Analysis of Cooper’s Dream Part 2


Part Two: The Giant and The “Third Man”

In this second part of our analysis of Cooper’s Dream, we will look at how Cooper’s experiences and investigation in the second season premiere reshaped his thinking about this dream. We will then explore the path he took in finding the killer after he re-evaluated his dream. Several factors played upon and influenced Cooper’s thoughts and the direction he took to find the killer, among them the visits of the Giant to his room at the Great Northern and Maddy Ferguson’s visions of BOB, the man Sarah Palmer saw in a vision and Cooper saw in his dream from episode 2. It was also determined from certain aspects of the dream that BOB was responsible for Teresa & Laura’s murders.

In the opening scene of episode 8 (Second season premiere), we see Cooper being delivered warm milk by an elderly room service waiter. Cooper asks the waiter to call the doctor, but the waiter fails to do so and seems perturbed when Cooper brings it up again. The reason he fails to call the doctor could be his senility; it is more likely that he is possessed by the spirit of the Giant (see the Possessions Article for elaboration on this subject). The Giant has many important things to tell Cooper and does not want to be interrupted by arriving paramedics. The waiter says a few things that could have double meanings, such as “I’ve heard about you” & “The milk will get cool on you pretty soon” that could indicate the Giant is speaking to him at this time as well.

After the waiter leaves the room, the Giant enters and bright light appears over Cooper, illuminating the area where he lies wounded. The Giant begins by saying, “I will tell you three things. If I tell them to you and they come true, then will you believe me.” Cooper tries to ascertain who this fellow is and where he comes from to which the Giant replies enigmatically. He simply tells Cooper to think of him as a friend and instead of asking where he comes from, Cooper should ask where he has gone.

The three clues the Giant gives are:

1) There is a man in a smiling bag.
2) The Owls are not what they seem.
3) Without chemicals, he points.

Cooper asks the Giant what these things mean. The Giant regretfully informs him that is all he is permitted to say. He asks Cooper to give him his ring and that he will return it to Cooper when he finds these things to be true. After taking the ring, he adds, “We want to help you.”, which naturally leads Cooper to ask “Who’s we?” The Giant answers with silence, then says in conclusion, “One last thing, Leo locked inside a hungry horse. There’s a clue at Leo’s house. You will require medical attention.” The Giant then disappears.

This statement, “Leo locked inside a hungry horse” is the catalyst for Cooper re-evaluating his dream. Even after Cooper is visited by the Giant, taken to the hospital and leaves, against the recommendations of Doc Hayward, Leo is still Cooper’s primary suspect. Andy tells Cooper that he answered this riddle. Leo was locked in a jail cell in Hungry Horse, Montana on the night of February 9th, 1988. Cooper and Albert immediately recall this was the night of Teresa Banks murder, giving Leo an alibi for it and releasing him from their suspicions in regards to Laura’s murder.

Without Leo, there is only one suspect left to consider. The “third man” that went by the Log Lady’s cabin the night of Laura’s murder. Cooper has to look at all the clues of his dream, break the code all over again so that they might lead him to find BOB, the killer, the “third man.” In their synopsis of the night of Laura’s death, Cooper and Albert point this out, adding that Hawk found evidence of a third man outside the window of Jacques cabin. They believed that after Jacques passed out, Leo drove off, leaving the girls behind. The third man took Laura and Ronette to the train car, where Ronette was tied up for the first time, Laura for the second. Ronette was knocked unconscious and eventually regained consciousness and fled, unknown to the killer. They recap the usage of the mound of dirt, Laura’s necklace and the note written in blood “Fire walk with me.” They also surmise the blood was written in the killer’s blood, the same blood type they found on the bloody towel discovered by Hawk. Near the towel, Hawk also discovered scraps of faded paper. With Leo and Ronette in comas, Laura, Jacques and Waldo, the mynah bird, dead, they are left with only the “third man”.

At the end of episode eight, the Giant comes to see Cooper again. It is a briefer visit than the first. Cooper realizes he isn’t dreaming and this is a genuine experience. Cooper tells the Giant he was right about the smiling bag. Earlier at the hospital, Cooper talks to Ed, who is visiting his wife who is also in a coma. Hawk arrives with James and Cooper steps aside. He looks into another room, where he sees a bodybag hanging over some sinks drying in the shape of a smile. The Giant tells Cooper the things he tells him will not be wrong. He silences Cooper and continues by saying a path is formed by laying one stone at a time, urging him to not looks for the clues all at once. The main purpose of his second visit is to tell Cooper that three people have seen the third man, but not his body, implying that they saw him in dreams or visions. There is one person who saw him physically, who is known to Cooper and ready to talk.

In episodes nine and ten, the meaning of the Giant’s remaining two clues are somewhat revealed. Other things occur that will determine the path Cooper is forming to lead him to the identity of the third man, who they are now referring to as BOB.

Cooper realizes the person who saw BOB physically is Ronette, who saw him when she and Laura were taken to the train car. He and Truman visit her in the hospital and show her the sketches of Leo Johnson and BOB. She doesn’t respond much to Leo’s sketch, but when she sees the face of BOB, she starts to convulse and repeatedly say “train.” Cooper asks her if she saw him in the train car, she nods yes, amidst the flailing arms and terror of reliving the memory of BOB and Laura in the train car. This Cooper gives something further to go on.

In the evening, Cooper is visited by Major Briggs who has a message for him. Briggs had an encounter with The Log Lady in the Double R, during which she said her log had something to tell him, “Deliver the message.” This led him to Cooper’s room at the Great Northern. Major Briggs does not go into detail about what his classified work entails, but does say he is responsible for keeping track of deep space monitors, examining and decoding the “space garbage” they pick up. On the evening Cooper was shot, they received a communication among the garbage, “The owls are not what they seem.” When asked by Cooper why he brought this to him, Briggs shows him a later transmission that read “Cooper/Cooper/Cooper”

When Cooper goes to bed that night, he has another dream. This one is not as elaborate as the one in episode 2, but seems more like a regular dream, sorting through all Cooper has unearthed to this point. The dream is interrupted by a phone call. Before this occurs, however, Cooper again sees Sarah running down the stairs of the Palmer house. He again sees the vision Sarah had, this time with an owl superimposed over BOB’s face, intimating there is some connection between BOB and owls. These two things could also be reiterating that if Sarah and Cooper look hard enough in the Palmer house they would find BOB and thus find the person responsible for Laura’s murder. This is furthered by the blurry image he sees of a man, laughing wickedly who comes into focus as BOB, before he wakes up.

Before we get to the revelation of the Giant’s third clue. Let’s look into other events that will have significant effects on Cooper’s case.

In the beginning of episode 10, Ronette is having another panic attack in her room. This is just cause for this, for we learn that during the night BOB came into her room and tried to kill her by tainting her IV. They find a letter under her ring fingernail of her left hand. You might recall that there were two other letters found, a “T” under Teresa Banks’ finger, an “R” under Laura’s and now a “B” under Ronette’s.

Cooper now tries to find out the meaning of and the reasoning behind the placement of the letters under the nails of the victims. Talking with Truman and Albert in the conference room, he says he believes these letters and the Giant’s clues are related to BOB somehow. They discuss Sarah’s vision and two visions that Maddy had of BOB in the last two days. Although it is never mentioned again, before Maddy had her first vision, she told Sarah about a dream she had the night before about the carpet, the place in the room where she has the first vision. Therefore, Maddy saw BOB in dreams and visions. Cooper adds that he saw BOB in his dream and that these visions and Ronette seeing him physically in the train car was a psychic link that would lead them straight to BOB.

It seems clear in hindsight that Maddy Ferguson was going to be the next victim of the killer. She had dreams and visions of BOB, just as Laura did. Cooper’s dream also held the vital clue, “She’s my cousin, but doesn’t she look exactly like Laura Palmer.” Maddy has a second vision that was certainly more terrifying than the first. It occurred in the Hayward residence when James and she came over to record a song. Maddy was alone and she saw BOB approaching her with a knowing look in his eyes and menacing grin. Unfortunately, Cooper does not make the connection between Maddy and the “cousin” in his dream.

