Well, this is all wrapping up in the next week, so I figured I'd go ahead and attempt to describe my hunch regarding The Two Coopers and how they relate to things like The Glass Box, The One Armed Man, Diane, Jeffries, and so forth.
Season 2's cliffhanger ending hit me pretty hard back in the day, because I believed that Dale himself had been corrupted in The Red Room. My reasoning was that, although we saw two Dale Coopers in that realm, they were only representational, thus his "bad side" got the better of him. But I never believed that it was a separate entity that returned to Twin Peaks.
When I saw Fire Walk With Me, and heard about "The Good Dale" being trapped in The Black Lodge, it still fit with this line of thinking because his "Shadow Self" had made it out before his "Light Self". The implication was that he was changed for the worse -- that the good half of him was completely absent now, and that he had lost all balance and centeredness in a dramatic shift to one extreme. Soul removed. He paid the price for the inability to either confront or overcome his "sins", implied through the appearance of Caroline. When faced with the baser half of himself that was responsible for his past deeds -- the dark half that exists within us all -- he could not face up to it. This is how he lost. He was frightened by this glimpse of his inner self, he fled, and his Darkness overcame his Lightness.
Dale is still out and about in the world, but incomplete and lacking any sort of heart. 25 years after this transformation, one has to wonder, just what the hell is he up to? Rather than merely ambling around, doing drugs and engaging in illicit sex, he's clearly on some kind of mission with relatively few pit stops.
What he is and is not doing gives rise to many questions. For one thing, why isn't he taking "Dougie" out with his own two hands? The general consensus is that he's aiming to kill Dougie, and yet can we truly believe that this vitally important task has been delegated down a line of random criminals, outsourced from one party to the next? That doesn't seem like the kind of precision and swiftness that we know Dale for. He is shown taking matters into his own hands time and time again.
We need to question whether or not he's even trying to have his other half assassinated, or trying to save him. The entire series of events in Las Vegas has been very murky. One possibility is that he knows that his Light Self is not killable, and is therefore testing the waters. Worst case scenario: He was wrong, the switch didn't happen between Dougie and his Light Self, and Dougie Jones gets taken out. No sweat for Dale. Another possibility is that he's not particularly worried about it because it's just another roundabout method of sending his Light Self back into The Glass Box.
Given what happened to him in The Red Room, he may be wary of going back there. But as an alternative means of returning himself to wholeness, he may be trying to harness or channel the forces of that realm. This could explain several purposes for the Glass Box as well as his lifestyle leading up to its creation. Exploiting an off the grid life of criminal activity would have enabled him with the resources to enlist the right people for research and construction of such a device. Presumably it could be used to capture his own Light Self. Beyond that, the Box could also imprison forces of destruction, beings from The Red Room, and so forth. When he shows Darya the Ace Card, he says that he is after "this". Nonetheless, perhaps he is out to find and destroy whatever "this" is in addition to somehow regaining his heart and soul by directing his Light Self into the Box.
Side note: His Light Self is referred to as "Nonexistent" by the very being that sends him to The Glass Box. This choice of words could support the notion that his Good Half is lost and without a body (later sent into a clone made up of the dematerialized Dougie Jones). Furthermore, if this Arm is aligned with the Dweller on the Threshold, then it would make perfect sense for it to send him to that destination.
Jeffries and Diane could tie into this for reasons as simple as providing the sort of intelligence and support that would get Dale to his goal while also moving them toward their own needs and desires. In the case of Jeffries, his experiences and potential supernatural abilities (whether inborn or learned) could be essential in making it all happen. It's also possible that Jeffries has an agenda following his meeting above the Convenience Store. Perhaps he and Dale share a desire to destroy whatever evil has been unearthed by the events that began when Dale first came to Twin Peaks. This doesn't explain why an FBI agent died after Albert shared information with them, but that agent's death was never explicitly pinned on either Cooper or Jeffries.
Diane's position would lend itself to granting Cooper access to the sort of classified information and technology that would aid him in accomplishing such a difficult and obscure goal. Her own agenda would likely be to either help Dale restore himself to completion, or if that's not Dale's actual goal, then to feign being aligned with him, biding time until she finds an opportunity to free what she believes to be the good and true Dale Cooper.
The One Armed Man wants BOB back, and he also wants order in the court. With Dale having betrayed the terms set forth 25 years ago, he's taken matters into his own hands. It appears as though he is trying to get Dale's halves back together by keeping one in our world and sending the other back to The Red Room. Part of this speculation is based on the theory that Gerard was posing as Jeffries during the briefcase call. If it's true, then he could even be setting up another trial of the soul in the Red Room, hoping or believing that Good will overcome Evil this time around.
Though Dale is now seemingly missing any sort of compassion or empathy, on an intellectual level he can still attempt to logically define right from wrong, which would explain his resorting to savage and violent means in order to erase anyone who he feels is not "good", whereas the integrated and whole Cooper would have "done the right thing" and apprehended wrongdoers, sending them to trial within the justice system in accordance with the laws that he adhered to.
It's a stretch, I'll admit, but this theory at the very least lends some significance and tragedy to his situation. An "evil double" versus the "good guy" he was cloned from sounds too much like a black and white, simplistic, comic book type of scenario that has been done countless times -- the sort of superficial plot that Lynch and Frost would likely not create, and it wouldn't have much to relate beyond "kill the bad guy".
Having to face up to oneself, wanting to acknowledge mistakes and missteps in order to advance, at least has meaning. Dale is such a beloved character that it's easy to avoid believing he is both of these halves, much less the brutal aggressor who's heart was left behind, but a painful reckoning is what he's due, and what he arguably set himself up for by morally slipping to the degree that it cost someone their life.
Believing that he is merely a Doppelganger allows us avoid the discomfort of witnessing a destroyed Dale. It's so much easier to see the guy with the FBI suit and tie, slicked hair and smiles to be the real deal, but this is likely an intentional misdirection. They are one and the same, portrayed as two aspects of a lost soul, with neither one more "genuine" or complete than the other.
As his Shadow Self he is mostly conscious, and painfully aware of being incomplete, unable to fill a great void that is at the forefront of awareness, giving rise to boiling anger, and extinguished lives lay in his wake.
As his Light Self he is mostly unconscious, only vaguely aware of his lack of wholeness, easily ignored through the complete absence of memories, giving rise to tranquil bliss, and improved lives lay in his wake.
Both existences are ultimately unsustainable and must be reconciled for Dale to survive. Initially only one half was aware of this, but as of now (end of Part 15), perhaps the other half has begun to catch up.
Disclaimer: I still feel that this speculation is far too simple in the face of so many unanswered questions (Black Box with two blinking red lights transforming into a chunk of gold? HellooOOOooooooo!), but it feels like a small step in the right direction. Seriously though, what the hell is up with that box? Furthermore, I feel that anything we predict is very unlikely to pan out, given the generally unpredictable nature of this story.
Last edited by Mr. Strawberry
on Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Not taking any calls.