With only one episode left until the ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ finale, we finally get some answers about the military’s plan for the survivors. But at what cost?
On the Sept. 27 episode of Fear The Walking Dead, a new and terrifying side of Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) was revealed. Not only does he kidnap Andrew (Shawn Hatosy) in hopes of finding out where the army took his wife, but Madison (Kim Dickens) allows it in hopes it brings Nick (Frank Dillane) back. However, when Andrew finally spills what the military is planning, the survivors realize they have much bigger problems than they originally thought.
An unfamiliar voice welcomes us into the penultimate episode of FTWD‘s first season, and my first thought is: will this guy finally tell us what’s really going on? Unfortunately the answer to that is no, but we do get a brief reunion with Doug — the neighbor who snapped and was taken away by the uniformed men. It looks like they are in some sort of chain link fence prison crafted by the military to lock up certain survivors. It’s unclear how many people are there, but at least we know the army isn’t just offing people and throwing their bodies in a really big hole somewhere.
Our new friend, for lack of a better word, is taunting Doug by talking about his wife and children. When Doug finally snaps and throws himself against the fence, a group of uniforms come out and take him away. There’s an exchange of curious looks between the new guy and one of the uniforms, but it’s too quick to figure out.
Once Doug is gone, the new guy turns to his side, looks down, and asks, “Who the hell are you?” Looking back up at him is a frail, terrified Nick. He’s alive, too!
Back in the neighborhood, Ofelia has decided to take aim at the army for taking her mother away. Literally. She’s throwing everything she can find at the fence, and just as they start marching towards her to handle the situation her army boyfriend, Andrew, shows up. This is when things get interesting, because he jumps in front of Castro and immediately intervenes… likely to protect Ofelia. But from what? He tells Castro, “You don’t have to do this.” DO WHAT? It seems we’ll never find out, because Castro caves and lets Andrew handle Ofelia on his own.
Their exchange reveals that not everyone in a camouflage uniform is fond of the way the survivors are being treated. Or, better yet, the way they are being taken away. Before Andrew goes to Ofelia Castro tells him, “You think I like this sh-t?” Obviously he doesn’t. When another soldier marches off and declares that he’s not “doing this” any more, Lt. Moyers forces Castro to stop him. We never get to see what happens next.
Things are just as hostile back at the house where Madison seems lost without Nick. When Travis tries talking to her about what they are going to do, his son, Chris (Lorenzo Henrie), shows up to let us know that teenage angst doesn’t die when the apocalypse starts. He snaps at Madison, which immediately pisses Travis off. When he confronts his son about his outburst, Chris breaks down and reveals he’s worried about his mom, Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who willingly hopped on the back of an army truck at the end of the previous episode. Travis is able to comfort Chris and they share a sweet moment, but the teenager storms out of the room when asked to apologize to Madison. Ah, the angst returns.
Dr. Exner’s Hospital Exists… With A Catch
Next we finally, finally, finally get to see the so-called “hospital” where Dr. Exner claimed to be treating survivors. At first glance it’s just a bunch of hospital beds in an open room, and on second glance none of the people in the beds are survivors. In fact, every last one of them appears to be a member of the army, and apparently I’m not the only one who notices. While the continue to check on patients Liza asks Dr. Exner about Nick and Griselda Salazar. Dr. Exner tells Liza that Griselda is in recovery, but that they had no choice but to take her foot during surgery. Nick? Well she more or less ignores the question all together. So Dr. Exner is keeping the chain link fence prison a secret from Liza, but why?
Back at the house Madison tries killing time by cleaning up, but she makes an interesting discovery in Alicia’s bed: Susan’s suicide note. This leads Madison to Susan’s house where she thinks Alicia might be hiding, but it’s a banging noise coming from the basement that she finds instead. With a flashlight in hand Madison heads down the dark, scary steps only to find an empty TV room. Another bang leads her around a corner and down a dark hallway to a door which she doesn’t hesitate to open. Inside are Ofelia, Daniel, and Andrew… who has been tied to a chair. This can’t be good.
