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MIKE: “BOB is BOB. Eager for fun. He wears a smile… everybody runs…”
ALBERT: “Maybe that is what BOB really is. EVIL THAT MEN DO.”
Have you ever heard of a theory called Ockham’s Razor? It claims that we need not stretch for an explanation further than necessary. People make big mistake when they are trying to literally define BOB as a spirit who inhabits people’s bodies in order to perform his acts of evil. But in films of David Lynch you cannot take anything for granted just like that.
We have to realize that BOB is not real. BOB doesn’t exist. He is only a personification of the evil that men do or, more to the point, the DARK SIDE OF HUMAN NATURE that inhabits all of us. In that way, BOB is a part of us all, a hidden facet of our personality, potential aspect of our nature. As stated above, all of these aspects exist in all of us as latent and they have equal possibilities of development. Which ones will eventually prevail, depends only on particular situations in one’s life and one’s personality.
To say that BOB is the one who is responsible for Laura’s, Maddy’s and Teresa’s murder is just taking the responsibility of the man who committed these evil acts – Leland Palmer (note: this is directly implied in Leland’ ironic statement in the series’ final episode saying he ‘didn’t kill anybody’). Placing his blame on some kind of a concept of demonic possession is nothing more than an attempt to avoid his responsibility. If not in the series, this is clearly stated in the movie.
BOB is Leland’s alter ego, his mask, behind which he is trying to hide his sickness and find an excuse for the acts he has committed. But also, from the medical point of view, BOB can be seen as a reflection of Leland’s mental disorder (multiple personality syndrome). On the other hand, BOB is Laura’s mental projection, a creation of her mind which creates a new ‘reality’ to replace the one it can no longer stand. As previously discussed, her mind is unable to accept the true nature of her molester and therefore it creates a ‘mask’ in the form of BOB, meant to protect her from finding the truth. The truth she will eventually find out will bring to her end, but it will also set her free and take her to another place.
BOB is a powerful, primal evil which exists in every single one of us. It is manifested in Leland as a way for him to disassociate his evil acts from his normal everyday life. On the one hand, he is a molester, rapist, murderer and incest committer and, on the other hand, he is a renowned lawyer and a respected member of the community. BOB is his justification, his attempt at placing his blame on someone else’s back ( NOTE: interestingly and frighteningly, in a small town called Indjija – in our home country of Serbia - a few years ago a man who brutally killed a family, defended himself in court, claiming that he was possessed by BOB while committing these crimes… BELIEVE IT OR NOT THIS REALLY HAPPENED!).
Finally, another important aspect of BOB is his mundane look (jacket, jeans, work boots). He is powerful, yet simple, suggesting that BOB COULD BE ANYONE. ANYONE OF US.