Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: “Cobalt”

In which Kim has questions and Episode 5 (Shawn) has answers.

Kim: Episode 5, I kind of liked you. You gave us palpable tension. We saw that the Army dudes weren’t just carting people away to kill them (yet). We got to see an actual zombie, named Kimberly.

There are several little things and character developments that were introduced in this episode, and with the end of the mini-season next week, we’re obviously not going to get to them all. We’ve got the new guy in the detainment cell with Nick. We’ve got Alicia and Chris demonstrating teen angst and rising up against socioeconomic inequality. We’ve got Daniel who has not led a very noble life, though he gets the job done. We’ve got Madison who reveals herself to be a little on the sadistic side and quite the flip-flopper. Travis has revealed he is, indeed, a human with a heart but not willing to preemptively do away with a walker (Hello, Tyrese). We’ve got the Army pulling out at 0900, with plans to kill everyone in the “hospital” and abandon the residents who are behind the fence. Or are they killing them as well?

There was a lot that happened in this episode, but in reality, the pacing sucked and it’s too little too late. The entire teen-angst, this-is-so-unfair crap really had no place in this episode. What story does it push along? Are they setting up an Alicia-and-Chris affair? Are the writers trying to make a political statement? What is happening here? Let’s dress up, get drunk, break some shit. and then change back into our weepy selves.

While I was placated for another week, leaving me hopeful for a season finale that’ll lead me right into my original The Walking Dead love zone, I have questions that probably cannot be answered in a way that makes any sense at all.

The Army had a run-in with the undead at the library and some folks died. There was the zombie waitress. However, there are no other indications that things are getting out of control. Why is the army suddenly deciding to turn tail and run?

You’ve got all of those walkers locked in the arena, right? I’m certain they’re getting out next episode and I have to wonder why the army didn’t do more to annihilate the threat inside. Certainly they had to know that the chains wouldn’t hold regular people inside for long, much less the walking dead. Whose idea was this?

With the specified hours of electricity still being doled out, how come not one of our characters has tried to turn on a radio to see if there’s any sign of life outside of their own little world?

I still have no idea why the army dudes cozied up to Travis. Why did we not see the how and why that happened?

Why is Madison such a cold fish?

Where did the dude in the detainment cell get his sweet jewelry?

Why did Liza find it so easy to shoot Grizzie?

Can she shoot Nick before the end of the next episode?

Why are there no people for me to imagine dirty sex with on this show?

Why am I still watching?

Yours, Kim

Shawn: Hi, Kim. It’s Episode 5 here.

I know we’ve had a rough month or so. I have tried to be more of what you wanted this week. But I fear (get it? “Fear”? I’m so dumb) that I’m driving you back to my big brother by just serving to remind you of what you miss about him.

I thought you’d like the new mysterious guy in the prison. Strand is the closest I’ve come to a character that might actually survive in The Walking Dead. He’s got what everyone else other than Daniel and maybe Madison lack – the wiles to adapt and survive. One of the first rules of post-apocalypse is that what you did and who you were doesn’t mean shit. It’s all about who you become. The ability to manipulate people and get them to follow you will get you quite far. And maybe he can kill Nick and do us all a favor.

The episode was thematically dominated by the two male leads. I know you like strong men, Kim, so I tried to show you reasons to care for them. I don’t even know if I want you to like them or hate them yet – I’m playing both sides until we get more feedback. Daniel is becoming more of the type of guy that you could see taking charge. He makes pretty good decisions and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work to get results. A certain cop named Rick in Georgia knows a thing or two about having to make the hard decisions for the good of the group. It felt morally questionable to cheer for Daniel but in the end he was proved right.

I don’t know what to do with Travis for you, honey. He was there to be the yin to Daniel’s yang last week. Daniel is inside hidden away torturing the Army to find out their secrets. Travis is being tortured in a way by the Army outside in the open as he tries to discover new information. His passivity kinda paid off. He wasn’t as active as Daniel who figured out all the Walkers are in the stadium. But he sat in the back of the Hummer until Moyer was dead (you didn’t really care about him either way so I didn’t show it) and the Cobalt Initiative was explained.

You see, Kim, I called the episode “Cobalt” but that was way early in the whole writing thing. It’s this plan that the Army is going to evacuate and leave everyone behind to dead with the zombies. But I kinda forgot about that in parts and those Army guys in the Hummer went rogue and left on their own instead of following the much safer plan. I even lost track of what I wanted Cobalt to symbolize. Essentially, it’s just a way to get to what you’ve really wanted from me this whole time – more walking dead.

I know I haven’t given you much to fear because I haven’t given you walking dead. It’s in my freaking name. I realize that now. I have lost my way early on in our relationship but I’m improving. You even said so yourself. This last week was my best and I want next week to be something you’ve always wanted. I can’t promise to kill off any of the major characters like my brother does. It’s still early in our relationship and I don’t want to make a bad decision.

I’m even trying to give you a little of the sex stuff that you like. Alicia and Chris are pretty good at flirting and they’re attractive right? I’m trying, Kim. Hold on for another week, I think you’ll love me someday.

Yours, Episode 5

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Shawn Bourdo

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