The Walking Dead: World Beyond: A solid finale sets up a stronger second season

Annet Mahendru as Huck, Nico Tortorella as Felix - The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 1, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Zach Dilgard/AMC
Annet Mahendru as Huck, Nico Tortorella as Felix - The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 1, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Zach Dilgard/AMC /

The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s debut season bows out with a bumper finale, but does it manage to carry the show to greatness? Spoilers ahead…

The Walking Dead: World Beyond was supposed to be on our TV screens back in April, but a different 2020 to the one that just about anyone foresaw put an end to that. Instead, AMC held onto it for a little longer, wisely choosing to air the already-completed debut season of the new spin-off in place of parent show The Walking Dead – which wasn’t able to return to filming in time to air new episodes in its typical fall Sunday night slots.

Did it make up for the lack of Walking Dead. Arguable, because the pilot episode divided so many people that it’s lucky it managed to retain something of a core audience throughout its run (even if that audience is significantly smaller than other TWD properties).  And yet there was some hope, for the show that continued to divide people throughout its run also improved – marginally at first and then quite drastically.

The YA entry in the TWD Universe struggled to overcome its issues over the past eight weeks but it damn sure fought hard to address them. The question is, after cracks resurfaced in recent installments, could the two-part finale send it off on a high? The answer isn’t simple but it is, if nothing else, a promising one.

Who are you?

Many of the overarching questions are tackled in both “The Deepest Cut” and “In This Life”, shedding some light on the motivations of our primary characters. Predictably, flashbacks are used to make this happen and some are more successful than others. Whether it works in regards to the episodes is questionable because the multiple timelines get a little confusing but it does assist the show in shedding some of those unnecessary mysteries in order to set up a superior second season set firmly in the present.

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Huck is the one that benefits from a single flashback that highlights her relationship with the Civic Republic and her mother, Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek, and that makes her feel like a much stronger character. What doesn’t work, however, is the conveniently-timed suspicions that Iris suddenly has about her just because Iris is the main character and Iris serves whatever purpose the plot requires her to. And because of that, it’s still hard to know who Iris actually is as a character (and all the more confounding when Felix congratulates her for becoming this person).

What does work is the conflict – both internal and external – between the rest of the group that ensues because of it. It’s just a shame that it wasn’t set up in a more convincing way. But Huck is a great character – one of the best on the show – and she really benefits from the twists and turns the finale takes. And this allows some of the emotional stuff to hit pretty hard.

Better days ahead

The Walking Dead: World Beyond‘s season finale takes the narrative to where it needs to be. Like the rest of the season it meanders far more than necessary but, also like the rest of the season, it gets there in the end. It certainly missed the mark on a number of occasions, playing out moments like you’d expect them to play out but without any of the emotional weight they needed to carry, but the end may just justify the means.

But why does this writer – who has spent all season waiting on this gang of Endlings to stop defying the most basic of human logic and cliché dialogue – say that, you ask? Well it’s simple. The Walking Dead: World Beyond is about the survivors achieving a specific goal – meaning that it felt like the story couldn’t truly start until they did. Though they don’t wrap that goal up in the finale, the majority of the characters achieve various aspects of it, finally propelling the story forward.

In that sense, it meant that the first season was little more than table setting, paving the way for a second season that will actually tell the story it’s been waiting to. The notion of that is admittedly quite intriguing and if it does manage to work out some of the first season’s nagging issues, we might be in for a more thrilling story.

Beyond World Beyond

  • It was nice to see Julia Ormond’s Elizabeth Kublek pop up on occasion but why on earth was she billed as a series regular when she barely appeared in half the season and had no more than five minutes of screen-time in any of those episodes outside of the premiere?
  • Nicolas Cantu delivers another outstanding performance in “The Deepest Cut” in a moment that gave this writer some serious goosebumps.
  • It was great to see Percy return. Something tells me he will make a great addition to the second season.
  • Wait? Did Elton actually take the time to put Percy’s jacket back on him when the empties were approaching?
  • Yet again, some of the dialogue really lets the episodes down – particularly Iris’ on-the-nose and leading map comment. Here’s hoping that will be sorted in season 2.
  • Who are the people Will managed to recruit? Could we have another uprising on our hands as the Endlings take on the Civic Republic Military? On another note, his reunion with Felix was beautiful.
  • All in all, The Walking Dead: World Beyond had a very enjoyable run. It was a flawed run, but an enjoyable one nonetheless, and this writer remains excited to see where the story goes next.

Until next time, folks!

B. <em>The Walking Dead: World Beyond</em> ‘s debut season bows out with a solid, if slightly underwhelming, finale that sets up a far more interesting sophomore adventure.. The Walking Dead: World Beyond. S1E9. The Deepest Cut/In This Life

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What did you think of The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s season 1 finale? Have you enjoyed the show thus far? Let us know in the comments below!