WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of Fear the Walking Dead. Proceed with caution.
With only one more episode to go in Season 1 of Fear the Walking Dead, we're truly at the business end of things now. Episode 5 of the show saw another week without a huge amount of carnage and minimal walkers, though we certainly still saw our fair share of monsters in the form of humans.
Fans who have been following this series since it was first announced will have been looking forward to this episode for some time, as the name of the episode, 'Cobalt,' was actually the codename given to the entire series when it was in planning and production stages. As viewers discovered last night, 'Cobalt' was an apt word to be used as a codeword for the series, because it was being used as a codeword in the show as well, albeit a slightly more harmful codeword than AMC was using it for.
There was a lot that happened in Episode 5, 'Cobalt,' including a lot of clues as to what we can expect to see next week when the final episode of Season 1 airs. With that said, strap yourself in and see if you missed any of these five things in Fear the Walking Dead, Episode 5:
1. The army patches are the real deal
Throughout the series, Fear the Walking Dead has gone out of its way to show, very realistically, how the end of the world might go down in the USA, specifically California. Back in Episode 3 we saw the military using FEMA markings, which are used by search and rescue groups during emergency situations, and this week we caught a glimpse of the patch on the arms of the soldiers, that tells us exactly who the group belongs to.
It was actually after Episode 4 that Redditor ArguingPizza used their military knowledge to point out the lightning patches on the shoulders of the troops identified them as belonging to the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The 79th ICBT has headquarters in San Diego, California, and has a state mission that says, in times of emergency, the Governor may call the National Guard to assist civil authorities -- much like what is happening in Fear. Pretty awesome attention to detail for a zombie drama show!
2. Strand is not to be trusted
We had the pleasure of meeting a new character in 'Cobalt,' and in just a few short scenes, the man known as Strand became one of the most fascinating characters in the entire series. The smooth talking, sharp dresser opened the episode as we saw him get inside the head of the terrified Doug Thompson, and rattled the unstable man enough that Doug basically begged to be dragged away by the soldiers.
Despite Strand looking like a menace earlier on in the episode, later on we saw a different side when he bargained for what was possibly saving Nick's life, by exchanging a pair of diamond cufflinks with a corrupt soldier. Soon enough we realize that his act of kindness was actually him "obligating" Nick, and ensuring that he has someone to assist him in escaping when the military eventually leaves. Smart move.
Judging by the general mood on the Internet, Strand gave a lot of people Randall Flagg vibes. Randall Flagg is a fictional characters who appears in several Stephen King novels, including The Stand, and is the ultimate antagonist "who seeks to bring down civilizations through destruction and conflict." Definitely not someone to be trusted. Whether or not Strand will prove to be a villain on this scale we'll have to wait to find out. Though, something tells me we might not find out until Season 2.
3. Everyone has realized that things have changed forever
In this episode we really got to see some changes in many of our main cast members. Firstly, it was a relief to finally see Travis realize by the end of the episode that things have changed, and that the military aren't the good guys he'd previously thought they were. He also seemed to be realizing that he's going to have to change his anti-gun stance soon, though he couldn't quite bring himself to put down the walker, Kimberly. But while Travis couldn't bring himself to shoot a walker, his ex-wife Liza was a different case altogether, and managed to put down Griselda Salazar before she reanimated.
On a different level, Alicia and Chris also realized that priorities in life having now shifted, and after dressing up in some fancy clothing, took pleasure in smashing some very expensive items in a neighbor's home - after all, it's all worthless now. Not to mention that I believe 'Cobalt' was the first episode that we haven't seen either Alicia use her iPhone, or Chris use his camera. The days of electronics are pretty much over.
It's good to see so much change in the main cast within the first season, especially given that the audience for Fear is so used to the tough mindset of the hardened characters in The Walking Dead. If this character development had taken too much longer, it would have felt drawn out to a now zombie-savvy viewer.
4. L.A. will be blitzed in the season finale
After taking Corporal Adams hostage, Daniel Salazar finally got some useful information out of the military, who until this point had been giving citizens the complete run-around. Daniel learns that "Cobalt" is a codeword that means at 9am all military will evacuate the Los Angeles basin, and everyone who remains will be "humanely" terminated, including healthy civilians. To anyone paying attention, you will have noticed how much of the L.A. skyline has been included in outdoor shots in the series, a sure sign that very soon these recognizable landmarks will be wiped off the map.
It's interesting to note that we actually saw the aftermath of this decision in a flashback scene from Season 2 of The Walking Dead, when Shane and Lori watch as the military dropped napalm on Atlanta, and then later in Season 5 when the group returned to Atlanta and saw the results of the bombing (remember the melted walkers, anyone?).
5. Don't open, dead inside
What's better than having a room full of walkers trying to get out of chained doors inside the hospital in Season 1 of The Walking Dead? Having 2,000 walkers clawing at the chained doors of the Los Angeles Arena, of course!
After following up what he was told by his hostage, Daniel Salazar's worst nightmares came true when he realized every single word was true. The last scene of Fear the Walking Dead really teased just how much carnage we can expect to see in next week's episode of Fear the Walking Dead. It's been a slow burn, but finally it's about to cut loose, and damn, Daniel Salazar better be far away from those doors when it happens!
The season finale of Fear the Walking Dead will screen on AMC on October 4th. Check out the promo below to see what we're in for: