I was off on a vacation last week, and, because of that, I didn’t get a chance to watch the fourth episode of this season until just last night. But that meant I got to experience more joy, with binge-watching two episodes of this action-packed show back-to-back! Or it means that I had to plow through two hours of characters completely throwing aside things that previously defined them all for the sake of trying to give us something different. Take your pick.
It also means that this post is going to encompass both episodes. First up, we got to see more about Daniel’s wild ride ever since the fire that almost wrote him off of the show. But hey, a man with Salazar’s background surely wouldn’t be defeated by something as simple as fire, especially one that he set himself. It’s not like he was dancing before he set it (oops, getting somewhat ahead of myself with that comment). Anyway, let’s dive in and take a look at what happens when Daniel keeps it 100.
Make no mistake, Daniel Salazar is fully a character that should have a good chance of making it through the apocalypse, given his background fighting in the civil war in El Salvador. And it would be remiss to ignore that his encounters at the beginning of the episode was hampered by the fact he had recently walked away from pretty intense burns. However, when the dog ended up being the only thing that prevented the walker from deciding to dig deeper than the over-cooked leg meat, maybe Daniel should have gotten up and tried to find a different location? Instead, it’s pretty apparent that he hid underneath the car, and ended up sleeping there. He’s incredibly lucky that Efrain was there the next morning.
Efrain’s actually pretty smart when it comes to gathering the water. He may not know where it came from, but he is aware that once a week, he gets to fill his buckets, and take it others who desperately need the hydration. Maybe his blaring radio isn’t the best choice, given its ability to lure looters, walkers, and Dante’s guards, but it’s also an effective way to let people know they can get a drink. However, when out scavenging, shortly after Daniel’s procedure, Efrain decides to bring the limping, cane-hobbled man with him. When you know that you’re headed into dangerous territory, and have a lot trying to take away your safety, maybe keep the guy who will slow you down tremendously at home.
Lola’s actually fairly lucky that Daniel is trying to protect her, and that Dante and his men aren’t great at tracking down the thief, but she really should have done more to cover her tracks. Instead, she seems to believe that she will get away with siphoning water at the exact same time every week, and sending it to the fountain for her friends to drink their fill. Heck, it still might have worked, if it hadn’t been for her jumping in to stop Efrain from suffering more torture. To think, all of it could have potentially been avoided if she had just decided to not try and cover for Daniel upon his arrival at the dam.
Remember when we all thought Victor was incredibly smart, calculating, and one of the few people who should survive? Yeah, those were a good couple of episodes. Now, we’ve got a Victor Strand who has literally been stripped off anything that made him the man we first met, and who can’t even keep his story straight. He actually had Daniel almost willing to spring him from the jail, until he mentioned that Ofelia was “waiting for him”. Great, buddy. She’s waiting for a guy that everyone, including her, was convinced was dead? Good thing you still had some use.
Oh, Dante. You got your dam. You even sussed out the truth about Daniel, all because he refused to stand for your entrance and JC wasn’t willing to let that moment slide. Maybe you should have been just a little more careful with a man you knew could kill literally any and all of your men with little provocation. Showing yourself to not be working for the side of the angels put Daniel into a tricky position, but it also snapped him out of whatever reverie he was in that allowed him to believe working for you was his best, or maybe only, option.
That was just the first episode consumed this week. Well, for me. Everyone else probably parceled out the episodes the way the network intended. Instead, now that we’ve been reacquainted with Daniel, and he and Strand start their buddy epic, we also get to go back to the Otto ranch, and check in on the Clark family. They may be Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame, but they also have a new recruit to their beliefs, or at least someone willing to pretend and help. Maybe the dancing old couple should have been put on display earlier for other potential recruits.
Troy seems to still be insistent on proving his worth to his father. Not only is he going to lead the search for whoever shot down the chopper, but he’s going to lead the bucket brigade to attempt to extinguish the fire at Russell and Martha’s. Sure, it was a huge waste of water, but it actually showed a level of concern for others. However, Troy was also the one to lead the group to Phil’s outpost, and then straight into the trap Walker and his people had set for them. Listen, folks, in the apocalypse, if you see someone strapped to a chair, with a bird pecking out their brain, maybe don’t investigate? Just a thought.
Maybe Alicia just wanted to feel something. Maybe she was still in a bit of a cloud after spending the previous night at her “Bible study”. Maybe she’s taken a shine to Jake as one of the few new people she’s met who’s actually shown any kindness to her and her family. If only she’d known that shortly after sex, he would try and gift her a Charles Bukowski book. What, didn’t Jake have any Ginsberg or Frost available? Listen, Jake, even pre-apocalypse, giving a girl Bukowski after you’ve slept with her probably isn’t the best move. Just saying.
It was already mentioned above, in the previous episode, that Strand has difficulty holding on to his story with Daniel. The question now is why he wouldn’t have taken literally any point during the apparent day of travel to tell Daniel the truth about Ofelia. Yes, she had gone to the hotel, but then she left. Strand could have stated that at any point, and the worst-case scenario would have been being abandoned on the side of the road, where he was in the open and not surrounded by a horde. Instead, the timing of his admission led to Daniel depositing him at the hotel. To be precise, inside of the hotel, with plenty of the reanimated dead lumbering towards him.
Forget about Madison walking into the trap with Troy and his squad. Forget her trying to usurp control of said squad from Troy. Let’s instead just look at the early combat with the walkers, and remember that Madison has fought a great many corpses already in her adventures. Maybe she was dealing with a heavier weapon than she was used to, but why did she strike at the zombie’s neck? She failed to destroy the walker, which almost led to her facing an early demise. Thank goodness the rest of Troy’s crew thought she was worth saving, having “proven herself”, apparently by not backing away from the fight.
Nick doesn’t trust Jeremiah, Troy, or the rest of the people at the Broke Jaw Ranch. He is only staying until Luciana can be rehabilitated from her injuries, and then the two of them are leaving. Wait, no, scratch all of that. That was Nick before he watched Russell and Martha dancing on their porch. Suddenly, Nick sees the benefit of staying behind, and is willing to put in the extra effort to scrub clean the fire-destroyed home. He even thinks that Luciana will agree with him. You can’t say that he’s doing it to keep his family together, since that clearly stopped being a concern last season. Nope, instead Nick now wants to stay. This will surely work out well for him and everyone else.
That wraps up both of these episodes. If math is on my side, we’ve got three episodes before the mid-season finale, and maybe we’ll actually get to see more of Ofelia’s story by then.