Monday, October 5, 2015

Fear The Walking Dead, Season One, Episode Five: Cobalt

This episode begins in a the holding cell where Nick and Doug Thompson await their fate.  It begins with a fellow captive named Victor Strand, taunting Doug.  It seems that Victor has figured out that the world has changed and has determined that he is just the type of man to survive.  When Victor suggests that Mrs. Thompson has just the kind of body she needs to find a man to help her survive, Doug breaks down in tears and is taken away.  Victor then turns his attentions to Nick.

At the gates, a very upset Ofelia demands that the soldiers hand over her mother.  Andrew has to intervene because the soldiers were ordered to put a stop to Ofelia, for fear of her upsetting the population. Andrew offers to take Ofelia home. In the background, the soldiers are getting restless and want to go home.

Travis tells Madison that he is going to talk to Moyers but before he can leave, Chris enters the room. Chris is not pleased that he is not part of the discussion about their people. When Madison intervenes, Chrishtells her not to interrupt while they are talk about family matters. This sets Travis off and so Travis drags Chris into the other room.  Chris is upset that his mother willingly left in the truck and Travis explains that this is who Liza is. Travis asks Chris to be strong and the two hug but the moment is lost when Travis tells Chris that he needs to apologise to Madison.  Chris storms off telling his father to go be with his family.  Travis prepares to leave to get Nick and Liza.

Liza is checking on the stitches of a patient ,when Doctor Exner praises her work.  Dr. Exner then goes on to express her thanks for Liza's presence due to the fact that they are so short staffed.  Liza asks to speak to Chris and check on Griselda.  Exner promises to let Liza talk to Chris and reveals that Griselda had her foot amputated.  Liza again asks about Chris and this time, Exner is short, responding that Chris is fine and that they have work to do.

Madison has found her neighbour Susan's suicide note and heads to Susan's to look for Alisha. Madison grabs a knife when she hears a sound coming from Susan's basement.  Madison heads down the stairs to see Ofelia's boyfriend Andrew tied to chair. No good dead goes unpunished I suppose. Daniel explains that this is how they bring home their loved ones.  Andrew tries assure him that their family members will be returned and that what happened wasn't handled correctly.  Madison questions where their loved ones are now and Andrew says that he doesn't know. Madison storms out and Ofelia makes it clear that Travis talking to Moyers is not a plan and now they have something to trade. Ofelia says that she doesn't like this but this is the only thing the military will understand before walking off.  Daniel admits that this is his plan and that he is aware that the military is not going to trade for Andrew.  Daniel is more interested in the information that Andrew has in terms of security, or how much time they have left.  Daniel adds that he has seen this before; people who leave on tucks don't come back.  When Madison asserts that this won't happen here, Daniel tells her to go home and keep Ofelia there.  Madison says that she doesn't want the soldier to be hurt. Daniel asks if Madison wants Nick back and if the issue is that she doesn't want the soldier hurt, or she doesn't want to know.

Travis goes to see Moyers to complain that three of his people are missing but Moyers claims that it's up to Dr. Exner how long Nick, Griselda and Doug are held.  Moyers points to his soldiers calling them children who want to return to their mother and that the best thing he can do is to keep his soldiers active.  Moyers then points out the markings on a truck which represent 83 dead zombies. Travis again asks about his people but Moyers claims that he cannot concern himself with civilian problems.  Travis finds a back bone and threatens Moyers, claiming that with 11 people missing from the community it could lead to a problem. Moyers then assigns a group of soldiers to take Travis to see Exner before walking away.  A soldier follows Moyers and points out that the men have been up for 50 hours and asks for another group to be sent but Moyers is not in a giving mood.

Daniel explains to Andrew that Ofelia only brought him here because she is scared for her mother. Daniel calls Ofelia the only good thing he has and adds that Ofelia made him promise not to hurt Andrew. Unfortunately for Andrew, Daniel has other plans. Daniel starts to assemble what he will need for this torture session and Andrew quickly reveals the hospital where Nick and Griselda are. Andrew promises not to hold anything back but Daniel sits and opens his razor.

