It’s bad enough for Team Prison to face a deadly super-flu-ish disease on The Walking Dead Season 4. But what if you’re also dealing with a different kind of disease — like alcoholism?
During the Season 4 premiere, we met Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr), who just joined the group from … somewhere, wherever Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) found him about a week before the season started. During the Big Spot run, Bob reached for some alcohol on the shelf, then put it back. In the Comic-Con trailer, we also see Bob staring at his shaking hand, which may or may not be tied to alcohol withdrawal.
Does Bob have a drinking problem? Is this something we’re going to explore more as the season progresses?
In Episode 4, Bob told Daryl he relied on alcohol while he was alone, just trying to survive, and at first Daryl sympathized with his story. But when Bob made a run for it from the veterinary school and slipped, allowing walkers to grab at his bag, things changed when he wouldn't let go, effectively risking his life for the bag and its contents. He eventually freed the bag from the walkers, and Daryl was shocked to find there was no medicine inside, just alcohol. Daryl was pissed that Bob chose the sauce over his own life and even the lives of others, so yeah, we'd say this dude has a problem.
Spoilers ahead from The Walking Dead comics
We know TV Bob is a former Army medic haunted by his past, similar to his character in the comic books. However, in the books, Bob becomes the town drunk of Woodbury. He also ends up close to The Governor, and Bob ultimately saves The Governor’s life after Michonne tortures him.
Unlike in the comics, the TV version of Bob joins Team Prison. We don’t even know if he’ll have any connection to The Governor, although we’re definitely suspicious.
“His backstory is not entirely the same as in the comic and the novel,” new showrunner Scott M. Gimple told Entertainment Weekly. “I think he’s seen things go bad over and over, and winding up in this stable place doesn’t shake him from his experience. He struggles with that.” Actor Larry Gilliard, Jr. added to EW, “You can see there’s something deeper and darker that’s going on with this character, just from the first episode. We don’t really know what it is. We just know he’s got some issues that he’s dealing with.”
Robert Kirkman, who wrote the books and executive produces the AMC show, is a big fan of changing things from his own source material, to keep stuff fresh for the TV version.
He told The Hollywood Reporter, “Bob Stookey is very much the character that he was in the comic series. He also appears in the novel series and is a pretty big character there, as well. Maybe that means we're adapting some of the stories he was involved in, maybe we're doing some other things he was a part of, or maybe we're going a different way. Like all of the other characters, though, we may do different things with them. They are very much the they're same characters that are being adapted into this world and have the same personalities and back stories. Bob will be someone who is familiar to the comic and novel audience, but we're definitely not married to doing those stories and could do different things there.”
So maybe be wary of Bob, but also sympathize with him, since he’s fighting his own personal demons too.
Do you think Bob is an alcoholic? Vote below!
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET.