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The Walking Dead: World Beyond - The Wrong End of a Telescope - Review

  The Walking Dead: World Beyond “The Wrong End of a Telescope” was written by Sinead Daly and was directed by Rachel Leiterman, whose other credits include The Man in the High Castle, New Amsterdam, and Heartland (a Canadian West, soapy-ranch show). Daly’s other credits include Dirty John and Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency – all wildly different shows. In this episode the group takes refuge in an old high school – with a lot of obvious symbolism about what they’ve missed out on. Once again, the group proves that they really know nothing about the world in which they live. It’s a miracle to me that they have all made it this far…

As the episode opens, the group discusses CRM. The research center is somewhere in New York state but they aren’t sure where – because that’s a good plan! Huck (Annet Mahendru) and Felix (Nico Tortorella) are still hoping to get the kids to turn back. Iris (Aliyah Royale) and Silas (Hal Cumpston) are clearly determined to go on, but Huck thinks she can work on Hope (Alexa Mansour), and Felix sees Elton (Nicolas Cantu) as a possible because he doesn’t seem to have a clear reason for having come out with the others. 

Once they take shelter in the old high school, they break up into teams so that Felix and Huck can go to work. Felix and Elton go for water. They try the science lab for beakers that they can put water in to carry. Elton tells Felix that he’s into science, but he wanted to come into the field because this science is real, it’s not a lab. When they come out of the lab, they see a smear on the floor. The don’t see an empty crawl out of a door only to be suddenly pulled back in… sinister…

Hope and Huck are looking for clothes – why? The discover that the fallout shelter signs are mostly missing. This is never adequately explained – presumably that’s the basement where they eventually get stuck with a bunch of empties?

The flashbacks are mostly Hope and her relationship with her father (Joe Holt). In the first flashback, he’s forgotten to go to a meeting with Hope. He is apparently the quintessential absent minded professor. He got caught up in his work and forgot all about her. We learn that she and Iris are adopted – and that they’d bonded as babies at the adoption agency. Hope feels like she’s a disappointment and that her father wishes he hadn’t brought her home. He, however, tells Hope that she’s exceptional and wishes she could see that. She’s in trouble for making time-released stink bombs – clearly a way of showing off her cleverness for his benefit…

In the second flashback, Leopold is getting ready to leave to go the CR research center. Hope is not happy. He tells her that they need to trust and to keep trying because this isn’t the end of the world. Hope tells him that she’ll be better. She’ll stop being a screw up – but of course, that’s not why he’s going. He also tells her that there’s big stuff he wanted to talk to her about – it’s not bad, just important – so of course, he doesn’t just tell her then. He also tells her that he can be bad too and that he’s found a way to communicate even though he’s been told not to. 

Felix and Elton walk past a locker with an empty inside and Elton has a bad moment as he remembers being bullied and locked in a locker. Felix tells Elton that he’s not ready to be out there and shows him his tattoo that reminds him of all the people he’s lost. The two find a room with a bunch of half eaten empties and bones. 

Hope and Huck discover a wolf. Huck notices that it’s not moving and by simply going slowly, they are able to get past it. Um… what??? This made zero sense. Huck uses it as an object lesson, saying that you can misread the signs. Hope tells her that Dad’s sometimes have a weird way of showing their love. She tells Huck that Leopold said there was a reason Hope was frustrated before he left. Hope seems ok with just asking him about it when she sees him. 

Meanwhile, Iris and Silas have become locked in the gym which was being decorated for a Sadie Hawkins dance. Neither knows what that it is, but it’s totally on the nose when Iris asks Silas to dance. Still, there is lots of good chemistry between the two in this scene. Of course, they can’t communicate with the others because the batteries in their walkie are dead. And why didn’t anyone think to check the super-corroded batteries in the first place??? Stupid. Plot hole.

Felix and Elton find Silas and Iris in the middle of their dance as Silas shows Iris how to dance and she imagines the gym full of other teenage couples. I’m getting a little tired of all the dream sequences to be honest. We don’t need the extra reeforcement that their world isn’t normal – not that ours is right now either, but this was filmed before Covid. Felix tells them to wait and he and Elton will go to the basement and take care of the empty who is at the only other exit door. 

When a wolf shows up trying to get through the vent and into the gym, Silas and Iris easily take care of the empty blocking their way by simply luring it in and going out, shutting it into the gym. Silas finds a flare, but as they make their way through the basement they start encountering more and more empties. 

Huck and Hope you have found a stash of food, hear Iris and Silas on the other side of a locked/chained door. Iris is trying to just push another empty away when Silas finally kills one! And then he loses it, jumping on it and beating on it. How exactly does he not break the skin on his fists and get infected? The entire sequence is stupid – yet of course, we are supposed to know extrapolate what Silas’s flashbacks were last week. People think he killed his father – we have a flashback in which someone says his own mother testified against him. Another says he should be in jail for what he did. Did he beat his father because his father was abusing his mother? Another act of protecting a woman he likes/loves? Again, paternalistic and simplistic. 

Felix manages to get Silas to stop – after they’ve taken care of all the other empties and after Silas has already pushed Elton off and hurt him. Silas apologizes. Iris finally has to go to Silas, who wants her to just leave him there. He hurt Elton. He also asks her if she thinks he killed his Dad. Another fraught dad-relationship which is clearly a theme of the episode. Iris tells him to stop. He’s saved her twice now and that’s all that matters.

Huck tells Elton he’s tough – he’s not whining about being hurt. However, once she steps away, Elton asks if Felix has a plan to get back. He clearly is the wedge. Elton tells Felix that he’s worried about Silas. Elton then takes a picture of the group together in the gym – clearly we’re getting close to our first casualty, right?

In the CR scene this week, we see a scientist – Lyla (Natalie Gold) – eating a gigantic sandwich as she conducts experiments on empties. We see from a photo on her desk that Dr Samuel Abbott – the subject – was a friend of hers and of Leopold. At least they are all smiling together in the photo. And yes, this is a nice parallel to the photo in the gym. She’s doing tests before and after reanimation. This reminded me of the experiments that Milton and the Governor did on The Walking Dead. Of course, they simply took advantage of the people dying – they didn’t kill their own scientists to experiment on them. Which begs the question again about why would you kill your own brain trust??

This show makes less and less sense. We have gotten the fact that this world is not like ours – it’s why it’s horror. We don’t need to see the characters look at our lives with nostalgia – that feels like folding the horror back onto normalcy. These characters really are too stupid to live. Any of them would be dead in the context of The Walking Dead – which really does have survival suspense. The actors are doing a fine job. I’m blaming the fact that I don’t really care which of these characters dies on the writing and the basic premise. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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