I'll post his exact message and my response below, but first when I'm most interested in looking at is this idea of the reveal as a bait-and-switch: we think Laura's mystery is a public one and it is, in a sense, but the reveal makes it very emphatically a personal mystery even with all the supernatural trappings.
Actually that makes an interesting topic too, and one that I think commentators were more conscious of at the time: how does placing blame on a spirit distract not so much from the incest theme - this has been discussed elsewhere on this board - but from the idea that the corruption and intrigue haunting Twin Peaks is a result of the townspeople's own mischief rather than otherworldly intervention?
I have some further thoughts which I'll share in a separat message. Here's what kicked off the conversation:
Gabriel wrote:I confess I'll always be a touch disappointed that it was Leland. Prior to the revelation of his guilt, both the show and Laura's diary implied to me something bigger was going on in the town. Even if Leland was bad, at the very least, was he alone? Were other people involved too?
It's the thing that really killed the show in the second season. So, Leland's the killer; that should have raked up the muck of who else was sleeping with her and what other dirty secrets were present in the town (think of the likes of the cult in Eyes Wide Shut.)
I always feel disappointed that, by ultimately internalising the Laura Palmer story to simply one family's tragedy, that the appeal of the whole town having secrets was lost. For me, Laura was a thread that should have unravelled the entire community, rather than her death having been a relatively small (in terms of 50,000 people) incident that led to the show needing outsiders to arrive (Thomas Ekhardt, Windom Earle etc) to keep the story going.
Imagine if Mayor Milford was involved in organised crime and Laura knew; imagine someone in the Sheriff's office was a traitor and Laura knew or Nadine had gone mad because she discovered Ed was involved in drug trafficking and murder and Laura knew the truth. . . the show was called Twin Peaks, but became more of a series about about outsiders going to Twin Peaks to cause trouble. Cooper should have been the only real outsider regularly in evidence.
The tag line for the post-revelation series should have been: 'If Leland hadn't killed Laura, someone else would have . . .'
I remember being surprised about the Leland reveal too. I wouldn't say "disappointed" so much because the shock of the reveal was much more disturbing and affecting this way, whereas if it had been a result of the town's secrets, the killer's identity itself would have been almost redundant. In the sense of ending the story on a brilliant twist, there really was no better option. But in terms of paving the way for the show to continue...yeah, it was a pretty terrible development come to think of it!
This also makes me wonder yet again how the decision of who killed Laura Palmer was reached. Because the way you describe it, with the whole town having some vast conspiracy, social entanglements, corruption on high, with Cooper the only outsider peering in...it sounds way more like the kind of story Mark Frost would want to tell vs. David Lynch. Indeed, it sounds quite a bit like Storyville!
For Lynch, it seems, the darkness and trouble that manifests in the outer world always corresponds to, and usually begins at, home where pyschological trauma unfolds. Obviously Lynch & Frost agreed early on that Laura's killer was Leland. But I wonder who thought and/or spoke it first? If it was Lynch, that makes it all the more ironic that Frost was in more of a rush to reveal the killer, since it sort of undermines his vision of the show as the story of a town and its web of shadowy intrigue.
(spoilers for True Detective follow)
This also makes me think of True Detective which teased us with a vast web of intrigue and esoteric lore...and then reduced the investigation to one lone nut recluse/refugee from a Thomas Harris novel. I enjoyed the final episode, but partly because I assumed that was just the end to season one and that, even with different characters and a new location, we would go on to explore elite corruption and the Yellow King mythology in future seasons. But now I'm reading that this probably will not be the case?!
If that's the case you sort of have the worst of both worlds. Like Twin Peaks, it pulls away from exposing a wider, worldly web of intrigue but unlike Twin Peaks it doesn't offer a psychological gut-punch. In fact, if anything, the final two episodes distract us from the inner & familial turmoil of Hart & Cohle and project it outward.