When Cooper was having his Red Room/Black Lodge trip in Episode 29, Annie and Caroline became one and the same. They both bore the same wounds. They both wore the same dress. They both phased in and out with each other. This was especially the case when Cooper arrived at his “final room” where Caroline and Annie changed places at such a pace that we didn’t know who said such things as “I saw the face of the man who killed me,” “It’s me,” and “You must be mistaken, I’m alive.” The next person, before Windom offered his failed ultimatum, is Dopple-Laura, who screamed in his face again, as she did earlier in the episode. The moment of her appearance was very telling. The way that she screamed at him was also very telling. She screamed to yell at him, to wake him up. She did this for three reasons, three very heroic reasons.
Cheryl Lee Latter’s 25Yrs. Later article, “Do you recogise me?” inspired this particular musing. This particular quote stood out: “The entire character epitomizes pain and rage. She is Laura at the moment of her murder, the demonic-looking Laura we see in Ronette’s coma dream, the dark side that screams at the sorrow and unfairness of it all.” She also said that Dopple-Laura directed her anger at Dale.
A common fan theory posited that Cooper saw every woman as the same woman. They were all one and the same to him: damsels in need of some sort of rescuing. His ill mother needed his help. Caroline needed his help. Some of his girlfriends needed his help. Annie needed to be saved from Windom. Ironically almost all of these women were blonde, slight, and passive. Cooper also saw Laura in the same mould. Laura was the same as Caroline, was the same as his Mother, was the same as Annie. She was a damsel.
Laura was not though. She rescued herself from BOB’s possession. She preserved her soul throughout her father’s abuse. She rescued Donna in the Pink Room. She rescued herself from those awful truckers in the diary. She was not the type to need rescuing. She was perfectly capable of rescuing herself. Unfortunately, Leland gaslighted her so much that her anger was all subtext. Leland did not allow anger in her. The Palmer house was almost always quiet as the grave.
Dopples are the negative portions of the person. They are the parts of the original soul that get siphoned off because the original soul hates that part of themselves. Laura had been twisted into hating her rage. So she siphoned it off. Thus she became the more positive and pure Creature of the Light as Season 3 Part 2 brilliantly showed. Dopples still maintain some of the same essence as the originals, however. Dopple-Coop was still as ambitious and as competent as the original Cooper. Both were good at figuring things out and also gaining allies in their quests (even though they always took on the final challenges, unfortunately for real Cooper, alone). Dopple Laura still had the need to protect people. Now that she’s non corporeal and, maybe, taking a broader view of things, all women are those whom she wishes to protect.
While Cooper was journeying through the Lodge, many of his traumas, fears and thoughts sprang alive. He had a choice with how he handled these visions. He could either be cleansed from them or destroyed by them. Unfortunately, Cooper was eternally lost by having “Maddie” appear warning him and by the Arm saying “Wrong Way.” He was also confused about what his real mission was. His fears about Annie got mixed up with his self-loathing for not saving Caroline in time. His shooting wound merges with his stab wound. Everything was being churned together in his psyche. At one moment, Annie was laying next to him as if she was Caroline. The Lodge was turning his brain inside-out, but Cooper was also at fault for this as he was starting to merge both women into one interchangeable woman. The Lodge was gleefully showing him this, because he didn’t want to believe it himself.
Both Annie and Caroline were objects to be saved for him. When he met Annie, he was mildly attracted to her looks, but it was only after he saw her attempted-suicide-scar, that he became truly interested in her. She was wounded. As Earle was Cooper’s first partner, it was logical that he would have known Caroline prior to her becoming State’s Witness. They probably had at the very least a friendly passing acquaintance or at the most been good platonic friends. Then she needed protection. Then she became an object to be saved and he fell in love with her. They both were women in need of his protection and thus became the “same” woman to him.
Since he saw them as objects, then that was problematic. These women were both individual human beings not objects. One of my favorite literary characters, from the Discworld franchise, Granny Weatherwax once said, “And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is….[T]hey starts with thinking about people as things…” (Sir Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum) He was starting to think of these women as things. They were interchangeable. Annie was laying in Caroline’s spot, with Caroline’s wounds, and in Caroline’s dress. Both women said things in the Lodge that made more sense coming out of the other such as “I saw the face of the man who killed me.”
That’s where Laura and her anger entered. Dopple Laura was the most angry at Cooper. The first case of anger, during her “Meanwhile” parody, was directed at him being fooled by the Lodge Spirits and continually getting lost. Once he ran from her, he began to snap back to what he was doing there in the first place. The second time, when she interrupted Annie and Caroline continually swapping, she did it because she was angry at him seeing these two women as interchangeable. She, the doppelganger, was still part of the overarching Soul of Laura, the young woman who was the ultimate one who knew what it was like to be treated like an object. Though Cooper was more benign in his “objectifying” of Caroline and Annie than the horrors that Leland did to Laura, his “baby” his “object”, it was still objectifying. She wanted Cooper to stop thinking like this. This was her most principal purpose.
Because nothing in Twin Peaks is terribly straightforward, nor is there typically one simple solution to anything, Doppel-Laura did this also to shake him awake. As in her “Meanwhile” parody, Doppel-Laura’s scream woke Cooper up. He was once again getting lost. She was shaking him awake again to refocus him into actually saving Annie and getting the heck out of Dodge. Original Laura was so used to getting stuck in her own dreams. BOB trapped her with horrific abuse in some. One she had to chew her own foot off to save herself. Cooper was getting eternally lost in this dreamlike maze of the Lodge, whether it was happening in his own mind or truly occurring in another plane of existence.
She was angry at him for not letting the dead stay dead because he was dwelling on Caroline here instead of the very alive Annie. Even having Caroline show up in the Lodge was demonstrating how unable Cooper was at letting her go. She knew that Annie was his present and seeing Caroline in Annie’s place was not allowing his relationship with Annie to flourish healthfully. It would have always had Caroline’s pall over it. Laura excelled at matchmaking for her friends, pushing Bobby towards Shelly and Donna to James. She was angry at him for not letting Caroline go and truly embracing life with Annie as a possibility.
As Cheryl Lee Latter’s article said, Laura was enraged and she’s directing her anger at Cooper. It’s the why that is telling. It is the why that gives even her inside-the-Lodge-Doppelganger some agency and some heroism. She, part of the One who knew objectification so horribly, was enraged at Cooper, a seeming “good guy” viewing the women as interchangeable, as part of something to serve his own needs to be the white knight. She, part of the One who knew how it was to get stuck in dreams, was enraged at Cooper for getting stuck in this journey. She, part of the One who guided her friends towards better lives, was enraged at Cooper for not embracing a woman who was alive and a better fit for him. Even Dopple-Laura was fighting for good and fighting to ensure that Cooper straightened out his life.
One thought on “Doppel-Laura Snaps Dale Out of It”
I like this reading a lot. I always knew doppel-laura was a really important part of episode 29 but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what she was doing.
The way that she screams at Cooper feels so purposeful, and I think your conclusions about her motivation are well supported by the text.