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The Walking Dead: World Beyond 1.06 Review – ‘Shadow Puppets’

November 8, 2020 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead World Beyond 1.6
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The Walking Dead: World Beyond 1.06 Review – ‘Shadow Puppets’  

Welcome to this week’s episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond! Tonight, our group of survivors meet and try to help a new friend, but can they trust him?

The plot! Picking up right where last week left off, the camp is happened upon by a newcomer, a young man named Percy. After a rough introduction, they offer him food, and hear his story about being robbed by two men he used to travel with. It eventually comes out that what they stole was a truck he’d found, and the group agrees to help him get it back if he gives them a ride where they’re going. They head out the next day to do so, following him to a nearby abandoned town, and then to an abandoned clothing store. The group isn’t all thrilled about his presence or this plan, Silas in particular. When they get there, they find that one of the men, Tony, has been shot in the head, but the other man, Mike, has the keys somewhere inside with him. As Felix and Percy go in, Iris gets sick of waiting and goes around back while the other three keep watch outside. Iris and Percy end up meeting up and go upstairs, where they find the keys while Mike is in the bathroom. But when Percy goes back for his things, a gunshot goes off. Iris almost runs, but then turns back to help him, only to find that the bags are stuffed with paper and it’s a sham. Percy makes a getaway through the window onto the roof, just as Tony, who’s not dead at all, steals the group’s bags into the truck. They drive off, and Iris falls into a dumpster with walkers in it trying to chase Percy. Felix and the others get her out, but walkers are closing in…until the truck comes back, running the walkers over and rescuing the group! Tony, a former Vegas magician, later tells them that Percy, who’s his nephew, insisted they go back when they saw the walkers heading for them. The two get by running the grift along with performing for payment for settlements they come across. There’s some debate, but eventually Tony agrees to stand by Percy’s promise, but he reveals to Felix that the truck they found is a CRM military vehicle. He recognizes the same symbol on Felix’s jacket and wants to know if Felix having that means he can get them out of trouble if they run into it. Felix claims that yes, it can. He and Percy perform a shadow puppet show for the group. Also during the episode, Hope learns more about Elton’s mom and her book from him, not quite gaining the courage to confess to him. Elsewhere, the CRM scientist we saw previously looks at a printed manuscript from Leo Bennett about Immunology, and the card inside from his daughters, before the phone rings. Her name is Dr. Belshaw, and Lt. Col. Kublek is on the other end. Belshaw promises that what she’s working on will be “taken care of by the time they arrive,” and that neither Leo Bennett nor his security detail will be a problem. The camera pulls back to show that she’s in some kind of bunker, it seems, and the growling of many walkers can be heard.

We have two new travelers in the group! And I already like how Percy and Tony’s addition to the group is changing things. I like that everyone’s getting shaken up by something and someone new! This is some classic YA stuff right here, protagonist meets an attractive stranger who inspires new confidence and new feelings, turns out to not be what they seem but shaking off how they’ve already been changed by this meeting is impossible to do. Plus, the addition of this new person, or persons in this case, instantly changes the dynamics of pretty much everyone in the group.

For starters, Percy and Tony are both interesting characters in their own right. I was liking Percy when it seemed he was entirely honest, though I was always waiting for some kind of twist, but afterwards, I liked him even more. And the twist legitimately surprised me! I mostly expected that Percy was going to die and the challenge Iris would have to face would be attacking and maybe killing a living person in order to protect herself and the others. But oh no! This lesson is not about the sanctity of human life, but about the sting of not being able to trust your own instincts.

