Cobalt

Review: ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Episode 5 – ‘Cobalt’

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On this week’s episode of Fear The Walking Dead, we learned that breaking and entering can lead to a little sexual tension, sometimes leaving out the truth can come back to haunt you and while words are powerful, actions say so much more. Let’s take a closer look at ‘Cobalt,’ shall we?

This week’s episode opens in the “hospital” where we find the distraught Doug being basically coaxed into a breakdown by the smooth talking Strand (played deliciously by Coleman Domingo). As the soldiers take Doug away, most likely to kill him, the camera pans down and we see a detoxing Nick being held in the same cage. Later on, when the guards do their prisoner check, a feverish Nick gets on their radar and he’s pulled from the cage. Strand bribes one of the guards to let Nick stay. When Nick questions him about it, Strand tells him that, as a heroin addict, Nick has the right skill set for what Strand has planned. He then shows Nick a key that he’s managed to attain.

Meanwhile, back at the neighborhood, tensions are running high after the smash and grab done by the soldiers the night before. Ofelia gets her beau, Adams, into the compound, where she and her dad then proceed to tie him up in the Tran’s basement. Even though Ofelia gets her dad to promise not to hurt him, we all know where this is going. The good old torture for information route! When Maddie figures out what’s going on, she turns a blind eye, insistent they need to get their people back.

Travis goes another route, trying to reason with the Lt. Moyers about getting everyone back. Moyers agrees to take him to see Dr. Exner, but on the way they get sidetracked by zombies. Travis still refuses to kill them, even when he sees them in action. Before they can get to the makeshift hospital, they’re called to another infestation. With Travis looking on, they’re over-run, with only a few surviving the attack. The survivors refuse to go any further, taking Travis back home instead of to the hospital.

To pass the time, Alicia and Chris break into a wealthy neighbor’s house and play dress up, before vandalizing the place amid a bit of growing sexual tension. Which is just, really a no-no when it comes to step-siblings and kind of gives you the ick factor.

Back in the basement, Daniel finally gets some answers, although whether the torture was actually necessary is another thing entirely. Not only is it a used to death trope, but honestly, I’m pretty Adams would have squealed with a little prodding and intimidation. The flaying was superfluous and only there for shock value, in which it completely failed. Anyway, we find out that ‘Cobalt’ is the directive for complete evacuation. Problem is, only the military is being evacuated. The civilian population is set to be ‘humanely terminated.’ Daniel also finds out that the soldiers locked and barricaded the doors to the Los Angeles Arena, trapping what is now 2000 zombies in there. In a completely, how in the hell did he get there sequence, we see Daniel outside the arena, the door straining as the zombies try to break free before we fade to black.

 

For an episode whose trailer promised some zombie action, this was a huge letdown. Not only did absolutely nothing happen, there was absolutely no movement in the plot. All we got was setup for next week’s season finale.

We also got an interesting character in Daniel, who seemed to be the only one with any sense, falling down the rabbit hole and becoming a mustache twirling villain with very little explanation. The idea of the whole thing is tired and over-done and it turned a sympathetic character into nothing more than a caricature. And seriously, what’s hi plan? Unleash the zombies on the unsuspecting servicemen? While it would make for a spectacular spectacle, the plan is seriously flawed. If the zombies kill the soldiers, who’s going to stop them after the fact? We’ll have to wait and see on that front.

As for everyone else, what a freaking snore-fest. Travis is still being wishy-washy when it comes to the walkers, even though he’s now been outside the fence. He still doesn’t seem to grasp the situation, or it’s at least taking it a long time to sink in. At least he seems to have given up his blind faith in the soldiers. They aren’t making it better.

The only interesting thing to come out of this episode was the introduction of Strand. He was the most engaging thing of this entire series and he was only on the screen for a handful of minutes. With his in with the military, it appears that he knows what’s coming and is preparing his survival. Too bad he’s decided to take the annoying Nick along for the ride. And, we only get one more episode to see him in action. I think that overall, it would have been to the show’s benefit to introduce him a little sooner. At least, if all goes to plan, anyway, we should get to see him in action in season 2.

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