Poor Bob. Poor, poor Bob.
It’s not often that one of the side characters on “The Walking Dead” gets a nice moment. Usually, all the joy, relief, laughter and romance are reserved for Rick, Daryl, Michonne or a select few other favorite characters. The rest are generally zombie chow.
But in “Strangers,” things seemed to be going well for Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.), the former army medic who has battled his demons in the past, but seemed to have at long last found love with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). Suddenly, Bob was everywhere this episode, smiling and smooching and looking like the love in his heart was enough to fight back the apocalypse around him.
We should have known that he was about to get Mrs. Landingham-ed.
For those who didn’t watch “The West Wing,” Mrs. Landingham was the president’s executive secretary, who was little more than a witty addition to scenes until suddenly in the second season episode “18th and Potomac” she was given her own subplot. Things were seemingly looking up for Mrs. Landingham! Soon she would be a star! But no, by episode’s end, she had been killed by a drunk driver. Our sympathies were built up only so she could be sacrificed to the gods of story.
So it seems to be with Bob. Just when it appeared the character was going to develop his own fully fleshed-out romantic subplot, he was abducted by Gareth and the remnants of the Terminus cannibals, his leg amputated for food.
“If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would,” said Gareth, while munching on Bob.
True, Bob isn’t technically dead yet, but with one leg, he can’t be around for too much longer. Does the show really want to spend its FX budget making a guy’s leg disappear every week? But whatever happens to him next, his ultimate fate will surely be related to the reason he was spotted weeping just before his abduction by Gareth and his fellow hunters.
Was he crying because he was overwhelmed with emotion after seeing Sasha holding baby Judith? Or was he crying because he had secretly been bitten by a walker?
Earlier in the episode, the crew visited a food bank overrun by walkers. While in the flooded basement, Bob got grabbed by a submerged walker and was unseen for a brief period of time. Long enough to get nibbled by the creature.
As Rick cautioned Carl earlier in the episode, “All it takes is a second.”
Bob claimed he was OK, but we’re too far into this series for walker interactions like that to occur without deeper character significance. He may have been fine, or he may have been lying. If he was lying, then he was weeping for the love he knew he was going to lose.
If that’s the case, Gareth and company are in for a rude awakening when they realize they’ve been eating infected human. Not that it will make much of a difference in their diet if they all turn into walkers. They’ll just get less dialogue.
Bob may be on the way out, but this episode also introduced us to Gabriel, played by Seth Gilliam, who, like Gilliard, is an alum of “The Wire.” Those “Walking Dead” casting directors do love their “Wire” actors. Let’s hope, “Ray Donovan” schedule permitting, we’ll get to see Wendell Pierce here sometime soon.
It’s obvious that, although he’s a man of the cloth, Gabriel is a coward. But is he dangerous? Like Governor or Gareth dangerous? More likely, he’s just another self-interested character who can’t be trusted in a pinch. But let’s hope the character either undergoes an enlightenment or gets chewed up quick.
One thing “The Walking Dead” doesn’t need is a frustrating non-villain. The real villains are frustrating enough.
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