While Iris has been resiliently optimistic about their mission and their chances, possibly to the point of some naivete, she’s also not unaware of that naivete. She knows that there’s plenty she doesn’t know and hasn’t done, but she also knows this group is smart, creative, determined, and have each other’s backs. Last week’s episode proved that when it comes down to it, they are in this together and can rely on one another. So Iris has earned the confidence of being able to trust her gut…until now. Because even if she is ultimately right about Percy, that he was worth saving and worth trusting, even though they got the truck in the end thanks to her actions and Percy says he wants to be more like her and worthy of her trust, in that moment? She got played and she didn’t see it coming at all. Of course, this was her up against Percy doing what he presumably does best, using his natural charisma to get people to trust him so he and his uncle can steal from them. It wasn’t exactly a fair fight, so to speak, but it hits Iris where it hurts. She took a risk that not only was a risk for her personally but for the group at large, one she felt so sure and ready for, but even at the end, she doesn’t know what to believe from him. Meaning that now, she doesn’t know what she can believe about anyone or anything. It’s not just that Percy needs to earn her trust, Iris needs to earn back her own trust, because this could’ve gone much, much worse. And even though what Hope says is true, that it’s all real, the lies and the truth, Iris can’t yet tell them apart. To be fair, that’s the kind of thing that some people never learn. Still, Iris puts a lot of pressure on herself to get this right and be worthy herself of the trust the others have put in her by following her out here.

Meanwhile, when Hope says that all the pieces of a person are real, the things we both want others to see and not to see, she’s talking as much about herself as anyone. After realizing she killed Elton’s mother, she spends this episode trying to learn more about her. She finds out that her father even read the manuscript and inspired Elton to work on completing it, that the book itself made Elton feel both closer to his mother and more at ease about the world around them. In the end, she asks to read the manuscript and Elton is deeply touched by this, glad that someone else will read her words, that his mother will live on in this way through more than just his memories of her. It’s Hope’s way of trying to make up for what she did, trying to face it. Learn who this woman was instead of leaving her as the stranger in her nightmares, do what she can to help Elton here and now, comfort him and maybe find a way to confess to him. There’s a moment where she looks to consider doing so in this episode, though she never does. I like seeing these two bond as friends, Elton’s genuine joy in his mother and the work he’s doing to help her live on, Hope’s own potentially genuine interest in her work as well. It really is going to be devastating when this truth comes out, but I hope it doesn’t destroy them.

In the other, smaller character arc carried forward in this episode, Silas is not a fan of this good-looking newcomer making eyes at Iris! Okay, I overstate things a little bit, but Iris is one of the few friends he’s made, and he clearly isn’t loving Percy getting all her attention in this episode. He doesn’t trust the guy, and though he turns out to be right about that, it’s unclear if it’s jealousy or his own gut instinct or a little of both. But also of note is when Iris talks about not being able to wait to be saved and he thinks she means him. Silas has been noticeably slow to take action under pressure, aggressive action in particular, so that combined with feeling jealous of Percy and his swagger make it no surprise he felt this was a reflection on him. I like that Iris quickly assures him that no, this isn’t about him at all. She’s not comparing him to someone else, she’s trying to measure up to her own expectation of herself. We don’t get to really check in later with him on any of this, but I expect it will continue to show up in coming episodes. Especially since there has definitely been an element of flirtation between he and Iris, though nothing that couldn’t also just be considered friendly exchanges, and let’s be honest, Percy has “new love interest for the female lead” written all over him.

Finally, the quick but not insignificant reveal about the truck belonging to the CRM is very noteworthy. Tony was smart to hide the insignia, and given where they’re going, having this truck could help or hinder them, it’s unclear, but it will absolutely be relevant.

Speaking of the CRM, I almost missed that tag at the end with Dr. Belshaw! Color me intrigued. Who’s the ‘they’ who are coming? Is Leo Bennett alive? Why is this woman in a bunker, and where? So many questions! So, what are your theories on what’s going on in the world of CRM? How much can our group trust Tony and Percy? What’s Huck going to think of all this, and do we still trust that Huck isn’t doing something shady while she’s been away? My theory continues to be that Huck is reporting to Kublek, and that potentially the ‘they’ Belshaw was told to expect are our group of travelers themselves, whom Huck informed Kublek about while on her ‘scouting’ mission. Also, that shadow puppet show, while clever and consisting of some remarkable craftsmanship, is seriously a downer, Tony. You might want to work on the act.

8.0
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Once again, I really enjoyed this episode! The show continues to come into its own, embracing fun YA tropes in ways that work well for the TWD universe. Percy and Tony are interesting new additions already causing a stir among the group, and I am always impressed by a twist that surprises me, especially the way this one did. New developments, new challenges, danger and the promise of more complications on the rise.
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