Nerd Review: FEAR THE WALKING DEAD – Episode 5

“Exit light, enter night.” Like the songs says, “We’re off to Never-Neverland.” This episode kicks off in the military base detaining sick or troublesome civilians. We meet a new character, a sly man with a silver tongue, who essentially talks a cellmate into leaving. Then we realize, our hero Nick, is sharing the cell with this mysterious man.

Who is he? And why is he detained? We get a few more answers by the end of the episode, but really the stage is just being set for this character. Perhaps this intriguing character is the one rumoured to crossover into the main WALKING DEAD series this season?

Meanwhile, back in the ‘hood… The barber’s daughter, Ophelia, is close to being charged with “inciting the natives.” She’s distraught over her mother, Griselda, being taken away last episode.

Thankfully, the soldier she was getting to know stands up for her. It seems like the military presence is looking for any excuse to detain people (or shoot them dead). It looks like it was right to be suspicious earlier.

Travis’ ex-wife is hard at work stitching up soldiers back at the base. It looks like there are no civilian patients here. She asks where Nick and the barber’s wife are, but the doctor just dodges the question.

Later on she’ll get her answer, as she finds Griselda – her leg amputated and suffering from toxic shock.

The operation has its own method to deal with those about to die. They use a “humane” nail-gun used in animal slaughter. The muted impact of the trigger amplifies the emotionless response from the military. The matter-of-fact approach to this scene was chilling.

We also have to wonder if this is what is in store for Nick?

Griselda’s final speech was haunting and interpretive. Is she terrified of the man she loves? Or does she see the Devil coming for her? Does this foreshadow their mysterious past?

Nick’s sister, Alicia, appears briefly in a funny scene with Travis’ son. She’s trying to bridge a gap between them by joking, as she rides in on a stolen bike, “Don’t you have respect for other people’s property?”

They decide to see how rich people live and sneak into a fancy house. They play house, trying on the family’s clothes, and pretending what life would be like to have everything you wanted.

This comments on society’s obsession with material things, but also shows how the middle-class is angry, when the teens decide to shatter and destroy their opulent surroundings. This sort of anarchy parallels the earlier riots.

The main story this week focuses on the barber. He has manipulated Ophelia’s blooming relationship with the soldier who stood up for her. The barber has the soldier bound and gagged, ready to get some answers.

Madison ends up discovering them before any torture has taken place. She battles her morals internally, letting them continue with the necessary interrogation.

We learn a lot about how the government reacts to the zombie outbreak this episode. The barber noticed that a codename gets repeated on the radio transmissions: “Cobalt” (the planned -and better- title for this spin-off series). Codeword: Cobalt means the military plans to move on to the next neighbourhood.

Madison has seen what happens when they leave. Their street will be filled with dead bodies too. It makes me wonder why they detain the infected then. Is it to study the disease? Does the government already know that the dead return to life? Do they know everyone is infected anyway?

Regardless, our heroes know they need to do something before they are “humanely” taken care of.

Travis’ storyline was pretty exciting. He joins a military convoy to investigate the downtown area. The most intriguing moment was when Travis is ordered by the Sergeant to shoot down a zombie. He steps up to the weapon, realizing he could endanger himself if he disagrees.

He looks through the scope and notices the zombie’s name-tag. He can’t take the shot. Travis holds onto the hope that a cure is possible.

The sleep-deprived squad aren’t ready for the skirmish they encounter. Thankfully, Travis is ordered to stay in the Humvee because the soldiers get killed one by one. Even this trained squad isn’t prepared for the apocalypse.

Meanwhile… back in Guantanomo, Nick gets his temperature taken by medics. He’s suffering from the symptoms of withdrawal, which seem to mimic those of the infected and about to turn into zombies.

The military want to remove Nick from the cell and take him out to pasture, but his mysterious cellmate – let’s call him Oz – steps in and makes the soldier an offer he can’t refuse.

It looks like Oz has some pull in this prison environment. He hands the soldier a hidden jewel as payment. Left alone, Oz reveals his plan to Nick. He knows of Codeword: Cobalt. The military are going to leave, and they’re going to kill them. Like us, Nick wonders why Oz saved him. Turns out, our mystery man has an escape plan.

But, who is he? Why does he need Nick’s particular set of skills? I’m thinking he recognizes the withdrawal symptoms. Is he a street hustler, or has he had a loved one addicted to drugs before?

Now that our heroes back home know of Cobalt, they’re planning their own escape as well. It didn’t look like Travis was too happy when he found the soldier tied up, but maybe he’s changing his opinion on what is necessary to survive and protect his family.

How does the Doctor play into all of this? Will she stop Travis’ ex-wife from fleeing? Does she know more about the infection than she’s leading on? There are tons of questions that makes the finale extra hard to wait for.

I hope Nick doesn’t lose his family in the process. Will they head to the base to save Nick? Will Nick head a different way instead? If they can’t reunite in next week’s finale, this could be the start of next season’s storyline – find Nick.

This episode was packed with intensity and moved the mystery forward. Another terrifying highlight was when the Barber checked on the soldier’s story. He goes to the sports arena, and it is in fact filled with zombies. I wonder how long that door will hold them in?

The finale should be an epic event that could split our heroes in two separate camps.

What do you think?

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