[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season 2, Episode 2, “Foothold.”]
The orientations are always a little awkward. There is the “find out where everything is” phase, the “get to know people” phase, and so on. – but for Hope (Alexa Mansour), all the weirdness of moving to a new place is multiplied by about a billion, because she is in the Army of the Civic Republic.
Elsewhere, lone Silas (Hal Cumpston) makes his first appearance this season as a worker for a mysterious new CRM faction, and Iris (Aliyah Royale), Felix (Nico Totorella) and Will (Jelani Alladin) have a very close appeal. with Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond).
First, Silas finds himself in a dump-type place for “decontamination”, where they appear to both capture walkers and put them in cages, and lure them in to kill them, all for the CRM. The goal, as Felix boss Dennis (Maximillian Osinski) puts it, is to kill enough walkers to make the state a “foot” and bring things back to normal. As Silas finishes his first day on the job, Dennis leaves with a walker strapped to the back of his truck and heads for the research facility – and he has a photo of Huck (Annet Mahendru) with him. So at the very least they must be friends, but probably something more.
Having reunited with her father, Hope settles into her new home – but of course there are a few roadblocks. She is uncomfortable not only because everyone seems to know who she is and has heard of her before, but because she has to lie to her father about what happened with Iris, where she is. is and what she knows about it.
She ends up being shown around by her father’s girlfriend, Dr. Lyla Belshaw (Natalie Gold), and Hope seems to be looking for the weaknesses of the dark organization; she takes notes on their security cameras and everything she already knows about them. Dr Belshaw reveals a key aspect of what CRM does; they’re trying to find a cure, but they’re also trying to figure out what keeps the dead “alive,” as she puts it. “We hope to someday deactivate these triggers, eliminate the dead as a threat and eradicate them from Earth,” she told Hope.
At one point, Hope sneaks into a room reserved for “authorized military personnel only.” There, she meets Mason (Will Meyers), who seems to end up being her sweetheart – and he opens the door for her, showing her that all inside are janitorial supplies. They break up with a bit of flirtation, then she watches a training video that explains what CRM really does. They are trying to figure out how the brains of the dead work and what sets them off, how the weather affects them, etc. Its job is to infect the dead with fungi, in the hopes of creating a disease that would infect and destroy them.
His father also begins to challenge the CRM, telling Kublek that he wants to go on a mission to bring back Iris and Felix. It’s clear he’s suspicious when she says bringing them back is his “top priority,” but for his safety, he should probably stop asking questions and threaten to stop working for them.
Iris spends much of the episode dealing with the fallout from her actions in the dying minutes of the latter. She, Felix, and Will hide the CRM soldier she killed, and they dress the walkers to look like them, so CRM doesn’t continue to chase them. But they find themselves in hot water with their new community, the Perimeter, whose council isn’t too happy to have killed a soldier and lied about what they knew about the RCN.
Their conversation about whether they will be allowed to stay is interrupted by a group of soldiers. Kublek enters the room and chats with Perimeter Leader Indira (Anna Khaja), who says she is “looking for something”, which means she is looking for Will. She almost found Iris, Felix and Will, who are hiding behind a curtain. Fortunately, she does not discover them and she and her soldiers leave. They find the walkers the group costumed earlier in the episode, so they might think the trio are dead… but Kublek doesn’t seem so convinced.
At the end of the episode, Kublek has an interesting conversation with Belshaw. Belshaw admits that Leo’s enthusiasm for the project has waned since learning the CRM was manipulating him; Kublek responds by saying that she, as a girlfriend, needs to keep him motivated… for his sake and for his. They then have a disturbing exchange that Belshaw needs another “test subject” and Kublek thinks she will get what she needs “in time”.
The Walking Dead: The World Beyond, Sunday, 10 / 9c, AMC