‘Fear the Walking Dead’: Episode 5 Review


The biggest problem with the first season of Fear the Walking Dead is definitely its pacing.  The premiere of the show was rather underwhelming, and the series has only been shambling along ever since.  While episode 4 was more interesting than than those before it, episode 5, Cobalt, continued the spin-off’s trend of only moving things along at a walker’s pace.

That’s not to say that nothing happened.  The story advanced a little bit here and there, such as the seed-planting of a romantic connection between Alicia and Chris.  After noticing how pretty she looked wearing the dress of a presumably dead woman, the two were able to have a bonding moment by trashing the rest of what was a gorgeous house.

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Missing his wife, Daniel captures the soldier who had been seeing his daughter.  He is determined to get answers, so he resorts to using methods of torture he had learned from his time in the war.  Daniel’s hands are rather bloody after doing what he felt had to be done, and Madison, only wanting to know what happened to her son, doesn’t question his methods.  Through these “interrogations,” we also learned the meaning behind the word “cobalt” that Daniel had been overhearing on their radios— it’s a code word used for the humane termination of the citizens in the safe zone, set to occur the very next morning.

Travis, meanwhile, seems to be the one having the hardest time adapting to the way things are now.  After demanding the soldiers take him to where Daniel, Nick and Liza are being held, the military reluctantly takes him along before being held up by walkers.  At their suggestion, Travis tries to shoot a random zombie with a high-powered rifle, but is unable to do so after reading her nametag.  Unable to make it to the medical quarantine, he is even more horrified after returning to the safe zone to find that Madison had apparently turned a blind eye to the torture going on in her own basement.

The most interesting moments of the episode took place at the medical facility.  Liza is now helping patients and learning from Dr. Exner some new information about the zombies, such as how they always turn regardless of how they die.  When Griselda ends up dying from her injuries, Liza is the one to put her down after learning that traumatic brain injuries are all that can stop the undead (or prevent a dead person from turning).

Nick is nearly taken away by the soldiers because of his high fever, but a smooth-talking cellmate of his convinces those in charge to leave him be by way of a bribe.  This man doesn’t reveal to Nick why he saved him, only telling the detoxing stoner that he’s going to need his help getting out of there.  Poor Nick seems just as confused as we are as to how he could be so useful, but finding out will be one of the main reasons for tuning into the Fear the Walking Dead finale on Sunday.

The episode ended with Daniel coming across a stadium stuffed to the brim with gnawing walkers.  It was a moment that definitely reminded me of the “Don’t open, dead inside,” set of double doors Rick Grimes saw at the hospital in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead.  With only one episode left in the season, I’m hoping that the masses of zombies behind these doors somehow get out, because those of us who have stuck with Fear the Walking Dead so far are overdue for some excitement.

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