If we count Carrie as a separate character from Laura and EotA as a different character/entity from MfAP (for argument’s sake), then Cooper and Mike are the only characters from the original series to appear in new footage in Part 18 (Laura and Leland appear in old footage from earlier in S3, and Sarah appears in reused audio from the old show). Imagine watching the Pilot and being told that the series finale will only feature Dale and the one-armed dude from the elevator!
It’s so great to see the doppel with milky eyes! So, once he’s “killed” in our reality, what happens to him? Unlike the tulpas, we never see him fully destroyed in the Red Room. To me, if he is Cooper’s shadow-self/dweller on the threshold, he should exist as long as Cooper does. However, based on what we see in Part 18, the doppel potentially becomes integrated into the “real” Dale, so perhaps he loses his physical body and they merge? If so, why? Is it because the doppel got shot? Because Dale entered the door in the boiler room? Because he tried and failed to alter the past?
The editing also oddly seems to imply a connection between the possible destruction of the doppel and the creation of Dougie 2.0. We see Mr. C burning, then abruptly cut to the same chair with the seed and Coop’s hair. It’s a strange transition, but I don’t believe the doppel’s demise has anything to do with the creation of a new tulpa from the “good” Dale’s DNA.
Dougie saying “Home” is one of the most beautiful moments of S3...Kyle sells the pure joy perfectly. It’s funny, one thing that seems to have come from DKL revisiting TMP while writing S3 is that MfAP’s “Nowhere to go but home” became in many ways THE dominant theme of the season. That deleted line really seems to have sparked something in L/F. I’m still not sure how the themes of home/return exactly play out in the final two hours. The series of course ends with Laura/Carrie being brought home in a literal sense, discovering that home doesn’t exist as it should/did, and eventually reaching a remembering/realization with potentially traumatizing results..perhaps indicating that going home is impossible and perhaps not always a great idea, in any case. For Cooper, home is a much more metaphorical idea (MLMT even has a long passage where he revisits his childhood neighborhood in Philadelphia and realizes it has changed so much that he never wants to go there again). Prior to S3, we had mostly seen him in TP, and that felt so much like home that he contemplated moving there...but realistically, he only spent one month of his life there. Where is home for him? The White Lodge (which is the “home” where I suspect he was planning to take 1989-Laura)? Something more metaphorical? Is it just a feeling/sense? Is home wherever you are? Is it an ideal Cooper is incapable of attaining (except vicariously through a tulpa) because he is too devoted to solving mysteries, adventuring, traveling and saving damsels?
Has Dale become “the magician”? His ability to control the Red Room at least a little (the hand wave), as well as Mike reading the poem right before Dale asks Jeffries to send him back in time (“through the darkness of future past, the magician longs to see...”) makes me think so on some level. I’m not particularly sure that this is a good thing.
It’s tough to tell when exactly Dale transitions into the colder “Richard” persona, but he seems to already have changed/merged when he emerges from Glastonbury Grove. Watch his expressions in the scene with Diane: his face is “closed” in a way we don’t expect from our Cooper. It’s great work from Kyle, similar to the Mad Men scenes where Jon Hamm would open his face up in incredibly subtle ways to show a younger/more hopeful Don Draper in flashbacks.
There’s something chilling about his line, “It’s really me, Diane.” Was the Dale we knew during the original show not really him, missing some component, some inner darkness that seems to be present in this version of the character?
So many questions in this one. How does Diane know to meet Dale at that time at Glastonbury Grove? Was this always a backup plan the two had, should the plan to save Laura on 2/23/89 fail? Or did Dale expect to end up emerging at this time AFTER saving Laura? How many times does Dale “cross” into alternate realities? When he exits the Red Room into Glastonbury Grove, this may or may not be “our” reality...no way to tell. Then, when they “cross” while driving over the 430 mark, they move from day into night. The car doesn’t change...do they simply move through time, or is this a new universe? The one time he concretely seems to move between realities is of course signaled by the sex scene — the interior of the hotel room is the same, but everything else is different.
