AMC's The Walking Dead: World Beyond "Foothold" (directed by Loren Yaconelli and written by Carson Moore) has a ton of fallout from the season opener to process. Iris (Aliyah Royale), Felix (Nico Tortorella), and Will (Jelani Alladin) found themselves in a new settlement & planning their next moves against CRM, but Will's "plan carefully" approach didn't quite match up with Iris' "let's kill a ranking CRM officer" philosophy. Meanwhile, Hope's (Alexa Mansour) reunion with her father, Dr. Bennett (Joe Holt) has us wondering if she will tow the CRM line or try to win him over to the growing resistance? But with Elizabeth (Julia Ormond) keeping any number of plans & schemes spinning at the same time, would it even matter at this point? So with that in mind, we're throwing on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign and throwing down an image spoiler buffer before we offer four thoughts & a theory on the season-opener "Foothold."
So why four thoughts and a theory instead of a straightforward review? With TWD: World Beyond originally planned as a two-season limited series, it's a "premeditated" storyline with a structured beginning and endpoint. So in that sense, I'm taking a "pseudo-movie review" approach before offering a two-season "report card" at the end of the series run. With that in mind, "Foothold" dialed back a bit on the intensity but more than made up for it with impressive spotlights on some intriguing & intimate character dynamics. As for a look at my four key takeaways from this week's episode (as well as a theory we're sticking with, dammit!)? Here we go!
Thought #1: Hope and Dr. Leo (Joe Holt) can huff & puff & threaten to blow CRM's house down, but at the end of the day? They're too good and decent of people to drop to the level where Elizabeth lives and work. Hope connects with her father through his dedication to helping save lives and his desire to be a part of building a better future for society, and that's something Elizabeth can use (and has been, as we see how Elizabeth handled Dr. Leo's threats to stop his work if Iris wasn't returned to him).
Thought #2: What the !@#$ is CRM up to? On one hand, they want to cure what's creating walkers while also devising a way to clean up the ones that are already rambling around by speeding up their decay process. But then on the other, they're orchestrating hits on communities at a time when it would seem that "nation building" would be at the top of their agenda. Is is a need for more test subjects while also maintaining your own "new world order" or part of an even darker (and sounding much more cult-like) plan?
Thought #3: Iris and Felix might be one of my favorite friend one-two combos going right now. As we discussed last week, Iris is growing quickly into a very formidable leader but killing the CRM officer left us still wondering if she can keep her rage over learning what happened to her home in check to do what needs to be done. That's where Felix can be a huge help to her in teaching her own to temper those feelings and redirect them. For Felix, Iris (and Hope and Will) represent a family he's fought so far to have that he's willing to do anything to protect them. That's where Iris is key to Felix, keeping him personally grounded and offering him a reminder that he's never alone- even in the worst moments.
Thought #4: It was great to see Silas (Hal Cumpston) back because he introduced the viewers to the "other areas" of CRM life that aren't connected to the main projects within the facility but also don't involve hiding out in the woods. In Silas, we see the seductiveness that comes with wanting to feel like you're part of something that's going to change the world for the better. Helping develop a plan that could lead to eliminating large numbers of walkers and get some of the land back for the living in the process is an opportunity someone like Silas would jump at. But like an old house being gutted, just be careful when you start looking under the carpets and inside the walls. There can be some ugly truths hiding under or inside of them.
Our "Dumpster Fires of Random Speculation" Theory: We thought we would just throw this out there like red meat to the wolves. Taking into consideration the shifting timelines between all three of the TWDU shows, is it possible that the Commonwealth that we're being introduced to in the 11th and final season of The Walking Dead could've been a CRM outpost, community, or "partnership" in the past? Let me know what your thoughts are on that random theory below, and make sure to check back next week for our review of the next episode of AMC's The Walking Dead: World Beyond as well as the seventh season opener of Fear the Walking Dead.