I’m having a really hard time with The Walking Dead: World Beyond. Three episodes deep, and it’s just not clicking. I’m bored. More than anything, I’m just plain bored.
Unlike either Fear or The Walking Dead, World Beyond starts slow and then, outside of a couple entertaining action sequences, stays slow. It’s also very dramatic in a treacly sort of way.
In Sunday night’s episode, The Tyger and the Lamb, Iris reads off William Blake’s poem The Tyger during one of the extended action sequences. So we hear this poem being read over everything as the characters run from zombies, kick zombies, shove zombies and do almost everything they can other than stick them with the damned pointy end.
I mean, I enjoy William Blake as much as the next guy, I just don’t really get what this show is trying to achieve with this fearful symmetry? It feels like another attempt at “artsy” in a very heavy-handed way. Sure, Silas finds a version of the poem that she’s written out with a picture of a tiger when she, and almost nobody else, is nice to him at school, but it feels like an attempt to make something seem profound or meaningful without actually doing that. Maybe I’m missing the point.
Maybe I’m not the target audience. Maybe it’s just starting off slow and will pick up and transform into something exciting. Or maybe this is all just prelude to the Rick Grimes movies.
A few things happen in Episode 3, though surprisingly little overall given this is a show with only 20 episodes planned in total.
- The teens are joined by Felix and Huck who finally catch up with them. This is after Hope has already gone off to create a distraction so that everyone can escape the tire fire area. Eventually, after a couple of walkie-talkie conversations between Hope and Iris, they do just that. I’m still just baffled at how inexperienced these kids are with actually fighting zombies. It’s basically like they are at the outset of the entire zombie apocalypse rather than a decade in. Useless!
- We learn a little bit more about Silas and his tragic backstory, how he’s been an outcast and a loner and so forth. You feel bad for the guy. He killed someone it looks like—his dad maybe?—and when he comes to the school, people have heard the story. They whisper about him behind his back. He’s sponsored there by his uncle and we hear messages recorded from his uncle and his grandma about how he’s a good kid, how we can make the world better and so forth. Mystery remains.
- Hope reveals her tragic backstory to her sister, how she “killed” their mother by rushing that pregnant Karen with the gun. Iris says “you should have told me” which, okay, I can see that but she was a little kid at the time, in the middle of a zombie apocalypse in which her mother was shot and killed and then she shot and killed a pregnant woman in retaliation. That’s the kind of trauma some people just bury deep. Cut her some slack.
The most interesting part of the episode comes at the end, when a soldier in the CRM named Barca comes to speak with his boss, Elizabeth Kublek. He’s upset and confused by what they did to the Omaha community. He feels guilty and she tries to assuage that guilt by pointing out that they are, in fact, the light of humanity. She turns on the fan, the gas stove, the TV, opens the fridge, all to point out just how wealthy and advanced they are. Humanity’s last hope. The ends justify the means, blah blah blah. Killing a potential threat to protect their community of 200,000 (way bigger than I thought the CRM would be) is a worthy transgression, a necessary evil. To hell with your morality, Barca, we have AC.
Barca, to his credit, calls her on her BS. He doesn’t buy it and he doesn’t back down. He’s not comfortable with how things played out. All the dead. So she makes him soup and calls in the MPs. They arrive and take him away to some kind of “medical” re-education camp where he’ll remain until he’s had a change of heart. He tells her that won’t happen and she replies, cool as a cucumber, that he’ll just have to stay there forever then.
Kublek is shaping up to be an interesting enough villain, one who may truly believe her own idealistic vision for humanity. True believers who justify their actions as moral necessities, no matter the cost, are some of the most dangerous people out there, after all. Wiping out an entire community because they might be a threat despite not knowing where the CRM’s secret city is and despite the fact that they only have maybe two trained fighters? That’s evil, alright.
Oh, and it seems pretty likely that this is where Rick Grimes is being held.
But while I find Kublek and her little organization interesting enough, I find the rest of this story fairly tepid and bland. It’s too slow for its own good and the characters, while not terrible by any means, do little to spice things up.
The teens all have potential to be interesting characters, so I’ll hold my breath a bit longer. At least they refuse to go back with Felix and Huck, forcing those two to go on this crazy thousand-mile-long journey from Nebraska to New York with them. They could use a couple fighters not afraid to stick a spear into a zombie’s face.
Granted, Iris does manage to do this eventually, but it’s kind of funny watching this right after Fear The Walking Dead, when the most recent episode in that show involves piles of speared zombie corpses.
Source: Forbes – Business