The Civic Republic Military tests Hope's (Alexa Mansour) commitment to the future, and a new community reveals itself in the Season 2 premiere of The Walking Dead: World Beyond. Last season ended with the Bennett sisters, Hope and Iris (Aliyah Royale), separated after their cross-country journey to save their father (Joe Holt) from the CRM. Iris and Felix reconnected with Will (Jelani Alladin) after his near-death escape from a Civic Republic research center in New York State. The facility is the destination that Lt. Col. Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond) and Huck (Annet Mahendru) secretly shepherded Hope, a young genius revealed to be an asset for the future.
SIX WEEKS AGO. One Day after Monument Day.
The Omaha city limit is a tattered refuge for the weary. Black-suited soldiers of the Civic Republic Military ready egress charges. Overhead, the whirring of helicopter blades. A large herd of empties descends on the city limits.
"Both the Campus Colony and Portland are concerned about the communication break. There's talk they're sending an envoy to investigate," reports Lieutenant Frank Newton (Robert Palmer Watkins) to Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek.
She tells him to "clear Major Mullins to reach out, offer to collaborate on the investigation. And the lane at the Campus Colony?"
"Cleared. We'll have the column there within 72 hours, once its work is done here."
Kublek has decided not to inform Staff Sergeant Mallick — a.k.a. Huck, her daughter. She's on a separate mission, acting as a mole in the group getting Asset Hope to the Civic Republic research facility in upstate New York.
"With any luck, she's reached a minimum safe distance."
The charges detonate. Kublek gives Newton new orders handed down from Major General Beale.
"Doing this, and then again to the Campus Colony, it's only the beginning."
A man with charred skin and wearing an Omaha police uniform crawls out of the brush begging for help. The escapee Delta team has been searching for. Kublek commands Newton to execute the man.prevnext
Iris fights off an empty and pulls its face off. She awakes from a dream and thumbs through the CRM codebook Hope began to decipher last season. "RAFT EMBED AGENT EN ROUTE To NY W/ ASSET + FOUR EXPENDABLE"
"ALL 4 EXPENDABLE"
Felix assures Iris her sister is okay. It's Hope's birthday. He's sure Hope is with her dad.prevnext
A black helicopter marked with the Three Circle symbol flies Hope, Huck, and Kublek to the research facility. But there's a change of plan. The chopper touches down on a rooftop overlooking the ruins of a fallen city: Albany, New York. It's a lesson. A field trip.
"You said you were taking me to my dad. Was that a lie, too?"
"You gave us the map. You told us it was New York. You pushed us, and you lied--" Hope realizes. "The other helicopters. You said you went to the university alone. What was that even about?"
"We're ten years into this new world, Hope. There are dead columns -- you call them mega-clusters, others call them horde, some call them herds -- roaming the continent. And as far as we can tell, the whole world. These columns, they're now so big, they just break through everything, run through everything. Whole cities," Kublek explains. "The day after Monument Day, we were on our way to Omaha and we saw one such column. So huge, it was like nothing we'd ever seen before. It was unimaginable. It had run through Omaha and was headed for the Campus Colony. We were mobilizing the rescue effort and contacting Campus Colony officials when a second column, nearly just as big, merged with the first. It must have been over 100,000 in total. We did everything we could to save as many lives as we could. It wasn't enough. For the few who came out alive, we airlifted them to Portland, but... both Omaha and the Campus Colony are gone."
Hope and Huck are in disbelief. Kublek says search and rescue are still combing through for survivors.
Albany was Kublek's home at the end. She was working as an attache for the U.K. Ministry of Defence when everything fell apart. "It was then that I realized just how quickly any chance for a future could crumble, even when everyone does their best. You've been through so much, but with everything that's happened, Hope, do you still believe a future's possible?"
Through sniffles, she says, "I did."
"You should. Because despite all of the fallen cities, it still is. And getting you to think differently, think more positively about the future, that was why we pushed you to go on this journey. And I'm sorry, but now that you see how fragile civilization is, just you understanding that no one makes it alone. No one. It takes everyone coming together to have a shot at that future."prevnext
Hope for the Future
"You said you were taking me to my father."
"I hope I can."
She's not ready. "For a community with a long-term plan predicated on generational education and scientific progress, geniuses are an invaluable resource. But a genius who's a rebellious, strong-willed troublemaker? That's a risk. Used against us, those qualities can spread like rot. They make any kind of common goal unattainable. We can't bring in someone who would jeopardize that. Don't misunderstand me. We want you to work with us. You have a lot to offer. But I cannot bring you in to join your father unless I know that despite your grief, and despite your anger, you are fully committed to being an asset for the future. To dedicating the rest of your life to learning, furthering his research, and handing that knowledge on to the next generation. Because only then will you be an asset to the future."
"I am. That's why I came with you guys, because I'm ready."
"I think you need more time."
"To think about what you want, Hope. What do you truly want?" Kublek hands Hope a walkie talkie. "I'll need your answer by dawn."
After all that manipulation... they're just going to let her walk away? It's an option, Kublek says, handing Hope a backpack and a weapon.prevnext
"You think you can find your sister and friends? You can't," Kublek says. "Out there on your own, you won't make it out of the city. Never mind to any kind of a future. Being alive today, that's a gift, and you can choose to waste it alone — waste all of your gifts — or you can fight for a future with others, for others, so what happened here — and to the 100,000 souls in Omaha, and your friends back home — never happens again. You don't have to like us, Hope, but you do have to embrace what we're fighting for. The choice is yours."
Hope leaves. Alone. Huck challenges her mother's decision to let Hope walk after everything they did to get her here.
"She could die!"
"Yeah, she could," Kublek replies, matter of factly. "Or she could choose to join us. We need her to choose. Mission incomplete."
The Hornet's Nest
In the rainy woods, Felix asks Will to tell him and Iris what happened.
"The CRM controls all communications in and out. Each message is coded and scheduled to avoid detection. They don't mess around."
In a flashback, Will raises his concerns to Lt. Newton. They've gone weeks without a security update from Omaha. Back in the present, Will recalls the CRM stonewalling him at every turn. Hearing they were sending a team to a relay station a few hundred miles out to look into the communication break, Will and Romano get Leo's blessing to tag along on a "scouting mission." When Will figures out the CRM are taking them out to be executed, Will makes a break for it and flees. He gets away, but Newton guns down Romano.
"I was on the run for a few days when I heard the helicopters. They were dropping off shipping containers, containers full of equipment from Campus Colony, Omaha -- generators, computers. Some of it was covered in blood. All of it was loaded up into trucks and driven off... I heard them call it a salvage mission. Said something about shipping messed up by the giant column that ran through."
A few days later, a group of hooded people found Will and took him in. Felix and Iris are shocked to hear empties ran through Omaha. "How can it just be gone?"
Will, as Leo's ex-security detail, has no reason to believe Hope or their father are in danger. He kicked a hornet's nest asking too many questions, he says, explaining the CRM's attempt to eliminate him.
"Did CRM know the whole time? Why would they lie?" asks Iris.
"I don't know," says Will. "All I know is they want me dead. And I will be if they find me."prevnext
What Do You Live For?
Will takes them to The Perimeter, a secure community surrounded by miles of wall. Once an abandoned farm town, it was bought before the world fell and turned into an artist colony. They've since built it up and brought in people. Indira, as head of the council, extends an invitation for Will's friends to stay.
"What do you live for?" she asks. "Living takes effort now, it takes everything. Those still alive have their reasons, and I realize I need to know those reasons if you're going to be with us. What do you live for?"
"These two," answers Felix. "And a few others."
"I guess I live for hope," Iris says.
Indira smiles. "The world is nothing without hope."prevnext
Worth the Risk
In private, Will and Felix have an intimate reunion. Later, Will explains it's rare for the CRM to cross into Perimeter territory. Indira struck a deal: her people cleared the area of the dead, and ward strangers away from the facility in exchange for supplies and neutrality. Neither side bothers the other. They're risking everything by harboring fugitives.
Iris has been combing the codebook, trying to turn up supply-depot locations, fuel inventories — anything they can use once they get Hope and their dad back. Nothing.
She wants to scout the facility in the dark to see what they're up against, but Will says it's too risky: they've got guards, patrols, long-range security. "This is about the long-game. Not just how we get in, but how we get them out and where we go after. It's not just about Hope and Leo's safety, or ours anymore. It's about the safety of everyone here giving us shelter. One wrong move, and it's over. For all of us."prevnext
Someone to Look Up to
Hope explores the pitch black and zombie-littered hallways of a school. Her flashlight catches the image of student Candice Froder, smiling once upon a time. She's disturbed by scribbled messages of "feed feed feed" and "die."
Down a blood-stained hallway, an empty attacks, sending Hope tumbling down stairs and smacking her head into a brick wall. "Think about what you want, Hope," says Kublek, stepping out of the shadows. "What you truly want."
What she wants is to impale Kublek. She does, and Hope's vision disappears. Hazy from her head wound, she's unsure what she's seeing is real when a hooded person clad in black appears.
Elsewhere, Kublek and Huck wait. Daughter is thinking about going after her, but mother is waiting it out.
"You said we needed her to keep her dad motivated, to maybe even take over his research some day."
"I said we could use her for those things, yeah."
"So what, none of that matters anymore?"
"It matters that you succeed, Jennifer. It was your idea to get the girl across country this way. You insisted she was worth the risk. You convinced me that this trip was the only way to change her."
"It did change her."
"Not enough. This little nudge? I think with this, your mission can still be a win, like Omaha was, and it'll all but erase what happened before you left."
She wants the best for her daughter. Hope is a lot like Jennifer at that age.
"She was lost. Angry. She needed someone to look up to, someone to believe in her," says Huck. "I could relate."prevnext
Hope stumbles through halls, haunted by traumatic memories of The Night The Sky Fell. Her stalker — and walkers — close in.
