Uh-oh, you caught me. I’m still among THE WALKING DEAD.
Where I would like to take this moment to eulogize Bob Stookey, currently a one-legged guest of honor at the most bizarre BBQ EVER…
“But wait,” you say. “Bob’s not dead.”
Hear me out…
…If there’s anything we’ve learned from AMC’s The Walking Dead is when a character has a moment of levity, an opportunity for redemption and a deep philosophical conversation with Rick Grimes, that character’s days are numbered.
Side note: RIP Hershel.
“But, wait,” you say, “Speaking of Hershel; he survived with one leg!”
That’s true. And he would have probably been teaching Rick all about drying heirloom seeds for the next year’s crops if it wasn’t for that nasty little run-in with the Governor. Boy, did that meeting start on the wrong foot!
I know. Groan now at the bad pun. But know that I had to use it. It was right there. Tempting me.
Anyway, back to Bob. When we first met him way back in the Season Four premiere, Bob was a pathetic, scrawny guy who had been residing at the prison for barely a week. Not too far into the episode, it’s revealed that Bob has a problem with the hooch. It’s so much a problem that it results in the horrific death of others (RIP Zack) when he brings down a crap-storm of walkers through a rain-rotted superstore roof, while knocking over wine shelves. Well, I’ll give him credit; he caused all that calamity actually putting the wine bottle back on the shelf.
Later on, in Season Four, he has another literal struggle with “the bottle”; this time dangling precariously off the roof with it, about to fall into the rapacious grasps of walkers below. After much wrangling (and threatening, on Daryl’s part), Bob finally releases the backpack full of booze.
I understand that shaking an addiction in a post-apocalyptic world with no 12-Step programs available may be tough, but gee whiz…
(I have to admit here, that at one time or another, I suspected Bob of being the one feeding the rats to the walkers at the fence, as well as dissecting the ones found within the prison. I feel I must exonerate him, but here’s my argument for my presumption of his guilt: A) He is a former army medic. Dissection is a scientific, medical procedure. I thought perhaps he was studying little walker rodents, trying to find a cure for “Walkerism”. Uhm… Walkeritis? Then there’s B) He said the last two groups of survivors he was with perished, leaving him as sole survivor. Though he appeared genuinely traumatized by the ordeal, one has to ponder the odds of a streak of such bad luck as well as the conversely good fortune to suddenly acquire caches of supplies from those two defunct groups to tide him over until the next…)
When it came to Bob and his dubious backstory, I kept waiting for the proverbial “other shoe to drop”.
I know. Like Britney Spears, Oops, I Did It Again.
You’re with me so far, though, right? I mean, could this guy really be this much of a jinxed loser, roaming between bands of surviving humans until they inevitably were overrun with rampant zombies, only to get out by the few scraggly hairs of his chinny-chin-chin? And how was he doing this drunk? Is alcohol a Zombie repellent? Or was he so stupefied in his wasted state that the walkers mistook him for one of their own, as he stumbled and moaned and drooled?
Just saying. It leaves a lot to the imagination exactly how scrawny little Bob dodged each dilemma before ending up at the prison. I guess we’d have to walk a mile in his shoes…
…I know. That’s the last one. It’s all I’ve got.
There were definite signs in the “Strangers” episode of Season Five that something horrible was about to befall Poor Bob. Let’s assess, shall we?
His Humor. The “Glorious Tan” joke was pretty hysterical. Rule Number One: Don’t crack funnies. They’ll make your character more in-depth, more likeable and more susceptible to being tormented by the writers. (It’s what we do. *Insert maniacal laughter here*)
Kissy-Face. His romance with Sasha? At least he didn’t sing to her (Tyreese knows all too well what happens to someone when you croon like Old Blue Eyes to your love interest—a flambé!)
Introspection. He had a rich and meaningful conversation with Rick Grimes. Certain D-O-O-M.
Let’s tally up the “Had a Prolific Moment with Rick” score:
- Jenner (the crazy CDC dude, who revealed the group as infected and blew up the building)
- The Governor. Yes, even the Governor.
Okay. You get it, right? But by this time, EVERYONE has had at least one in-depth, emotional conversation with Rick; hence there’s a good possibility that anyone at any moment could die a horrific death.
And Bob’s transformation to a man of sobriety with passion in his heart made him the perfect victim for the writers! What a better way to tug at our heart strings than to make his character worthy of our care and concern?
And that’s one of the many secrets to good writing, my friends.
On a serious note, the last scene in the “Strangers” episode which reveals the atrocity Gareth and the “Hunters” had inflicted upon Poor Bob was one of the most chilling, devilishly executed and ingenious moments on Television. I would say for sheer “shock value” it’s on par with the gruesome death of Gustavo “Gus” Fring in Breaking Bad.
But I wonder if the evil-hipster Gareth has bitten off more than he can chew? (Oh, groan all you want! You know you said the same thing!)
Remember when Bob was attacked by the submerged, slimy walker in the flooded Food Bank basement?
There’s some speculation going on around the internet that perhaps Bob was bitten and hid the injury from Sasha and the rest of the group. That perhaps that was why he exited the church after watching Sasha blissfully holding Judith and was weeping. If it wasn’t for the fact that mass consumption of the church’s wine was going on and he abstained from drinking, why did he get so emotional? Sure, Abraham’s speech was good, but it wasn’t THAT moving to reduce a grown man to tears.
I happen to agree with the pundits of the web; that Bob was indeed bitten by the basement walker, in an underwater sneak attack to parallel the opening scene from “Jaws”. That Bob limped from the Food Bank back to the church like nothing had happened. That perhaps he was beginning to feel the onset of the walker virus’ symptoms, right before Gareth ambushed him.
Gareth looks like a “Medium Rare” guy to me. And Bob’s leg that he was gnawing on looked pretty undercooked. I didn’t see any meat thermometers around the grill. I haven’t seen any cannibal cookbooks (amazingly not even on Amazon), but I know that most meats must be 165 degrees in the center to be considered safely cooked. Duh! FOOD SAFETY, people!!
Can you say “The Mother of All Food Poisoning Cases”?
If that is the case, then would the former inhabitants of Terminus dying from consuming “tainted” meat be a more fitting “poetic justice” than the one to which Gareth so sardonically referred?
Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in Karma? Botulism on steroids!
And maybe, just maybe, Bob would be alive long enough to witness his captors’ comeuppance.
Unfortunately, I don’t see Poor Bob lasting too long into Season Five. Perhaps only an episode or two more.
So, in closing, my eulogy:
Here lies Bob Stooky.
Army Medic and a former alcoholic.
A man with a sense of humor,
As well as an undying hope for a brighter future.
A man with a glorious tan, by the way.
Some who didn’t know him personally
Would say that he merely “Tasted Good”,
Whereas we know our Bob was a Man of Good Taste.
Rest In Peace, Bob.
Cassandra Hennessey is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE