1) Every time MIKE appears, he is in the form of Philip Gerard, the one-armed man, rather than showing a "true face" like BOB inside of Leland. The Little Man From Another place identifies himself as "the Arm". Is this meant to mean that the LMFAP is what's left of MIKE's "true face" and the entity speaking inside of Gerard when MIKE takes over? But yet in Cooper's dream, where he explains how he "saw the face of God" and "took the entire arm off", he introduces himself as "MIKE", not "Philip Gerard", implying MIKE was the agency behind taking the Arm off, just as BOB was the agency behind Laura's murder. This would seem to rule out the idea that Philip Gerard cut off his physical arm to hinder evil MIKE possessing him, and if it were the case, doesn't seem to prevent MIKE from doing so anyways whenever he wants to.
2) So the implication is that the Arm is now a separate being from MIKE, the Man From Another Place, only seen above the Convenience Store, in the Red Room or in very brief visions such as Josie's death. If this is the case, and MIKE is now on the side of good whereas the Arm is the evil that was purged from him, then why does MIKE voluntarily join up with the Arm in the Red Room to, in unison, compel BOB to give up garmonbozia from Leland to feed him/them?
3) Or was MIKE lying about being seeing the face of God and being "changed" and is, in fact, still evil, and just uses Cooper to help him stop BOB so that he can bring him back under control ("he was my familiar")? He doesn't seem to care about Laura dying at all, he just shows up to thwart BOB from possessing her. If so, then why is the Arm now a separate entity in the first place? What would cause an entity to split like that? If he still feeds on pain and suffering, then why would he voluntarily "take the Arm off" at all?
4) But does this mean that these two things are unrelated, and MIKE's claim about taking the arm off was meant in a symbolic way, since he is a spirit entity without any true "body" to amputate, only coincidentally reinforced by Gerard actually only having one arm? Or perhaps a direct clue to point Cooper in Gerard's direction ("we've got to find the one-armed man!") so that he could eventually stop him from using medication ("without chemicals, he points") and allow MIKE to take over and tell him about BOB?
5) Which is another thing, in the film, MIKE/Gerard calls out BOB inside Leland Palmer in the traffic stop scene explicitly, so why in the series does he play games with Cooper like sniffing around for BOB and checking people at the hotel? Did he forget Leland was his host? Did BOB's removal of the garmonbozia from Leland "reset" him so much to where MIKE no longer sure BOB was in Leland anymore? When he is bed ridden, MIKE, inside Gerard, tells Cooper he has all the clues he needs and the answer lies in his heart. From the context of the film, it seems like he is just jerking Cooper around for no reason. I don't understand why.
6) Later Gerard/MIKE gives this same ring to Laura physically in the train car, which, when she puts it on, seems to stop BOB's ritual to possess her, compel him to kill her ("Don't make me do this!") and drive him to trudge all the way back to the Red Room to give up the garmonbozia to MIKE/the Little Man.
7) Did Gerard, possessed by MIKE, seek out Teresa specifically and give her the ring? For what reason was she chosen? Or possibly the Chalfonts/Tremonds gave it to her, since they lived in that same trailer park for a time.
Were he and BOB still partners at this point or had their "breakup" already happened eons ago?
9) MIKE said to Cooper that he and BOB used to have a "golden circle" of appetite and satisfaction. Was this represented by the ring? Or was BOB and MIKE's breakup what necessitated the creation of the Ring by the Little Man From Another Place ("With this ring, I thee wed")?
10) But again, if so, then why is Gerard/MIKE, wearing the ring and making a point to show it to BOB/Leland in the traffic stop scene, as if to remind him of his marriage vows or display his authority?
11) And how does his ring, on Laura's finger, prevent BOB from possessing Laura and force him to kill her? Or did BOB choose that as the only option left? I thought BOB was saying "Don't make me do this!" but I suppose it could have been Leland inside desperately begging BOB not to make him kill Laura?
12) And also, how does it make BOB go back to the Red Room and give it up to MIKE and the Little Man, if they are no longer partners and he is "changed"?
I split things up just for convenience.
1) I think MIKE and LMFAP are separate but connected entities. MIKE speaks through Philip. LMFAP speaks through dreams, visions, and representatives. I believe it was MIKE, not Philip, who cut off the arm. The tattoo was "Fire, Walk With Me", the mentioned 'chant' that opens the door to the Black Lodge. The arm was cut off to make gaining that access more difficult for Bob by transmuting the 'key' into its own entity. Essentially, LMFAP takes BOB's place as MIKE's familiar while simultaneously acting as a safeguard against BOB going where he shouldn't.
