TV Review: Fear The Walking Dead 1.5 “Cobalt”
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Fear the Walking Dead
Season 1 Episode 5 “Cobalt”
Directed by Kari Skogland
Written by David Wiener
Starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James Henrie, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Ruben Blades, Mercedes Mason, Patricia Reyes Spindola
Air Date: Sunday, September 27, 2015, 9pm

Here we are at the penultimate episode of AMC’s very short first season of Fear the Walking Dead and finally we’re getting some real information. One vital piece of information revealed was the meaning of codeword “Cobalt,” the episode title, which was also the codename for this Walking Dead prequel. But, we’ll get back to that in a minute.


In the previous four episodes, we mostly dealt with guidance counselor Madison (Kim Dickens), her druggie son, Nick (Frank Dillane), her annoying daughter Alicia, (Alycia Debnam Carey), and her do-gooder naive fiance Travis (Cliff Curtis). They saw events unfold that brought about chaos to the streets of Los Angeles, where the seemingly dead were walking, and back home, they witnessed their infected neighbors “turn” into the undead. It took this group a while to come to terms with the fact that something was truly wrong and that they needed to get out of town.

After the riots, Madison and Travis’s family members, which also included Travis’s son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) and ex-wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez) reconvened at Madison’s house, along with the Salazar family, Daniel (Rubén Blades), his wife Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spíndola), and their daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason (the family helped Travis during the riots). The plan was to head out to the desert to get away from the epidemic, but seconds before they were to leave, the military showed up, and well, you know what happens when the military shows up.

But, Travis doesn’t!!! (Let’s face it — Travis is the anti-Rick at this point.) Nope, optimistic Travis thinks the government is here to rescue everyone! Instead, the area is quarantined into a “Safe Zone,” with the troops explaining that most people in the surrounding areas are already dead. By the end of last episode, “Episode 1.4 Not Fade Away,” injured Griselda and junkie Nick were carted off by the military and Liza went along with them to a field hospital; no one else was allowed to go, which caused great concern.

With Episode 1.5 “Cobalt,” Madison wants her son back, and Daniel and Ofelia are willing to do anything to get Griselda back, including kidnapping one of the soldiers, Cpl. Adams (the one Ofelia has flirted with in a previous episode), and torturing him for information. We not only see what Daniel is capable of, but we get a confession from him about what he did to survive before he came to the United States.

In the end, we do learn that “Cobalt” is the order for all military personnel to evacuate the Safe Zones in the greater Los Angeles area after humanely exterminating all the civilians. And, it’s scheduled to happen at 9am the following morning.

Oh snap!!!!!

Truthfully, the way things have been going, I’m surprised they even went through the trouble of creating a Safe Zone (actually, there were 12 in the area) and a field hospital, and giving out rations to the residents. And not a lot of time has passed since the military arrived, but as it turns out, shit got real … real quick. Adams confesses that they locked up 2,000 people at the arena because they couldn’t differentiate between the healthy and the infected and they were overwhelmed. By episode’s end, Daniel makes his way to the venue where, in an throwback to that “Don’t Open, Dead Inside” chained up hospital door from The Walking Dead, we see the chained-up arena doors with the growling sounds of Walkers emanating from inside.

Finally, some good stuff!!!

Oh, and then there was a whole sequence where the troops were supposed to take Travis to the field hospital but instead they get waylaid by a bunch of Walkers. More good stuff!

Boring stuff comes in the form of Alicia (please just get bit already) and Chris trashing the neighbor’s house. With Chris it seems like he’s just letting off some steam, but for Alicia, she seems like she’s about to go off the deep end.

Also, back at the field hospital, Griselda has had her injured foot amputated, but is suffering from toxic shock. While sedated, she begins ranting in Spanish about the devil and how she saw the faces of the “disappeared” and that her penance would be to be taken piece by piece. It was some sick shit. (Don’t forget, Griselda no speak-a English, which on a show like this means she has intuitive powers.) Nearby, Nick, who should be feeling really sick from withdrawals by now, yet seems fine and very nonchalant, is propositioned by Victor Strand, a well-dressed man with a plan. I’m not sure why Victor is able to barter with the guards for anything at this point — especially a pair of cufflinks, I mean who cares about cufflinks in this new world???? — but he is, and he knows about the evacuation and he needs Nick’s special skills to help him. What are these skills, I wonder? Victor brings up that Nick is a heroin addict, so perhaps his escape plan involves needles. I don’t know, but this guy’s suit is in good shape after all this time.

Speaking of attire, I did not get my wish to see Nick wearing something other than the stolen old-man clothes, complete with Members Only-style jacket. Alicia and Chris did a fashion show over at the neighbor’s house, yet Nick is still wearing the clothes from Episode 1 (even though he’s been HOME since Episode 1, what the hell?????).

Anyhow, next week will see the Season 1 finale, which means that Madison, Travis, and their gang must somehow survive the planned military extermination, and likely make their way out of the Safe Zone. Where will they go? What will they find when they get there? And will Nick and Liza meet up with them eventually? Something crazy has to happen to make this prequel shock us, since even the locked-up arena was similar to what we’ve seen on The Walking Dead.

At least for this fifth episode we’re done with the set-ups and the disbelievers, and we can get to the heart of the epidemic and to the characters’ sordid pasts, and also make way for a new story to begin.


Sneak Peek: Episode 105: Fear the Walking Dead: Cobalt

Next on: Episode 105: Fear the Walking Dead: Cobalt

[Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC. Used with permission.]

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1 Comment »

  1. They did show Nick vomiting in his cell at one point, to show that he’s indeed getting sick from withdrawals, so it wasn’t all fun and games for Nick at the detention center. Victor Strand (thanks for providing his name) is certainly an interesting character, almost like the devil himself the way he talked poor ol’ Doug into an emotional breakdown, then barters jewelry with the guards to save Nick from going “downstairs,” and apparently has a key to get out of the joint. I wonder if he will be an ongoing player on this show, and if so, good or evil? Daniel the torturer was, like, WHOAH! Very harsh and it doesn’t give me best impression of Daniel at this point. But I guess they got the critical information they needed. Interesting message the show writers are sending there. Hey everybody! Torture works! And you’re right that Nick’s wardrobe is one of the most baffling issues. They must have been in the safe zone for a while, right? I’m guessing a couple of weeks have passed since the soldiers arrived. But even if it’s only been a few days, how can he still be wearing those clothes? It’s bizarre that the show-runners haven’t dealt with that, but maybe they’re showing how a junkie neglects everything around him except getting his next fix. But even so, you’d think Travis and Madison would have made him change. Hell, he was even in the pool in the last episode, so that means he got undressed and then back into his old man clothes! Very weird. Anyway, definitely looking forward to the finale. I think it’s been a really good show thus far.

    Comment by Hugomarink — September 28, 2015 @ 8:17 pm

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