Spoilers!! Coop, Briggs and Cole
This might be far too convoluted an explanation for something that was (perhaps) a clumsy retcon, but reading the Final Dossier I think I've found a fair explanation for Gordon Cole's reveal of his, Coop's and Briggs' meeting to plan to destroy Judy, a meeting that never actually occured from what we are shown in the original series.
In the dossier Tammy writes:
"What if Jeffries, not unlike Major Briggs a few years later, had gained access to the same system of “portals,” holes in dimensional space that allowed him to disappear and reappear, in places far apart in geographical terms, more or less at will? I’ll take it one step further, Chief: What if these same portals also allowed him to come untethered from time? Wouldn’t that help explain why Briggs hadn’t aged a day in twenty-five years? Could it also explain how Ray Monroe believed that he was receiving instructions from Phillip Jeffries (And as long as we’re skating on the thin side of the ice here, what if this not only made it possible to go forward in time, but also backwards? Could that explain the shock and dismay Jeffries exhibited in your office when he learned what year it was?)"
Is it possible that after the original events of the series, where Coop ended up trapped in the waiting room/lodge, that Coop and Briggs at some point were able to return to 1989, possibly with Phillip Jeffries help, and were able to speak to Gordon and discuss Judy. It makes sense in that Coop would be more informed I'm sure after his time in the Lodge and would probably be aware of Judy. Briggs has always known much that was beyond classified, and Gordon has always known more than he's let on.
The major hole in all this of course is exactly when Briggs and Coop would have done this. I suppose time is irrelevent in one sense (i.e. in the portal) but at what part of the story would they have done this? And if Coop was able to leave the lodge and end up in 1989, was it different to time we saw where he averted Laura's murder, or did he approach Briggs after she disappeared? Why else would the Coop of 1989 investigate a small town disappearence like that - unless it was 'our' Coop who remained briefly after Laura disappeared, posing as an investigator into her disappearence, so he could speak to Briggs and Cole?
Then again, a lot of this is a massive stretch...
My brain hurts! 🙂
I have been thinking something along these lines. However, I don't think that Cooper would have had to have left the Lodge. It would be sufficient if Briggs were able to communicate with him there - which seems feasible, given what we know about Briggs at this point - and with Cole in ordinary reality. Let's not forget that they found Briggs' fingerprints those sixteen other times, which would be further indication that he could pass in and out of the lodge-space.
When is still something of a problem, though, if Cole believed that Briggs died in that fire or whatever. But, maybe he didn't. Maybe he knew all along that something stranger was going on, and that is part of what he kept from Albert.
I don't know... I think this is problematic because it's one of those retconned storylines that helps the new Joudy story along but hinders "canon" material because it wasn't added until after the first two seasons were written. When Cole tells the story it really sounds like it had to have taken place before the end of season 2.
Since I'm rewatching the second season now I'm going to be on the lookout for any time period when it might be feasible that all three of them could have had this meeting. I'm okay with this meeting taking place off scene if there's a plausible moment it could have happened. Otherwise I think the alternative's are too convoluted and I'll just chalk it up to an evolving story.
Well it does get quite convoluted, but I think one thing is clear. The season 1 and 2 Cooper doesn't appear to be very savvy about other-dimension entities, such as Judy. His first contact with the Giant occurs early in S2, and he has no idea who he is or where he comes from. It does seem likely that any such meeting as described by Cole requires a more advanced framework of knowledge. Cooper acquired that knowledge base only after he was confined in the lodge. So movement in time to meet others is plausible.
I'd agree with this, and certainly our Dale doesn't seem too savvy with the likes of the Giant back then (which in fairness to the writers Judy wasn't even a consideration then - Josie's sister was a mooted idea once, I believe). I suppose if there's one thing about The Return that annoyed me was not the retcon itself but how it was done. It just seemed a bit clumsy, which is not something I usually associate with Lynch or Frost.
I think whatever solution we come up with that makes sense to our own personal head-cannons will be ultimately convoluted. But then it can be argued that the writers put the viewer in this position in the first place.