FearTWD: The complicated relationship between Daniel Salazar and Victor Strand

Colman Domingo as Victor Strand, Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 3, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC
Colman Domingo as Victor Strand, Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 3, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC /

Daniel Salazar and Victor Strand are two of the most unique characters on Fear the Walking Dead and their relationship is a fascinating clash of personalities.

As Fear the Walking Dead heads into its 5th season, the highly anticipated return of the last surviving member of the Salazar family has fans talking. As seen in the season 5 trailer, Daniel and Strand reunite at some point. Being his usual cunning self, Strand tries to talk himself out of the situation, knowing full well what Daniel is capable of. “You still talk to much, Victor,” Daniel states in response to Strand’s wordy scheming. This is only just a taste of what may be in store for these two in the newest season. With what they’ve been through, they have a lot of catching up to do.

Daniel and Strand didn’t exactly meet under the best of circumstances. Throwing it all the way back to the season 1 finale, Daniel and the others infiltrate the military hospital in Los Angeles to rescue Nick, Liza, and Griselda. Unfortunately, Griselda didn’t make it out alive, but the group gains Strand and he leads them to his mansion on the beach. When the city is bombed and the group flees to safety on the Abigail, Daniel immediately begins to distrust the man providing the group with shelter. The circumstances of their initial meeting definitely didn’t help them to make the best first impressions of one another. With Daniel mourning the loss of his wife on top of already being hesitant to take help from strangers, being in Strand’s company is not what he signed up for.

As the Abigail sails on the sea, Daniel does some snooping and realizes that Strand has a destination in mind: Mexico. The fact that this locale was never disclosed to the group makes Daniel even more suspicious of Victor’s intentions. Being confined to a yacht in the middle of the ocean with strangers doesn’t really help to cut the tension, and Daniel is constantly at odds with Strand and even Ofelia. Upon reaching the Abigail mansion in Baja, Daniel only becomes more unhinged and his conflict with Celia and her people results in the entire compound being burned.

In season 3, the relationship between Daniel and Strand experiences the most stress and strain ever. The two men both end up at the Gonzalez Dam, leaving Victor absolutely stunned to see his “guardian angel” alive and well after Daniel was presumed to have burned alive at the mansion. Upon reuniting, the obvious first thing Daniel wants to know about is his daughter. Strand finagles the truth and states that Ofelia is waiting for Daniel at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. She had been there, but took off, leaving Strand, Alicia, and Madison without any goodbye or explanation. Daniel is exceptionally good at reading people and immediately questions his sincerity, but decides to take a road trip to the hotel to find out the truth for himself.

Rubén Blades and Colman Domingo are spectacular actors in their own right, and their on-screen dynamic makes for television magic. Season 3’s “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame” pairs the two up for a tense drive down to the hotel. Knowing that Ofelia won’t be there, Strand tries to stall the journey, but Daniel sees right through the conman. Victor really isn’t used to being caught in lies, so he is always slightly off his game when around Daniel. When they arrive at the hotel and find it overrun with the dead, Daniel demands the truth and then leaves Victor to either die or fight his own way out of the mess he got himself into.

Once the characters link back up in the second half of season 3, Daniel uses Strand’s sneaky ways to his own benefit. With Lola not taking the threats to the dam seriously, much to the concerns of Daniel and others, Strand blows up a water truck as a means of making her think that the locals are getting violent. This shows that Daniel can appreciate the worth of people like Strand in sticky situations such as this. When Strand isn’t lying to Daniel himself, the two can actually get along and work together…in a sense.

The last Daniel and Strand saw of one another wasn’t exactly peaceful. After Ofelia had been bit and was slowly dying, Strand was already concerned of how Daniel might act following the death of his beloved daughter. To make matters worse, Strand sells out the dam to the Proctors, leading to a full invasion that leaves many of Lola’s people dead. We see Strand really get his hands dirty as he holds Daniel and Lola at gunpoint before firing a bullet directly into Salazar’s cheek. Moments later, Lola and several others are dead, and the dam explodes, separating Daniel and Strand after their bloody showdown. The Gonzalez Dam was something that Daniel was working hard to keep standing, but Strand’s actions brought it all tumbling down.

Daniel didn’t appear at all in season 4, and a lot has happened since he last saw Strand. Years have passed, the group relocated from Mexico to Texas, Madison and Nick died, and Morgan Jones crossed over. Daniel and Strand will have a lot of catching up to do in season 5, but will they get along? Is it possible that Daniel’s time away has changed him into a different person? Strand has certainly evolved since he shot Daniel and aided in the slaughter of the innocent dam workers. While they may never be friends, these are two characters that can certainly appreciate the survival skills the other brings to the table. While it is miraculous they have both survived this long  when so many others have not, season 5 may be their chance to build a future together…if that’s even possible at this point.

What is your favorite moment between Daniel and Strand? Share in the comments below!