Cooper is next aided, in some respects, by Leland Palmer. He sees a sketch of BOB in Ben Horne’s office and recognizes the man from his childhood. He tells Cooper that next to his grandfather’s summerhouse there was a vacant lot and next to that was a white house. This house was where this gray-haired man lived. He also tells them that the man’s name is Robertson. Cooper immediately makes the connection between this name and the letters left under the nails. Leland adds that this man used to flick matches at him, asking him if he wanted to play with fire. This reference to fire makes Cooper certain this is the man they are looking for.

Leland’s information leads to a dead end. Hawk checks the white house near the Palmer’s summerhouse. He finds the house boarded up and no name on the mailbox. Title checks also turn up that no one named Robertson lived in that house. Hawk also visits with the last people to reside in the house and they had no memory of a gray-haired man. One way to look at this is that BOB was in control and purposely sent them a wild-goose chase. Even if Leland was in charge at the moment, his memory of the gray-haired man could be clouded by years of BOB being in control. Still, it is safe to presume he is going to believe that the man is real and not an inhabiting spirit that has taken over his body. Another possibility is that whoever lived in the house near the Palmer’s summerhouse may have been possessed by BOB at the some time. During one of Leland’s summer visits, BOB attention changed to the visiting boy as the next possible victim/vessel.

The path takes a clearer form when the meaning of the Giant’s third clue is revealed. It begins with the sudden appearance of Phillip Gerard at the Sheriff’s station. He says he is there to sell him shoes as he was asked by the Sheriff to stop by at his nearest convenience. He is not able to see the Sheriff at that time, but comes at another time. During this visit, he is going about his work describing several of his shoes, trying to secure a sale to the sheriff. He sees a sketch of BOB and becomes disoriented. He asks where the restroom is and Truman shows him the way. In a restroom stall, Gerard tries to inject a drug with a syringe but goes into convulsions before he is able to do so. He emerges from the stall saying, “BOB, I know you’re here. I’m after you now.” Later, Cooper finds out Gerard was there and left suddenly. Cooper remembers that in his dream the one-armed man knew BOB. He then rushes to the restroom and searches the stalls. On the floor of one, he finds the syringe and exclaims, “Without chemicals, he points. The Giant’s third clue.”

Hawk searches for the One-Armed Man for a couple days, but does not apprehend him until episode 13. When Hawk brings him down to the interrogation cell, Harry is talking to Gordon Cole, Cooper’s supervisor. Gordon tells Harry about two important clues. One, the drug Gerard is using is a “combo, really weird stuff.” Two, the pages hawk found down the tracks from the crime site were from a diary. Harry had just spoken to Donna about the secret diary of Laura Palmer that Harold Smith had in his possession.

At the end of the episode, Cooper interrogates Gerard after he transforms into Mike and brings his dream into clearer perspective once again.

