The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is usually the protector of the broken and defenseless. He's like the mayor of The Island of Misfit Toys, standing up for his loose cannon brother Merle (Michael Rooker), never giving up on the search for Sophia (Madison Lintz), and saving Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) time and again, back when she wasn't capable of fighting for herself.
So it was no surprise to initially see him show compassion for Bob Stookey (Larry Gilliard Jr.), whom he found and brought back to the prison about a week before Season 4 picked up. But was Daryl too harsh with Bob in Episode 4, when he saw that Bob had only taken booze (what was it doing there?!) from the veterinary college instead of medicine?
Yeah, it was a stupid, selfish thing for Bob to do, but to wish he'd never been with the group and threaten to beat his ass? It seemed a little cold. He didn’t even get that pissed when Andrea (Laurie Holden) shot him in Season 2.
We've been suspicious of Bob from Day One because his character in the comics has a connection to The Governor (David Morrissey). Maybe this Bob does too, but we don't know. So far, Bob doesn't seem like a "bad" guy, but he does seem to be an alcoholic. He admitted as much to Daryl when he volunteered the information that he went into Big Spot with the plan to grab a bottle. Any bottle.
He didn't have to share that, but he did. He could've been like Carol and waited for someone to discover the truth, but he seems to feel shame for this demon within him. It's not like he can make the choice to tell his own brain "OK, it's the zombie apocalypse so we're going to have to stop this dependence on alcohol." He's been going without, we have to imagine, aside from any supply run that takes him out to get booze. The prisoners are dealing with this flu, but what Bob has might be worse. You can take medicine for the flu (unless you're dead first) but how do you fight addiction, other than going cold turkey?
Bob probably didn't go on this medicine run expecting to find that bottle in the veterinary college — and honestly, what the heck was it doing there? He’s a former Army medic who went along to help, and he did help fight off the walkers. He also showed compassion for the two people who opted out together, the ones Daryl called "douchebags" for not trying to live. Bob said they wanted to die as they lived, together, so why does that make them d-bags?
Granted, he was very selfish to just take the alcohol instead of any medicine at all, and they all should have cleared the place of all meds. Shove it all into your bags — who are you saving it for?!
Daryl seemed supportive of Bob at first, when Bob confessed that he was the last one standing in his last two groups (although that is suspicious…). Daryl told Bob he wouldn’t be standing alone anymore. Bob blamed himself for Zach's Big Spot death, which Daryl called BS. And Bob did put down that bottle in Big Spot. He picked it up, but he also put it down.
Still, when Bob didn't want to let go of the bottle he found in the college, Daryl called him out for having no meds in his bag. "You should've kept walking that day," Daryl said, attempting to throw the bottle. Bob, maybe on a reflex, put his hand on his gun and said "Don't." Bad idea. Daryl walked Bob down. It was another badass moment for Daryl, but we couldn't help but feel for Bob. Bob stared at the ground and said, "I didn't want to hurt nobody. It was just for when it gets quiet." Daryl threatened to beat his ass into the ground.
Everyone loves Daryl, especially when he gets tough, and people always seem to think he's right about everything. But it's a little surprising to see him be this harsh with Bob when he's usually the first to champion the weak and struggling. It's not like he didn't know about Bob's alcohol problem, and it's not like Daryl hasn't stood up for others who've done worse. Heck, his own brother Merle had a laundry list of sins much worse than picking a bottle of booze over medicine.
Besides, if Daryl was this pissed at Bob for what he did, how is he going to feel when he hears Carol killed Karen and David? Is that different, because it was for the larger group instead of just herself? How will he feel about Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) decision to banish Carol from the prison, since that was, as he admitted himself, more for his immediate family than anyone else?
It just feels like, out of all the people to take crap this week, Bob did not deserve it the most. Does anyone else feel compassion for him? Sound off below.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.