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The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season Finale Review – ‘The Deepest Cut’ & ‘In This Life’

November 29, 2020 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead: World Beyond
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The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season Finale Review – ‘The Deepest Cut’ & ‘In This Life’  

In the two-episode season finale of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, betrayals are revealed, choices are made, and everyone’s asking themselves the big question: who can they trust? Who will they protect? How far will they go to protect them? And what’s their part in this world?

The plot: Huck (a.k.a. Jennifer) is revealed to be Kublek’s daughter, and she’s trying to figure out how to get ‘the asset’ away from the rest of the group. There are some misleads about who it is, Iris or Hope, before it’s firmly revealed to be Hope. As part of Huck’s ploys to get her alone, she crashes the truck, injures Felix, and hides a room full of all the medical and other equipment they need. She manipulates conflict between Hope and Iris as well, setting off Iris’s gut feelings that something is amiss. Unsure if they can trust Huck and not willing to leave Felix behind, she tries to sway Hope. But Hope, having just figured out that Huck is a spy from CRM, that she herself is ‘the asset,’ and that her family is considered expendable, pushes Iris away and leaves with Huck in the night, only to pull a gun on her and demand to know the truth. It turns out that Hope isn’t just smarter than she thinks she is, she’s damn near a genius, and the CR wants her to be part of their plans for securing a future for humanity and civilization. Huck did everything she could to separate the others without hurting anyone–meaning that yes, she killed Tony and hurt Percy. She had to make sure Hope saw enough of the world to believe in what the CR is trying to do, hence taking the long way there. She also assures her their dad isn’t in danger and never was–the foreboding messages were from her to push Hope into leaving. Iris and Felix realize that something’s off with Huck as well, and eventually manage to catch up to them. A fight ensues until Hope threatens her own life to stop Huck from killing Felix, and willingly goes with Huck to the chopper to save the other two. But Hope also tells Iris they’re still going to take CR down, that CR doesn’t realize they’re both the assets, together. As well, it sounds Kublek doesn’t intend to let them live anyways; also, Huck doesn’t know the Campus Colony was wiped out. Felix and Iris then run into what looks like a resistance group in the woods, including Felix’s boyfriend Will who went with Leo to CR. Elsewhere, Elton finds a wounded Percy and struggles to save his life while struggling with reconciling what he’s learned about both his mother and Hope. He eventually takes a stand to save Percy no matter what, and learns that Huck was the one behind the attack. Percy ran because he didn’t know who he could trust. They both find Silas together and plan to try and find the girls, but a CRM truck is drawn to their location as well. Silas surrenders himself willingly in order to let the other two get away and save the girls from Huck. And finally, back at the CR complex, Leo Bennett expresses concerns about the CRM (though not the CR) to his girlfriend Lyla, the doctor we’ve seen before, and who is responsible for passing along the info that got them interested in Hope in the first place.

Though I don’t know that these two episodes were intended to be treated like a two-parter, they work very well that way. The whole season is well connected and has clear through lines, but these especially connect strongly to one another. The found family, trust, growing up, finding and accepting one’s role and responsibility in the world, and these are stronger in this episode than they’ve ever been. However, they’re only so strong here because of that strong and consistent build-up they’ve been given, because of the depth of the characters and their well-developed relationships to one another.

Let’s tackle this one character at a time, though the paths they are own intertwine quite a lot. First up, our big season 1 traitor: Huck, a.k.a. Jennifer. Huck is a very complex character. For all that I suspected her of being a CRM spy for a long time, I still didn’t think she killed Tony and attacked Percy! Even after learning Percy had been shot and not hit with the wrench, I still didn’t think it was her. She’s always clearly had a way of putting people at ease, being charming, seeming genuine. Now we know for certain that this isn’t just her personality but a well-developed skill, too. For all that she’s a traitor to them and loyal to the CRM, I do still believe Huck is genuine, though, in who she is if not in what she always says. She believes in saving people, in that bigger picture, in doing what’s right for the greater good. She tried to not hurt anyone, but saw no other way when it came to Percy and Tony. And we saw in her flashback that she took out her own squad rather than fire on civilians, so, yes, there are layers to her and she isn’t just a villain. But she’s very good at manipulating people and at improvising. The set-up with being able to blame everything on Silas could only have come together in the moment as a plan when she observed the tension, saw him swipe a bottle of booze, and she seized on the moment to splinter the group further. Likewise injuring Felix during the fight with the walkers in the field when she knew she could get away with it. But when she tells him she loves him too? I believe her. And I also believe that when she learns what her mother did to the Campus Colony, she’s not going to be okay with it. She’ll probably turn on her the way she did her Marine Corps squad when she knew what they were doing wasn’t right either, and God help the CRM when this woman, of all people, decides that they are the bad guys. Well, maybe not the bad guys per se (as she believes, and teaches Hope, that there is good and bad in all of us), but the ones who need to be taken out.

There’s still so much unknown about Huck, or rather, Jennifer, so it’s hard to analyze her further. But I admire the way she’s been written and acted, and I’m very interested to see how she develops further and also what else we learn about her. Specifically this previous rift that existed between her and her mother, how it was healed by this file about or from her father, and what incident lead to the CRM overall not having total confidence in her prior to this mission.

Huck is a catalyst in particular for Hope and Felix. We’ve seen over the course of the season how much Hope has connected with Huck and learned from her, looks up to her, which is why the betrayal cuts so deeply of course. With Felix it’s been more subtle, though, and in these episodes in particular we see her effect on him. While Felix was happy with his boyfriend Will, Will rightly called Felix out for how he held back and felt he needed to control everything, that he was so reluctant to trust or let go, and needed to work on this. That example of him not even letting Will make the coffee for him was a great small detail. Just as Will is leaving, Felix shows progress on this, but it’s noteworthy that while we never heard him tell Will he loves him, we did hear him tell Huck he loves her. That’s huge, that’s him basically saying she’s his family as much as Leo and the girls are, and makes her betrayal hit all the harder for him. He finally trusts and lets go a little and it’s for the one person he shouldn’t! It’s a big part of what makes their fight in the last episode so captivating. Each of them is fighting as hard as they possibly can for something they believe in so completely. I have to wonder if he would’ve come out on top on his own if he hadn’t been injured, though he sure held his own amazingly well for having an injured ankle. Adrenaline does wonders!

It was heartwarming to see Felix finally coming around in his big brother role, though. Not just in how fiercely he protects the girls, either, but again, the little moments. He trusts in them, in Iris especially, he listens to her, accepts her help. He even teaches her how to drive, which was both hilarious and touching. Small scenes like that have really been a gift in this show, I’m so glad they made space for them. His reuniting with Will at the very end, too, was a bright spot in the show and I’m happy they’re both still alive and together again.

Hope and Iris–it’s hard to not talk about them as a unit. Which is by design, of course, the show’s major through line is their relationship as sisters. That idea that since almost-birth these two were inseparable, always looking out for another, that they were meant to be sisters, essentially, has always been there. And while they are also very different people, they still always have one another’s backs. The only moment that rang a little false to me was when Hope accused Iris of looking at her differently since learning she killed someone, but it turns out that’s kind of how it was meant to feel since Hope was trying to push her away to protect her. Hope’s particular journey has been more occluded than Iris’s. We’ve seen examples of her intellect, the cause for all of this, usually in moments that have been snuck into the show, enough that the revelation that she’s kind of a genius doesn’t feel unearned. Still, I loved how she put it to Iris–it’s the two of them together who are the real force to be reckoned with. Their shared intellect, their support of one another. CR might want Hope to save the world, but she knows it’s Iris who will save it from the CR and people like them.

Which in turn brings out the turning point for Iris–her gut feelings were right pretty much all along! She does have good instincts! Percy wasn’t a bad guy after all, Silas didn’t kill him and Tony, and Huck was indeed shady! Now, Iris’s lessons about knowing more of what to watch out for were still needed. Honestly, I think her experience with being fooled by Percy at first was part of why she was able to sniff out Huck’s duplicitous nature. It’s probably also part of why she agrees to let Hope go, she can see that Huck is both good and bad, genuine in some ways and not in others, enough to trust she’ll keep Hope safe. For now. They each have their role to play, their part in this world now. For Iris, it means preparing to take down the CR….conveniently, it looks like she and Felix just found the resistance!

Finally, there’s the trio of lost boys, though most of the development here belongs to Elton. Before getting to him, let’s touch on Silas. So yes, he is innocent of that particular attack on Tony and Percy, and the genuine relief on his face when he hears this is lovely to see. He looks so much lighter in that moment than he has in this entire show so far. I think knowing he didn’t attack Percy actually makes him like the guy more now, amusingly enough. He advises Percy to not let the need to make Huck pay for what she did turn him into a monster, too, after all, before willingly surrendering to who knows what fate at the hands of the CRM. But maybe he and Hope will be seeing each other soon. Since I went off so strongly about Silas’s issues last week, I feel I have to say that while he’s not guilty of these recent crimes, he still has issues he needs professional help with, and among other things, those issues could indeed pose a particular threat to Iris or anyone else he fixates on. But I’m glad he’s not as far gone as it looked.

Then there’s Elton. The last of the four “Endlings” to lose his innocence, to have to face the realities of the world, that people are complex, that even his beloved mother wasn’t a saint, and the last, of note, to kill a walker. From his tearful shredding of his mother’s book, to believing the wind that she spoke of in it lead him to Percy, to angrily saying he’s nothing like his mother and excusing Hope’s actions over hers, poor Elton has a lot of baggage to shed. Literally as well as figuratively. He’s struggling to carry the loads for others, to not let go of anything, but it’s only when he begins to drop those things that he can act freely and for himself finally. Only then can he fight the walkers to save Percy, or even find Percy in the first place, and then afterwards find Silas. And while he is still physically carrying that load at the end of the episode, he speaks with confidence that’s his own now, instead of borrowed certainty and naive hope as he so often did before. It’s not about facts and observing the world as it dies anymore; it’s about belief and being a part of saving that world.

In the end, our heroes here aren’t fully reunited, but they are united in purpose and as a family more solidly than ever before. They trust one another, believe in being a part of the same thing, in saving one another and the world they live in, for more than just themselves. They aren’t making decisions based on guilt or obligation, but on who they all are and what they believe in. Felix tells Iris he believe in who’s she’s become, who she’s becoming, but she’s not the only one changing. They all are, including Felix. Huck is perhaps the only one who isn’t changing at the moment, but I have a feeling she will be soon. Especially since we know this show is only running for two seasons!

All told, World Beyond is really good so far. A few slightly stilted entries early on, but it smoothed out quickly. The show benefits from knowing it’s a limited run; the characters and plot are going somewhere and moving along at a good clip, and the paths they’re taking there are interesting. The strong coming of age theme is as Young Adult as it gets, but the show is executing very well on that and mixing it with the TWD universe in a way that just really works. I’m looking forward to the next season quite a lot. And I’m also really curious, of course, to see how this show will connect more solidly with TWD, FTWD, and the much-anticipated Rick Grimes movies we’re supposed to be getting! I admit, I was hoping we might get a glimpse of Rick in the last episode, but I’m not exactly shocked we didn’t at the same time.

So, what did you think of the season finale? Of Season 1 overall? What do you think Season 2 will bring? Sound off in the comments! Have a happy holiday season, and I’ll see you back next year when TWD Season 10 continues!

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Both of these episodes were excellent. Excellent writing and acting. Great character moments that drove the plot. Huck's betrayal in particular pushes some big changes in just about everyone across the board. The fight between her and Felix was perfect and well-executed. At the same time there were a lot of small moments that shone through strongly, too. They have just done an incredible job of making a YA Walking Dead show. I was hopeful but tentative about how this would turn out, and I am very much impressed. These two also worked very well as a two-parter, and I'm excited to see what happens in Season 2.