Unfortunately, Daniel has convinced Ofelia that kidnapping the soldier will help them get back Griselda. Now the naive young woman is under the impression that they can “trade” the officer for her mother, which Daniel later admits to Madison isn’t going to happen. Instead, he plans to torture him to get information about where Griselda and Nick are. Madison seems against it at first, but Daniel appeals to her biggest weakness: Nick. Once she thinks she’ll be able to get him back, she leaves to keep an eye on Ofelia as Daniel takes over the hostage situation.
Once Madison turns her back on the situation, Daniel explains to the soldier that his daughter, Ofelia, really cares about him. Andrew admits that he cares about her too, and it’s clear he’s getting scared. He’s sweating and his leg won’t stop moving. Poor guy. Daniel sets up a chair right next to the officer, takes off his shirt, and then pulls out some sharp tools from his barber kit. The officer starts telling him exactly where Griselda is, that it’s only 2 miles away from the neighborhood, but Daniel doesn’t care that he’s an open book. It seems like he just wants to hurt this guy no matter what.
Travis & Lt. Moyers Face Off At The Fence
As this is happening, Travis approaches Lt. Moyers about his missing family members. Lt. Moyers, seemingly the biggest villain on the show aside from the walkers, tells Travis that there’s nothing they can do. Travis reminds Moyers that the army took 11 people the other night without any warning, and that eventually their loved ones are going to start asking questions. Moyers immediately feels threatened, but he decides that the team can take Travis to the hospital anyway. Little does Travis know they are probably going to lock him inside a fence with Nick and the new guy as soon as they get there.
On the ride to the hospital we finally get reunited with the officer who tried to quit the whole army thing earlier in the episode. He’s got a nasty black eye, and when Travis asks him what happened the officer responds, “Momentary lapse of patriotism.” Awkward.
Suddenly Moyers is banging on the top of the truck for them to stop, and we soon find out it’s because he’s spotted a “fresh” walker in the distance. One of the officers sets up a sniper rifle on the hood of the truck, and that’s when we find out that Moyers has turned killing walkers into a game. “How many points?” he asks Castro, who reveals the shot would be a 3-point kill. Moyers laughs it off, but then tells Travis to take the shot. A startled Travis adamantly refuses, and when Castro jumps in to take the shot instead Moyers loses his cool. He reminds Travis that walkers are not human, and that if Travis thinks they are humans than that means he thinks the army are a bunch of murderers. It really seems like Moyers is threatening Travis, who finally agrees to take the shot. However, when Travis looks through the scope he not only makes eye contact with the walker but he also sees her name tag, which reads Kimberly.
Travis totally freaks out and pulls away from the gun, but Moyers is more than happy to take his place. The power-hungry Lt. takes the shot without any hesitation, claiming his rightful three points in whatever messed up game he’s playing.
It’s worth noting that the officers pack up the gun and hop back into their truck pretty quickly. Why? Well, it means they at least know one thing about the walkers: they are attracted to loud noises.
Liza Learns A Valuable Lesson
A fresh batch of soldiers are taken into the hospital after what must have been a walker ambush. When Liza discovers fresh bite marks on one of the soldier’s she is quick to wave him in a different direction. Liza follows Dr. Exner’s lead, but when she turns back she sees a male nurse cracking open a can of gas next to the bitten soldier’s bed. Well, at least they let them die humanely.
As they roll the other wounded soldier into surgery Dr. Exner tells Liza, “anything that looks like a bite mark, is.” She’s right, and it’s a valuable lesson for Liza to learn so early in the game.
The truck carrying Travis can hear the walker ambush going down over their radio, and Castro announces they are going to save the group. Another officer says it must have been a group of squatters that turned, which reveals to Travis that there are other people out in the world. When Travis asks how there are walkers if everyone was evacuated, Moyers is quick to chime in that not everyone trusts the government. I really hate him.
