Tag Archive for Bob Stookey

The Walking Dead Recap: “Strangers” (Season 5, Episode 2)

My copy of last week’s season premiere was missing a crucial post-credits element: a masked man on the tracks follows an X carved into a tree just after Rick and crew pass; he takes off the mask to better see his surroundings, and it’s none other than Morgan. A blast form the past, looking considerably less nuts than last time we saw him. So far in season five, it appears everything’s coming full circle.

In this week’s edition, our newly reunited crew of misfits look on from a “safe” distance as the fire burns at Terminus; billowing smoke fills the sky. From the opening moments, the pacing feels a little off. The cameraman trains his focus on the Good Guys as they walk – always walking – and then slows everything down. While this could be used to indicate the repetiveness, the monotony, of their lives on the road, it’s not terribly effective. Tara’s breasts bounce in slow-mo, and the expression we’ve all come to associate with Rick, his stone-faced, hollow-eyed stare, carries our crew forward through the woods. Exciting it is not.

The opening minutes of the episode feature people talking and not talking; they’re not yet revealing the things hidden beneath the surface. Tara hasn’t told Maggie she was with the Governor at the prison, and it’s eating away at her. Rick admits he shouldn’t have banished Carol “to this,” and now they’re joining her in it. Carol gives a tiny smile and nod at his genuine apology and gratitude. She saved their lives, and her actions have redeemed her…to everyone but herself, it seems.

Tyreese, who now considers Carol an ally and confidante despite what she did to his lover, tells them he’ll talk to the crew and make sure everyone accepts her. “They don’t have to,” says Carol. But Tyreese insists they do have to accept her. Unity is important, understanding and respect even moreso, in the new world. However, he doesn’t want to tell anyone about the girls – about what happened to Lizzie and Mika. “I just need to forget it,” he sighs.

Carol repeats this assertion to Daryl as they stand watch in the night. He’s eyeing her, waiting for her to speak. “I can’t. I just need to forget,” she tells him. Daryl hears something (or feels it), and leaps to his feet to check it out. Even though his skin is crawling, he decides it’s nothing – but a silhouette passes in the darkness.

On the road the next morning, Bob and Sasha play a word game: she names off the hardships of their new lives, and Bob counters with the sunny side of it. “No privacy,” Sasha says with a sly grin, and Bob replies, “A captive audience!” and kisses her. Bob’s constant optimism is getting threadbare, though. He was only a minor part of the last season, but we know from his early behavior – from the way he risked everyone’s lives in order to chug some booze – that he’s no angel despite what he portrays to everybody else.

Jesus can't help you here, bud. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

Jesus can’t help you here, bud. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

Suddenly, screams for help pour from the woods. The crew follows them at Carl’s insistence and saves a priest, perched on a boulder surrounded by walkers. The last time we caught sight of any religious iconography was before Beth disappeared, and that’s no coincidence. The priest’s name is Gabriel, and he vomits everywhere to show his gratitude. After checking him for weapons (despite Gabriel’s protests that “the word of God is the only protection I need,” to which Daryl murmurs, “Sure didn’t look like it”) Rick asks him the three key questions:

“How many walkers have you killed?” None.
“How many humans have you killed?” None.
“Why?” “Because the Lord abhors violence.” Read more

The Walking Dead Recap: “Alone” (Season 4, Episode 13)

After last week’s triumphant final sequence, this week sticks us back in the mud. Nope, none of our folks can catch a break. It’s how they deal with it that keeps us watching (most of the time – I actually watched the finale of True Detective as it aired on Sunday instead. I have thoughts, if you’re interested). In this episode of The Walking Dead, the emphasis is on the original existential crisis: we are all, each and every one of us, alone. This person’s struggle, that one’s loss, is distinct. But by sticking together, perhaps we can lessen our burdens.

Bob The Walking Dead

Nobody here but us chickens: Bob on his own. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

The episode begins with a (slightly confusing) flashback. We met Bob Stookey at the beginning of season 4, but he was already in the mix at the prison; they’d encountered him between seasons 3 and 4, when the prison community was at its safest point. We never got to see why Daryl was so suspicious of Bob, or why Bob risked his and everyone else’s life (and killed Zach in the process) for a bottle of booze. In this glance back a few months, Bob looks every bit the walker himself. He slouches along empty roads, his icy eyes straight ahead, a machete perched on his shoulder. He hides in railroad ditches, gazing dispassionately at the walkers’ futile attempts to eat his face. When Daryl and Glenn find him and ask him Rick’s three questions (How many walkers you killed? How many people you killed? Why?), he’s positively thrilled; in the back of Glenn’s pickup he starts to adopt the faithful, sanguine smile he wears now.

