After this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead, “100,” it’s safe to say that I have no idea where the season’s B-plot is headed, or why it even exists beyond as an excuse to keep Victor Strand and Daniel Salazar involved in the series. While the Clarks’ storyline is leaning into its The Walking Dead roots with a Farm/Alexandria-like settlement and potentially a The Governor-like villain in Jeremiah Otto, the Salazar/Strand storyline is in a different world, entirely. Or at least a different country: Mexico.
Much of this week’s episode filled us in on what has happened to Daniel since the second-season midseason finale after he torched Celia’s compound with himself inside it. With a severely burnt leg, Daniel limps into Tijuana and meets a man named Efrain, who saves Daniel’s life from a walker. Efrain also takes Daniel to an abandoned building, where water bubbles up from a hidden fountain every Tuesday at exactly 5pm. This is significant because it’s also the only source of water in the city that isn’t owned by a warlord by the name of Dante Esquivel, Tijuana’s former municipal leader who took control of the Gonzales dam after the outbreak. Efrain and his friends are trying to keep the source hidden from Dante while rationing it out to the thirsty people of the city.
After Daniel has his burnt skin scraped off with a razor blade by Lola — a friend of Efrain’s — he eventually finds work with Esquivel. Dante takes a liking to Daniel because Daniel is apparently well known for his torture work back in his younger days with the Salvadoran junta. Dante hires Daniel to work as one of his henchman and track down water thieves, which eventually leads Daniel back to Efrain.
Daniel is asked to torture Efrain for information on the whereabouts of the water fountain. Seeing Efrain being tortured, Lola eventually gives up the information to prevent Daniel from beating him any further. Esquivel then decides to kill Efrain, Lola, and all of their friends/conspirators by throwing them off the Gonzalez dam.
Meanwhile, Victor Strand — imprisoned by Dante last week and sentenced to pay off his debts — is also lumped in with Efrain and Co., for reasons that aren’t clear, but most likely because it is the easiest way for the writers to bring Daniel and Strand back together after Daniel refused to help Strand escape from his prison cell earlier in the episode (Daniel still doesn’t trust Victor). Daniel, who initially seems to have embraced his torturer past, balks at killing Lola and, instead, knocks out a couple of Dante’s henchman, takes their gun, and puts a bullet in Dante’s head, saving everyone else. El Fin.
Even by Fear the Walking Dead standards, “100” is a particularly weak episode. The return of Daniel is not unwelcome (and Rubén Blades is arguably the best actor on this series), but his storyline holds little intrigue. Fear has left Blades and Colman Domingo in a narrative no man’s land. Next week, either Daniel will become the new Warlord of Water or, more likely, he’ll give the dam back to the city and be seen as a hero. There’s still no love lost between Victor and Daniel, however, so I’m still not sure where the narrative glue that will stick Victor and Daniel together will come from.
The question now is, will the Clarks and Ottos be forced to flee Broken Jaw Ranch and find themselves back in Tijuana, or will Victor and Daniel make their way to Broken Jaw Ranch. Scenes from next week’s episode see Victor and Daniel speeding away in a convertible, so the latter seems the most likely possibility.
— This is a first for The Walking Dead universe: A zombie who is about to kill Daniel is struck by lightning, answering Daniel’s prayer. The odds of that happening are slim to none, but sure! It was an absolutely ridiculous moment, but it did look cool.
— Efrain falling asleep while listening to Daniel speak about his past felt like a metaphor for the audience watching at home. The series brings up Daniel’s El Salvadoran past whenever it needs to provide some depth to Daniel’s character in a time of crisis, but the storyline has never gained much traction with the audience.
— Despite a slow episode, I am ultimately glad that Rubén Blades is back, and scenes from next week’s episode look promising. We may meet the group that shot down Travis’ helicopter. It looks like Broken Jaw Ranch will also be threatened.
— OFELIA WATCH: There is still no sign of Mercedes Mason’s character. No one has any idea where she is.
She’s still filming, so at least we know she’ll show up again at some point.
In the meantime, Twitter is having some fun with the #whereisOfelia hashtag:
Even Mercedes Mason is playing along: