THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 201, “KONSEKANS.”
The second and final season of the limited series of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, opens with a look at the fall of Omaha from six weeks ago. It is very clear that Kublek is responsible for the intentional destruction of both Omaha and the Campus colonies. Kublek spends the rest of the episode lying about how those cities fell. While Kublek works to test the loyalty of her daughter, Huck, she also takes the opportunity to test the last vestiges of Hope’s rebellious streak en route to CRM headquarters. In the wilderness, Will and his artist colony take in Iris and Felix. While Will cautions Iris and Felix to play the long game in the interest of the lives of the colony, Iris and Felix are more interested in picking a fight.
The episode opens with a look at the past. Kublek stands on a hill with Lt. Frank Newton and watches as a CRM officer sets explosive charges at the base of the Omaha walls. Newton confirms that the road to the campus colony has been cleared so that the horde can march through Omaha and on to destroy campus a few days later. Kublek does not explain why here, and honestly, she doesn’t really explain why during the rest of the episode either. This appears to be a mystery to solve another day.
THE ALBANY TEST
On the way to CRM HQ, Kublek orders a detour to Albany. The reason is twofold: to test the loyalty of Huck and to test the will of Hope. Kublek gives Hope the option to go off on her own, but as Hope has proved to be an amateur fighter at best, this isn’t a true choice. Barely off the rooftop, Hope falls down the stairs and suffers a concussion. By the time Hope gets to the bottom of the highrise, she must fight a woman who lost her sanity years ago. With the flyers in the building indicating the woman had once been missing, her delusions appear to date back to the before times. Bottom line, Hope can barely get through a few hours on her own, and she radios in to ask for help.
Up top, Huck is clearly anxious to follow Hope to protect her. When Huck stays on the roof, her mother is pleased to see that life undercover has not changed Huck’s alliance to CRM. Kublek admits that she had feared Huck would go after Hope. “I’m really glad I was wrong,” Kublek says. Until now the show has written Kublek as a genius two steps ahead, so I do not believe for one second that Kublek thinks Huck has proven her loyalty. At least not as the character has been written.
While preparations are made for Hope to reunite with her father, Leo, Hope waits in a holding cage at HQ. Huck visits Hope to inform her that she covered for Iris and Felix. Huck explains that she guided Iris and Felix to a friendly community, and she told Kublek that they did not know anything about CRM. With a smile, Huck says that as long as everyone plays by the rules, they will be safe.
Hope is not buying it. Though Huck was likely sincere, Hope only sees a selfish motive. Hope accuses Huck of covering her own ass. When Hope threatens to screw up Huck’s life like Huck had manipulated Hope’s, Huck is frank about the consequences. Hope says that the adventure in Albany convinced her that she wanted a future. More importantly, the trip convinced her that she did not want to build that future with CRM. Still Huck keeps quiet, and Hope reunites with her dad.
It would appear that Kublek’s plan backfired. Kublek did want to force Hope to commit to a side, so her test was successful in that regard. However, Kublek forced Hope to commit to the opposition. A figure as strategic as Kublek should know that Hope was not broken by the experience. There is no evidence of that here, but Kublek could also be keeping her insight from Huck. Though Huck did not go after Hope in Albany, she sure indicated how much she wanted to go after Hope. Kublek definitely noticed that.
After Felix and Iris are reunited with Will in the woods, he escorts them to an artist colony. The residents of The Perimeter are lead by a woman named Indira. Indira made a deal with CRM to clear the area of empties and warn away strangers from CRM. In return, CRM gives the colony supplies and a bit of neutrality. Indira risked that protection when she took in Will, Felix, and Iris. For that reason, Will cautions Felix to play the long game. Iris is not having it though. In a private conversation that night, Iris tells Felix that she no longer wants to play by the old rules. Felix agrees.
Even though Felix supports Iris, she still goes off on her own to scout CRM, risking the safety of the colony. When Iris sees a security scout on patrol, she gets the drop on him. As the scout gasps for air with his dying breath, Iris peels off his helmet. Iris tells the man that she knows the truth about who destroyed the campus colony. “It wasn’t empties. It was you. That’s what you get,” Iris says as she drives the knife in. And boy does Iris have no idea just how right she is in her accusation.
The soldier’s death will definitely ring alarm bells soon. Either Iris plans to use his uniform to infiltrate CRM quickly, or she is shaking a hornet’s nest for no reason. Iris is not stupid, so I would imagine she has a plan for how to proceed. On the other hand, Iris is a bit emotional and blood-thirsty right now. This may have been a knee-jerk reaction with very severe consequences. Pretty much like every reaction in the world of The Walking Dead.
This season picks up in the middle of the journey, so it starts a little quicker than the first season. However, motivations all around are still very fuzzy. Kublek has not revealed her reasons to destroy two cities with thousands of people inside. If Kublek’s goal is to rebuild the human race with the finest minds, then there should be no reason to destroy full cities. For anyone that “knows too much,” certainly there is a cleaner resolution to the problem than full on genocide.
With this ambiguity in the air, the series is still a bit confusing to watch. At this point the writers would be doing the audience a great service in explaining Kublek’s reasoning rather than continuing to keep it under wraps. Less mystery on that front, so the viewers can concentrate on the personal journeys and relationships. Not every episode needs to be about a test of loyalty. That said, if you enjoyed the first season, this one is worth the watch. It is still muddled, but the perspective is a bit fresher than the other series.
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