This most recent episode of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead entitled, “Cobalt” is one of the last episodes in which fans of Robert Kirkman’s zombie filled universe will be able to see just how the undead apocalypse began.
Admittedly though I must say that the end of the world would have seemed to me to have been a bit more bloody, chaotic, disorderly and filled with zombies. By the time we reach the Fourth episode of Fear the Walking Dead, a lucky neighborhood of Los Angeles residents is living behind the relative safety of a fence, which conveniently cuts them off from the zombie infestation taking hold of the bloody streets of Los Angeles.
What strikes me is that there are no far off gun shots, no buildings on fire and no constant drum of sirens, helicopters and far off battle sounds and explosions taking place in the battle to re-take Los Angeles from the dead. I can recall a scene early on in The Walking Dead in which Shane and Lori are looking at the sky line of Atlanta and the city is clearly a war zone with multiple fires and explosions in and throughout the city plainly evident amidst the chaos that would surround the end of the world at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.
While I like the anguish and drama that the shows main cast and fellow fenced in civilians face in their attempts to hope for a return to normalcy and a continued denial of the end of civilization, I can’t help but sense that the end of the world wouldn’t be so peaceful for most.
‘Cobalt‘ spends its time hinting at government mistrust, death/internment camps and the seemingly pointless torture of an Army soldier by the resident Hispanic barber Daniel (Ruben Blades) who believes this to be the only way to get his abducted wife back and unwittingly uncovers a secret plot to euthanize the defenseless civilian population of Los Angeles, which is code named ‘Cobalt‘.
While I can understand the point of a fenced internment facility/hospital which three members of the cast were taken to; Griselda Salazar (Patricia Reyes Spindola), Lisa Ortiz (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and Nick Clark (Frank Dillane), I am unsure as to the necessity inherent in the secrecy exhibited by the government doctors and military. But with that said, it is worth pointing out that a new character was introduced in this setting Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), who is seen caged alongside Nick and will be instrumental in helping Nick escape from confinement.
What is perhaps most fun about Victor is the mystery he brings with him as well as the insight he seems to clearly see when he tells Nick, “The game has changed… we return to the old rules.” That line alone seemed a quite telling and ominous prediction of what will in fact be happening to the old world which is quite literally falling apart in front of everyone’s eyes.
I likewise enjoyed the scenes that took place outside of the fenced safe zone such as when Travis (Cliff Curtis) is forced to confront the truth behind the sick and infected Los Angeles residents, upon his refusal to put down an undead waitress.
I also enjoyed seeing Madison (Kim Dickens) sneaking out of the fenced secure area and hiding from patrolling army troops as dead bodies and destruction lay everywhere in the streets around her.
I absolutely liked watching Travis having to wait in the military humvee while the Army squad he is with rushes in to a zombie infested building to help save another group of soldiers pinned down by the undead. The squad then loses their somewhat of an ass lieutenant, with the soldiers indicating that they were going AWOL (absent without leave) in order to get home to their families in San Diego.
As I watched this Sunday’s episode of Fear the Walking dead, I find myself actively waiting to actually see more of the downfall of civilization along with the burning of Los Angeles as the zombie hordes overtake humanities strongholds one by one, until the only option that will be left available to the survivors will be the open road.
While parts of ‘Cobalt‘ were quite exciting and seemed to fit right into Kirkman’s apocalyptic vision of hell on Earth, other plot elements seemed slow and almost unimportant. This first season of Fear The Walking Dead simply needs to do a better job depicting the brutal, chaotic and bloody fall of civilization.
But on the whole I enjoyed the episode for what it did give us to feast on and do indeed look forward to the show continuing to grow into the zombie apocalypse series I know it can be!