Before the squad heads inside Castro tells Travis that “no matter what” he is not to get out of the truck, which is a rule he seems eager to follow. Travis looks absolutely terrified as he watches the squad head into the building, and rightfully so. What if they don’t come out? What if walkers come out instead? Where will he go? What will he do? There are probably a million fear-induced questions running through his mind at that moment.
Once the guys disappear into the building Travis can hear everything that’s happening thanks to the radio inside the truck. There are gunshots, a lot of screaming, and walker growls echoing through the vehicle that leave Travis with nothing but pure terror.
When we catch up with Daniel and Andrew, I have to admit I’m glad to see the kidnapped solider is still alive. He doesn’t look good though, and I can’t help but wonder what Daniel is doing to him. The moment is drawn out for a bit, and when the camera finally pans out we see that Daniel is wiping one of his shaving blades clean. There is bright red blood all over his white tank top and the cloth he is using to clean his blade. Next to him is a bowl of bloody water he must be using to clean the tools, and poor Andrew’s arm is covered with another blood-covered cloth. But again I have to reiterate: he’s alive.
The walkie talkie next to them starts going off again, and Daniel holds it up to ask Andrew what “cobalt” means. It’s being used a lot over the transmission so Daniel says he knows it’s important, but Andrew tells him he doesn’t know what it means. Now, for diehard walker fans, you know that “cobalt” was the original working title for FTWD. So Daniel’s right, whatever it means is important, and hopefully we get to find out very soon.
However, as Andrew keeps resisting, Daniel pulls the cloth off of his arm to reveal that he’s more or less being skinned alive. Daniel tells Andrew that there are less nerves on the “outer layers,” so the deeper he goes the more it’s going to hurt. Honestly, just hearing the blade cut into the tissue is enough to send chills up my spine.
The New Guy Saves Nick
We finally get to look inside the chain link fence prison again, and it’s because a group of officers are doing temperature checks on everyone inside. Our new friend (still unsure about that) has a perfect 98.6, but Nick has a fever over 100. No one there knows or realizes that he’s going through withdrawal, which is likely why he has a fever, so the army goes to take him away. Apparently everyone with a fever is taken “downstairs,” which means he’s probably going to be gassed like the soldier with the bite earlier in the episode.
The new guy approaches what appears to be the leader and we find out that they have some sort of a deal going on. New guy refers to it as a “transaction” and points to the watch on the officer’s wrist, which reveals they once had a trade of some sort. In hopes of saving Nick the new guy offers up his cuff links which are gorgeous, and the officer lets Nick stay. But why is this guy saving Nick?
Now here comes the best news of the whole episode: Moyers is a goner. The ambush inside the building got hold of him, and when Castro and two other officers come out they tell Travis he’s not coming. Moyers was such a prick, so I’m pretty pleased he’s been taken care of already. Castro tells Travis they are going to get him “within a few blocks” of his neighborhood so he can walk home, but Travis still wants to go to the hospital to find Liza and Nick. Holding a picture of his family in his hand, Castro tells Travis he’s not going “anywhere near” the command post/hospital, and that his new mission is to be back in San Diego. I guess I’m not the only one who is glad Moyers is dead.
Back in the neighborhood a scream wakes up a sleeping Madison, and she immediately knows it’s Ofelia. They run into each other in Susan’s kitchen but Ofelia leaves the house without a word. That’s when Madison spots Daniel, covered in blood, in the hallway. Does this mean Andrew is dead? I really hope not, but now Madison knows Daniel wasn’t kidding about torturing the poor kid. Either way, Daniel is devastated that Ofelia had to see him this way and he starts to cry while talking about his history of being this kind of man back in the country they came from. Madison couldn’t care less about him or Ofelia though, because as soon as he stops talking she asks, “Did he tell us what we need to know?” She’s got a little Rick Grimes in her, no?