Gerard: Please give me my medicine, I can feel the change
Truman: What change?
Cole: The drug found in his possession contains trace elements usually found in haliperidol.
Cooper: Do you suffer from schizophrenia, multiple personalities?
Gerard: It’s too late.
Cooper: You know this man, don’t you? (shows him the sketch of BOB) Why did you lie to me when I questioned you?
Gerard: It wasn’t me. Don’t you understand? It wasn’t me.
Truman: Give him the drug, Chief.
Cooper: Not yet
Cole: If we give him the drug, you’ll never see the other side.
Truman: Give him the medicine!
Cooper: No! (Gerard goes through the “change”)
Mike: There is no need for medicine. I am not in pain.
Cooper: Who are you?
Mike: My name is Mike
Cooper: What are you?
Mike: I am an inhabiting spirit.
Cooper: Who is Philip Gerard?
Mike: He is host to me.
Cooper: You spoke to me in my dream about BOB
Mike: He was my familiar
Cooper: Where does BOB come from?
Mike: That cannot be revealed
Cooper: What does BOB want?
Mike: He is BOB, eager for fun. He wears a smile; everybody run. Do you understand the parasite? It attaches itself to a life form and feeds. BOB requires a human host. He feeds on fear and the pleasures. They are his children. I am similar to BOB. We once were partners.
Mike and Cooper in unison: Through the darkness of futures past/The magician longs to see.
Mike alone: One chants out between two worlds/Fire walk with me. But then, I saw the face of God and was purified. I took off the arm, but remained close to this vessel, inhabiting from time to time for one single purpose.
Cooper: To find BOB?
Mike: To stop him! This is his true face, but few can see it; the gifted…and the damned.
Cooper: Is BOB near us now?
Mike: For nearly forty years.
Cooper: Where?
Mike: Ah, a large house made of wood, surrounded by trees. The house is filled with many rooms, each alike, but occupied by different souls night after night.
Cooper: The Great Northern Hotel!

This information leads Cooper to take Gerard/Mike to the Great Northern accompanied by Harry and Andy. This action unfortunately leads Cooper on a detour, which delays his discovery of the killer and leaves him unable to catch him before BOB kills Maddy Ferguson. When Ben Horne appears in the lobby, disgruntled by his guests being paraded in front of a one-armed man. Mike begins to faint and his hand reaches up as if pointing, “Without chemicals, he points.” This is not clarified in Cooper’s mind until later, when two things occur. One, the secret diary is retrieved from Harold Smith’s apartment and in it are many damning statements regarding Ben Horne. Two, Audrey Horne comes to the station to tell Agent Cooper what she discovered when she interrogated her father about Laura Palmer. Ben was sleeping with her and Laura was working at One-eyed Jack’s, which he owns. After Audrey leaves, Cooper tells Harry to get an arrest warrant for Ben and they go to the Great Northern and arrest him. It might be said the statement, ”One day I’m going to tell the world about Ben Horne.” is in reference to his owning the casino/brothel and not that he was the killer.

When they get back to the station, Ben Horne is taken to the holding cell. The Log Lady is waiting for Agent Cooper. She tells him “We don’t know what will happen or when, but there are owls in the Roadhouse.” Margaret means well, her purpose is take Cooper to the Roadhouse because another message is going to be delivered, but she does not realize this trip will keep Cooper occupied while the next murder occurs. During the Julee Cruise concert going on there, the band disappears from the stage and the Giant appears to Cooper in a vision. He says repeatedly, “It is happening again.”. The Giant’s message is trying to get Cooper back on track by telling him another murder is occurring and that he has the wrong man in custody. During this vision, Cooper feels for his ring, since all three clues have come to fruition, but it is still missing because the killer is still at large. After the vision, the old waiter comes up to Cooper and says, “I’m so sorry,” displaying the Giant’s regret for Cooper going off track, resulting in someone’s else death, and paying his respects for the nearly departed.

Leland/BOB furthers the distraction by doing all he can to frame Ben Horne for the murders. He pulled the strands of white fur from the stuffed fox in Ben’s office and placed them in Maddy’s right hand so Ben would be implicated. While Ben is in custody, Leland plans to dispose of Maddy’s body. During this, he runs into Cooper and Harry after almost colliding with them head on while driving to the waterfall to do so. Leland tells them the night of Laura’s murder Ben got a phone call. Ben’s voice was raised and angry. Leland believes he heard Ben mention a “dairy.” Cooper then corrects him by suggesting that he means “diary.” Leland agrees that could be what he said. This is another damning piece of “evidence” because of the pages of diary found down the tracks from the crime site that Gordon Cole mentioned.

