WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!
"This isn't the real world. This is a nightmare."
Bob Stookey's words to Rick Grimes early on in "Strangers" were sadly prophetic of where he wound up at the end of the episode — kidnapped by cannibals, and forced to watch as Gareth and the other Terminus survivors feasted upon his severed leg.
It's especially nightmarish because this was not supposed to happen to Bob. This was supposed to happen to the dearly departed Dale.
In the "Walking Dead" comics, Dale remains very much alive (if not entirely well) at this same point in the story; he lives past Hershel's farm, makes it to the prison, loses a leg during a zombie encounter (a fate suffered by Hershel on the show), survives the Governor's assault on the prison, and remains an integral member of Rick's not-so-merry band of survivors. Pretty good!
That all changes when Rick, Dale and the others stumble upon Father Gabriel's church, with a group of man-eating hunters stalking the nearby woods. One night, when Dale is out on his own, he's captured by these hunters. The leader gives Dale the same speech that Gareth gave to Bob:
Bob has it slightly better than Dale; at least he still has one leg. Not so for poor Dale, who now has two stumps, and is forced to watch himself get eaten.
It doesn't make Dale feel any better — but he has a secret that's going to put a big old smile on his face.
And this just might be a big, fat, stinking SPOILER for the show, by the way, so turn away now if you don't want to know about the other shoe that Bob might drop on Gareth, if you'll forgive the poorly timed foot humor.
That's right — Dale was bitten by a walker, which is why he was out on his own away from the group. In other words, the cannibals are feasting on…
Commence the vomiting!
While "The Walking Dead" TV series and comics don't always line up perfectly, there's every reason to believe the show will take this beat from the comics. For one, it's amazing. For another, it explains why Bob was alone and in tears away from the church when Gareth kidnapped him; it would mean that he was bitten at some point while he was dragged underwater.
And that's the bad news: if the show brings up the "tainted meat" twist, then Bob is a dead man walking. (Well, not walking, but you get the point.) It's a sad possibility to consider, especially considering Bob's infectious optimism.
Then again... what a way to go!
Do you think Bob will become "tainted meat" next week?