasn’t a very good person. He gambles and drinks, he cheats on his wife, he’s involved in an insurance scam at work. Not the pure distilled evil of Bad Cooper, more of a low rate, white collar criminal kind of bad. Not the flawed hero of the late 20th century, he’s the anti-hero of the early 21st century (ala Walter White of Breaking Bad). But was he always like this?
One question most of us toyed around with during Season 3 was how the hell did a schlep like Dougie land an attractive, no-nonsense “tough dame” like Janey-E? They’ve been married at least 12 years, pre-dating Dougie’s employment at Lucky 7. They have a son. Dougie’s wedding ring is inscribed “with love”. This marriage is not just a prop. As Good Cooper goes about righting the wrongs in their relationship, he’s not winning her over with well-reasoned arguments and model behavior. He’s stoked the embers of the flame that was already there.
His chance encounter with Bill and Candy Shaker at the Silver Mustang Casino might help us shed a little more light on Dougie’s original character:
[BILL SHAKER] Dougie! Dougie, is that you? It’s Bill Shaker, Allied Chemicals. What, are you taking a walk on the wild side?
Bill and Dougie apparently know each other primarily through a work relationship, though Bill knows him well enough to know where he lives off the top of his head. Bill is surprised to see Dougie Jones in a casino. That’s interesting. Just as someone who knew Agent Cooper would be surprised to find him at a casino (unless under cover, of course). He implies that the Dougie Jones he knows doesn’t have a “wild side” to him.
Look Who’s Back From Bendersville
So it seems like Dougie Jones must have started out more like Good Cooper than Bad Cooper, and then somewhere along the way, maybe only recently, he has been corrupted. Of course, there’s the car accident of 12+ years ago. Something went wrong with his programming after that, and he now has “episodes” and “lingering effects”. That seems to be more about his slowness though, not a tainting of his character from good to bad, and it would predate his more recent slide into “badness” by a lot.
One of the corrupting influences in Dougie’s life would certainly have to be his friend and co-worker Anthony Sinclair:
[ANTHONY] Hey! Look who’s back from Bendersville. [chuckles] With a new haircut. [whispering] I covered for your ass, pal. You owe me big-time for that. What’d you do? Huh? Did you go drinking in a steam bath? [laughing]
They seem to have the casual banter of drinking buddies. As Janey-E later tells Dr. Ben, “the drinking feeds the gambling and vice versa, and the whole thing is just a downward spiral.” Beyond being a bad influence, Anthony is just not a very good person, and in the course of Season 3, we get to see him descend further and further:
[DUNCAN TODD] Do you recall my business rivals and bitter enemies the Mitchum brothers? You’re gonna visit the brothers now. You’re gonna pin the blame for the insurance claim that we conspired to deny for them, a loss of 30 million that hit ’em hard, on the back of Douglas Jones. You’re gonna convince them that Mr. Jones has it out for the brothers, a personal vendetta, and then we’re gonna sit back, and we’re gonna watch as the Mitchum brothers take care of our Mr. Jones problem.
[ANTHONY] [clears throat] – But what if
[DUNCAN TODD] Don’t speak, Anthony. If you fail to deliver on this, then you’ll have to kill Mr. Jones yourself.
So Mr. Todd already has an established relationship with Anthony. He used Anthony to commit a little insurance fraud against the Mitchum brothers, and now he’s upgrading him to amateur assassin. Yup, not a very good friend at all.
In fact, the insurance fraud wasn’t limited to just that one claim:
[ANTHONY] [cries] Bushnell I’ve been selling you down the river for months and months for Duncan Todd. I’ve been working for Todd. I, I’ve lied and cheated for money.
[BUSHNELL] Anthony, Dougie already showed me. He explained all this already.
[ANTHONY] [weakly] He did?
[BUSHNELL] Now that you’re confessing, I have to admit that my anger, my contempt for you is subsiding.
[ANTHONY] [crying softly]
[BUSHNELL] Dougie even implicated himself.
So Dougie was part of the bigger, ongoing insurance scam. He and Anthony were working for Mr. Todd, and Mr. Todd works for Mr. C. Not very many degrees of separation there. Though Mr. Todd doesn’t work for Mr. C so much as he’s made to do things by him. “Never have someone like him in your life,” he tells Roger. It seems that Bad Cooper has some sort of blackmail on him, just as he did on Warden Murphy.
Perhaps the scenario went something like this: the initial scam was just to hurt the Mitchum brothers, then Bad Cooper finds out and makes Mr. Todd continue the operation, while having Anthony bring Dougie Jones on board. Or there are any number of other ways it could have played out. The point is, this whole operation would be a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of Bad Cooper’s billion dollar criminal empire. It’s doubtful he’s having them do it for the money, and it’s even more doubtful that Dougie’s participation is just a coincidence.
One other thing of note from Anthony’s big confession. They’ve only been working this insurance scam for “months and months”, not even a full year. Recall that Dougie had been working for Bushnell for 12 years now. This whole thing, and likely all of his other bad behaviors, would appear to be fairly recent.
Manufactured for a Purpose
In my article “Dougie Jones, Inter-dimensional Hitman”, I theorized that Dougie Jones’ “episodes” might have been Bad Cooper taking over Dougie’s programming and sending him to perform actions on his behalf. Now we’re trying on the flip side of that story. In this version, Dougie is the instrument of Good Cooper. His “episodes” could be instances of Good Cooper taking control and using his tulpa to accomplish things out in the real world. Maybe this is how some approximation of that BS story of Cole’s happened, with a meeting between Briggs, Cooper and himself being attended by Cooper in proxy (though obviously at a later time).
If the only purpose Dougie Jones serves is to be a trick conduit for Good Cooper to swap with, why start at 1997? Why have him have a family? A job? A life? It’s hard to see how any of that benefits Bad Cooper. If Bad Cooper made him, why have him start out good, then corrupt him in the last year, only to have assassins take him out after the swap? Now if Dougie Jones was manufactured by Good Cooper, and especially if he serves more of a purpose than just a placeholder to swap into, corrupting him could even be part of Bad Cooper’s plans. Corrupting him would be easy too, since he knows Dougie so well (heck, he *is* Dougie).
Cooper could reasonably expect his doppelgänger to pull some sort of trick during the swap. At the appointed date and time of the swap, Bad Cooper arranged with his little band of thugs to be alone. However, rather than hole up in his hotel room, he is out driving at dangerous speeds with a trunk full of incriminating evidence. He’s nearly killed himself when he temporarily blacks out from the effort of resisting the Black Lodge’s pull. He looks at the car’s clock, and of course it’s 2:53. Why on earth was out he driving at the time of the swap? Was he trying to get killed? Or trying to kill his counterpart should the swap happen between them? Bad Cooper is a planner, he could certainly have had parallel plans in case Good Cooper swapped into either himself or the tulpa.
When Philip Gerard tells Good Cooper “You were tricked”, he could be referring to the disconnected catatonic state he ended up in. That could have been the result of being cast into “non-exist-ent” by the Arm’s doppelgänger, or by the switch at the purple power station. He could also simply mean that Bad Cooper didn’t go back in, thanks to some other plan he enacted that we haven’t even seen or connected.
Beyond asking how Dougie managed to land a wife like Janey-E, we have to ask how did he end up specifically with a woman who is Diane’s half-sister? There are no coincidences, although at its core, Twin Peaks is a soap opera, and what could be more soap opera-ish? Given what we said above about their marriage being real, it seems unlikely that Janey-E is aware of the bigger picture. I don’t find any credibility in theories that she’s Dougie’s Black Lodge caretaker, or that she and Sonny Jim are also tulpas. In the interpretation where Bad Cooper made Dougie, hitching him to Janey-E is perhaps suggested by tulpa Diane as a dig at the half-sister she hates. Even in that scenario though, how did they actually get the two of them together? Did Dougie gravitate to Janey-E because of Good Cooper’s relationship with Diane? Could it be that simple? If so, then it wouldn’t matter who manufactured Dougie.
What makes anyone think a doppelgänger can even be the template for a tulpa in the first place? He’s not actually human. He has Cooper’s fingerprints, sure. Well, most of them. But maybe he doesn’t have actual DNA. This might help explain how he’s remained off the FBI’s radar for 25 years. He can, however, drag a human into the Convenience Store and have a tulpa version of her manufactured. So Bad Cooper makes Diane, and Good Cooper makes Dougie. Both are their respective first attempts at this new form of magic. Both tuplas have flaws. Diane has repressed memories. Dougie has no memories, though perhaps on purpose, and he has his “episodes”.
