A Spanish-language episode makes perfect sense for Fear the Walking Dead

Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 3, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC
Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 3, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC /

The June 18 episode of Fear the Walking Dead was almost entirely in Spanish. This was critical for the narrative and it makes sense for the show.

The Walking Dead is known for pushing the envelope, but the June 18 episode of Fear the Walking Dead was a trendsetter for a very different reason. The vast majority of “100” was in Spanish, and this has a lot of people talking.

In episode 304, “100,” we catch up with Daniel Salazar. He’s very much alive and well in the apocalypse and he finds himself in Dante’s employ, working at the dam. When Dante realizes that he has a member of the infamous “Sombra negra” working for him he decides to give Daniel a role more fitting of his position.

Dante’s dam is located in Tijuana, a Mexican city that lies across the US-Mexico border from San Diego, California. Given that he’s in Tijuana, aside from his dialogue with Strand, what other language would Daniel speak? He’s in Mexico. They speak Spanish in Mexico. Therefore it makes perfect sense to have Spanish dialogue.

I’m going to break in for a moment as the author of this article because I live in San Diego and the only way I can explain why this episode is so great is to do it from the perspective of someone who lives in the same region where Fear is taking place. To that end, I went to a Spanish language immersion school and speak Spanish fluently. I can see Mexico from my house and the border is about 20 miles from my home. This episode of Fear the Walking Dead was perfect because it needed to be in Spanish in order for it to be authentic. Fear takes place in Mexico and the Baja California region, and while the episode could be done in English, it makes so much sense to do it in Spanish.

I understand why some people who don’t live near the border might be put off by an entire episode with Spanish dialogue, and some people just don’t like subtitles. I get it. But I have to praise the Fear showrunners for allowing the actors to speak Spanish in this episode. It conveyed the story beautifully. (Another note: The translations weren’t always accurate…a few “bad words” got through since they weren’t in English, which gave me a good laugh)

One thing that Southern California has in common with Tijuana is that there is a mix of English and Spanish spoken on a regular basis, sometimes in the same conversation. I’m certain we’ll see that soon enough. For now, though, episode 304 needed the Spanish dialogue.

Authenticity has always been important to the Walking Dead universe. The Walking Dead has established itself in its geographic region, and Fear the Walking Dead is finally getting settled into a place where it feels natural. Now the real stories can be told.

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We’re halfway through the first half of season 3 and there is still a lot going on. If Fear can keep telling stories like “100” and maintain the integrity of the stories by taking risks, we should be in for a treat.

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.