While he was a character that appeared designed to irritate fans of the show, here's why Dougie Jones became the best new character on Twin Peaks: The Return. It's almost easy to underestimate the impact the original Twin Peaks had on audiences. The David Lynch / Mark Frost series was completely unlike anything that had been seen on TV before, with its mixture of drama, horror, police procedural, romantic drama and whether else it felt like being.
Outside of maybe Miami Vice it was also one of the most cinematic shows ever attempted. The first season of Twin Peaks became a worldwide obsession, with viewers trying to piece together the central mystery of who killed Laura Palmer while soaking in the great characters and atmosphere. Sadly, once season 2 revealed Laura's killer, the quality and ratings took a dive, and the show was cancelled by the end of the second year. Lynch later directed prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which was widely derided upon release but is now regarded as one of the filmmaker's most underrated movies. The show would go on to inspire the likes of The X-Files and Lost.
Following the critical and commercial disappointment of Fire Walk With Me, Lynch declared for years he would never return to Twin Peaks, despite fan demands. They eventually got their wish when the filmmaker became re-energized by the property and returned to helm every episode of Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017. The show would prove divisive as it wasn't exactly the nostalgic return some were hoping for. That said, it would also receive praise for its unique blending of genres, with "The Return, Part 8" considered one of the best episodes of television to air in 2017.
Dougie Jones would prove to be one of the most controversial elements of Twin Peaks: The Return - and with good reason. The original series ended with a huge cliffhanger, where Kyle MacLachlan's (Dune) heroic FBI Agent Dale Cooper was possessed by evil entity Killer Bob. The Return revealed Bob has been walking around in Cooper's body for decades while Dale remained trapped in the Black Lodge. Coop eventually escapes and emerges into the real world, but the stress of the ordeal leaves him in something of a catatonic state. He's soon mistaken for his doppelganger Dougie Jones, an insurance agent created by the evil Cooper to keep the Lodge off his tracks.
Twin Peaks fans had waited over 25 years for Cooper to escape the Lodge - only for their expectations to be subverted in a way that felt almost cruel. Inside, they got a catatonic Cooper as Dougie, leading to any number of bizarre comic setpieces where every character including his wife Janey-E, played by Naomi Watts (The Ring), don't notice anything wrong with him. While it was hoped the Dougie Jones story would only last a few episodes, it would cover all but the final 3 episodes. While Dougie was incredibly divisive, he eventually began to grow on audiences. Through the character, Cooper also got something of the family life he'd been missing out on whilst trapped in the Lodge.
The show spent so long teasing Cooper's return that viewers became attached to Dougie and his family in the interim, with the character touching the lives of those around him almost accidentally. Twin Peaks: The Return was also a great showcase for Kyle MacLachlan, allowing him to reprise his most beloved character, whilst also playing the sinister evil Cooper and Dougie. He's clearly having a great time playing up the comedy of the latter role, with occasional shades of the real Cooper peaking through.
One of the most emotional moments of the series comes with episode 16, where Cooper wakes from his coma. It's wonderful to finally have him back but it's also bittersweet since it means saying goodbye to Dougie Jones and his family. Cooper orders the Lodge to make another doppelganger so they can have Dougie back while he heads to Twin Peaks. While Twin Peaks: The Return will remain divisive - like any David Lynch project should - MacLachlan's portrayal of Dougie was one of the highlights. That's probably not something most fans would have said at the launch of the revival, but it slowly turned out that way.