The Walking Dead is a story of the dead on AMC TV

On this week’s episode of The Walking Dead World Beyond, titled “Foothold”, we get a jaw-dropping amount of information on the secretive organization the Civic Republic Military (CRM) and their ultimate goals. And spoilers beyond this point, but it sure seems like they’re aiming to develop a zombie cure.

In the hour, Hope (Alexa Mansour) gets a tour of the CRM facility thanks to her father’s girlfriend Lyla (Natalie Gold). While there, she learns that she’s been recruited into a decades long push to figure out the roots of the zombie plague, and potentially reverse it. But for those thinking that World Beyond‘s second (and final) season will end with zombies being wiped out forever… Think again.

“Science moves little discoveries at a time,” World Beyond showrunner Matt Negrete told Decider. “It’s not suddenly like, boom, we figured out the cure, and we’re all cured now, everyone just takes the serum. There’s a lot of steps between having a little breakthrough that may lead to something and finally getting that moment of, wow, we have a cure. And so, the expectations that our scientists have on this show is that it’s going to be a multi-generational thing.”

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That multi-generational process is why CRM recruited Hope in the first place with a complicated plan that led to literally hundreds of deaths and the destruction of two communities. But if Hope is key to stopping the zombie apocalypse, that could be worth it, right? Well, that is if CRM — and Lyla — can be trusted… Which they can’t.

“Lyla is someone who tells the truth when she feels like she can,” Negrete continued. “And she tells the truth when it suits her purposes. I think we can take a lot of what she’s saying at face value. It’s just possible that she’s probably not giving Hope all the facts, just some of them. And she’s showing her maybe a peek behind the curtain, but not giving her a full look. So I’ll say that much.”

Given that Lyla is looking for more subjects to experiment on by the end of the episode, chances are that Hope may have gotten into more than she bargained for; and the end of zombies perhaps isn’t the only thing CRM is working towards. What it is they really want, we’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC and streams a week early on AMC+.

with AMC’s The Walking Dead these days

I didn’t expect “For Blood” to be as satisfying as it was, mainly because I try not to get my hopes up too much with AMC’s The Walking Dead these days. But other than the big fumbles of the first two episodes, this first third of this final season has been solid.

Tonight’s battle for Meridian came at exactly the right time, not so fast that there are no stakes besides a trophy in the form of food supplies, but not so slow as to feel padded out. Plus, Maggie, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Elijah , and their large herd of zombies versus the outmanned but well-armed Reapers feels like a fair fight that either side could win.

It’s so well-structured that the first bit of the episode’s silliness doesn’t detract from it in the slightest. It turns out that for whatever reason, the Reapers had gotten their hands on what seem to be several million mines, and they’re all located directly in front of the zombie herd.

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Daryl’s extreme concern that his friends could explode at any moment keeps things tense, even as the episoode overindulges itself by showing zombie after zombie after zombie explode. The second bit of silliness is Pope (Ritchie Coster), who has lost his mind to a degree that truly makes you wonder why anyone would have ever followed the maniac for an afternoon, let alone years. Remember, this is the guy who freaks out anytime one of his soldiers gets killed, although he’s the one who puts them in danger, whether by sending them into battle for no reason or by setting them on fire himself. This time Pope sends a guy to try to lead the herd away… but mainly as bait to check and see if his great adversary Maggie is out there.

Leah (Lynn Collins) is justifiably appalled Pope would throw their comrade’s life away to just confirm a hunch. Her day only going to gets worse, but first, more silliness: Someone on the Reapers has managed to build a Multiple Rocket Launcher, chock full of…well, they look a lot more bottle rockets than missiles. It’s all very ludicrous, but presumably, the device will take out a great deal of the zombie horde, including Negan and Elijah, who are still milling around out there. Meanwhile, Daryl spies Maggie and Gabriel sneaking around Meridian’s walls. He kills a Reaper, lets them in, and returns to Leah, where he confesses everything—the people attacking are his people, they’re good people, he lied to her because she was working with a certified lunatic, and he asks her to join him, and leave the certified lunatic behind.

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We felt that Leah is a character who puts her family above all else. And there was a point where I think she hoped that Daryl was part of that family. But when she gets to the end of this episode, she realizes Daryl and his chosen family have a plot they’ve been executing and that he has been lying to her. He just killed somebody that’s one of her own. She knew Pope needed to die, but she was hoping that could be to spare everybody else. She just makes a decision. Daryl’s going to do whatever he needs to do for his family, but she’s got to do the same for hers. So it really felt like that was the truest expression of who Leah was.

The weird thing is she’s sort of like a dark mirror to Daryl in that moment. And I think ultimately their relationship was never on totally solid footing. There was a toxic element always, from the beginning. And maybe that’s why people, when they watched the first episode with her, had reactions to her at times, but we always knew she was folding into this story. And so there’s something honorable about what she believes, but it’s obviously also not what Daryl was hoping for and maybe not the outcome that would have happened if things had played out differently.

Speaking of Aaron’s daughter

Speaking of Aaron’s daughter, she managed to get herself grabbed through a window by a walker, prompting Rosita to stalk outside and diminish the number of zombies roaming about. The ominous music cues, not to mention the kids’-eye-view of her fight, suggested that Gabriel was about to become a single parent. But Rosita made it back inside, exhausted but intact, to deadpan, “Let’s stay away from the windows.” When everyone was forced to move upstairs in case that rickety door didn’t hold, Judith — Virgil’s assurance that Michonne was very much reflected in her every move — went looking for troublesome Gracie, and the two of them ended up trapped in the basement. On the floor was a rising tide; outside the door, walkers galore.

As Leah tried not to facepalm over Pope’s babble, he called for (I would swear he said) the Watch-It, which looked for all the world like a massive fireworks launcher. Alone with his ex, Daryl confessed that his people were among the walkers and invited her to run away with him. Just would she please stop Pope and not let his family be bottle-rocketed to death? Before Pope could start his pyrotechnics show, Maggie drove a truck through the front gates so as to let in the horde. Change of plans, said Pope. Aim at the courtyard. Even with our people there? asked Leah, aghast. “God will protect them,” he replied. Sure, Jan. Finally, Daryl drew his knives on Pope, and Leah stabbed her leader in the neck. He forgot that what mattered was people, she told Daryl. Her people. And just like he would, she would do anything to protect her people.

Who’s Barbara?

 She’s one of the original inhabitants of the Alexandria community who first appeared on season five of “TWD.” Played by Mandi Christine Kerr, she’s appeared on over 20 episodes of the show and acts as a babysitter to the community kids. 

She can be seen inside the house next to Gabriel and with the kids on Sunday’s episode. 

During a party when Rick and the gang first arrived to the community, Barbara was hoping for a dentist. If she makes it through the storm, maybe she’ll find one if she gets to the Commonwealth.