Who is "the asset"? What is the CRM's mission? Who killed Tony? 'The Walking Dead: World Beyond' gives answers in the two-hour finale.
What is the "asset"? What is Huck's — or is it Jennifer's — real mission? And, for that matter, what is Col. Kublek and the CRM really up to? Who killed Tony and framed Silas? All those questions are intertwined in the two-part, back-to-back season finale of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and the answers... well, seem kinda lame and aren't worth the more entertaining mind-games and general drama they caused.
Episode 9, "The Deepest Cut"
Let's start with that first question. The asset is Hope. At least, that's who the Civic Republic believes to be the asset. Huck's whole mission has been to bring Hope to the CR. The CR didn't want to put a lot of resources into this. Military spending and budget cuts must be tight. That's why Kublek gave Iris and Hope a map to their dad at the beginning of the season to keep them "on course." But first, Huck has to separate Hope from the others.
On the road in the night, while Hope, Iris, and Felix doze off, Huck crashes the car so that they have to take a rest and seek shelter, which happens to be an abandoned house she already scouted earlier on. The area is shrouded in mist as they walk along the road and empties begin to surround them on all sides. They are tangled in barbed wire, making it difficult to escape. They manage to fight through but Huck, without anyone noticing, cuts the back of Felix's ankle, which he thinks is just from getting snared on the wire. He doesn't tell the others the true extent of his injuries. Meanwhile, it's festering and he's grappling with memories of his fights with Will and Leo, about how Will volunteered to go with Leo to the CR so Felix might learn to let others handle things once in a while. Gratuitous bedroom make-outs are appreciated. The group scouts the house for supplies. Huck takes Iris aside to chat about how she is different from Hope, suggesting that maybe Iris is the asset after all — which we'll get into later. The big takeaway from this moment is that there's a room Huck promises is filled with dead bodies from the house's owners and to not go in there. Iris is suspicious. Huck also plants another seed of discord by mentioning the reason Hope wanted to learn how to fight was so she could leave for Omaha, which clearly Iris didn't know about.
The next day, they are out walking and attempting to hop a barricade in the road. That's when Felix can no longer hide his injury. They help him back to the house and Huck mentions Felix can't move for a while until his ankle is healed, which was her plan since crashing the car. Hope and Iris argue off to the side given how quick Huck was to suggest Felix not continue on with the girls. Given all that Hope was able to confide in Huck over the past few weeks with no judgment, she's quick to speak up for her. Later, when Huck and Felix make it official — he's staying behind while the girls continue on with Huck and they'll circle back for him eventually — Iris suggests to Hope that maybe Huck isn't who they think she is. Apparently, Iris has been thinking this for a while, though that hasn't been made clear in any of the storytelling, so we're just going to accept that for her character and move on. This strikes a bigger rift between the sisters. Hope feels like Iris looks at her differently ever since she told the half-truth about how their mom actually died, but Huck never judges her. As the two argue, Hope confesses she had plans to leave for Omaha without telling Iris, creating a rift.
Turns out, this is just part of Hope's plan to keep Felix and Iris safe. With Felix injured and Iris angry at Hope, maybe they won't be suspicious when she and Huck sneak off together in the middle of the night. Hope wakes up Huck and tells her they need to leave because Iris just won't depart without Felix. It's revealed Hope had cracked the codes found in that CRM pamphlet by herself earlier on. The code read: "Raft Embed Agent En Route to NY/ W/ Asset and Four/ All Four Expendable." Huck famously came to the Campus Colony adrift on a raft, and given that Huck was willing to leave with Hope without the others, it became clear that Hope was the asset. Hope had taken Felix's gun in secret with her to defend against Huck.
While all this is going on, there's Elton. He's off by himself, still dealing with the revelation that Hope killed his mother, when he finds Percy. He's barely hanging on to life and losing more blood by the second. Elton drags his unconscious body along and begins to hallucinate entire conversations with an apparition of Percy, who's telling Elton to leave him behind, that he's dying anyway. Elton examines the body and finds a bullet wound in Percy's shoulder. He bandages the wound and defends Percy from a pack of empties that are approaching. Elton then finds a walkie in Percy's jacket and calls out over the radio. That's when he gets a hold of Huck, who at this point is out on the road with Hope. Percy wakes to the sound of Elton talking with Huck and cuts them off. Huck is the one who shot Percy and killed Tony. Again, this part is all entertaining, but the results are too haphazardly spun together to make any of it worth it.
There is a brief post-credits scene that sees Will running through the woods being chased by CRM soldiers, but who needs to think too much on that when the finale episode aired directly afterward.
Episode 10, "In This Life"
The last question remains: what is the CR's bigger plan here? Why do they need Hope? It comes back to Dr. Lyla Bellshaw, the character who first appeared in a post-credits scene at the end of episode 4. She's part of a team that's involved with scientific experimentation on empties, and she's dating Leo. In a series of flashbacks, we find out that Leo told Lyla about Hope in confidence, how she was able to take apart a computer and put it back together at the age of 6. Lyla then told the CR, who designated Hope to be one of the new generation's brighter minds they could tap to help develop a better future for civilization. In other words, they believe that children are their future, teach them well and let them lead the way... Lyla has been trying to tell Leo the truth but can't seem to bring herself to do it over the fear of losing him. But Hope is going to arrive at the CR hidden base regardless, so he'll find out anyway sooner or later. One night, after a failed attempt at telling him, Leo confesses he believes the CR might be feeding them lies. He mentions how odd it was that their former teammate Dr. Abbot apparently left the CR to visit his ailing sister under mysterious circumstances. Will also went out on an expedition with someone named Scotty and they haven't returned. Given how easily Lyla broke his confidence when his own daughter was involved, it's likely Lyla snitched on him again so maybe Leo isn't as safe as he seems.
