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Fear The Walking Dead does right by its characters, even the ones you may have forgotten about

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Fear The Walking Dead

"100"

Season 3 , Episode 4

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Last week, it wasn’t clear if Victor was having a premonition when Daniel Salazar, his “guardian angel,” gave him water as he sat locked in a cell. This week is dedicated solely to what happened to Daniel since the fire, where everyone assumes he died. I can’t say I was burning with curiosity about what may have happened to him, but I do appreciate Fear The Walking Dead’s dedication to keeping track of all its characters, even the ones who are in the periphery.

Unfortunately for these now-side characters, it’s difficult to care about them when the stakes are very low in their respective plots. Daniel’s and Victor’s separate storylines feel too far removed from the main plot, which is far more gripping than just seeing what Daniel’s been up to since surviving the fire. Until the final third of “100,” the sole focus is on Daniel’s war criminal past, which is a snooze. It’s such a snooze his new friend falls asleep. For every scene of “perdóname” there should be an equal scene of carnage. Fear The Walking Dead doesn’t need zombie attacks to keep the action at a clip, but it does need something more than endless regret for the past.

Photo: Richard Foreman Jr./AMC

When Daniel gets to the dam, his past can actually influence his present. Forcing Daniel to become the killer he was in the San Salvador civil war finally draws out the tension, as we reckon who he was with who he is now. His ruthless pragmatism to turn in Efrian showed his willingness to fall in line with this new world order, which he at leasts understands from his time in El Salvador. Efrian undermines the new capitalist system in place, where the currency is the water, as he steals from the men who control the resource and redistributes it. So there’s some tension when Daniel is expected to throw the traitors over the ledge, though it’s a little far-fetched that he would be so trusted after a few days in the employ of the water boss.

The end sets up what could be another fascinating location for this season of Fear The Walking Dead to explore. With the boss dead, will Victor and Daniel combine their business savvy and war criminal past to run the dam themselves? Is “100” just these characters’ somewhat sloppy episode to set up something interesting for them, like Madison and company getting to the ranch? How these characters run the dam would be a high-stakes enterprise to enter into, and another strong location for season three to explore. It would make this drag of an episode worth it.

Stray observations:

  • This episode was maybe 98 percent in Spanish with English subtitles, which is pretty cool for a mainstream American TV show.
  • A zombie got struck by lightning. I don’t enjoy the heavy-handed symbolism that the writers can’t seem to resist when it comes to Daniel’s redemption story, but that lightning strike was awesome.
  • Scraping away Daniels’ rotting leg mush is nice—nice and gory. When The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead aren’t consistently seeing what they can get away with in the gore department, the writers aren’t fully exploiting the possibilities their shows have to offer.
  • Under post-apocalyptic communism, there will be water for all!