With This Ring
One of the enduring mysteries of Season 3 is how, on the day of the swap, Dougie came to be wearing the Owl Cave ring? Now that the Arm has “evolved”, Philip Gerard has stepped in to be the keeper of the ring. Gerard is helping Good Cooper throughout Season 3, and likely in league with Jeffries in his schemes as well, since Ray ended up with the ring in prison. Would Gerard willingly hand the ring over to Bad Cooper? I don’t think so, but even if he would be compelled to by some sort of other worldly logic, would Bad Cooper chance such a near encounter with the Black Lodge? Especially this close to the fruition of his own 25 year long plans? No way. He made Ray put it on just before he shot him, sending the ring back without having to touch it.
The other half of the ring mystery is how Major Briggs got Dougie’s wedding ring (see John Bernardy’s “Electricity Nexus #20” for a few theories). If Briggs and Cooper are working together, through Dougie Jones, it might make more sense. Briggs draws Bad Cooper to Buckhorn through Bill Hastings. He sacrifices his body and ascends into the Lodge space permanently. Given his propensity for prognostication, it seems likely he knew this was the end of his physical life. Phillip Jeffries also puts Ray and Darya into play at this time to further distract Bad Cooper and keep him tied down in the area. Away from New York, away from Las Vegas, and away from Twin Peaks.
So we have Philip Gerard, Phillip Jeffries and Major Briggs all acting in apparent coordination, with Good Cooper, and against Bad Cooper. “The game begins” indeed. Does this answer everything about the ring swap mystery? No, not hardly. But it might be a more fruitful basis to start from in developing a theory that does.
The real question at the heart of all of this is whether the original Dougie Jones was templated off Good Cooper or Bad Cooper. For all his faults, Dougie seems to have been a likable guy. Bill Shaker likes him. Bushnell considers him a good worker. Jade thinks fondly of him (“Oh, Dougie” she says, when his hotel key is found). Even though she’s mad as hell at him, Janey-E saved him a piece of cake from the birthday party. He’s the lovable lug that his license plate declares him to be. It’s hard to think that this guy came from the stuff of Bad Cooper. The Diane tulpa, who we know Bad Cooper had a hand in manufacturing, reflects the fingerprint of her creator. It’s the wrongness that Cole can feel when she hugs him. She’s firmly on Team Doppelgänger. You don’t get that same feeling about Dougie. Dougie is Good Cooper’s tulpa.
Dougie Jones lived a life that Dale Cooper was denied by his imprisonment in the Black Lodge. He had a family, and most importantly, a home. That home gave Agent Cooper a place to return to while he journeyed back to himself.
[COOPER] You’ve made my heart so full.
[JANEY-E] What, what are you saying?
[COOPER] We’re a family. Dougie, I mean, I will be back.
[JANEY-E] You’re not Dougie?
[SONNY JIM] What? No. You’re my dad. You’re my dad.
[COOPER] Yeah. I’m your dad, Sonny Jim. I’m your dad, and I love you. I love you both.
[JANEY-E [cries softly] [crying]
[COOPER] I have to go. You’ll see me soon. I’ll walk through that red door, and I’ll be home for good.
[JANEY-E] Don’t go.
[COOPER] I have to.
[JANEY-E] Whoever you are, thank you.
Love opens the door, and Dougie left that door open for Agent Cooper to come back into the real world. This was the “purpose” he was manufactured for. This is why Bad Cooper was trying to corrupt Dougie. To close that door. This was the “trick” Gerard was referring to, explaining why our Special Agent Cooper only came part way through. But Dougie, with his goofy loud jackets, with his “This is Dougie’s Coffee” mug, with his inherent Cooper nature, he kept that door open wide enough for them both to make it back home.
Notes / References:
- Thanks to Julie Loader on the 25YL Facebook page for instigating this whole idea with her comment on a #DougieDay post: “Perhaps Coop made the original Dougie. There’s no paper trail for him before 1997. He said to Gerard ‘I need you to make another one’”