Cut to the present and Hope is holding Huck at gunpoint, demanding answers. Huck confesses she's with the CRM and that Hope is the asset, but a group of empties comes up on them. They were drawn to the gunshot Hope fired as a warning to Huck. In the scuffle, Hope loses the gun and she and Huck are forced to work together to fend them off. Once it's safe to continue talking, Huck confesses Leo was not in danger. The CR found the fax messages he was sending to his daughters — which, again, implies Leo's actually in a whole lot of danger — and Huck was the one who sent those last few messages, believing it was the easiest way to get Hope away from the Campus Colony. She wanted it to be just her and Hope on the road together, but since that didn't go as planned, she decided to separate them up as peacefully as possible. She still loves Felix as a brother and cares for the other kids, but she's still ready and willing to do what's needed for this idea of building the future of tomorrow. That's why she killed Tony and tried to kill Percy. They were so close to finding a CR location, and if they were found out, the soldiers would've killed them all. So, she decided to kill two to save five.
Hope still has one lingering question: "Why me?" Frankly, I'm asking myself the same. So, Hope is smart. That's something we haven't really seen from her character beyond the brewery she built at the Campus Colony. It was slightly on display when the kids decided to build a makeshift steamboat, but nothing too standout to suggest she's some kind of prodigy. I find it hard to believe that there's such an abysmal lack of brilliant minds that it would warrant the CRM butchering an entire Campus Colony — which was a friggin' university full of kids who were trying to learn and become brilliant minds — and hatching this whole plot to smuggle Hope out of the colony to the CR. Huck doesn't even say what her field of expertise would be, which suggests they don't know what specifically Hope is good at exactly — which, again, makes this whole thing sound so silly.
Iris and Felix, meanwhile, are figuring things out, too. They open the door Huck told them was full of bodies and instead find medical equipment and air tanks, both of which would've been helpful for getting them mobile again. They fix the truck and go after the others, although Huck has convinced Hope that it's better to keep them in the dark. If they know, they become targets for the CR. When Iris and Felix find them out, they try to play it cool. But Felix grabs Huck's gun, which then leads to a big fight that ends up setting their hideout home on fire. Hope manages to find the gun and threatens to blow her own brains out if the fighting doesn't stop.
They agree to go their separate ways peacefully. Huck will take Hope to the CR location and Felix will go off with Iris, presumably back home, although they'll have a rude awakening should they go back to the Omaha. Hope quietly tells Iris that she's only going with Huck because she knows she's not the asset. The real "asset" is both Hope and Iris together. That's when we go back to examine some of the flashback scenes more thoroughly. It turns out it was both girls working on the computer together when they were 6. Leo just didn't realize Iris was a part of it. So, again, why all these theatrics for something so silly as a teenager who just maybe might be good at computers?! There doesn't seem to be any further evidence of Hope's brilliance beyond the words of a doting father, who also wasn't paying enough attention to realize his other daughter also had a scientific aptitude.
The next day, Huck brings Hope to the rendezvous point. A CRM helicopter touches down in an open field and Kublek emerges. Hope doesn't fight back though the colonel gathers there's still some kind of resistance from her. She speaks off to the side with her daughter and mentions "the loose ends" Huck/Jennifer forgot to tell her about. Those would be Felix, Iris, Silas, and Elton. The CRM intercepted Huck's dispatch over the radio and Kublek has already made arrangements to deal with those loose ends. So, despite Huck's efforts, the other four are now targets. Kublek mentions an "incident" with Huck "back home" before she left for Omaha that put her trustworthiness into question among other members of the CRM. She also mentions the Campus Colony but just says "a lot has happened since you left." Huck is visibly disturbed by all this talk and perhaps she, too, is beginning to realize that, for all that talk of doing bad to do some good for the future, the bad might be outweighing the good.
Silas, too, has also been taken into CRM custody. Elton and Percy manage to find Silas living alone, barbecuing rabbit he hunted. They reveal he definitely wasn't the one that attacked Percy and Tony, which lifts a weight off the kid's shoulders. But now they are determined to save the others from Huck, unaware of all the other stuff going down. They start making their plans but are forced to flee when CRM soldiers start swarming the area. Elton fears they may have heard his radio call out to Huck and decided to intervene. The trio try to sneak out later that night, but there are too many soldiers. They reach a gate and attempt to sneak past, but Percy fears he's slowing them all down with his injury. Silas instead decides to turn himself in so the other two can get away and save the others.
The other two loose ends, Iris and Felix, are walking through the woods when they hear the crackle of leaves. They turn to see a group of hooded figures, one of which turns out to be Will. After the initial reunion hugs and tears, Will mentions he thought they were all dead, seemingly referring to the obliteration of the Campus Colony. Iris and Felix, of course, don't know what he's talking about just yet, but now the deck is stacked for season 2. It's for the best that this show is only two seasons long.
This story originally appeared on: EW - Author:Nick Romano