Season two premiere of The Walking Dead: World Beyond review
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
Four out of five stars
The premier brilliantly uses the silence and stillness of the sets to develop the pain and tension behind each dynamic.
AMC’s latest spin-off series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, debuted its second and final season on October 3. Sadly, the show so far has storytelling issues that it still needs to work out moving forward. Otherwise, the first episode has impressive performances and character relationships, while continually building its relevant themes.
The next stage of the show follows its young heroes now scattered into distinct groups. They strive to reunite during their growing conflict with the main villain, Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond), and her Civic Republic Military (CRM).
Season two’s premiere is way better than season one’s first episode. There are more zombies filling action scenes that decently set up the darker goals and higher stakes, making the show feel like it’s heading in a really satisfying direction. The horror thrills are also beginning to tonally match the other two shows, The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.
Key takeaways from season two’s start are its character relationships. The premier brilliantly uses the silence and stillness of the sets to develop the pain and tension behind each dynamic. There are also murkier closeups, little music, and lingering night takes to evoke how much these bonds have changed heavily since season one.
The love shared between Will (Jelani Alladin) and Felix (Nico Tortorella) continues creating touching moments for the premiere. This romantic bond contrasts with the more fallen friendship of rebellious teenager, Hope (Alexa Mansour), and CRM spy, Huck (Annet Mahendru). Mansour and Mahendru’s performances elevate the animosity their characters have that will spark interest in how it may play out leading up to the finale.
At the core of the episode sit Hope and her sister Iris (Aliyah Royale) being forced to handle their problems without each other for the first time. We learn more about the emotional weight behind their turmoil in deciding what to do with their lives. Although it’s a staple for Walking Dead characters to separate and cope with isolation, the premiere uses the now disconnected siblings to explore the darker concerns, pressures, and insecurities of growing up. Their scenes apart relentlessly convey how terrified we can all feel when facing an uncertain future.
As for Ormond, she continues playing Kublek as a two-faced and cold-hearted villain. Her character though is not as compelling as previous Walking Dead antagonists. We still don’t have many details about Kublek’s past, and there may not be much room in season two to explore that. Ormond also doesn’t have strong chemistry with the cast, except with Mahendru in a few scenes. Her role is at least alright for a zombie show centring on teenagers.
The script has confusing character choices that become bothersome. These strange plot decisions may be clarified in future episodes, but for setting up the rest of the show, they distract viewers from the story at times. The premiere’s compelling character relationships, however, do make up for season two’s initial pitfalls.
The season two premiere of The Walking Dead: World Beyond has some storytelling wrinkles, but overall, it’s good enough to take us along for the rest of the spin-off. Fans who favour the other two shows may feel underwhelmed by World Beyond, especially if they weren’t that impressed with the first season. Like it or not, AMC’s latest series adds more depth to its zombie universe with a memorable cast of young characters that are relatable as they are brave.