Travis is being driven through the streets in a Humvee.  The soldiers pull over when they see a zombie moving around inside a store.  Travis is offered the opportunity to kill the walker and backs off claiming not to be a good shot. Moyers explains that with the way the gun is set, "Helen Keller couldn't miss."  The soldiers start to question if Travis is a conscientious objector: someone who wants to sleep in a comfortable bed, and eat military MRAS while the soldiers do the dirty work. Moyers then asks if Travis thinks the zombie is human because if that is the case, then the soldiers are nothing more than a bunch of murderers.  Travis claims that the soldiers are not right and walks over to the gun and looks through the scope. A soldier explains to Travis how to position himself as Travis looks through the scope. Travis is told that the zombie is not a person but when he sees her eyes and the name Kimberly on her name tag, Travis refuses to shoot. Moyers is not the least bit surprised and he wastes no time shooting the zombie. Travis and the soldiers hop back into the Humvee.

At the hospital, Exner and Liza examine a soldier who has just come in with a collapsed lung.  Liza moves onto another solider and when she opens his shirt, Liza sees a what that looks like bite marks. Exner immediately orders the soldier to be taken away. Exner explains that they are to assume that anything that looks like a bite is.

The soldiers hear a call for help and Moyers decides to head there for back up.  Travis is surprised because he was told that the area was free of civilians, so Moyers snarks that some people don't trust the government.  Travis is then ordered to stay in the truck no matter what happens.  Travis sits in the Humvee while the soldiers enter a building.  Travis listens as guns go off and soldiers scream in pain, a worried look on his face.

Daniel talks about the choice he was offered so long ago: torture or be tortured, as he cleans his blade. Andrew begs for the pain to stop but Daniel asks about the meaning of Cobalt because he has heard it repeatedly in the military transmissions. When Andrew doesn't answer, Daniel warns that the pain is about to increase because of how deeply he plans to cut into Daniels arm now.  Daniel asks what Cobalt is and a crying Daniel answers that he doesn't know.

Alicia is riding an old fashioned bike in a circle around Chris.  Alicia asks Chris if wants to talk about what is going on and offers him a ride on her bike.  Chris is not impressed but when we see them again, they are in the former home of rich neighbours.  Chris and Alicia are shocked at the wealth they find and Alicia takes the opportunity to play dress up.  They have an awkward moment when Chris is caught briefly spying on her.

At the hospital, Victor is ordered to step to the fence to have his eyes checked. Really? A device to detect zombies? You would think the whole drooling, rotting and trying to eat people would be indication enough.  Nick is the next to be checked and when Melvin learns that Nick has a fever, he orders the soldiers to take Nick downstairs.  Victor gets Melvin's attention and notes that Melvin is now wearing his watch.  Victor suggests that they do another transaction, pulling out a diamond cuff link. Melvin orders his soldiers to stop and Victor asks to take possession of Nick, promising to keep an eye on him.  Victor hands over one cuff link but Melvin demands that he be given both, or they don't have a deal.  Victor pulls out the other cuff link and Nick is escorted back to the holding cell. Melvin makes it clear that there will be no refunds if Nick happens to turn.

The soldiers make their way out of the building and toss a hand grenade at the zombies who attempt to follow.  Travis steps out of the Humvee and is informed that they have already lost a soldier. Travis and the soldiers get back in the Humvee and Travis is told that he will be taken within a few blocks of the command post and that he can walk from there.  Travis whines about not being able to see the hospital. The solider informs Travis that they are not getting anywhere near the hospital and holding a picture of his family adds that his new mission is to get his ass back to San Diego.

Madison rushes back to Susan's and finds a very upset Ofelia leaving the house with a resigned Daniel following.  Daniel says that Ofelia was nine years old when she asked about the war and why they came to America.  Daniel told Ofelia about the violence, how the people suffered but he didn't tell her which man was him.  Daniel begins washing his hand at the sink and asks if Ofelia will understand that it was necessary then to survive and necessary again?  Daniel continues to scrub the blood from his hands and is extremely upset.  Madison backs away and asks if Andrew told them what they need to know.

Liza walks around the hospital and she finds Griselda sleeping on a bed in a cage.  Liza calls out for Griselda. Exner appears and tells Liza that Griselda is unconscious.  Liza is desperate to get in to see Liza and so Exner tells her that Griselda has septic shock and questions why Liza doesn't trust her. Exner explains that sometimes all you can do ease the dying.

Alicia and Chris look at the photos of the family that owned the house.  Alicia wonders where the family went and what happened to them; however, Chris is not the least bit curious and responds by dropping the photo on the ground.  Alicia finishes off the bottle that she was drinking out of and tosses it on the floor.  In a moment of pandemonium ,Chris and Alicia trash the house.

Travis is walking back when he finds a crying Ofelia on the ground.  Travis rushes back into the house and demands to know if Madison knew what Daniel was going to do.

Downstairs, Andrew is telling Daniel about 2000 people who turned in a stadium.  The problem was that the soldiers couldn't tell the infected from the living, so Andrew locked up the stadium trapping everyone inside.  Travis bursts into the room and so Daniel and Madison asks Andrew to tell Travis about Cobalt. Andrew explains that Cobalt is the code to initiate evacuation from the LA base. Travis asks when they leave and Andrew answers that the only people leaving are the military and the people that the military are holding will be euthanized. Apparently, it will happen at 9 am tomorrow morning.

Nick is puking in his cage and Victor snarks about masking the scent of urine.  Nick asks Victor why he saved him. Victor explains that he obligated Nick because the game has changed and they are returning to the old rules.  Victor ads that the people who won the last war are about to become the buffet.  Victor says that Nick knows the meaning of necessity though he is a heroine addict.  Victor adds that the soldiers are leaving and that he is going to require a man with Nick's talents when he makes his move.  Nick asks what move and Victor shows him a key.

Chris and Alicia are walking back and are forced to get off the road when a Humvee appears. Several Humvees drive by and Chris tells Alicia that the soldiers are not patrolling.  Alicia declares that there's something wrong.

Griselda is talking in Spanish about the devil and her husband.  Liza tells Exner that Griselda is not making any sense but it seems that what Griselda is talking about is what happened in the war and the penance she needs to pay.  Griselda asks what she was supposed to do?  Griselda then dies and Exner turns off the monitor and explains that everyone comes back. Exner assures Liza that Griselda will turn if they don't shoot her in the head.  Liza takes the weapon away from Exner and shoots Griselda herself.

Daniel watches as the military trucks drive by and then makes his way to the stadium that Andrew told him about.  A zombie pushes violently against the stadium doors, as Daniel stands frozen on the stairs.

I see that The Walking Dead universe is continuing with it's trend: One POC out and one POC in. This week we lost Griselda.  It was clear from the beginning that Griselda was dead woman walking. It irks me that the only real characterisation she got was on her death bed.  Clearly she regrets everything that she and Daniel did to survive.  I would have liked to have seen more about her pain or even more of her personality.  Now, Griselda will always Daniel's wife and Ofelia's mother who died and will be quickly forgotten.

This week we met the formerly wealthy Victor Strand who is clearly boastful, calculating and confident.  From the moment he appeared on screen all I could think about was how long he has to live. Black men don't do very well in this universe, just ask Art.  Victor is already one step of the game because he realised the jewelry he traded is absolutely worthless because you cannot eat it and you cannot drink it.  Victor is going to use those around him to survive. It will be interesting to see what he gets out of Nick.

Daniel is a stone cold Mother ...(you fill in the blank).  It was clear from the beginning that Daniel had been through something awful by the way he reacted to the initial riot and his determination to be self sufficient. Daniel is the exact opposite of the extremely irritating Travis.  Daniel knows that the world has changed and that no one is to be trusted.  Daniel will do what he has to see those he loves protected and that was made clear by his torturing of Andrew.    If they allow Madison to live, I can see her ending up that way. When it came right down to it, Madison was ready to pretend she didn't know how badly Andrew was being hurt as long as it lead to the return of Nick. I do however think it's telling that the only two men to establish this kind of dominance are of colour.

Okay Travis. I know I know, I should be nicer about him but I cannot stand his character.  Part of the problem is the premise of the show: showing the break down of society instead of having season characters. The problem is that you cannot unring a bell and we all know what happens in the apocalypse thanks to The Walking Dead. Travis annoys me because he wants to pretend that the society he knew still exists and that if he just follows the rules, everything will be okay. Travis annoys me because even though he saw the battle with the zombies and learned that a soldier died, he whined (yes whined) about not being taken to the hospital.  Is he ever going to grow a spine?  Is he ever going to open his eyes?

Okay this was the build up to the big season finale.  Will Daniel open up the stadium?  Maybe, but I have to be honest, I don't see what that will accomplish.  I want to see who Victor escapes.  I want to see how the community reacts when the soldiers leave and finally, I really want to see Travis get bitten.