“The Walking Dead” Season 5, episode 2 was appropriately titled “Strangers,” but surprisingly Father Gabriel Stokes wasn’t the biggest arrival in the episode. Though he is a man who — as is repeatedly said in the series — clearly has something to hide, it’s the reveal that Gareth and the Terminans have turned into the Hunters from “The Walking Dead” comics that is the most skin-crawling, stomach-turning moment in the episode.
Before delving too deep into what this means for “The Walking Dead,” let’s all communally freak out about one key moment: They. Ate. Bob.
Even 10 minutes after watching the episode, a sense of unease lingers at the thought of Gareth munching on Bob’s leg meat in the final moment of “Strangers.” Bob Stookey is all but toast — untimely food pun intended — but death would be too easy for both the audience and Bob. Chances are everyone will have to deal with at least a few more disgusting scenes of Bob being eaten by Gareth and the rest of the Hunters before he is gone for good. This might be a bit premature, but RIP Bob. Your now-inevitable death is going to make Sasha really sad.
Though some people still might be terrified by the walkers in “The Walking Dead,” long-time viewers likely have become as numb to Greg Nicotero’s gory zombies as the characters in the show have. Even the water walkers who were so decomposed they burst apart easily weren’t as chill-inducing as the Hunters being cannibals. If there’s one thing “The Walking Dead” can do well, it’s constantly one-up itself.
It was clear Gareth would be coming back after he wasn’t killed in the season premiere, but it’s interesting that the Hunters are factoring into this season in such a big way. No matter how creepy Andrew J. West plays Gareth, it’s clear he’s not a one-note villain. As Gale Anne Hurd tells Zap2it, “He wasn’t always a villain, and I think that’s another part of ‘The Walking Dead’: These are complex characters. They’re not cardboard cutouts.”
Rick’s lesson to Carl that no one is ever safe even in the safest circumstances rings true for Bob, but why did it have to be him? It’s become a bit of a joke that “The Walking Dead” cycles out one black male character for another, with T-Dog’s death allowing Tyreese to be introduced, and now Bob opening the door for Father Gabriel. Also RIP Oscar, we hardly knew ye.
Bob never had a chance to be deeply developed on the show, and while his new romance with Sasha and their game about him finding the good in all post-apocalyptic circumstances made him a lot more endearing than he was in Season 4, he is the easiest character to axe from the current group. While it’s nice to not lose a character who’s integral to “The Walking Dead’s” dynamic like Rick, Daryl, Maggie and Michonne, it seems too easy for Bob to be the one to be picked off by the Hunters.
Which introduction did you find more effective: Father Gabriel or the Hunters?