On Sunday's Fear the Walking Dead, "TEOTWAWKI" ("The End of the World as We Know It"), a character missing since the midseason finale of Season 2 reappeared — Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades), the tough-as-nails killer turned barber turned killer again.
It wasn't exactly a surprise, since even though it seemed like Salazar died when he set fire to the house in Mexico where the refugees from Los Angeles had been staying, we didn't see the body, and as we know, we shouldn't believe anyone is really dead until we see a corpse. Before Season 3 premiered, showrunner Dave Erickson had given up on even teasing that Salazar might come back and straight-up confirmed it.
What's really interesting about Salazar's return, beyond finding out what he's up to, is what it means for the similarly seemingly dead Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), who fell out of a helicopter in Episode 2.
Salazar showed up in the final moments of "TEOTWAWKI," bringing Strand (Colman Domingo) a bottle of water and reminding him that he told him he'd be his "guardian angel." Strand has been forced into labor by Dante (Jason Manuel Olazabal), a business associate from before the fall who's now in a very powerful position as the water-brokering manager of a dam. Dante thinks Strand is a colonialist thief who wants to take his water just like he wanted to take his country's land, and so he basically enslaves him as punishment.
That's when Salazar appears. It's hard to tell from the scene what Salazar is up to, since he tells Strand "I knew you'd drink it all" when he glugs down the bottle of water, implying that he thinks Strand is just as greedy as Dante does, but he also says "I told you I'd be your guardian angel," which means he's going to help him. Salazar and Strand both hold their cards very close to the vest, so they'll probably each be going into this partnership with different motives they will not share with each other. But together they'll probably be water barons in a few episodes.
"What we saw is real," executive producer Dave Erikson said Sunday at the Fear the Walking Dead panel at the ATX Television Festival in Austin. "Daniel is back. We've been looking forward to bringing him back for a long time. This is just a little bit of a taste. Next week is actually a very Daniel-centric episode. We'll get a lot of information about where he's been, what happened and how he found his way to the dam."
Eventually Salazar is going to have to reunite with his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), who so far hasn't appeared in Season 3 but encountered Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie) at the end of Season 2, so it's probable that she's at or was at the ranch recently. The show is also going to have to address his mental state, which seemed very fragile when we last saw him, as he was hallucinating and having conversations with dead people.
Salazar's reappearance could go either way for what it indicates about the reappearance of Travis. Fear the Walking Dead may not want to go to the fake-out death well two times in such close succession, so maybe Travis is really dead. Or maybe it confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one is really dead until you see the body and Travis is still out there, recovering from his injuries under the care of whoever was shooting at the helicopter.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.