Sports Arena of the Damned (Fear the Walking Dead Episode 5)

Daniel Torture

 

Episode Five of Fear the Walking Dead is beginning to answer some questions, and the show is beginning to pick up momentum, but the question remains: are six episodes enough to get viewers hooked on the early days of the virus? There has been a lot of criticism that the show is too low key, and there aren’t enough zombies. But this show is about the early days before everything fell apart, so it’s not going to be all zombie gore all the time.

What is interesting is that even though the government knew about the virus, there was still nothing that could be done to put a stop to the zombie outbreak. Even if you could go back in time, nothing would change the outcome of what’s to come. This show is more about the people, but if that’s the case, then why are we wasting time on Alicia and Chris playing dress-up in an empty neighbors house?

Please, please don’t let Chris have a crush on Alicia, because seriously what we need in the midst of a zombie pandemic is a teen wet dream drama. SNORE.

Hey remember that super, duper important distress signal from the burned out house last week? Neither does the show. Sorry, mystery person in distress we’ll try and get to you in the season finale, or next season.

A Strand With a Plan 

Strand

The National Guard doesn’t just have a medical facility, but a detainment center for people like anxiety-ridden neighbor Doug, Nick, and new character Strand. Strand may have a ridiculous name better suited to an actor on a CW show, but he’s a man with a plan. What is Strand’s plan? Unclear, but it involves Nick. Not only does Strand monologue like the shining star in a community theatre play, but he is a talent scout looking for people like Nick who understand necessity. (Or is a junkie thief, I guess?) Strand seems smart and came prepared with cufflinks and watches to bribe the National Guard. Apparently cufflinks are still a thing that people want. Who knew?

Strand is either an apocalypse savant, or he is privy to information that no one else is. Could he work for a government agency, and does that mean he knew what was coming? He wants Nick, but other than to escape the cage of certain doom, what is the plan? What happens on the outside? There was something very calculated about the way that Strand almost seemed to be torturing Doug until the guy freaked out and had to be led away (or exterminated by the soldiers), and then it was on to Nick. This is pure speculation, but could Strand actually be a military plant (someone with a psychology degree, perhaps?), and his mission is to target civilians that could be considered useful, or worth saving?

Flay Me Baby One More Time 

Soldier Boy_ Ofelia

In the zombie apocalypse, some people are deniers, some people are doers, and in the case of Daniel Salazar, some people are torturers. Ofelia’s pharmacological love affair with Soldier Boy comes to an abrupt end when she helps kidnap him so that Daniel can torture him for information. When Maddie finds out, she’s not thrilled, but like Daniel, the end (getting back Nick and Griselda) justifies the means. Daniel flays the skin right off Soldier Boy’s arm until he learns that the soldiers locked up the living and the undead in the sports arena, and he mentions an operation “Cobalt.” Cobalt isn’t just a Crayola color, but the military’s plan to evacuate soldiers from the L.A. basin at 0900 the following morning. As for the neighborhood, well, those folks will be starting their morning off being “humanely” exterminated. How thoughtful.

Obviously the big showdown is going to happen next week in the season finale, but how is it going to play out? Are Strand, Nick and Liza going to take down the medical/ detainment facility while Maddie, Daniel and Travis either gather the neighbors to storm the National Guard barracks? We see one young soldier trying to walk away: are there more like him who know that they can’t win against the walkers, and might be willing to join the civilians in stopping “Cobalt?” My bet is everything goes bonkers, nobody gets a ride out of the L.A. Basin. The zombies move into the neighborhood, further lowering property value and forcing our main characters to survive in the danger zone (cue Kenny Loggins).

Do No Harm (Unless You’re Undead) 

Liza is getting a very helpful firsthand education on the infected: they come back and there isn’t anything you can do except shoot them in the head. She may not like or trust Dr. Exner, but when Griselda dies from septic shock, Liza sucks it up and shoots the old woman in the head with a cattle gun.

Contrast Liza’s experience with Travis’s ride-along where his former buddy Lt. Moyers tries to peer pressure him into shooting a walker. Travis is pretty squeamish, and even though the woman is pretty zombified, he pusses out when he sees her nametag. This is the struggle: Liza benefits from seeing people die and come back to life, but Travis is still holding onto the idea that there is some humanity left in the walkers. This is where the zombie virus gets people, either you adapt to the new reality, or you get bit. It’s that simple, but this early in the pandemic people haven’t realized this.

Driving Mr. Manawa 

Travis

Travis goes to his “buddy” Lt. Moyers about getting back his people. Moyers is still keeping up his “too cool for the pandemic” attitude, and his disdain nearly causes Travis to pee his pants. However, Moyers inexplicably decides that he’ll reverse his decision and take Travis to the medical facility. One of the men under Moyers takes him aside and says that his men have been up for over fifty hours and have suffered heavy casualties, but is dismissed.

This is what doesn’t make sense about Moyers; he’s so flippant about everything, but his men are scared and the situation outside is out of control – so why is he not only putting men in danger who aren’t in any condition to go back out into the field, but why does he continue to be so unbothered this? It’s understandable that the soldiers don’t want civilians to suspect that they are going to get the worst wake-up call ever in the morning, but it undercuts the drama to not show just how dire things are for characters like Moyers when they aren’t having to save face with block captain Travis.

Travis gets a Humvee tour of just how bad things are outside the Safety Zone. It’s not just that the National Guard is completely overwhelmed by the undead. Even with their superior weaponry it’s not enough. Again, Travis is seeing all of this go down first hand, but you still see him struggle to process this. This is while Madison adapts to a room in her home being turned into a suburban Guantanamo. Adapt or die, Travis. Seriously, we’re still waiting…

RIP Lt. Moyers, you were a dick till the bitter end.

Burning Questions:

  • Who wants to bet that we won’t meet the mystery person in the burned out house till next season? There just isn’t enough time to deal with the person or persons signaling for help, so that has to mean that the show will be casting a recognizable actor in the role, right?
  • Did Daniel study his flaying skills at House Bolton?
  • Does anyone care about Ofelia, Alicia or Chris? No? Didn’t think so…
  • Why do we think Daniel went to check out the walker-filled sports arena? Freeing the undead would be like opening the doors to the mall on Black Friday, and while it would prove a great distraction, it would also create a huge mess for everybody (but it would make the people complaining about the lack of zombies really happy).
  • Now that Liza has seen firsthand the need to contain and kill those who have been bitten or are sick, do we think that this will make her more or less likely to help “rebels” Madison, Daniel, Nick fight the military, or will she dig her heels in and sign up to go into practice with Dr. Exner?
  • Can someone please give Doug a chill pill? That guy is a drag.
  • What Nick skills do you think would be of the most use to Strand? A lust for life, ability to wear grandpa clothes with panache, drug-stealing abilities, lying?

Hot Zombie of the Week

Kimberly

In life, Kimberly worked as a waitress serving up hot coffee and sassy talk. If you can get past the arm wound and lank hair, she’s what you would call an “easy target.” Find her shuffling through abandoned buildings, but you might want to hurry because the local military boys also seem interested.