Most shows make an effort to ramp up the action in their penultimate episode of the season to set up the season finale. Fear the Walking Dead is not one of those shows. There are some things set up for what should lead to an action-packed finale. “Cobalt” is one of the slower, if not the slowest, episodes of the season. There’s a lot of talking, a lot of planning and a lot of off-screen zombie killing and human torturing. Actually, maybe I’m okay with those last two.
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Meet Strand Travis’ “friend” Doug is being held in a cage at the facility he was taken to by the army. He’s not alone. He has company inside the cage, in the form of an incredibly smarmy man named Strand. Strand basically takes whatever sanity and hope Doug has left by taunting him mercilessly. When Doug is a blubbering mess, the soldiers take him away. Then Strand turns to the only other inhabitant of the cage, Nick. As underwhelming an episode as “Cobalt” eventually becomes, Strand’s creepy introduction is one of the best things Fear the Walking Dead has ever done.
Ofelia is outside the army’s base demanding answers and wanting to see her mom. The soldiers go to “subdue” her with very little qualms. Apparently, nine days is all you need for everyone in a slight position of control to completely abuse their power. Anyway, Andrew, Ofelia’s soldier, gets his fellow soldiers to not kill Ofelia. He convinces her to calm down and escorts her home.
At that home, Travis is trying to assure Chris that he is going to figure out what is going on and bring his mother back home. Travis tells Chris that he needs to be strong because Travis needs help keeping things together. The most annoying thing about this conversation is not Chris’ ever-present whining. (Actually, Chris is quite justified in his whining.) No, it’s the knowledge that Travis thinks he’s had things under control before now.
Madison is now alone in the house and she’s looking for Alicia. She ends up next door and hears noises coming from the basement. She follows the sounds with a knife in her hand and discovers Ofelia and Daniel with a tied-up Andrew. Madison demands to know what is going on and Daniel tells her this is how they will get their family back.
They all leave the room, and at that point, it is clear that Ofelia is sadly innocent and mistaken about what is about to happen. She just thinks her father is going to have a friendly chat with Andrew. Daniel does want to talk to Andrew, but his idea of a conversation involves a lot of pointy objects and pain. He tells Madison to keep Ofelia in her house and to not let her come back over.
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Terrifying Road Trips
Travis goes to the almost hilariously awful Lt. Moyers for information about Liza, Griselda and Nick. Moyers continues to basically be the worst human alive. He’s devoid of any sense of empathy or being a well-written and well-conceived character. Moyers decides to take Travis to the facility because there is basically no episode if he doesn’t take him. It’s not as if Moyers becomes an actual human being or anything.
In fact, Moyers kind of just gets worse. He forces Travis to try to kill a zombie, but Travis can’t bring himself to go through with it. After Moyer insults Travis for a while, he takes Travis to an inside zombie raid. Travis sit in the car while he hears the zombies being slaughtered inside the building.
Mysteriously, Moyers never comes back out of the building. I don’t know if I should be relieved or confused about how anticlimactically Fear the Walking Dead disposes of the character that is the closest thing it has to a main villain. Anyway, the remaining soldiers run out of the building and usher Travis into the RV. They tell Travis they’re not going to the doctor. They will drive Travis home. They, however, are getting the hell out of here and going back home to San Diego.
Beginning of the End
Madison has fallen asleep and she’s awoken by the screams of Ofelia next door. Ofelia runs out of the house looking ready to throw up and Daniel follows carrying a bowl of Andrew’s blood. He goes on a long monologue about how hard his life was in El Salvador and the horrible things he had to do to survive the war. Apparently, Madison isn’t listening to any of it. She just asks Daniel if Andrew told them what they needed to know.
Travis finds the shell-shocked Ofelia outside on the curb when he arrives home. His initial anger turns to surprise and shock as he finds out what Daniel learned from Andrew. Andrew tells Travis that the army is planning to evacuate LA by tomorrow morning. They also will “humanely exterminate” all the risk cases like Nick and Griselda before leaving.
The rescue list will be missing one name, though. Griselda’s foot has been amputated, but she succumbs to her injuries. She begins to rave in Spanish while Liza and the doctor watch, and then Griselda quickly dies. The doctor hands Liza a gun used for killing cattle and tells her what The Walking Dead fans have known for years: everyone is infected and they all come back. Liza shoots Griselda’s body, preventing her from coming back.
It’s unclear if Nick will even be at the facility when the eventual rescue attempt arrives. Strand bribes the soldiers from taking Nick away and strikes an unlikely friendship with him. Strand tells Nick that the world has changed and there is going to be a new type of person in charge. It’ll be someone like Strand and Nick.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.
(Image courtesy of AMC)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.