Warning: General spoilers ahead
After that shocking, heart-wrenching season 3 premiere and with the loss of fan-favorite Travis Manawa (100% confirmed to be dead by series boss, Dave Erickson, BTW), the blow seemed to be softened somewhat when a familiar face emerged in the final moments of last week’s episode. In a moment of despair after being taken captive by Dante, Strand (Colman Domingo) turns around to the window of his jail cell and finds Daniel (Ruben Blades) standing there, where he offers him a canteen of water and proclaims he is now his “guardian angel.” Now, even though Dave Erickson said that Daniel would be back and likely in season 3, it still wasn’t clear (at least to me) whether Daniel was real or just a figment of Strand’s imagination. However, we can now officially celebrate Daniel’s return, as showrunner Dave Erickson stated in multiple interviews this past week that what Strand saw is real, and Daniel is, indeed, very much alive.
That being said, Sunday’s episode is 100% Daniel’s story, with Strand being the only other character we check in with. It opens with the ranch in the distance, still smoldering from the fire that had engulfed it in the season 2 mid-season finale. We then see Daniel stumbling away and then, walking down a very long highway (quite possibly the same highway that Nick traveled on), making his way to Tijuana. When he reaches the village, we can finally see the extent of his injuries. There are burns to the back of his neck, but his most severe injuries are on his left leg. The bottom of his left leg is burnt to a near crisp, thus making it very difficult to walk, and also, making it difficult to dodge walkers. As is depicted in the promo, Daniel is nearly taken out by a walker, but then, his very own “guardian angel” shows up to help him.
The man’s name is Efrain (Jesse Borrego), and he takes Daniel into town and offers to help him. Daniel also hasn’t had any water in days, and is on the verge of dying of thirst, but Efrain says he can help with that too. At exactly 5 p.m., a boombox blurts out a very catchy tune “Aqua! Aqua!…Aqua! Aqua!… Aqua! Aqua!” (almost as catchy as “Easy Street” BTW!), and one particular fountain begins gushing with water. As Efrain explains, he has a friend, Lola, who is the head of a water treatment facility, and she makes sure every week that enough water is released so that the people in the villages won’t die of thirst. What’s more, she has medical training, and so, even though he’s not supposed to, Efrain takes Daniel to Lola, and she finally agrees to tend to Daniel’s wounds.
Of course, as circumstances would have it, once Daniel’s wounds heal and he leaves, he ends up at Dante’s dam. After seeing Daniel’s fighting skills, it doesn’t take long for Dante to recognize Daniel as a professional killer from San Salvador, and so, he’s quickly promoted to one of Dante’s top security officers. But, now, Daniel has a dilemma. Dante knows someone is stealing water and demands that Daniel and his team track down the person(s) responsible where they will be executed. Well, Daniel knows who’s responsible — Efrain and Lola, the good people who helped him and to whom he owes his life.
Sunday’s episode is a story about redemption, and with Daniel now at a crossroad, it depicts his struggle in deciding which path to follow. It would be so easy for Daniel to fall back into his old habits of being a “Yes, sir” man for Dante and torturing and killing good people, all for a warm bed and 3 squares a day. The real question is who is the Daniel Salazar today and now? A killer to serve evil like Dante, or a killer to serve the good in this world gone mad?
Finally, one thing to note about this episode is the rumors you may have heard are, in fact, true — the episode is entirely in Spanish with subtitles. Now, I know there have been some grumblings about this, and in fact, I was actually taken back myself by the idea when I first heard about it last week. However, I can assure you that it’s not distracting at all nor does it take away from the story in any way. “100” is a superbly written episode with stellar acting and cast performances, and the Spanish dialogue is very fitting and in fact, strengthens it.
Episode 3.04 of Fear The Walking Dead is titled “100” and airs Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com
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