Huck asks why Kublek kept her in the dark about the Campus Colony and Omaha during their debriefing. A distraction that would have made her mission that much harder, Kublek says.
Another question: what about the prisoner they picked up? Silas (Hal Cumpston) has been interrogated and is stonewalling.
"If they know too much, or if they're still resolved on saving Dr. Bennett, or now Hope... they'll need to be dealt with," warns Kublek. "So, tell me, how much do they know about us? About the mission?"
Huck flashes back to the journey so far. Back to Hope figuring out she's CRM. Back to deciphering her secret messages. Back to a fiery fight with Felix.prevnext
Hope hides out in a room of "DEAD" graffiti defacing the walls. An attacker swings and slashes at her with a blade. Hope fights her off with her staff, giving her just enough breathing room to ask - Why are you doing this?!
"I want what you have," answers the female attacker. "You have a helicopter. I heard it. You have clothes and food, and when you have it, you fight to keep it. When you have nothing, you have to take. You have to feed!"
Hope recognizes the dirtied, crazed face of Candice. She's lost her mind. Hope begs: please don't make me kill you. "I'm just trying to make it."
Candice attacks. Hope swipes at her leg, sending Candice tumbling into the arms of empties reaching through a gate. They feed. But Candice is gone. It's all in Hope's head.prevnext
Make It Alone
Hope breaks down crying. She's comforted by printed-out messages, supposedly from dad, secret correspondence stashed in an old book.
In the light of day, Hope hands herself over to Kublek. "I was very happy to get your call," she says, listening intently when Hope admits she was right: "I wasn't gonna make it alone. But I don't want this to be all there is. I don't know if that's what you want to hear, but it's the goddamn truth. Did I pass your test? Can I see my dad now?"
Kublek says it's okay to hate the CRM. "The bad things we do must be done. We carry that burden so that others don't have to, so there can still be good in the world. And maybe one day this won't be all there is." She offers Iris and Felix a home now that they no longer have one to go back to. "I would imagine you understand that very differently now."
Hope leaves with CRM soldiers. "You wanted to see if I'd go after her," Huck tells her mother. "If she and the others have changed me."
"I'm really glad I was wrong."
At the Civic Republic research facility, Kublek reports the tragic news about the Camus Colony to Leo. It's tempered by good news about his family.
In a holding cell, Jennifer meets with Hope. She's not talking. Huck wants her to listen: if you want to see Iris and Felix again, get on the same page.
"Before we left them at that farmhouse, I sent them to a settlement a few miles from here. People there will keep them safe."
Hope is surprised.
"And my mother... I told her I didn't know anything. It guarantees their safety if she finds them, long as they don't divulge what they know."
What happens if they do?
"The CRM finds out that you decoded their intel, that you all knew I had orders to take out Iris and Felix if that's what it took, and I let them live knowing that... I don't know what happens. But I know we've killed people for less."
Hope wants to know why she doesn't tell her mother how bad her daughter screwed up her mission.
"I just told you why," Huck answers. "You go to her, you could be putting a target not just on my back, but on yours, on Felix and Iris', and on your dad's, too if you tell them what really went down. You'll have to lie to him about where they are, what you know. It's the only way you can be sure he stays safe. You and me, we're just tiny pieces of a big mosaic, little players in the game that will be played out over decades. Maybe centuries. But this place, it's safe. It's good for everybody, long as we play by the rules and don't stir shit up."
"Is that a threat?"
No, Huck says, "That's how it is. I thought after last night you got that."
"No," Hope spits back, "I got that I wanted to get to a future. Maybe help work for one. But there is no way in hell I'm working with you assholes to make that happen. I knew I wasn't gonna make it back there. You were just my ticket out."
Huck leaves. It's past midnight. Happy birthday, kid.prevnext
At The Perimeter. We're back at Iris and Felix's talk. She flips through the CRM codebook. "Why do you think the CRM would cover up what happened back home? It just doesn't make sense, does it? I keep thinking about everybody who's gone, and the only reason we're not is 'cause we left. We took a risk. Maybe that's how we keep living, how we get Hope and my dad back. We do what we need to do, no matter the risk."
"The rules are different now," Felix says. "The CRM changed the game. So we change how we play."prevnext
What You Get
Outside, Iris treks through the dark woods with a crossbow. She ducks for cover from a CRM patrol. The soldier gets closer and turns to fight off an empty. Iris fires a bolt into the soldier's shoulder, then bludgeons him with her weapon. The struggle ends with Iris stabbing him -- doing what she needs to do.
Inside the facility, a pair of soldiers escort Hope to her meeting with dad. A teary embrace. Iris flashes back to her dream, peeling the flesh off a walker's face to reveal the black face shield of a CRM soldier underneath. She cries and peels back the helmet in front of her, revealing Lieutenant Newton gargling blood.
"It wasn't empties," she snarls. "It was you." Iris plunges her blade into his chest, finishing him off. "That's what you get."0comments
End of episode.
New episodes of TWD: World Beyond Season 2 premiere Sundays on AMC and AMC+. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD and stay tuned to ComicBook for coverage all season long.prev