Only a few episodes into the second season of Fear the Walking Dead and fans are already making comparisons between the new characters and those from its predecessor, The Walking Dead: Strand’s the new Negan! Travis will be the next Rick Grimes! Nick’s the new Daryl Dixon! There are a hundred different theories and comparisons to make about these new characters, but there’s one that frequently gets overlooked…Ofelia Salazar. Despite not making much of an impression on audiences yet I can’t help but be reminded of The Walking Dead‘s favorite Queen of the Apocalypse, Carol Peletier, when I watch her.
This may be a bit of a surprise given Ofelia hasn’t really done anything of note except get shot by the soldier she was seeing that her father tortured and Travis then let go, Andrew. That said, in the first season or two of The Walking Dead, Carol wasn’t exactly impressing anyone either. An abused housewife who first loses her husband and then, after a long search, her daughter. However, both are very brief and superficial glances at characters who seem to have a deeply buried strength that likely never would have come out if not for the apocalypse.
Signs of Carol’s strength are so subtle in the beginning they mostly go unnoticed. When the group is trapped in the CDC as it’s about to blow up she offers help, but is quickly dismissed. Most ignore her and Shane remarks makeup won’t help, but she steps up with the grenade to blow open the windows so they can escape. It is Carol that saves them, though she gets none of the credit for it. By the third season Carol is skilled with weaponry, proficient with medical basics (and continues to practice C-sections should Lori need one), cracking jokes, and standing up for herself and others. Soon enough she’s the the most dangerous one in Rick’s group, taking out fortified communities like Terminus and wild marauders like The Wolves pretty much all on her own.
Will this be Ofelia’s destiny? Perhaps. While seemingly overlooked by most – on and off screen – she’s already shown herself ready, willing, and able to manipulate to get what she wants. When her mother’s taken by the government she uses her sexuality to get information out of Andrew and later allows her father to kidnap him hoping to set up a trade for her mother. It’s possible Ofelia really did like him and she’s certainly upset (even traumatized) by her father’s torture of him, but the main reason she hooks up with him is ultimately to get what she wants. Even beyond her actions, more than most others thus far this second season, Ofelia shows a willingness to survive in what the world is fast becoming. She asks why they don’t just stay with the survivalist family to which her father replies that they would have to be invited. She counters that waiting to be invited would be awfully “polite” of them. Ofelia also tells her father that she’s starting to understand “this world” better, that it is cruel, and that it, in turn, is helping her to better understand him. At first this sounds like a cutting declaration that her father is cruel, but during an interview for Talking Dead Mercedes Mason (who plays Ofelia) explains that it is more acknowledgement. Certain things her father did in the first season – like torture Andrew – were unfathomable to her at first, but now she gets it. This world is cruel and sometimes you have to make tough decisions and do terrible things to survive.
What the future holds for Ofelia is still impossible to tell so early in the season, but if she manages to keep her wits about her, her spirits up, her gunshot wound infection under control, and maintain a willingness to do what’s necessary to survive as society unravels she may just end up the next Queen of the Apocalypse.