For Fear the Walking Dead season 3 episode 4, the folks over at AMC decided to take a few big risks. The majority of the episode was in subtitles, and more than that, it focused on a character in Daniel Salazar who hasn’t been a part of the show (beyond that cameo last week) since the midway point in season 2.
Tonight was the journey of Daniel that brought him to be working along Dante in the present. This included him meeting a man in Efran who became his cohort during part of his struggle. He made the intentions of his journey clear with him, including his search for Ofelia, and why he made some of the decisions that he did. He admitted to him that his “mind wasn’t right” back then, and that is something that he is still working to get together now.
The most powerful line of the entire episode was Daniel saying that he didn’t know whether or not he burned his daughter alive, and then begging for forgiveness from a man he barely knew. Rubén Blades is a powerhouse performer — he’s been gone from the show far too long, but that made his return all the more impactful. He can be a terrifying badass, but also someone heartfelt, emotional, and even vulnerable. He brings so much more to this show than we can identify within a few words. One thing that we especially know is that he’s a hell of a brave soul given that he wasn’t all that willing to stand when he first came across Dante for the first time.
As it turns out, Salazar’s history as a killer and a military man was brought out during this specific meeting with Dante, and in turn, Dante came to realize just how much he could use a man like him. His past torment and his reputation as a killer may have been something that he ran away from before the apocalypse, but now, he seems to be welcoming that more than before. It’s somewhat terrifying, especially given that the end of the episode, we saw him attack the very person he once sobbed to. The hardest thing to swallow about this dark side of Salazar is that we do know that it’s not the only side. He can be human, and he can care for other people. The problem is that he is someone whose morality swings by those close to him. He thinks that Ofelia is dead, and with that, he has little to live for.
Or, does he? Where things got interesting is that by the end of the episode, Salazar had killed Dante and many other of his men. He did the wrong thing, and then the heroic thing … even if it was absolutely violent in his own way.
The journey for Daniel was told in a fairly straightforward fashion, as we saw him take different jobs and assimilate with different groups of people while trying to find his way in the world again. The structure here was probably necessary given that there were so many creative risks elsewhere, and it did allow us to have a greater sense of who this man was before his near-death experience, and who he has become now as effectively Dante’s #2 in his crazy, terrible new world … at least temporarily.
How crazy was that ending? We’re still digesting that one… Grade: B+.
What’s next on Fear the Walking Dead?
Rest assured that many of your longtime favorites are going to return! You can head over here to get some other news right now about that. (Photo: AMC.)