2) There is no "good" or "evil" at play here. Not even Bob is evil. BOB enjoying his "feeding time" (the torment of Laura which produced the garmonbozia) is no more evil than a human being enjoying a hamburger. The Lodge inhabitants don't operate out of deliberate malice. They operate out of instinct. They don't CHOOSE to subsist on "pain and sorrow". It's just...What they are. It's just so far beyond the narrow black/white scope of human morality, so alien, so removed from the whole idea. As for MIKE and LMFAP joining together at the end of FWWM, I think that was a show of intimidation more than any strictly necessary thing. This isn't just some nervous shoe salesman or stature-challenged familiar: This is MIKE, fully formed, and you've lost. Hand over the goods.
3) The arm thing I explained in #1. As for "seeing the face of God", most would assume it was a reference to some monotheistic deity to tie in with the good/evil thing. I think it was a reference to the Lodge itself
. I think MIKE and BOB had it in their heads to go rogue but MIKE was brought to heel and instead turned toward reigning BOB back in. Again, it's still not necessarily evil
but certainly with his own motives.
4) I do think MIKE was speaking literally here - "I mean it like it is, like it sounds" - so I don't think the words were symbolic in that case.
5) Listen to his voice during that scene. That's not MIKE'S voice. That's Philip, sounding a tad deranged if I say so myself. I think that confrontation was less MIKE going after BOB and more Philip madly trying to expediate the process so he could be rid of MIKE's possession. As for why MIKE doesn't immediately track Leland down in the series, two things.
One, I don't think MIKE knew
that BOB was inside Leland, at least not specifically. I think it's more of a 'sense'. When near Leland or perhaps those closely connected to him, he had the sense of BOB's presence but never the exact explicit knowledge of "BOB is inside this exact man right now" - Remember in the show, without his 'chemicals', he points...Not to Leland but to Ben Horne. Philip himself evidently put it together during that altercation in FWWM, of course, but alas.
And second, I think the vessels are important. They are "inhabiting spirits" so presumably they are limited by the vessels they inhabit. By the time of the series, Philip has been using 'chemicals' for some time to ward off MIKE. I think those chemicals may have affected the 'vessel' (Philip) so much by then that while inhabiting Philip, MIKE's ability to 'sense' BOB was largely deteriorated. Prior to Laura's murder, we see MIKE in a circle of candles chanting...I think this was a ritual similarly designed to pinpoint where BOB had snuck off to - the train car, it turns out, to finally take Laura.
6) "Don't make me do this!" was Leland's plea to BOB. I think the ring basically claims its wearer for MIKE ("With this ring, I thee wed" - It 'weds' the wearer to MIKE) so BOB can't inhabit them. Enraged, he then kills Laura - not because he is compelled but because he is a spiteful being. As for why he returns the garmonbozia to MIKE, that's not a compulsion either. It's just business. The ring is MIKE's claim. Laura wore the ring. That garmonbozia is his. Even a rogue element knows when it's lost a battle.
7) I do think Teresa was chosen. Why? No idea. But I believe the Lodge spirits are somewhat particular about their menu - They don't just strike out willy-nilly. And I think the Tremonds delivered the ring, simply because their role in Lodge hierarchy seems to be of the "messenger" variety throughout series and film. In this case, the message was just a delivery instead.
I think MIKE and BOB had already come to disagreements at the time of Teresa's demise. In fact, I think Teresa was the catalyst of BOB going rogue.
9) I don't think it was explicitly represented by the ring so much as the show just has a lot of "circle" imagery in general. I think BOB's desire to hoard garmonbozia for himself is what led to the ring's creation. For what it's worth, I think it was MIKE who actually created the ring. LMFAP - MIKE's "arm" and new familiar - just puts it where it needs to be.
10) As stated before, I think Philip was a bit deranged in this altercation. The screaming and brandishing of the ring was probably his frantic mind's way of trying to out BOB or warn Laura.
11) It doesn't force him to kill her. He just does that to make good on his threats to Leland mentioned before Leland's death, essentially "If I can't have her, I'll kill her". It does prevent him inhabiting her though. The ring is MIKE's claim. I feel the Lodge spirits are innately very rule-oriented in nature so even if BOB wanted to take Laura at that point, he wouldn't have been able to do it. Even in a rogue state, he couldn't completely
overcome that nature - Though as we see by the end of season two, he has successfully become unfettered entirely from the Lodge and its rule. The plea was most definitely Leland.
12) It doesn't "make" him trudge on to the Red Room. He just does. This goes back to the "rule-oriented in nature" and "Even a rogue element knows when it's lost a battle." stuff. MIKE won that particular battle. BOB begrudgingly accepted this.