Is it hard to believe that The Walking Dead franchise has been in our lives for ten years? Yes, we got to see the series develop into two full shows, potential movies on the way apart from the comic book series. Given the narratives, fans have gotten to see everything from an adult perspective. While the overall series has experienced its ups and downs in recent years, there’s still a conscious effort in expanding the universe.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s limited series now looks at this world from a youthful perspective. There are young people within these colonies that don’t know the dangers of the open-world their compound shelters them from. The first episode of the limited series strives for more drama than horror – a turn that its two sister shows have taken. Zombies remain dangerous, but humans have taken on the primary source of villainy.
‘Brave’ brings us to the Campus Colony community in Omaha, Nebraska – apart of three in total that’s set ten years after the zombie apocalypse. The show introduces us to two sisters, Iris (Aliyah Royale) and Hope (Alexa Mansour) Bennett. Their story drives much of the episode. Iris is the president of the student body and also an eager part of the welcoming committee for the CRM. Hope is the rule-breaking, rebellious side of the duo. Back when they were younger, ‘when the sky fell’ as it’s described, they lost their mother tragically.
Throughout the episode, you see how this affects them from different points of view. Iris is hyper-focused on making a better future for everyone, much to the detriment of dealing with what’s bothering her. Hope holds a lot of internal anger, distrust, and disenchantment. Flashbacks occur showing how that horrible night unfolded. However, the episode’s title is explained so much, almost to its detriment. The center event of ‘Brave’ is Monument Day, the celebration that acknowledges the past and seeks to look to a brighter future. Much of the dialogue and narration that occurs also pushes the theme of bravery within the two sisters.
However, isn’t that already implied? One would think living in a society where the living dead roam and the lands are barren incurs some valor. It should be enough that these characters’ youthful exuberance and curiously aspire for greater (Iris is studying to be a scientist) for the audience to know that this is the theme.
A huge specter in this episode and the series to come is the CRM or the Civic Republic Military. If you remember from the middle of The Walking Dead season eight, they were the black helicopter that picked up a near-death Rick Grimes (Andrew Garfield) and took to an undisclosed location. The Civic Republic is within the Alliance of the Three, but we don’t know where and people like Hope are wary of their agenda. Lt. Col. Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond) serves as the figurehead for the colony. Note that the Civic Republic doesn’t let anyone in or out of their colony and for anybody to even contact them. Iris and Hope’s father is with the CRM to work on a potential cure, but one day, they receive a fax from him indicating he’s in possible danger. The show’s fundamental premise reveals itself.
Rounded out by Elton (Nicolas Cantu), who has a secret of his own and inquisitive, and Silas (Hal Cumpston), who is both shy and strong, the teens set off into a dark and dreary world. As this is a limited series, The World Beyond has to juggle being a rescue quest, a coming-of-age story, and the discovery of a shady entity all in one. One thing that should be explored further is the fact that these teens are not skilled. They will undeniably come against dangers from zombies and humans alike. Adults have died with a full assortment of weapons and knowledge allotted to them in this universe, so the on-the-job training will be a key factor. It remains to be seen if this premise and the familiar themes that are presented are enough to hook audiences who have been getting a steady fix of The Walking Dead TV universe for quite some time.