Cooper again starts to see things clearly when he puts Mike and Ben Horne in the same room. Mike does not sense BOB’s presence and tells Cooper he is not here now. Cooper tells Harry out in the hall that Ben Horne should be released because of this. Harry says he has had enough of the dreams and visions. They have hard evidence against Ben and it’s his job to lock him up. Cooper concedes to Harry’s conviction about Ben Horne’s culpability for the time being. Mike did say BOB has been very close. This could explain why Mike fainted when Ben Horne approached. Leland Palmer had begun working for Ben again and was likely nearby in the hotel somewhere

Maddy Ferguson’s body is soon discovered and Cooper asks Harry for 24 hours to close the case, still believing that Ben Horne is not to blame for the killings.

The first thing that occurs is Donna Hayward taking Cooper to the Tremond’s, one of the people on her Meals on Wheels route. The Tremond’s are supposed to be an old woman and her grandson, but instead it is a woman claiming that her mother is dead and that she has no children. When she realizes that it is Donna at her door, she gives Donna an envelope that was left at her house. The envelope contains a page from Laura’s diary courtesy of Harold. The two entries describe a dream Laura had that was identical to Cooper’s and the realization that February 23rd was the day that she would die.

When Cooper discovers that he and Laura had the same dream, he immediately goes to see Gerard, thinking he will have the answers Cooper seeks. Cooper tells Mike that BOB has killed again. He continues by telling him about the identical dream he and Laura had; the dream he has to unlock in order to solve the crime.

Mike explains that when he and BOB were killing together there was “this perfect relationship, appetite-satisfaction=a golden circle. Cooper makes a connection between “a golden circle” and the ring he gave to the Giant.

Mike: He is known to us here
Cooper: Then he’s real
Mike: As real as I…He can help you find BOB
Cooper: How?
Mike: You must ask him first.
Cooper: How do I do that?
Mike: You have all the clues you need.

Shortly after in the hallway, Cooper sees the old room service waiter at the end of the hall. He is carrying a glass of warm milk on a tray, the same as he did the night Cooper was shot. He says to Cooper, “I know about you…That milk will get cool on you, but it’s getting warmer now.” Cooper repeats the phrase, “getting warmer now”, making a connection that will become clearer later.

Harry remains adamant that Ben is the killer. This is confirmed for Harry when they find the white fox in his office and his phone records indicating the phone call Leland spoke of the night Laura died. Albert arrives with Ben Horne’s blood test, but the results are not revealed at that time, but it will later prove Ben’s innocence.

Later, Harry goes to Leland’s and interrupts BOB’s advances on Donna. He asks Leland to come with him. There’s been another murder and they need Leland’s help.

Cooper is waiting for them at the Roadhouse, where he is gathering all the suspects of Laura’s murder, including Ben, Bobby Briggs and Leo Johnson. Once they are all assembled, Cooper pauses, saying that someone is missing. At that moment, the clock strikes three and Major Briggs arrives with the room service waiter. This is essential for Cooper to solve the case, because the Giant is the inhabiting spirit of the waiter. The waiter approaches Cooper and offers him a stick of gum. The waiter walks over and stands next to Leland. Mike said that the Giant could help Cooper find BOB, which is why the Giant stands next to him. Leland tells the waiter he used to chew that gum when he was a kid; it’s his favorite gum. The waiter says, “That gum you like is going to come back in style.” At that moment, everything freezes for Cooper. That line was the impetus to crack open the meaning of his dream as he remembered the little man saying it to him. We could compare this statement to that of a hypnotist, who uses a statement to bring someone into our out of a trance. He sees the little man dancing and remembers the secret Laura whispered in his ear, “My father killed me.” Then, the Giant appears and returns the ring to Cooper because the three clues finally lead him to find whom BOB is hiding within.

Cooper asks Ben Horne to come with him to the station and suggests he bring along Leland as his attorney. When they return, Ben is taken down to interrogation. Cooper whispers in Harry’s ear. Harry understands what to do and by now has realized Ben is probably not the killer because of the blood test results. They act as if they are going to put Ben in the room, then put him aside and thrust Leland into the room instead. While Leland freaks out in the cell, Harry asks Cooper how he knew. Cooper responds that Laura told him in her dream. Harry says he needs a little more than this, so Cooper offers him a confession.

They handcuff Leland and Cooper starts the interrogation. He asks Leland/BOB if he killed Laura Palmer. He responds, in a manner of speaking, yes. When asked if he killed Maddy Ferguson as well, he responds affirmatively, again in a roundabout way. BOB, using Leland’s voice, goes on to thank Leland for being such a good vehicle. However, having been caught, Leland is now “weak and full of holes.” BOB plans to leave the vessel of Leland but not before filling the poor man in on all the atrocities he did for BOB over the years. “When I pull that ripcord, you watch Leland remember, watch him, but not for long.” BOB then feigns unconsciousness to buy him some time until the right moment when he can kill Leland.

Out in the hallway, Cooper puts it all together for Harry; all the clues that were there from the very beginning if he had interpreted his dream correctly. The little man from Cooper’s dream danced just as Leland danced compulsively after Laura’s death. Leland told them the killer was a gray-haired man; Leland’s hair turned gray overnight after killing Jacques Renault. The letters under the nails were BOB spelling his name, “a signature on a demon self-portrait.” Leland was the third man outside Jacques’ cabin who took the girls to the train car. It was his blood they found, according to the blood test, not Ben Horne’s. Harry asks for the reasoning for the killings. Cooper suggests that Laura found out that BOB was the killer after Leland tore the pages from the diary. As for Maddy, either she realized BOB was the killer or she was leaving and BOB could not bear to part with her and wanted to relive the experience.

Harry ponders whether or not Leland is simply crazy. Leland then responds in a way that might make us think otherwise. He recites the “Fire walk with me” poem and expands on it by repeating exactly what BOB said in Cooper’s dream, “Catch you with my deathbag. You may think I’ve gone inside, but I promise I will kill again.” This solidifies for Cooper that his dream has finally lead him to the third man the Giant told him about.

Cooper will get more verification in a way he would not wish for when Leland starts banging his head on the iron grate of the interrogation room door. Cooper and Harry rush to the door, but since the sprinklers had been activated, Harry slips and drops his keys, so they don’t reach him in time. Cooper asks Hawk to call an ambulance, and then takes Leland in his arms as they listen to his heart-wrenching confession. He remembers everything as BOB had declared he would. He tells them that BOB visited him in a dream and eventually he was opened and Leland invited him in (see the Possessions article for further explanation). Leland continues by telling him “they wanted lives, they wanted others, other they could use like they used me.” They made him kill Teresa Banks and they wanted Laura but she was able to resist BOB’s evil advances to take her as his new vessel. As a result of this defiance, Leland was forced to kill Laura too. Cooper leads Leland through the last moments of his life, by reciting a passage from the Tibetan Book of the Dead to prepare Leland’s soul for its journey. In Leland’s final moments he sees Laura, overwhelmed by her beauty and his love for his only daughter. He goes to her, goes into the light as Cooper commands, telling Leland not to be afraid.


This article was meant to show the path Cooper took after the Giant visited him in his room at the Great Northern and later at the Roadhouse. The Giant’s role was to get Cooper back on track, because his investigation had strayed from looking for the third man and instead focused on Leo and Jacques. The Giant’s clues led Cooper to eliminate Leo from suspicion and hunt for Gerard, the One-Armed Man.

Through Gerard, Cooper learned the real meaning behind Mike and BOB’s appearance in his dream. His dream opened the door on a supernatural world that Cooper would eventually enter. However, Cooper would not go in this direction until his former partner Windom Earle came to town. Something BOB said to Cooper during the interrogation of Leland tells us something more about this connection. After saying “I have this thing for knives”, he turns to face Cooper and adds, “Just like what happened to you in Pittsburgh that time, huh, Cooper?” This leaves the viewer to speculate if BOB was after Cooper from the beginning or possibly realized, now that his time with Leland was ending, that Cooper would be the ideal vessel in which to carry out evil deeds. Either way, Cooper’s dream did have deeper implications than simply as being a means to solve the murders of Teresa Banks, Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson.

In time, Cooper would reach the setting of his dream and in that place his life would be changed forever.

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