During the series premiere of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, we were introduced to siblings, Hope and Iris Bennett, who are residents at the Campus Colony of Omaha. The community is a member of the Alliance of the Three along with Portland and the shady, Civic Republic. When they learn that their father, who is providing research support to the Civic Republic, is in danger, the sisters set out to rescue him along with two of their peers. Their guardian, Felix Carlucci, notices they’re missing and follows soon after with fellow security officer, Huck, to hopefully bring all the teens back safely.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead]
While Hope reminisces of her youth and the night her mom died, we pick up from last week with Iris trying to kill a zombie by herself. She should stick to books since dispatching a single empty proves difficult and she ends up puking. This is the start of a recurring theme as neither of the four youths are able take one down throughout the episode.
As they make their way to New York, Iris suggests cutting through an area with a continuous tire fire to cut some time and to marvel at the site even if the flames attract an unsafe number of the undead. Her sister has some reservations with this plan and maybe even leaving the Campus Colony in general as Hope leaves a trail for Felix and Huck.
Speaking of which, the duo is hot on the teens’ trail when they pass through Felix’s old neighborhood “before the sky fell”. This brings some painful memories in him and we see via flashback his coming out to his family and the tragic attempted reconciliation when the world began to end.
So far, The Walking Dead: World Beyond covers a lot of teen story retreads. In addition to Felix’s coming out, “The Blaze of Glory” has treehouse slumber parties, game night, and poser syndrome with Iris feeling so smug and confident even though she doesn’t kill the empty. The show doesn’t really do anything new with these except add the tension of zombies. At least that added a little to the emotional impact of Felix’s flashbacks.
There are some good character interactions, especially between Hope and Elton. Their candid conversations and views on life speak to a wisdom and maturity beyond their ages. Though that can be frustrating seeing the incompetence of the group while they manage life outside the Campus Colony.
Whenever they formulated plans dealing with the zombies, there would be cuts to their survival lesson plans taught by Felix. Obviously, they do the exact opposite and make matters worse. Maybe this inexperience is to help highlight their growth as the show progresses but that’s if their decisions don’t get them killed.
One of the few interesting aspects of The Walking Dead: World Beyond is Hope. Though Iris is the more outgoing sibling and takes the leadership role, Hope is the only one to have any common sense even though she’s always overruled. She’s compassionate trying to comfort Silas when he freezes in killing a zombie. And it looks like she’s stepping up when the others are scared. Her leaving the breadcrumbs for Felix and Huck may be her only way to keep her friends safe. Out of the four, she’d be the only one I’d trust to have my back in this post-apocalyptic world.
The most impressive thing of these first episodes is the make-up and special effects. “The Blaze of Glory” had a freaky, ridiculous hornets’ nest zombie. Later on, there is some impressive work on another zombie who took a bowling ball to the face. Although great aesthetics, they only last a few moments of a 50-minute drama.
“The Blaze of Glory” has some good make-up and special effects work and develops Hope into an intriguing character. But the episode does nothing new with its teen story retreads and the fact that all of the group is still alive after some bone-headed actions can be frustrating.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs Sunday nights at 10:00 pm on AMC
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