Cobalt opens on a new character. It’s a well dressed black man with a silky baritone and a salesman’s flair. He fucks with the neighbor who broke down last week until he really breaks down, then turns his attention to Nick.
Back in the hood, Ofelia is spitting invective at the soldiers. Lieutenant wants her shut down for inciting the natives. He sends another soldier, but the soldier she was sweet on earlier convinces him to let him handle it. It’s obvious the soldiers are at wits end.
Travis’ son Chris is pissed. Madison, on the other hand, appears to have completely forgotten what she said at the end of the last episode. Travis tries to force him to apologize, but Chris tells him to “go be with his family.” Cold.
Next is Liza sewing someone up in the field hospital. Most of the nurses are gone. Evac’d or, well, you can guess. She has questions about the people she came with, but the doctor just wants her to work.
Madison finds a note. From who? What does it say? Is it important? Who knows, but she goes looking for Alicia. She doesn’t find her, but she does hear a sound in the basement. After a spooky sequence of Madison walking down dark hallways with a gimpy flashlight, she finds the source of the noise—Daniel Salazar and his daughter have the soldier she was sweet on taped up. Salazar sees it as their ticket to get their people back (this seems poorly thought out).
The soldier tries to explain himself. He says they will have their people back soon. Ofelia thinks they can trade the soldier for their people. Salazar has a better idea (ok, good). People taken away in trucks don’t come back; what he wants from the soldier is information.
Meanwhile, Travis is talking to the Lieutenant, who continues to be a magnificent bastard douchebag. Travis suggests if people don’t show back up soon he will have more than one person to worry about. That gets him a free ride to go see the doctor.
All it takes is a creepy monologue and the soldier tells Salazar they have a field hospital 11 miles away.
En route to the hospital, the soldiers spot a live dead one and stop to get a big-ass rifle set up. The Lieutenant wants Travis to take the shot. He can’t do it. He better get over that real quick.
Before they get to the hospital the doctor and Liza are working on some soldiers. The doctor sees a bite mark and they’re out of there. At that point it’s all over but the crying and the cattle gun.
En route to the hospital—déjà vu—the soldiers get a report of another squad pinned down and stop to help. We don’t get to see the ensuing slaughter, just to hear it on the radio and watch Travis’ reaction.
Back to Salazar and the soldier and Salazar is giving another monologue. He’s well into it before we see how bloody his shirt and scalpel are. He has one big question: what does ‘Cobalt’ mean? He knows it’s important, because it’s the title of the episode.
Back in the cells, they’re checking temperatures. Nick is running a fever and gets pulled. Luckily, the well-dressed black man in with him has sympathy and trades cufflinks to get him back.
The soldiers come back—genius Travis picks now to get out of the Humvee—but the Lieutenant is missing. They aren’t interested in going to the hospital now. They just want to save their own skin and promise to drop Travis off within walking distance.
Madison catches Salazar washing out his bowl full of bloody implements of torture and he drops a bomb. During the Civil War in El Salvador he was one of the bad guys.
Back at the hospital, Liza has found Griselda. They had to take her foot and she’s in shock.
Meanwhile, Alicia and Travis’ son, hoodlums that they are, are wearing rich people’s clothes, drinking their champagne, and trashing their stuff.
Back to the basement, and the soldier is telling Salazar stories. Apparently there is an arena full of 2,000 zombies in LA now. Travis rushes in but they stop him with the news of what Cobalt is. It’s evac. But not of the civilians, just the soldiers. Humane extermination is provided for the civilians.
In the makeshift prison, Nick is masking the smell of urine with vomit. Nick’s benefactor insists he didn’t save him, he obligated him. The rules have changed, and he’s planning to make a move when the soldiers leave.
Salazar’s wife is ranting (in Spanish) and it’s clear she knows what Salazar did back in El Salvador. Her brain is swelling and we again see someone approach with an air gun, a la No Country for Old Men. Liza wonders why they’re springing into action, and the doctor explains that everyone comes back, like that wasn’t a big mystery in season 1 of the original series.
The episode ends with Salazar staring at the arena. Did he not take the soldier’s word?
True to form, the Walking Dead is picking up as it approaches the season finale. Maybe I should change my mind about the truncated, six episode season. Hell, we could finally get a full, great season if they just shortened it to four seasons.
In retrospect, this stuff has been boring. I’m much more interested in seeing how people get by and organize themselves after. To that end, I’m bullish on Salazar and the new guy. Travis better stop Dale-ing it up quick.
Which is not to say that watching the fall couldn’t have been interesting. I would have loved to see the particulars, how a handful of zombies turned into something the United States military couldn’t handle. But we don’t see that. We don’t really even get the process of discovery. A few episodes ago nobody had any idea what was going on and now they know they’re dead, know everyone who dies turns, and we never saw them get from point A to point B.