The Walking Dead: World Beyond – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Brave

Much like its undead inhabitants, The Walking Dead is a show that somehow defies belief and continues to relentlessly shuffle toward audiences. With the original show preparing to wrap up, AMC predictably turn to a number of spin-offs and follow-ups to keep the journey going.

Here, we’re 10 years ahead since the apocalypse began and our main protagonist Iris is attending school in this 9000+ strong colony. On campus, she meets the new kid Silas and helps bundle all the kids onto a bus.

Dodging and weaving past zombies, a young girl called Hope narrowly avoids being bitten as she stowaways under the bus. Eventually they arrive at their destination, which involves a government official named Elizabeth.

While the others are distracted, Hope slips away to pay respects to her Mum at the graveyard. While there though she notices several helicopters flying overhead.

As she heads back to the bus, Hope sees Elizabeth and flips her the bird. The official ignores her for now and looks on at the bus load of men and women who have a sign for her to look at.

It’s not long before we learn that Iris and Hope are actually sisters. Their guardian is Felix but he’s less than ideal. After some ham-fisted exposition about their family set-up, Iris agrees to join her sister to celebrate Monument Day. This happens to be a celebratory event to look into what the group have now and what they have to be thankful for. Only, it’s no time to think about zombies as there’s school to attend.

On campus, Elizabeth shows up and heaps lavish praise on the siblings for their expertise and what they’re studying. Hope is cold toward her though and as we soon learn, Elizabeth may well be responsible for some of the atrocities their parents faced in the past.

Iris meanwhile heads to therapy and talks through the night her Mum died. Instead of seeing this play out, we’re given snippets of that night and how her parents disappeared while she narrates this.

The therapist tells her to talk openly to Hope and reminds her how many people are living in this sanctuary. She should focus on building up her life and making a name for herself rather than dwelling on the past.

On the back of this, Iris heads into the office and finds a message reading “safety isn’t assured.” When Hope, Elton and Silas shows up, they agree to keep this a secret.

Iris and Hope inform Felix about the message though and ask for his guidance. Unsure what the Civic Republic would do if they knew about this, Hope concludes that the message is about Elizabeth.

As their conversation spills over outside, Elizabeth steps out the shadows and interjects. She speaks openly with the girls and admits that she’s not the bad guy here.

She hands over a coded map from their Father with directions on where to find him. After calling them brave, she walks away after admitting to being slightly drunk. The next day they receive another message – this time with confirmation that things have gone bad and he needs to keep his head down.

In the morning, Iris and Hope team up and head out to find their Father. On their way out though, Silas and Elton decide to tag along. As they sneak out the complex and head off alone, Huck and Felix realize the kids are in danger and worry they won’t make it. Only, Iris is determined to prove this wrong. Deciding to search for her own truth, she kills a zombie.

Back at the complex though, it turns out Elizabeth has a plan of her own and as the final scene fades, the camera pans out to find numerous bodies lining the floor.


The Episode Review

The Walking Dead was a really great show back during the early part of the 2000’s and admittedly I was caught up with this one for a long time. As the quality declined, I eventually jumped ship around season 7. Looking at the viewing figures – it appears I’m not alone.

Fear The Walking Dead fans tend to watch that spin-off more out of sheer desperation that the show will somehow hit the highs of season 3 again.

Walking Dead:World Beyond feels like a tonally confused, tired, cliche-ridden mess that can’t decide what sort of show it wants to be. On the one hand it’s a teen melodrama while at the same time trying to pedal itself as a horror for a younger clientele.

At the same time there’s a bigger story about the bleak, inhospitable world outside that these four kids need to navigate to find their Father.

The dialogue is corny and incredibly expository-driven. When you compare this to something like Better Call Saul or Big Little Lies, the writing is just not up to scratch.

That’s to say nothing of the bizarre soft-rock and pop soundtrack which feels obnoxiously out of sync with the tragic familial story these girls share. It doesn’t help that the stock establishing shots of the zombies feels cheap and something ripped right from the 90’s.

While this isn’t the worst episode in Walking Dead history, it is a concerning and disappointing way to start this new season. Let’s hope this one can pick up some steam going forward.

Next Episode

Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!
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