TV Recap: Fear the Walking Dead, ‘Cobalt’

Fear the Walking Dead Poster
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Cobalt Plot Summary:

Everyone deals with the loss of Nick (Frank Dillane,) Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez,) and Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spindola.) Madison (Kim Dickens,) Ofelia (Mercedes Mason,) and Daniel (Ruben Blades) take a more aggressive approach which eventually leads to them discovering the military’s plan for evacuation.

The opening of this week’s episode set the tone of the whole episode. It was heavy-handed and disjointed. The speech was sinister but came out of left field from an unknown character in an unknown location. We were asked to sympathize with a character we had met only once last episode.

I’m honestly a little upset. Fear the Walking Dead was setting itself apart from its parent show. But “Cobalt” strayed from the shows character first, action second pattern. Last episode, “Not Fade Away,” eased us into the new order, the new reality for our characters. There was a lot of setting the pieces up aspect to it. But it had good timing. It felt like a slow build, until the very end which should have been my first indicator.

“Cobalt” feels super different. There is more of a shift to action and the character doesn’t feel apparent. I had difficulty watching this episode because my connection to characters has been hit kind of hard. The episode escalated quickly, taking this out of the family drama realm.

There is of course still the angst and misunderstanding between Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie.) Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) wants her mother back. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) loves her boyfriend. Madison  doesn’t know where Nick is. All of these things should be motivators for the action. They are the motivators. It still seems disjointed.

I think it might be bad pacing that started, unnoticed by me, last episode. Everything that happened in “Cobalt” had the potential to create a great episode but it all came too soon. The episode cleared up how the world fell into apocalypse so fast and that’s why the action was quickly intensified. Fear the Walking Dead set itself up as a family drama that just happens to have to deal with a zombie apocalypse and yet only four episodes in, they drastically flipped the status quo too fast and too soon.

My biggest issues were the soldiers and Daniel Salazar, particularly Lt. Moyers (Jamie McShane). Moyers  is the military version of the vaudeville, mustache twirling villain. Whereas Daniel Salazar is the typical rogue husband. He has torture knowledge because of his ~past.~ I find him ridiculously annoying, with his slow speaking story of his own personal torture as a child.

This could have stayed smaller for a little while longer. It could have ruminated in the microcosmic world of their safe zone. It could have explored the way they dealt within themselves, instead of the fight with the outside world.

I intellectually understand the uptick in action. The army, not prepared for this type of war, deserted their posts. They were just as scared as civilians and wanted to keep their own families safe. I going over why everything happened how it did. And yet, “Cobalt” is my least favorite episode of the season.

Rating: 6 out of 10