In the latest Fear the Walking Dead recap, Travis and Madison find out what the military are really up to after Daniel gets some much needed answers….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s becoming clearer every week and with each episode of Fear the Walking Dead that the producers and writers behind this show set out to create a series that truly filled in all the gaps from The Walking Dead.
Instead of picking up weeks after the zombie apocalypse already took place, Fear the Walking Dead starts just as the infection spreads and the dead start getting up again. Instead of taking place in a rural setting, Fear the Walking Dead takes place in a sprawling city, one of the largest in the world. Instead of battle tested cops, Fear the Walking Dead involves teachers, nurses and students who aren’t exactly equipped to deal with the threat of the undead rising up to conquer the world.
Instead of isolation and a small group of survivors, Fear the Walking Dead involves a community and the military presence tasked with saving the world — or at least what’s what they make us believe.
Fear the Walking Dead through the first five weeks has been everything The Walking Dead has not while taking place in the exact same universe with the exact same threats and the exact same motives — survive at all costs.
But Fear the Walking Dead has presented new challenges and obstacles that we never witnessed on the main show.
And while no one is ever going to forget the series that preceded this one, we can all be thankful that The Walking Dead exists so we can now enjoy, what through five episodes has been, an even more enjoyable show in Fear the Walking Dead.
With that said let’s recap the penultimate episode in season one of Fear the Walking Dead titled ‘Cobalt’:
A Time for Answers
The newest episode picks up a day after the military stormed through the community where the show takes place on the outer fringes of Los Angeles and took anyone sick or injured and quarantined them at a medical facility for ‘treatment’. Ofelia is raging mad that her mother Griselda was taken without permission and neither she nor her father were allowed to accompany her.
Ofelia is so angry in fact that she’s tossing glass bottles at the military currently stations just outside the fenced in walls that ‘protect’ the community. If not for her pseudo boyfriend Andrew walking through and calming her down, Ofelia was about to find herself under a whole other kind of quarantine. Andrew promises to help, but Ofelia has to calm down. She agrees and he walks her home but Andrew has no idea what he’s in store for when they arrive.
Meanwhile, Travis is convinced that he can find out what happened to Nick and Griselda if he just talks to his good pal Lieutenant Moyers and asks for answers. Madison isn’t nearly as positive because the way the military just came in and raided the homes of the citizens living there, who knows what they will do if anyone gets a little mouthy with them.
Travis’ son Chris is struggling with his mother’s decision to leave them at home while she was carted off to play nurse at the medical facility.
As we find out, everyone has good reason to be concerned about this place because inside the medical quarantine zone, Dr. Exner is tending to as many sick patients as possible but it’s clear when someone isn’t going to make it, they aren’t putting a lot of effort into saving them. At the same time, there are cages set up in the middle of the facility where all of the people they took are currently stationed. In one cage sits Doug, the weeping father from a week ago who nearly took his own life, as well as Nick, who is currently detoxing from his heroin addiction and a third smooth talking business man who watched Glengarry Glenross a few times because he’s the ultimate salesman who is always closing.
Liza is working with Dr. Exner to help out with patients, but still can’t get many answers on Griselda or Nick. Exter says Griselda’s foot had to be amputated and Nick is just in holding, but Liza can’t see either of them because things are just too busy — especially after two more nurses quit recently (quit or got eated?).
Liza opts to stick around while still keeping a cautious eye around anyone and everyone around her and with good reason as it turns out.
Fire in the Hole
Travis attempts to enact his plan by speaking to Moyers to find out where Nick and Griselda were taken exactly and how they can get some information on their current conditions. Moyers is a mouthy prick who clearly has control issues after he forces a few of his soldiers to bend to his will while some of them are still working with no sleep in the last 50 hours. Moyers isn’t ready to listen to Travis either, but when the former English teacher warns him that civil unrest might become a serious problem if the people living in the community don’t get some answers, he decides to take him to the medical quarantine zone so he can meet with Dr. Exner to put his mind at ease.
The platoon loads up in a Hum-V and begins the trek downtown to the facility, but this will also take them through several hot zones where the dead population is rising and the military presence is shrinking.
Before they arrive at the hospital, the soldiers spot a lone walker currently just stumbling about inside a burned out business. The group stops the truck and sets up a sniper rifle with the sights set directly on the single walker, who is currently at least a few hundred yards away. Rather than leave it be or engage in a bit more hand to hand combat to deal with the walker as not to attract more attention, Moyers is using this as a test to see if he can get Travis to dance to his music as well.
See Travis is the worst kind of person to have around in a warzone because he’s still looking at the threat (in this case zombies) as human beings. Now obviously we know the zombies aren’t humans anymore, but I thought this was smart story telling when comparing this situation to any other battlefield where it might seem so easy to lock down a target and get ready to fire, but once you realize that’s a person on the other end of the telescopic lens, it might be harder to pull the trigger.
It’s certainly that way for Travis, who gets within an inch of taking out the walker until he notices a name tag that says ‘Kimberly’. In that moment the zombie became a person to Travis and shooting her would be murder.
Instead, Moyers smiles like he’s got another one up on Travis before he takes out the walker in a single shot. Moments later, a call comes through from another platoon taking on a herd of walkers inside a library and they need backup.
When the soldiers arrive, it’s a full on fire fight and Travis is told to stay in the truck (that never ends well).
Minutes later Travis has had enough waiting, but then he spots the soldiers running out of the building before dropping a grenade in the door to take out as many walkers as possible. The one person missing from the group is Lieutenant Moyers, but as another soldier informs Travis — he’s not coming back out alive again. Then Travis gets even worse news — the soldiers will drop him off back at the community where he lives but they aren’t going to the medical facility and they aren’t even going back on duty.
