Bitten by a walker in a waterlogged basement, his leg hacked off and eaten by cannibals, Bob Stookey dies an African-American male hero despite his inherent character flaws of anti-social behaviour and alcoholism. He accepts death as well as his love for Sasha before the end. As a repeat of Jim’s death in Season 1, the group gather to say their final goodbye at his bedside, but this time indoors, within St Sarah’s church.
Previously on The Walking Dead, we’ve seen flashbacks deployed to convey the wisdom of the dead, in particularly in the exchanges between Rick and Hershel in Season 3. In this way, the dead speak from their living past, affording hope for salvation to the living.
In this case, Bob offers hope to Rick in private once the rest of the group have left. He tells Rick:
Nightmares end. They shouldn’t end who you are. And that is just this dead man’s opinion
So Bob speaks ‘from the grave’ to Rick, explaining to him that he mustn’t become part of the nightmare, he must sustain his humanity to see him through to the other side.
Sasha says her last goodbyes and Tyreese ends his life before he can ‘turn’. A grave is dug in the pre-existing burial ground adjacent to the church. As with those bodies buried at the West Georgia Correctional Facility, he is inhumed and a simple wooden cross surmounts his grave. One dead man’s opinion becomes another mute cross in a fallen world.