Fear the Walking Dead – 100
By: Tara Donahue
Last week left us with many questions after that ending scene where we learned that Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) was still alive. Not only that, but he was there at Dante’s compound where Strand was now being held prisoner. If you were anything like me, you were waiting, with great anticipation, to learn how Daniel survived that fire he started and just how he ended up at the dam. In an almost entirely Spanish speaking episode, we learned the answers to those questions and more as we followed Daniel’s journey.
As the episode begins we see Daniel, burned and injured, walking through the countryside. His wounds are fresh and he’s struggling, nearing collapse, as he searches abandoned vehicles for any sign of water. At this point, he encounters some walkers and they start passing by him. It almost seems that barbecue crispy skin might fool them into thinking he’s one of them, but one walker isn’t tricked and she turns around, coming back after him. Daniel tries to slide under a car and only manages to escape her grasp thanks to a barking dog. It doesn’t take much to distract a zombie. Human or animal, it doesn’t matter. Food is food. Daniel finds a moment of amusement as she departs. Maybe because he’s cheated death yet again.
Some time later Daniel has passed out and comes to still beneath that same car. He hears a walker, but before he can react the prayer is being uttered and that zombie is being killed with a hammer driving a nail into the brain. Suddenly, Daniel is being pulled from beneath the car and he’s screaming, but the man means him no harm. He’s there to help. We learn his name is Efrain (Jesse Borrego) and he can help Daniel with his request of water, but he has good news and bad news. Good news; he has water and will share. Bad news; especially for Daniel’s situation, they’re going to have to walk.
In an area that looks almost like some sort of strip mall, there’s a fountain but it’s dry. Efrain looks at the watch around his neck and tells Daniel it won’t be much longer. A beat later, the fountain shakes and water begins to pour from it. Daniel drinks his fill and Efrain begins to fill a large container. Daniel questions where it comes from and Efrain tells him that every Tuesday at 5pm a miracle happens.
Now that Daniel has quenched his thirst, there’s still the matter of the burns on his leg. Efrain knows someone that can help. With Daniel situated in the large basket on the front of a bicycle and a large boombox blasting loudly to let the thirsty know there’s water, Efrain pedals them through the streets taking out zombies along the way.
They arrive in an alley where others are waiting and Efrain asks about a woman named Lola, but they haven’t seen her. A white truck drives by and they hide. Efrain comments on how much more often they’re coming just as Daniel loses consciousness.
He begins to come to in a room with Efrain and Lola (Lissandra Tena) discussing the horrible shape his leg is in. Lola feels like it’s rotting and he is probably going to lose it anyway, but Efrain pleads with her to help him. He pulls out a straight razor and hands it to her. This is clearly not going to be pleasant.
In the days that follow Lola scrapes the burned flesh from Daniel’s leg. We see him, now on crutches, out scavenging with Efrain. They go back to the place the vagrant man calls home and share a meal. As a thank you for his help and kindness, Daniel gives Efrain the first haircut he’s had in a very long time and they talk. Efrain knows Daniel is going to run. He tells him that he knows about running and something in Daniel is rotting far worse than his leg.
Daniel tells him that he’s not a good man and he’s done terrible things. He’s afraid it’s time to pay his debts. Efrain wants to know what he’s done and Daniel admits he’s killed people. Ninety-six, to be exact. This surprises Daniel’s new friend, but he doesn’t think that’s what it is that’s weighing on him. It’s not. It’s Ofelia (Mercedes Mason). Her father never told her the truth about himself. But Efrain tells him it wasn’t her burden and he was right not to tell her.
It’s Ofelia that Daniel is looking for. He starts telling about the burning of the Abigail compound. He felt he was trying to protect Ofelia, but his mind wasn’t right. He woke up in a fire and heard his daughter calling to him. He was trapped and burning, the ceiling was collapsing. He fought and fought and got out. He doesn’t know how, but he did. When he came to, there was no one left alive. Daniel doesn’t know if he burned his daughter alive. He wants forgiveness. Efrain again has good and bad news. The good news is that there’s no one left in this world to judge him. He falls asleep before he can tell him the bad news.
Daniel leaves and we see him in the same area they were scavenging in earlier. He encounters a walker he quickly disposes of, but the second one is much larger and knocks him down. Daniel is on his knees and he’s praying, accepting that this is his end. Someone didn’t agree with that and a bolt of lightning came down from the sky, striking the zombie right in the head, killing him and knocking Daniel into the water.
He comes to, in a storm drain, surprising two men who were cleaning it out. They bring him to Lola, who tells him they were right to hide him. She welcomes him to Gonzalez Dam and tells him about it. Daniel doesn’t understand why, if the damn works, people are dying of thirst. When Tijuana fell Dante Esquivel (Jason Manuel Olazabal), the Municipal President, took over the dam and distributes water his own way. She gives Daniel a job as a janitor, clearing out storm drains, just like the one he was found in.
It’s lunchtime and we see Daniel eating as Dante enters. Everyone stands, except Daniel. J.C. (Richard J. Chacon) notices this and comes over to find out why he didn’t stand when the boss entered. Daniel didn’t know that was the boss. This isn’t good enough for J.C., who is clearly on a power trip. He tells him that he needs to stand when Dante enters and he’d better look at him when he’s talking to him, as well. To prove his point, he puts his finger in Daniel’s food which gets him stabbed in the hand with a fork. J.C. pulls a gun and Dante comes over, wanting to know what happened. Upon learning Daniel’s name and where he’s from, he immediately knows he’s military. Pulling down Daniel’s lip reveals he’s much more than military, he’s a member of Sombra Negra. This earns him a high ranking spot in Dante’s organization.
Dante wants Daniel’s help. He wants him to help him with his problem and he promises he’ll reward him. That problem, as it turns out, is finding the water thief. We see Daniel in the back of that same white truck we saw Efrain and his people hiding from earlier. They’re looking for Efrain. They find the fountain, but it’s dry. They’re going to leave, but Daniel sees the clock and knows what’s about to happen. To protect his new friend and his miracle water, Daniel turns on that boombox and it begins playing that announcement again. “Agua! Agua!”
Back at the dam, Lola is anything but grateful about what Daniel has done. Efrain saved his life she reminds him. He was trying to protect her (just like he was trying to protect Ofelia?) and it was only a matter of time before they found them out. But Lola doesn’t see it that way. She tells him that Dante was right, this place was perfect for Daniel because he was nothing but a thug.
In the scene we saw last week, Daniel brings Strand (Colman Domingo) some water. Strand wants to know how he made it out of that fire, but Daniel only wants to know about Ofelia. He learns that Strand, Madison, Alicia and Ofelia all managed to flee the compound. They all thought Daniel was dead. Strand tells him that Ofelia is at The Rosarito Hotel and alive. If Daniel will free him, he’ll take him to her. She’s waiting for him.
But Daniel isn’t an idiot. He doesn’t believe it and knows that Strand will say anything to save his own life. Strand pleads, telling him he’s making a mistake. Using Lola’s words, Daniel tells Strand this place is perfect for him and that he’ll rot here, just like the dead. Strand tries again, telling him that Ofelia needs her father. It doesn’t work. Daniel simply tells him that Ofelia is dead and so is her father. Strand, on the other hand, feels like he saved their lives and now Daniel owes him.
Dante’s looking for his newest right hand and Daniel arrives to find that they’ve found Efrain. They want Daniel to get the truth out of him on who, on the inside, is helping him. He tells him if he talks they’ll kill them both and if he doesn’t talk, he will kill him. The only thing he can offer is to kill him as fast as he can. He asks for forgiveness again before he begins pummeling Efrain with his fists, demanding he confess. Lola stops him as he grabs a hammer and the truth is out. She was the one helping him.
Dante has them all lined up along the railing of the dam, Strand included. They are all going to be executed by tossing them down to the pile of walkers below. After one man is killed, Dante instructs Daniel to bring him Lola. He brings her over, but instead of allowing Dante to kill her Daniel pulls a gun and shoots both henchmen. He turns to Dante and the man reminds him that he pulled him off the street and he’ll always be a dog. The words barely leave his lips when Daniel shoots and kills him (bringing his death total to the episode title 100). He turns to Lola, falling to his knees in front of her and handing her the gun. He bows his head and asks again for forgiveness. The moment is heavy and powerful as we see her offer her hand.