This group is abandoning ship and that will be the end of the military presence protecting Travis and his family. He quickly realizes that things are getting much worse before they get better, but he’ll find out the situation is even more dire once he returns home.
In the midst of one parent gone with the military to get answers and another leaving voluntarily to help treat patients, Alicia and Chris need a little time to blow off some steam.
Alicia suggests going to another part of the neighborhood where the wealthiest people live and have abandoned their homes to flee to safety because they have the money to afford it all. Alicia and Chris decide to go through the house and play ‘dress up’ while enjoying all the toys and comforts of living an a million dollar home if only for a few minutes.
The two near siblings also share an interesting moment when Alicia is about to disrobe from a dress while looking at herself in the mirror and she catches Chris looking right back at her. A few minutes later, the pair opt for a little destructive stress relief as they break as much stuff as possible while working out whatever anger and frustration they’ve been bottling up lately.
On the way back home, Alicia spots a military convoy rolling through town as she quickly ducks behind a bush because they are out well past the documented curfew. Chris realizes after a second truck goes roaring down the street that the soldiers are no longer patrolling — they are getting the hell out of town.
The Man in the Chair, the Man with the Blade
Back at home, Madison is cleaning up around the house when she finds the suicide note that Susan (the next door neighbor) left for her husband Patrick that Alicia picked up and brought home with her on last week’s episode. Madison goes to look for her daughter at Susan’s house, but instead finds Andrew strapped to a chair with Daniel and Ofelia acting as his captors.
It seems Daniel is tired of playing around and waiting to find out what happened to his wife and he’d rather get the answers directly from one of the men who took her. Madison isn’t on board at first, but when Daniel reminds her that Nick was taken as well, she quickly changes her mind. Of course Ofelia is convinced that her father is going to exchange Andrew for Griselda and no harm will come to him. Denial is a powerful thing but Madison is under no such illusion and when she’s reminded that her son was taken, too, she quickly signs on for Daniel’s brand of getting answers.
Daniel uses a little psychological warfare to break Andrew’s will at first when he explains how this whole interrogation is going to work. See, Andrew is quick to give up the location of the hospital where Griselda is being held, but that’s not the only answer Daniel wants right now. He’s really curious about the code word ‘Cobalt’ that he keeps hearing over the radio that Andrew is carrying around.
Daniel goes on to explain to him after removing several layers of skin with a straight razor that he’s really no different than Andrew. The man in the chair shares a lot in common with the man with the razor. Ultimately both men want something.
Andrew is more than willing to share at this point including his story about how he was involved in an operation just after this situation started where the army locked about 2000 walkers inside an arena in Los Angeles, locked the doors and just never looked back again.
After watching his daughter tear out of the house in horror when she realizes what he’s doing, Travis returns from his adventure with the soldiers just in time to join Madison to hear what ‘cobalt’ actually means.
Andrew explains that ‘cobalt’ is a covert action that the military forces will take at 9am the next day. Everyone in town will be ‘humanely’ executed before the soldiers abandon the area and leave the Los Angeles basin. The military forces attempted to secure a location but it’s clear at this point that everything is going to be overrun and their best action is to leave now before things get much, much worse.
No Way Out
At the medical facility after seeing the concern about soldiers coming into the center with bites all over them, Liza figures out that not everything is as it seems and she decides to do a little digging. She finally discovers where Griselda is being held in another area of the building, but Dr. Exner isn’t far behind.
Exner explains that Griselda’s foot had already gone septic and despite their best efforts she wasn’t going to make it. She then tells Liza that no matter how somebody dies — bitten or not — they are coming back. This was something that took three seasons to explain on The Walking Dead so it’s good they deal with it early on this show. Griselda mumbles in Spanish in her final few moments and it appears that she’s remembering a moment when she saw the face of the devil — in this case it was likely her husband after witnessing him do horrific things.
Considering what we saw Daniel do back at the house and his stories of torture that it turns out he wasn’t exiled from El Salvador as much as he was forced to flee because he was on the wrong side of the civil war that ended in 1992. Just a guess, but something I put together based on what we saw tonight.
Griselda finally expired after taking a few more breaths and then Dr. Exner told Liza that she still had to be put down or risk her coming back again. The only way to stop them is through blunt force trauma to the brain and they’ve been accomplishing this by using a captive bolt pistol borrowed from Anton Chigurh to finish the patients off after they’ve died.
Liza takes it upon herself to finish off Griselda before realizing the full gravity of this situation she’s locked in right now.
Meanwhile upstairs in the locked cages, Nick and his new friend are conversing but not for the sake of making friends. It seems the smooth talking man, let’s call him Glengarry, has a plan for escape but he needs Nick to help him. Glengarry then reveals that he’s stolen a key that will unlock the cages and they will be busting out of captivity sooner rather than later.
And back at home base, Daniel decides to test the validity of the information he received from Andrew as he heads to the local stadium (Staples Center I would assume) where he was told thousands of walkers were locked up behind doors and just left there to rot. When Daniel arrives, he sees the stadium still lit up in some places but the doors are all convulsing back and forth as a horde of the undead press forward and scream for the living flesh that’s standing just outside their grasp.
Daniel now knows two things — one, these doors aren’t going to hold much longer and that’s a shit load of zombies about to be unleashed and two — it looks like ‘Cobalt’ is real and he has a matter of hours to get his family gathered up to escape the ‘safe zone’ before the military comes in to eradicate them all.
Next week is the season finale of Fear the Walking Dead at 9pm ET on AMC so don’t miss it!