‘The Walking Dead: World Beyond’ Episode 2 Recap And Review: ‘Blaze Of Gory’
‘The Walking Dead: World Beyond’
The Walking Dead: World Beyond was a little more exciting this Sunday than during its boring series premiere, but I’m still having a hard time getting into the show.
I do like some of the characters. Hope (Alexa Mansour) is interesting, with a compelling and traumatic backstory we learned about last week. Becoming a killer as a child has shaped her and given her a hard edge that her sister, Iris (Aliyah Royale), lacks.
Elton (Nicolaus Cantu) is also a pretty interesting little guy. He’s smart in a “plays Trivia very well” kind of way. He and Hope have some interesting conversations about how they’re probably the last generation of humans living. He gives the species fifteen years before extinction.
Generations are weird, but with fifteen more years, I’m pretty sure they’d be the penultimate generation, since presumably babies are still being born who are much younger than our teen wanderers.
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We also get some backstory on Felix (Nico Tortorella) as he and Huck (Annet Mahendru) search for the “Endlings”—a word that references the very last members of a species to go before extinction, and the somewhat ominous nickname that Elton gives the little group.
Felix, it turns out, is gay. We see him confronted by his homophobic father in a flashback. Teen Felix was quite a lot less tough, and his father is a total jerk. He kicks Felix out, disowning him as his son, and refuses help (Felix had been paying the bills since his father was such a deadbeat). Even when the zombie apocalypse arrives, Felix’s dad won’t let him back home despite Felix just trying to help his family.
Not a zombie killer.
Meanwhile, the Endlings turn out to be utterly hapless despite whatever training they’ve received. I mean, Carl was killing zombies as a little kid, and so is Judith now, with both gun and blade. These World Beyond teens, despite living through the apocalypse, despite knowing the threat and despite all their training, are useless.
Both Iris and Hope fall into pits while fighting and/or taunting a zombie (or “Empty” as they’re called in this community). Iris is just ridiculous. She keeps whacking away at this zombie, hitting it in the neck and the leg and basically everywhere she was told not to hit it. We get flashbacks of Felix teaching them about how to off an Empty, and it involves sticking them with the pointy end in their eye socket.
When a zombie is about to pounce on Elton, Hal thinks very hard about hitting it in the head with a giant wrench. Inexplicably, he does not. They all run away. Later, Iris lures a zombie to an empty swimming pool and almost dies when she falls in also. None of these kids is comfortable actually killing a zombie, which seems like maybe that’s going to be a problem for them on their 1200 mile trek from Nebraska to New York. Maybe. Just a small problem.
Lessons go unlearned.
The Endlings make their way toward a giant fire that they call the Blaze of Gory. It’s something they’ve only heard about. Apparently a bunch of tires have just been burning for years on end, luring zombies to the inferno—one reason so few zombies have bothered the community. The blaze draws them like moths to flame—and it draws our heroes as well, who (for reasons) think it’s a good idea to go check it out.
On their way they find shelter in a tree house, which is actually a pretty great idea. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more tree houses in these shows. Zombies can’t climb trees so you’re pretty safe until somebody dies and turns and kills everyone before they can escape down the rope ladder.
When they finally do reach the Blaze of Gory it is, as they assumed a massive tire fire. They have to make it past a bunch of zombies before they even reach the fires, though I’m more worried about the toxic smoke than anything. Still, the big challenge is getting past a second batch of zombies without dying. Elton’s idea is to set off a tornado siren to distract them, though whoever sets off the siren would be badly screwed by this plan. Maybe going around instead of through would be a better idea.
Elsewhere, Felix heads back to his childhood home where he hears a zombie inside and recalls the trauma of returning to a family that wanted nothing to do with him. His parents are dead and gone, turned, but they were dead to him a long time ago. He doesn’t go inside this time either.
The episode ends on something of a cliffhanger when Iris once again slips off while the others sleep. Is she going to sound that alarm without warning the others? Probably.
All told, this was definitely a better episode than last week’s, though I’m still not thrilled about any of it. I’m glad some of the characters are growing on me, but the show itself still feels a little hokey for The Walking Dead. The teens’ fighting ineptitude feels wrong also, and comes off as ridiculous and comical after so many seasons of The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead.
I can see World Beyond going one of two ways. Either it starts to get more interesting as we learn about the ways it ties in to the main show, Rick’s fate and so forth, or it keeps on with the hokey teen drama stuff. Maybe a little bit of both. The premise is just strange. How the kids plan to make it so far with so few actual survival skills is beyond me. What they plan on doing when and if they find the CRM base is also a mystery. I’m not sure they thought this through.