Daniel incorrectly states that he last saw Ofelia on the Abigail, but this is no Fear The Walking Dead plot hole. As Daniel Salazar, Rubén Blades portrays a zombie apocalypse survivor whose mind is tormented by a painful past and immense grief. The Fear The Walking Dead veteran struggles with memory, and experiences increasingly illusory thoughts as his mental health declines. Many of these delusions revolve around the loss of Daniel’s daughter, Ofelia, who succumbed to a zombie bite in Fear The Walking Dead season 3. Ofelia passed away before Daniel could reach her, and the specter of that devastating moment has followed him ever since.
In Fear The Walking Dead season 7’s “Ofelia,” Daniel comes across a children’s picture card of a boat at sea. The image takes his mind back to the Abigail (Victor Strand’s yacht from Fear The Walking Dead seasons 1 & 2), and when Daniel later sees Arno’s Stalkers using beached boats as accommodation, he becomes convinced Ofelia is held captive aboard one he calls “the Abigail”. Explaining his conviction to Luciana, Daniel even says, “The last time I saw her was on a boat.” In truth, the Abigail was not where Daniel last saw Ofelia alive. They left the yacht and spent time together on Celia’s estate before Daniel burned it down in Fear The Walking Dead season 2. Only after that did the father and daughter go their separate ways.
Believing he last saw Ofelia on the Abigail and totally forgetting about Celia’s compound can likely be attributed Daniel Salazar’s harrowing medical condition. On the other hand, maybe Fear The Walking Dead is creating a plot hole by conveniently glossing over Daniel and Ofelia’s time on dry land. After all, provoking memories of the Abigail is narratively simpler than coming up with something to trigger Daniel’s recollection of Celia – the actual last time he saw Ofelia. However, Daniel’s mistake is much more than just another symptom or a narrative contrivance – it’s a reference to when his mental health struggles first began. The Abigail may not be where Daniel last saw Ofelia, but it was the last time he saw Ofelia before his psychological problems began.
Daniel’s current predicament is nothing new to Fear The Walking Dead. The first indication of mental trouble came in season 2’s “Captive,” when inner voices began giving Daniel instructions. Though Rubén Blades’ character has found periods of clarity since, his current memory condition can be traced all the way back to that 2016 episode. As those first cracks in Daniel’s psyche appeared, Fear The Walking Dead’s protagonists were all still based on the Abigail, so when Daniel says “The last time I saw her was on a boat” in season 7, he’s actually correct – in a manner of speaking. When Daniel and Ofelia were last together, unencumbered by any trauma-induced lack of clarity, they were indeed on the Abigail.
Misremembering his last moments with Ofelia makes Daniel’s Fear The Walking Dead arc even more heartbreaking by highlighting how long this memory illness has been troubling Daniel. By the same measure, that’s also how long Daniel has been denied closure on Ofelia’s death.
If Daniel’s unaffected memories stop at the Abigail, that would also explain why he feels so guilty about lying to his daughter. When Ofelia first discovered her dad’s dark past in Fear The Walking Dead, she was horrified, and their relationship became rocky while traveling on the Abigail. Not remembering Celia’s compound means Daniel doesn’t remember how he and Ofelia began to heal those wounds, regaining some of their former father-daughter closeness. Were those memories still intact, perhaps Daniel wouldn’t be experiencing such intense guilt in Fear The Walking Dead season 7.