“Don’t make me do this.” Leland yells as he is ready to kill Laura in the train car. “When he came inside, I didn’t know.” The thing that I noticed about Leland is he, similar to many abusers, likes to shunt blame off on someone else for the evil he commits. Sure BOB is inside him, but as per my Article “Bob the Worst Both/And,” I always say that Leland could have said no. Laura kept on saying no and that’s how she won over BOB in the end. This led me to think about Leland killing Jacques in the hospital at the end of Season 1. When Harry and Cooper question him, Leland kept on saying that Jacques killed Laura. Us fans have always taken it at face value that either Leland, without BOB active in him at the moment, killed Jacques because he genuinely thought he was guilty, or that Leland, wanting someone to take the fall for his own murder of his own daughter, killed him to shift the blame onto someone else. However, I wonder though, after a very recent rewatch of FWWM, whether or not Leland truly believed through his twisted shunting of “responsibility” that Jacques did kill his “little girl.” So maybe he blames Jacques for being one of the ones that “made him do this?” Let’s do a little profiling of the crime at hand.
To Leland, Jacques did kill his little girl, for two reasons. First, because Jacques, to Leland’s twisted perception turned Laura from the “little girl” to a “young woman.” Leland always called Laura his “little girl,” displaying a distinct distaste for seeing her in any grown up way. He saw her having relations with Jacques, and saw her no longer as the little girl, but as a woman. A woman who knew exactly what she wanted in a sexual encounter. He couldn’t stand that. He couldn’t stand seeing Laura have one ounce of independence. Leland never encouraged his child to grow up. There was never talk in the Palmer house about Laura growing up and getting a future life. Leland always talked to her in a baby voice except when yelling at her. This is directly in contrast with the two more positive examples of parenting in Twin Peaks. The Haywards, as per the Diary, encouraged their children to grow up. In the April 10, 1988 entry, “[Donna] came up and started jabbering away about her trip out of town next week to check out colleges, and how she was going to miss Mike so much, and, “How much does this little bottle here cost?” So Eileen and Will made sure that there were options open for what their children were going to do for the future, encouraging them to grow up. In much the same way, Major Briggs constantly reminded Bobby about the future and was worried about the boy’s lack of direction until the vision which put Bobby and the Major at ease about the young man’s future.
On the contrast, when Leland saw Laura acting like a grown up (at least his vision of a grown up) in the cabin that night something snapped. He doesn’t know what caused his little girl to act like a woman here. It couldn’t just be her own doing. Someone must have made her do it, like Leland, always blaming someone else. And that someone, wasn’t James who ran away or Bobby who, everyone knew, was under Laura’s thumb. Both like Dr. Jacoby said, were boys; Laura was a woman. That someone, to Leland, who killed his little girl and made her into a woman right in front of his controlling abusive eyes, was Jacques Renault. So he had to die. When Leland was being questioned by the law about the Jacques’ murder, Todd Holland (the episode director) rather brilliantly opened the episode with little girl Laura calling “Daddy” from the grave. Then Leland admits to killing Jacques and saying, “More than grief. It’s deep down … inside. Every cell screams. You can hear … nothing else.” His brain was screaming over the loss of his little girl to Jacques, perhaps?
Second, Leland may have thought that Jacques did kill Laura by making her rebellious. Abusers want to have mastery over their victims. Their victims are never to have minds of their own. He noticed that his ‘little girl’ was rebelling in ways which were making his control over her start to vanish. From the discovery of the diary. To the half heart necklace. To James just dropping by. It was getting increasingly obvious that Laura was slipping his grip. Could Leland have blamed not only Laura for rebelling but also Jacques for causing said rebellion? It’s unclear that Leland can specifically pin-point a time Laura was his little cowed victim? He doesn’t know the root cause of her fighting against him. He doesn’t know the cause of her saying “Stay away from me” the morning of her last day on earth. So someone had to be blamed for her rebellion. Again, the only people that he saw her acting actively rebellious with was Ronette, Leo and Jacques.All were to blame and all had to die. Leland may have blamed the Ronette for being a “bad influence.” So that’s why he dragged her to the train car, to punish her. He blamed Jacques and Leo, two other predators, for turning Laura further and further away from his control. Leland ferociously attacked and knocked out Jacques after Jacques exited the cabin. This was not the actions of someone who merely needed someone out of the way. This was the attack of someone who was angry. Someone who wanted to ‘get even.’ Though, his mind was focused on Laura at the moment. Leland forgot about Jacques until he had means and opportunity in the hospital.
What about Leo? Leo was in Leland’s cross hairs, which is why he was following him a few nights after the murder, and can be seen as the shadowy figure during Leo’s meeting with Bobby and Mike. (Fact confirmed by Mark Frost on multiple occasions.) But then Leo was armed at that meeting, so Leland lost his chance and continued to lose his chance through bad timing. Until, eventually Hank beat him to it.
Therefore, we have many motives for Leland killing Jacques. It is entirely plausible that it could have been the original theories. Leland, without Bob active in him, could have honestly forgotten that night in the train car and killed Jacques because he really, honestly did think he killed Laura (which I never believe). Leland purposefully created a ‘red herring’ in Jacques, distracting more from his culpability. The father killed the awful man who killed that wonderful Laura. Both are entirely plausible, and provide very simple motives. However, there could be a way that Leland was speaking his truth and truly believed, in his sick twisted, abusive mind, that Jacques did kill Laura but making her into a rebellious “woman” and not Leland’s “little victim”. This could have been the reason, if you truly believe that Leland was far, far more culpable and twisted. And, I for one, do.
Note: I am not blaming Laura or Jacques for their own deaths or what Leland did to them. Neither deserved death or deserved what happened to them at the hands of Leland. I’m just doing a bit of criminal profiling with this specific murder and motive.