It’s still tough to wrap my head around the sex scene on an intellectual/literal level, but it sure is a deeply unsettling piece of filmmaking. Are they having intercourse as an act of Crowley-esque sex magick, as some seem to believe (I’m skeptical, but it does seem to move them between realities)? Or does Dale just want to do it? Has his former sensitivity (as seen by the way he put Annie and Audrey’s feelings above his own desires) been outweighed by his need for sexual gratification now that the doppel seems to have become a more pronounced part of him, to the point that he takes command and doesn’t even bother to ask, “Hey, is this weird for you since, you know, some version of me raped you?” If the finale is (as I and others have speculated) on some level an exploration of machismo stereotypes, and the Francesca Eastwood scene plays like the Man with No Name, Coop’s actions leading up to sex feel very James Bond. (Perhaps significantly — probably not — DKL puts himself onscreen with two recent Bond women over the course of S3.)
The very use of the name “Richard” is a reminder of the physical evidence of a different one of Mr. C’s sex crimes against someone Dale cared about. (Note that, although we have taken to using the name “Richard” to refer to this version of Coop, he himself rejects it and continues using his “real” name when he talks to Alice Tremond.)
If that was the “real” Diane, I wonder what happens to her now. Is she doomed to wander this parallel universe for the rest of her life believing she’s Linda? Dale doesn’t seem too concerned about her.
If there was any doubt that Cooper isn’t his old self, watch his dispassionate expression when he sips his coffee. His ability to enjoy life seems to have completely disappeared.
If that IS Ronnie Gene Blevins on Carrie’s couch, it’s sure weird that he wasn’t credited. People were credited for much smaller roles on this series (Nafessa Williams for appearing only in a photo in Part 6, Sheryl Lee in every Part for appearing in an old stock photo in the main titles, Mary Stofle for playing Ruth Davenport’s headless corpse in Part 11!). I guess he wasn’t credited because DKL wanted people to discover the reveal for themselves, whatever its significance is? (BTW, have people noticed the assault rifle on the floor of Carrie’s living room?! It’s only visible in one shot I think. I’d missed it til now.)
And the Pale Horse. Who’d have thought that motif would take on such complexity and prominence this season (oddly appropriate given Sarah’s significance). In the Episode 14 intro, the Log Lady links the horse to the cycle of abuse: “Pain for the victim. Pain for the inflicter of pain. A circle of pain. A circle of suffering. Woe to the ones who behold the pale horse.” Part 8 links it to the Woodsman (“The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within”; it is heard neighing as the Woodsman walks off after crushing skulls). Of course, Laura is already linked to the horse through Sarah.
I love Carrie’s “In those days I was too young to know any better.” It’s a hauntingly weird perspective on aging to look at Carrie as a might-have-been future for Laura. (Incidentally, Carrie reminds me a lot of Sue Blue in IE. Maybe it’s the accent.)
I speculated in another thread that the Fireman in Part 8 is actually sending Carrie to (some version of) Earth to act as a sleeper agent/weapon against Judy, and that we see Coop activate her in (some version of) 1989 (her age would be more or less consistent with a 1946 birth). I’m not so sure about this now...the TV in the hotel room looks a little later than a 1989 model (closer to mid-‘90s?). IMCDB says the car Dale drives at the end of the Part is the same 2003 Lincoln Town Car driven by the FBI crew and by Mr. C early in the series, so I guess so much for that theory.
The Red Room comes across as a place curiously lacking in power this season — same for Mike. I can see the perspective of those who feel the Red Room scenes and Mike’s characterization in S3 cheapen conceits from the original show, although for me, those elements in the original series still maintain their creepiness and menace. The fact that the mythology has moved beyond Mike and the Red Room seems to fit with the themes of aging, time passing and constant change. The Red Room denizens now seem doomed to wander aimlessly, repeating the same dialogue, reenacting the same scenes over and over. See you at the curtain call.