*Major series spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned!**
Fear The Walking Dead has had kind of a rough start for a new series. A lot of people compared it to The Walking Dead and felt there wasn’t enough action. But most fans knew that the series was building up to the action by laying the groundwork and introducing us to the characters slowly. Turns out we really didn’t know any of them. In this episode major plot points and backstories were revealed that make it clear that we haven’t begun to see the world crumble yet. And as Daniel Salazar said a few episodes ago, when it happens it happens fast.
The Fate of the Sick and Weak
Last week’s episode ended with the weakest and the sick being rounded up to be taken to a hospital to get treatment. At least, that was the official party line although no one really believed it. They were right not to believe it. Nick and Grizelda are taken to a facility that is part internment camp and part triage facility. Those who are not yet obviously sick are put in fenced in holding cells, while those who are sick are given some treatment but it’s pretty clear that most of them are just left to die.
Meanwhile in the Safe Zone
Things are getting very tense in the Safe Zone as people are on edge about those they love being taken away. Ofelia makes a scene, throwing things at the soldiers and trying to incite the rest of the people in the neighborhood to take back their neighborhood from the soldiers or at least start asking questions. One of the soldiers is about to kill Ofelia when the man she is now in a sort of relationship with steps in and says he will handle her. The soldiers exchange some harsh words but eventually Ofelia and her boyfriend are let go.
Madison is having a hard time dealing with things but unlike Travis, who can’t seem to wrap his head around what is going on, she is adapting quickly. She goes looking for Alicia but instead finds that Daniel Salazar has kidnapped the soldier that is Ofelia’s boyfriend to question him about where his wife and the others were really taken. He sends them all out of the room ominously taking out his straight razor. Madison has a pretty good idea of what’s about to go down but she leaves the room, choosing not to know what happens to the soldier as long as he gives Daniel answers about where Nick and the other are.
Alicia and Chris have been looting the house of a rich neighbor as they try to make peace with the fact that the world isn’t ever going to go back to what it was before this happened.
A Man With A Past
Daniel begins to question the soldier. It’s pretty obvious from his demeanor that this isn’t the first time he’s done this. While talking to the soldier and trying to get him off balance Daniel reveals the most interesting plot twist in the story so far. While he has mentioned before that he and his wife left Ecuador during a war that involved some pretty nasty death squads and torture and the audience assumed he was the victim of some wartime violence. But, in fact, he was one of the torturers. Daniel Salazar is indeed a survivor and he’s probably going to turn out to be the best asset that they could have in what is coming. He tortures the soldier by flaying his arm with a straight razor to get information.
Travis Goes Outside the Wire
Travis goes to speak to the Army lieutenant that is in charge who is a real arrogant jerk to everyone and treats his soldiers like garbage. Travis, trying to be the peacemaker, wants to know where the others have been taking. While he is trying to get answers in a soft but persistent way Daniel is torturing the soldier to get the same information. Fed up with Travis’ questions the lieutenant says that he will take Travis to the medical facility that is only two miles away.
Along the way they stop to take out a distant walker in a donut shop. They jump out of the vehicle and all the soldiers grab weapons including a massive 50 caliber sniper rifle with a deadly scope. After lining up the shot the lieutenant insists that Travis is going to be the one to fire the shot. He doesn’t want to but the lieutenant tells him that he has to. Travis leans over the weapon, which is on a tripod, but when he sees the walker’s face he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger. He may know intellectually that the walker is no longer human but emotionally he can’t pull the trigger. He backs away and the soldier takes the shot. Travis is going to have to get over his aversion to killing walkers if he’s going to survive. But at this stage, when they haven’t really encountered many walkers, it’s understandable that he’s having a little trouble accepting what he’s seeing.
As they travel on they are called to a breaking scene. The soldiers tell Travis to stay in the truck no matter what he hears and they go into a building guns blazing. In one of the creepiest scenes of the show so far Travis can hear everything that is happening inside over the radio in the truck. They are outnumbered and things go south very quickly. Eventually some of the soldiers come out and tell him to get in the truck. They leave the others behind and take off back to the Safe Zone.
Daniel continues his torture of the soldier. He comes out into the kitchen eventually where Madison is sitting. Travis comes in and she tells him what is going on. All of them go back to where the soldier is being held. The soldier tells them that nearby a sports stadium with 2000 people in it was the scene of a mass outbreak. He said that the people there turned so quickly the soldiers didn’t have time to react and that they had to chain the doors shut and get out.
Daniel Salazar asks the soldier what the word cobalt means because it is featured in a lot of the radio communications and he knows it is some kind of code. He wants to know what Operation Cobalt is. Eventually the soldier breaks down and tells them that cobalt is the code word for abandoning a location and getting out. But, only the soldiers. Operation Cobalt is the “human termination” of any citizens left in an area so that they are killed before they can turn. He reveals that the soldiers have received word to get out of the Safe Zone and their termination is supposed to take place at 9 AM the following morning. Madison and Travis are stunning, but it’s clear that Daniel suspected something like this was coming from the beginning.
To verify the soldier is telling the truth he goes to the sports stadium nearby and finds it does have the doors chained shut. As he is standing there the doors start to strain from walkers on the inside pushing to get out.
At the medical facility Liza is doing her best to help people while still trying to figure out what the military is really up to. She questions the doctor about what happened to Grizelda and the doctor tells her that they had to take Grizelda’s foot. She demands to speak to her, telling the doctor that Grizelda doesn’t speak much English and she doesn’t want her to wake up and be frightened. But the doctor puts her off.
As soon as she can Liza sneaks into a cordoned off warehouse like building that has biohazard measures in place. She finds Grizelda in a gurney in a fenced and locked cell like the holding cells. Grizelda is in a bad way and rambling about the devil in Spanish. The doctor followed Liza there and explains that Grizelda has some swelling of the brain, making it seem like it’s just a matter of time until Grizelda dies. Grizelda has a seizure and dies. Then the doctor brings out an air powered gun that looks like a nail gun. She tells Liza it’s a bolt gun like they use to kill animals for slaughter. She tells Liza that everyone turns, even those who aren’t bitten. When they die they turn no matter how they die and injuring the brain is the only way to stop it.
She fires up the bolt gun but Liza takes it from her and fires the bolt into Grizelda’s brain herself.
Meanwhile in The Holding Cells
Nick is put in with a new character, a smooth talking salesman who seems to have his own agenda. When the military comes through they check everyone’s temperatures. When Nick has a temperature of 101 the guard orders him taken from the cell and sent to the basement, presumably to die or get killed. The man in the cell offers the guard his cuff links to let Nick stay. In a past transaction he has already traded the guard his watch for something. The guard takes the cuff links and Nick is allowed to stay, buying him at least another day of living.
Full Scale Containment
Next week the first season of Fear The Walking Dead will wrap up with an episode that will finally see the citizens pitted against the military and show audiences what was done to try and contain the outbreak. But, the audience already knows that they fail to stop the apocalypse and eventually the military is defeated. Will they napalm the city? How will Madison, Travis, Ofelia, Daniel, Chris and Alicia get out? With Daniel around it’s 100% certain they will get out somehow. Daniel Salazar and Madison are emerging as the survivors who are adapting the best to the current situation.