After the credits, we switch back to the present, in which Bob is no longer alone: he, Sasha, and Maggie stand back to back in a foggy woods, surrounded by a herd of walkers. The three of them work together to protect each other, and Bob gets bitten, but says cheerfully, “he got me right on the bandage!” The three of them are happier and more alive than we’ve seen them in a long time. After a walker tackles her to the ground, Maggie discovers her compass is busted. Bob, optimistic as ever, says they don’t need it, because they can watch the sun. He’s so cheery; it’s a little weird.  Read more

The Walking Dead Recap: “Isolation” (Season 4, Episode 3)

At some point in the last few years, AMC decided both Walking Dead and Mad Men should be, oh, I dunno…less cryptic? Let’s just lay it all out there for the audience, guys. I imagine this happening about three years ago as follows: Matt Weiner sits primly as some exec tells him, “Sure, you all can have your raises, and you get to keep the same cast. But. You’ve gotta speed it all up, buddy. You’ve got to make it so the viewer doesn’t have to sit through three episodes to understand what’s happening!” In the next room, Frank Darabont, arms crossed, sits silently as a different power-suited dude tells him something similar – “We’re just going to massacre your budget and double the length of your seasons – no big!” …and then Darabont shakes his head slowly. And then Darabont had no job at AMC.

Point being, this season of The Walking Dead is lacking subtlety, and it’s beginning to wear on me. This is the point in the season at which things begin to slow down – the writers are taking it a little easy before the mid-season climax, and then they’ll throw a final punch around episode 11. The sluggishness brings the show’s flaws to the forefront. There were so many Big Important Speeches About the State of Things in Sunday’s episode that it feels like the writers are patting us on the head, smiling condescendingly.

Daryl as peacekeeper. Sort of. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

Daryl as peacekeeper. Sort of. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

In “Isolation,” the prison crew is wrestling with the knowledge that one of their own has murdered and burned two sick people – and that still didn’t stop the spread of the flu. Everybody’s at risk, and there’s not much to do about it. Picking up exactly where last week left off, Tyreese, Rick, Daryl, and Carol examine the smoldering remains of Karen and David. This scene is the first indicator that Tyreese may not be entirely sane; in his rage and grief, he attacks first Daryl (who holds off, because with Merle as a brother Daryl learned good peacekeeping), then Rick (whose own impotence and fury surfaces as he beats the hell out of Tyreese). Luckily, Hershel pops up in the next scene to tell us exactly what’s up! “Everything we’ve been working so hard to keep out, it’s found its way in,” he intones, explaining the situation for us. In a line that I could’ve written, Rick answers, “No, it’s always been there.” See, guys? Our demons are always there. Our emotions are always there. Also, this is the zombie apocalypse and you can’t just be a farmer for the rest of your long, happy life. Read more

The Walking Dead Recap: “Infected” (Season 4, Episode 2)

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead spoke quite powerfully to me, as I am currently suffering from the Sinus Infection of Doom. When I had what was basically Captain Trips in 2012, I narrowly avoided watching Contagion during my worst symptoms – thank Jesus. I’m always under the vague assumption that I might die of some stupid thing like the common cold. Sunday’s Walking Dead clarified for the audience just how fragile we are, how vulnerable to even the simplest bugs in a world without real medicine. (I, on the other hand, am dosing myself with real medicine as I type.)

Patrick zombie

Dinner! Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

Last week, Patrick died suddenly in the shower and reawakened as a walker, which rendered the whole prison open to attack from within its own walls. In the opening scenes of this week’s episode, Patrick goes about his zombie business, unfortunately silently – which leads to a rash of deaths and near-misses in the snoozing cell block. Luckily (and conveniently), none of those killed were our core group of folks.

Michonne leaves the prison to go on another Lone Wolf expedition, telling Rick and Carl she’ll bring them back the things they like – but returns in a panic when she hears a gunshot. She chastises herself for returning; it was indeed very stupid, and she’s letting her feelings get the better of her. But Michonne with feelings is better than the hardass we met last season. Unfortunately, she nearly gets herself killed coming back through the gate to help her friends; Carl and Maggie come to her rescue. In one of the season’s best scenes (Danai Gurira is truly a force to be reckoned with), Michonne outright refuses to take baby Judith from Beth after Judith spits up carrots all over Beth (babies are gross). Finally, Michonne takes the baby, at first holding her away, listening stone-faced to her imploring cries – and then she holds her close while tears spill from her eyes. Sometimes we forget that Michonne has a past, and that even she can’t turn it all off forever. She’s softening, and it scares her…but it sure is exciting for us. As Beth says (suddenly she’s full of wisdom), “When you care about people, hurt kind of comes with the package.” Read more