WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 episode "Skidmark," which premiered Sunday on AMC.
With "Skidmark," Fear the Walking Dead reintroduces one of the mysterious figures that kidnapped Al, and sees Daniel Salazar disappear as quickly as he arrived. The proximity of those events has us thinking both parties could be connected.
While Dylan spies on Luciana, Morgan and Alicia, and attempts to shoo them away from Max and Annie's perceived territory, his two siblings continue work rebuilding what we now know to be their barricades made of strung-up walkers (well, theirs and the rest of their little kid army that we get to meet later). They're likely also responsible for the walker heads strung up at the truck stop. What these little kids are up to feels like it has the potential to be pretty bleak, but we still don't know much more about them beyond the weird activities they engage in, and that there are now more of them. We do realize they're both familiar with and leery of the mysterious figures in black that took Al (and possibly Rick). While inspecting their roadblocks, Max and Annie realize they've found a break that couldn't have been caused by any of Morgan's people. They turn around just in time to see one of the uniforms handily picking off some walkers, and disappear into the brush before they can be spotted. Clearly the two siblings are afraid of what they spot, but why?
For his part, Salazar spends his storyline pretty far afield of Max and Annie's. He makes friends with Charlie while raiding nearby stores and trying to elude Strand, who's still desperately attempting to get his hands on Daniel's plane, despite Daniel having effectively disabled it before leaving his compound. Eventually, he's led into a confrontation in his efforts to keep Charlie safe after they get attacked by walkers, and Strand plays an instrumental part in saving him. That moves Salazar to reconsider his opinion on this new, selfless Strand, and he winds up gifting his erstwhile enemy the plane and the use of his warehouse before scooting off for parts unknown. When Charlie asks him where he's going, he says that there's a reason he's been holed up by himself in the region, and says he needs to go take care of that reason.
It would appear it wasn't just dumb luck that Salazar and Strand crossed paths again. Salazar didn't just wander into the same general area of Texas that Alicia and her friends did; he clearly came there with a purpose. So why do we think this might be connected to the uniformed men who snagged Al? Mainly it makes sense for his character. Salazar always managed to figure out how to get close to power whenever he encountered it. It would make sense that he somehow encountered this group, and, like Jadis on The Walking Dead, struck up some kind of mutually beneficial relationship with them. Or it could be they butted heads, and Salazar has been licking his wounds ever since. It could be that Salazar found his way into the organization during the time between the dam exploding and his self-imposed exile, and they eventually parted on bad terms. The more we think about the possibilities, the more tempting it is to connect someone as mysterious as Salazar with an equally mysterious organization that's connected to one of the most important storylines on The Walking Dead.
But it could be that Strand has another wholly separate journey that has nothing to do with any other current subplot. As much as we love the idea of him perhaps training the wily group of kids packing uzis that are Max and Annie's friends, we doubt that's what he's been up to. It could be that the kids have a much closer relationship to the people holding Al than Salazar does. They certainly seem to know to avoid them.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, Fear the Walking Dead stars Lennie James, Colman Domingo, Alexa Nisenson, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Garret Dillahunt, Jenna Elfman, Austin Amelio and Karen David.