This was supposed to be the turning point episode. The 40-something minutes which would redeem hours of clunky, ineffective character and world-building. I’ll tell you right now, we all could’ve slept through this episode and been just fine to tune into the finale. Nothing surprising or exciting happens.
No, not even that supposedly “Most Talked About Scene” leaves a lasting impression…
Hold your horses! There’s spoilers in this review.
Travis attempts to grow a pair and confronts Moyers about Griselda and Nick’s abduction. Eventually he whines enough, Moyers gives in and takes Travis for a ride along with a seriously overworked unit. Their final destination is the military base camp and medical facility two miles east of the safe zone where Liza and Exner are holed up—one doctor and four nurses tending to every sick/injured civilian in Los Angeles. Travis and Moyers don’t see eye-to-eye on anything, most importantly the actual classification for the infected. Moyers knows they’re dead. Travis thinks there’s some wondrous cure on the way.
In an attempt to fix Travis’ point-of-view, the soldiers stop to dispatch an infected woman and invite him to take the shot. Hey, it’s only three points in their absurd zombie-killing game, but that’s good enough for Mr. Pacifist, right? Obviously Travis can’t take the shot. The second he spots the woman’s name tag, he steps away from the sniper’s rifle. One of the guys kills the woman and they’re on the road again.
Not for long. A distress call comes in. A unit is trapped in an overrun library. They take a detour to bail out their fellow soldiers. It’s a train wreck. Moyers is presumed dead. The others jump back in the vehicle and make it clear—Travis isn’t going to see Liza and Nick. They’ll drop him off near the fence before heading out to evacuate their families. If their families are still alive. So much for Travis’ attempt to exert power in his newfound position as mayor of safe zone number whatever.
Now let’s address the elephant in the room—Daniel torturing Ofelia’s soldierboy, Adams.
I had such high hopes after seeing this character turn to embrace necessity to Get Things Done. Problem is, producers failed this character horrifically. They destroyed his reputation as the old wise man to give him a darker twist, the man who’ll do anything to save his family.
This is the same ruthless breed which begat Rick Grimes from season 4. You know, the man who tore a man’s throat out with his teeth. At no point did they hesitate in Rick’s defining scene. Yet when it came to bringing Daniel around to the same character traits, they chickened out. Big time. The man tortured Adams. Daniel cut him open numerous times. We never clearly see the wounds. We don’t actually see more than ten seconds of active “torture.” There’s more detail in the episode 103 scene when he blows an infected man’s face off. Yet we’re supposed to believe it’s so bad his daughter runs away from him. Then they turn around and make Madison so blasé about the torture, it’s like Daniel just gave Adams a bad manicure.
What was the point of kidnapping and disfiguring Adams? Information. Namely about Cobalt, a call-sign Daniel hears repeatedly on Adams’ radio. The same call-sign is repeated while Travis is riding with Moyers and his unit. But what does it mean? The military will pull its forces at 0900 and “humanely” terminate the living within Los Angeles. Really? We waited the entire episode to learn that Cobalt is probably the same call-sign used in Atlanta before they blew it up? Which means these families will be caught in a similar scene as when Lori and Shane met Carol and Ed. Yawn. We already knew this is what would happen, writers. Did you hope fans somehow forgot? That we wouldn’t be able to predict this type of situation happening when it was clear in TWD; blowing everything up was the only solution the military could concoct to stem the rapidly spreading outbreak? Again, they built all this tension and fell far short of the goal line.
Now we know more-or-less what’ll happen in the first season finale. Do you hold out hopes they’ll actually manage to create a clever plot twist or have you given up on this show like so many fans who’ve turned their full attention back to waiting for TWD?