"100" was written by Alan Page and directed by Alex Garcia Lopez.
Spoilers ahead for Fear the Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 4: "100" because hey ... it's a TV Recap.
The Short Version: Daniel Salazar, injured and dying, shuffles along in a city hunting for water and barely avoiding walkers. Eventually he's found by Efrain, who has a water source and some friends who help the delirious Salazar. His leg has suffered a major burn and it's infected. Efrain asks Lola to help and she cuts away the infected skin. Salazar begins to recover and becomes friends with Efrain. But Salazar can't stay. He knows he has to find his daughter, Ofelia. He heads out and is nearly killed by a huge walker, who's hit by lightening. Salazar's found by two men who work for Lola at a large dam. Lola brings him in and gives him a job. It doesn't take long before the big boss, Dante, realizes who Salazar is and decides to use his talents as an enforcer. However, who Salazar was quickly comes at odds with who he has become. But can he find forgiveness?
The Good: The glorious Rubén Blades! And the kindness of good people!
This week's episode is all about Daniel Salazar, who's been MIA since "Shiva," the midseason Season 2 finale a year ago. Back then Salazar went nuts and set the hacienda’s cellar on fire, which took out the entire place. But then we didn't see him again until last week.
In "100," a mostly Spanish episode with subtitles, we catch up with Salazar shuffling along a city street, barely able to walk due to a gravely injured leg. He's looking for water and trying to avoid the walkers, but not doing a very good job at it. He's found by Efrain, who tells him he has "good news and bad news". Efrain can take him to water, but Salazar's going to have to walk.
Efrain takes Salazar to a fountain that delivers water every Tuesday at 5PM because of a "miracle." Salazar drinks as much as he can and Efrain gets his supply, then takes Salazar on a treacherous 3-wheeled bicycle ride to his friends. As Salazar's delirium gets worse, Efrain asks a woman named Lola to cut off the infected skin from Salazar's leg, which is now attached to the material of his pants. She sings to him trying to calm him as she cuts the skin away.
What's so nice about these early scenes is that Salazar has run into good people who are willing to help him because he needs help. We don't see a lot of "good people" on The Walking Dead or Fear the Walking Dead because they've learned that helping people is not worth the risk. Yes, it's early in the apocalypse on Fear, all things considered, since the action here would have happened not long after Salazar burned down the hacienda. And as does usually happen when one of our "heroes" runs into a good person, that good person or group of people end up paying for their kindness. Lola and Efrain nearly end up paying that price. Lisandra Tena as Lola and Jesse Borrego as Efrain are especially good in this episode. In fact, I'm hoping we can keep Efrain. He may be an alcoholic, but he has a good heart and he's fun to have around.
Of course, things can't stay safe and comfortable. Salazar recovers and tells Efrain his story, about his past, about his crazed fire setting, and that he is not a "good man." In fact, Salazar tells him he's killed 96 people, and that he may have even killed his own daughter, Ofelia, in the fire. That's why he has to try to find her. We know once we hear that his kill number is 96, at least four more will be added to that number to reach the magic "100" by the end of the episode.
Salazar leaves and runs into an enormous walker who's about to kill him. Salazar awaits his fate, but there's a thunder storm and a lightening strike kills the walker knocking Salazar out. He wakes up being pulled out of a sewer by two workers at the local dam who are clearing out dead walker bodies from the sewers.
The workers call Lola, who runs the water treatment end of things for the Gonzalez Dam, which has been taken over by Dante Esquivel. Dante, an old business partner of Strand's who we met last week, is distributing water for a steep price. The location of the dam is interesting, as is finding out how people are adjusting to their new realities. In this case, water is the currency and anyone who doesn't pay will die of thirst.
Lola takes Salazar in as a janitor and things go great for about 10 minutes. Salazar is eating lunch and runs afoul of Dante's security chief J.C., and Salazar stabs his hand with a fork and proves he's more than just a janitor. Dante knows exactly who he is. "Sergeant Salazar? NCO Salazar? Lieutenant Salazar? ... Damn J.C., you're picking a fight with a killer trained by the C.I.A." And Salazar has a tattoo under his lip to prove it. Dante wants to utilize his "talents" and offers him a position.
About this time, Strand arrives and ends up in a cell. Salazar gives him water through the cell bars. He asks if Ofelia is alive and Strand tells him she is and he lies telling Salazar he can take him right to her. Of course we know Strand doesn't know what happened to Ofelia after she left the hotel. Salazar doesn't believe him and tells Strand he's going to die in his cell.
Before Salazar can get comfortable in his new job, Dante discovers someone is stealing water from him, and Salazar knows the missing water will lead to Efrain and Lola. Salazar betrays Efrain and leads Dante's men to the fountain. Efrain is quickly captured and Salazar is brought in to torture him into giving up the others who've been involved. Salazar knows that Efrain will give up Lola eventually, and he tells Efrain he'll kill him quickly. But Lola can't stand seeing Efrain tortured and reveals herself.
As Dante stands high up on the dam with his security guy J.C., Salazar, and Lola, Efrain, Strand and two of Lola's guys lined up, along with a couple other security guys, Salazar knows what's about to happen. So do we, considering last week Dante showed Strand just what happens to people he's not happy with. Dante nods to Salazar so he'll bring him one of the doomed, and he brings up Lola's first guy. Dante shoves him over the railing to his death. Next it's Lola's turn. As Dante tells him to carry out the execution, Salazar pauses. Dante asks J.C. to take over. Instead Salazar strikes J.C. in the neck and grabs his gun. He shoots him in the head, kills another one of Dante's guys and then puts a bullet into Dante.
Lola, Efrain, Strand, and Lola's second guy are shocked. Salazar gives Lola the gun and begs her, "Forgive me." She takes his hand and then the episode ends in a shocking, touching moment.
Rubén Blades' wonderful performance is affecting and terrifying and heart breaking all at the same time. Daniel Salazar is not a good man, but we want him to be on the side of the good people in this show. It's so good to have him back on Fear and to have him not be crazy. How he and Strand will end up connecting with Madison's family and Ofelia, I don't have clue. Not knowing what's going to happen is one of the things I really like about this Walking Dead.
The Bad: One story! Killing an expert! Goodbye Dante!
While I loved Rubén Blades in this episode, I pretty much hate the single and duel character episodes. With only eight episodes in the first half of the season, to have an entire episode spent on one person seems like a waste of the small amount of real estate the series has. If Salazar had been in the show while he was missing through the 11 or so episodes he wasn't in, sure it probably would have been more than the 44 minutes of time in "100". But I would have rather had him around in the 11 episodes and not save everything for one episode, especially after last week's turtle-paced episode.
I hate it when they do it on The Walking Dead and I hate it on Fear the Walking Dead.
As far as the episode itself, when it comes to technical things like running a dam, would you kill off your water treatment person or does Dante have a bunch of those to spare? It would seem that experts would be valuable. However Dante doesn't think twice about killing Lola. So he wants to keep Salazar who, yes, could have value, and kill Lola because she somehow was involved in him getting a couple gallons of water "stolen." It doesn't seem like very good business. Experts in this world should and would have value. So sure, I can see Dante killing Efrain (not of any value to him) and terrorizing Lola to keep her in line, but throwing her off the railing to her death? I think Dante is smarter that that. Or maybe not. He did trust Salazar when he shouldn't have.
And as far as the dam goes, I don't know how they work, but it seems odd that Dante would know someone was taking water, especially a tiny amount that was coming through the fountain. I mean it could have been a leak anywhere along the line. But even if you come to the conclusion that someone's taking a few gallons once a week, you'd just think Dante and his guys would have more to do than to hunt the thief down.
On a final note, I'll miss Dante. He was only in two episodes, but he was a good bad guy. He was interesting and could have developed into a great bad guy given a chance. I'm sorry to see him go.
Lingering Questions: Who's running the dam? Where's Ofelia?
The real episode-specific question we're left with at the end of "100," is who will run the dam now that Dante's been taken care of. It seems obvious that Lola will take over, assuming Salazar helps her wrangle control from those loyal to Dante. But if he's determined to go off and find Ofelia, Lola might have trouble pulling it off.
As for Salazar, it will be interesting to know how he's going to deal with Strand now that Dante's gone. He never trusted Strand the way Madison came to eventually because his experience with Strand was the boat and the hacienda. So how will Salazar deal with Strand now that he has even less reason to trust him?
The real mystery of the season however, is where is Ofelia? With Salazar back it's likely we'll see her again soon, but let's hope it's not another entire episode with this one focusing on "Here's what Ofelia's been up to."
Lines of the Night:
"Me? I'm the fifth Beatle. You?" - Efrain
"What matters here is guaranteeing order. This may be the apocalypse, but it's not communism." - Dante
"Dante was right. This is the perfect place for you. You are a thug. Go get your prize, thug." - Lola
"Let this be a lesson. When you steal water from this dam you are stealing from me. And when you steal from me this is what happens." - Dante
Best Line of the Night:
"I'm not a good man. I've done terrible things. I'm afraid it's time to pay my debts." - Daniel Salazar