Fear the Walking Dead: Cobalt

"The man with the blade and the man in the chair, they're not different."

That was intense. I wasn't happy about it, either.

While Daniel was torturing that poor soldier in the basement, I was flashing back to all of the discussions and arguments fans had about the show 24 when it was airing. It has been proven that torture does not produce reliable intelligence, and it's, of course, wrong. And yet, Daniel did learn about "Cobalt", the command code to initiate "humane termination" of the living tomorrow morning after the Army leaves. Which would be just a bit more merciful than what the soldiers did to those thousands of people in that arena. (Was that supposed to be the Staples Center?)

We learned more about Daniel's somewhat colorful past, which was no doubt influenced by his childhood experience of going fishing one day and finding the bodies of all the men the government took away. At some point in his life during a wartime situation, Daniel had the choice of being the torturer or the tortured, and he took option one. And he clearly wasn't happy that he had to make that choice again. It reminded me of Sayid on Lost (I miss those gorgeous black curls). And I remembered that I liked Sayid the most when I wasn't watching his backstory episodes, because those episodes usually revolved around torture.

I wasn't surprised that Madison was down with what Daniel did, at least after the fact. The writers have made it clear that Daniel and Madison are the hard core characters who are adjusting to the apocalypse the most quickly, although Daniel made it to hard core a long time ago and Madison is still on her way. I'm also wondering about how Ofelia will react. Daniel said that Ofelia was the purist thing in his life, and yet she brought Andy the unfortunate corporal to her father without knowing what he would do, what he was capable of doing. She knows now. She might be tougher than she appears, though. In the opening scene, she was trying to lead a riot through the gates in order to retrieve her mother.

We did finally get beyond the fence in this episode. Griselda died in the field hospital, where Dr. Exner has taken Liza under her possibly homicidal wing and showed her how to keep her dead acquaintance from turning into a walker by using a captive bolt. Griselda's last moments were fascinating. I thought that when she was talking about the devil, she meant Daniel. I don't think she actually said it outright, though.

Nick was trapped in some sort of Army holding cell with a larger-than-life smooth talking guy whose character name is Strand, according to IMdb. Strand likes to control things and he's clearly not a nice guy -- he just told poor Doug that Doug's wife would easily find someone else now. Strand was looking for strong allies, or possibly followers, and he wanted Nick, enough to give away some soon-to-be-worthless jewelry to the guards. I'm not that worried about Nick. Despite his addiction, Nick is a relatively tough human being, a survivor. At least I thought so in this series' pilot. Maybe not so much lately.

Travis took a ride with the Army and just when I thought he was finally making some progress and starting to smell the coffee, everything went nuts and soldiers died, and Travis couldn't shoot a walker. The walker that Travis couldn't kill had a name tag, just like the soldiers. Which made me realize that the Army is made up of mostly kids who don't know what they're doing, and they're destroying people's lives at random, just like walkers.

Alicia and Chris breaking into an expensive house and playing dress-up seemed like a pointless way to give a scene to two characters who weren't involved in the A plot, but then I thought about it. Alicia and Chris were dressing in the clothes of people who were probably dead, again an echo of the walkers. And as Strand said to Nick in the holding cell, there is no longer a 1%. The soldiers think they're in charge, but very soon, no one will be.

So what's up for the finale? Are they finally going to try to leave Los Angeles? What sort of final solution is "Cobalt"? A bomb? Nerve gas? Is Dr. Exner in on the plan, or are she and her staff targeted for "humane termination" too? Plus, it's the penultimate episode, and the walkers are still the sideshow. Will they finally burst out of the Staples Center and take the stage next week?

Will Daniel let them out in order to divert the Army, or something? Seriously, Daniel. You shouldn't do that.

Bits and pieces:

-- There were references to "Wildfire" in the season one finale of The Walking Dead. Was that similar to "Cobalt"? The original working title for FtWD was The Walking Dead: Cobalt. Maybe they should have kept the original title. What do you think?

-- Are Alicia and Chris heading for a romantic entanglement? Okay, I sort of don't care, just an observation.

-- Was Kimberly the walker in an earlier episode? Did she wait on Travis or something?

-- What was with the table at the field hospital full of upright blue and orange gloves?

-- Loved the visual of the American flag over the portapotty while Strand was talking about the new world order.

-- The soldiers were counting their kills and calling walkers "skinbags" and "rotten bastards". Nothing as elegant as "walkers".

-- In my "things I could do without" section, hey, what Daniel did to Andy. I'd rather have exploding zombie heads any day.


Strand: "The wolf comes to the door and, well, no one is covered for that."
Was that a little reference to the wolves thing on the parent show?

Daniel: "People who go out on trucks never come back." Yeah, Daniel. We know, we know.

Moyers: "Dead may be walking among us, this is still the United States of America." No, I don't think so. Is Moyers dead? I thought we'd be seeing more of him, since he was pretty much the bad guy.

Strand: (to Nick, who is vomiting) "I was wishing we had something to mask the smell of urine. You saved the day."

Strand: "The game has changed. We return to the old rules. And the people that won the last round, with their grande lattes and their frequent flyer miles, are about to become the buffet."

Nick: "I'm an addict."
Strand: "No. You are a heroin addict. That's the gold standard. Don't sell yourself short."
Laugh out loud. Nick's reaction was fun, too.

I'm ready for a blow out of a finale. And if it's not, hey, only two weeks until we get The Walking Dead back,

Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.

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