Daniel Salazar on Fear the Walking Dead is not a teddy bear. He’s basically a walking killing machine whose past (even before the zombie apocalypse) is all kinds of terrifying. That’s why Strand deserves at least three or four gold stars for even visiting him last night. It takes some courage to do that … especially since things weren’t exactly rosy the last time the two parties were together.
Yet, season 5 could be Salazar’s redemption — or, at the very least, a chance to see him turn the other cheek. This could be a season of redemption. Strand came to him with an opportunity; now, the question is to see whether or not Daniel will take that baton and run with it. What informs that decision is what happened with him off-screen. We don’t know what happened since the dam incident, and that’s the challenge for Ruben Blades as an actor. Speaking recently to TV Guide, he goes through that, and explains that he has his own thoughts on the character’s methodology:
“The writers always seem to know more than the actors … And when a year has gone by and you come back, the effect of that time on the character, on Salazar, is unknown to me. So I have to deal with what they provide me in the scene. And I have to take that and put it in the context of my backstory, the backstory that I have created, and see how I would explain why I’m doing what I’m doing, or why I’m reacting the way I’m reacting.”
So what is Blades’ backstory for the character? It’s fascinating, as Ruben explains that “he’s alive for a purpose, and the purpose must be to help people.” After losing both his wife and his daughter, it could have been easy for Daniel to just do something drastic and call it a life. He didn’t do that.
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We wonder if this is a trajectory for Salazar that could’ve existed even without a zombie apocalypse. Think about it — with his dangerous past, it’s easy to imagine him losing people close to him. There could’ve been retaliation for his actions and coming out of that rubble, he could’ve searched for redemption. Maybe the help he offered wouldn’t have been the same, but there are reflections between that alternate world and where we are now.
We just have to see if with his actions come rewards. It’s hard to find stable ground within this world especially when we’re only two episodes in, or when Morgan’s attempts to replicate Polar Bear have turned out to be ice cold. The next Fear the Walking Dead episode airs Sunday, and with it comes a familiar face from The Walking Dead world. Find out more on that here.
Do you think Daniel Salazar can become some sort of virtuous Fear the Walking Dead hero? Share in the comments. (Photo: AMC.)