Liza has managed to escape Dr. Exner’s watchful eye and is snooping through the hospital alone. The first door she goes through takes her to the fence prison, but it’s too big for her to immediately spot Nick. Instead she keeps looking for more, and eventually follows a dark hallway to another fenced-in area. Inside is Griselda, alive but not well, and her foot really is gone. So, at least Dr. Exner isn’t lying about everything.
“She’s sedated,” Dr. Exner tells Liza, catching her red handed. Liza says she wants to be there when Griselda wakes up, but Dr. Exner tells her she has septic shock. Griselda isn’t going to make it.
As this is all happening, Alicia and Chris have taken over a house in the neighborhood that she says was owned by “rich people.” Chris is playing with expensive toys while Alicia tries on gowns, and later we find them both dressed up in black-tie wear. The empty bottle of champagne in Alicia’s hand lets us know she’s wasted, and that’s when she finally snaps. Her and Chris take out their fear, angst, and whatever else they’ve been holding inside by smashing plates, breaking vases, and destroying the home’s interior. Hey, it’s not like they are coming back, right?
What Does Cobalt Mean?
Finally Travis returns to the neighborhood and, of course, the first person he encounters is Ofelia. She seems to be in shock as she sits on the grass alone when Travis approaches her. We don’t get to see her telling him what’s going on, but we do get to see him storm into Madison’s house to ask her if she knows what Daniel is doing. Travis demands for Madison to tell him she didn’t know, but she’s speechless. She knew all about it and now Travis is going to takeover the situation.
Next we see that Andrew is alive — PHEW! — and he’s telling Daniel a story about how 2,000 people turned in the blink of an eye. He’s stammering around it a bit, but he mentions that they couldn’t tell the infected from the not infected. It sounds like a confession, and when Daniel presses for more Andrew reveals he chained the doors of the “arena” shut which must have locked in survivors with the infected. Now, they are all infected… and dead.
That’s when Travis burst into the room with Madison following close behind. “Please help me,” Andrew says to Travis as he goes to untie the soldier from the chair. “Tell him about cobalt,” Daniel says, which causes Travis to hesitate.
“Cobalt is a command code to initiate evac from the L.A. base,” Andrew tells Travis.
“When do we leave?” Travis asks, but Andrew says no, not them. The evac is for the soldiers only.
“Cobalt includes procedures for the humane termination of…,” but he can’t finish his sentence. He can’t say that the army is going to kill all of the survivors, including the people in the hospital, before making a run for it to save themselves. Cobalt is the government’s version of giving up. Cobalt is the end.
This is when we find out that the new guy, our friend who saved Nick, knows the soldiers are leaving. He tells Nick this, and he also tells Nick that this is why he “obligated” him. It seems the new guy has a plan to escape, and he’s going to take Nick with him. Hopefully.
Back in the neighborhood Alicia and Chris are walking home after curfew when two trucks go barreling past them on the road. At first they hide, but Chris realizes the trucks are moving too fast to be patrolling. “Something’s wrong,” Alicia tells Chris. Yep, something is very wrong, Alicia. Very wrong.
Meanwhile, Liza and Dr. Exner are sitting at Griselda’s bedside as she rambles in Spanish about something… or someone… evil. Liza tells Dr. Exner she’s not making sense, and she really isn’t, but it seems like she might be talking about her husband, Daniel, and his dark side. Either way it doesn’t last very long and after one deep breath, Griselda passes.
Now Dr. Exner teaches Liza one more very important lesson: that the dead still have to suffer a brain injury in order to not come back. It’s one of the few things they seem to know about the infected, and it’s probably the best tip they can share with other survivors. Hopefully Liza gets to share this information with her family before it’s too late.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — How do YOU think the first season of FTWD will end? Do you think there will be an uprising against the military, or that the survivors will just be abandoned? Comment below!
— Lauren Cox