The Walking Dead: World Beyond spin-off premiered Sunday on AMC giving fans of the zombie franchise a look at life 10 years after the apocalypse.
Its heroines, sisters Iris and Hope Bennett (Aliyah Royale and Alexa Mansour), initially seemed to live a normal existence, attending school, throwing parties and staying far away from zombies, called ’empties,’ whom they rarely encounter in daily life.
Underneath the surface, however, it became clear that everything was ruled by the Civic Republic Military, a group fleetingly seen in the precursor show, which has come to rule the United States.
Spin-off premiere: Aliyah Royale as main character Iris is shown in a still from The Walking Dead: World Beyond spin-off that premiered Sunday on AMC
The CRM has forged an ‘Alliance of Three,’ which includes settlements in Portland, Oregon, and Omaha, Nebraska, where the girls’ suburban school campus was designated a colony.
Helping to lead CRM is the mysterious Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond), who from the start seemed to possess a shadowy agenda.
Before long, the girls have realized not all is what it seems, and flee their safe haven to find their father, a professor working for CRM in a ‘science exchange’ who appears to be in danger.
To survive, Iris, a type-A former CRM acolyte, learns to fight zombies for the first time.
Ten years: Alexa Mansour as Hope was trying to navigate life 10 years after the zombie apocalypse
‘I’m finally living for me, in the now, searching for my own truth,’ she said as she stabbed at her first empty. ‘And do you know what? It feels good!’
Iris had long believed in CRM’s new world order, not knowing what else to do.
Ten years before, on ‘The Night the Sky Fell,’ she and Hope fled through a chaotic scene of death and destruction brought on by the sudden onset of the zombie apocalypse.
Sky fell: Ten years before, on ‘The Night the Sky Fell,’ Iris and Hope fled through a chaotic scene of death and destruction brought on by the sudden onset of the zombie apocalypse
As they ran through explosions, grasping their parents’ hands, a plane crashed in their midst, and the sisters were separated from each other.
Over the next few minutes, Hope watched her mother die, horribly and senselessly.
That loss played on Iris’ mind as the CRM visited the colony for Monument Day, an upcoming event commemorating the start of the apocalypse and the memory of the dead.
Special guest: Annet Mahendru as Huck, Nico Tortorella as Felix and Iris welcomed the CRM
As Student Council president, Iris led her peers on a bus trip to welcome the incoming CRM.
Hope, who hid in the bus’ luggage compartment, amended their welcome banner to read, ‘The Civil Republic Sucks A**,’ which irritated Iris.
At their destination, Hope visited a makeshift cemetery and left flowers on her mother’s grave.
Makeshift cemetery: At their destination, Hope visited a makeshift cemetery and left flowers on her mother’s grave
She spotted five CRM helicopters overhead, one of which landed with Elizabeth in it.
‘I’m sure you’re tired,’ said Felix Carlucci (Nico Tortorella), a colony security officer. ‘It was probably a long trip from… wherever you’re from.’
‘It was,’ Elizabeth returned, signaling her men to shoot some approaching zombies.
In charge: Helping to lead CRM is the mysterious Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond)
Zombie sighting: A zombie appeared but was quickly dispatched by CRM security
‘We fire disruption charges to scatter the sound,’ she reassured Felix. ‘We won’t draw any more. We’re quite good at this, wherever we’re from.
In the distance, Elizabeth saw Hope flip her the bird.
The lieutenant colonel said there had been talk of having government officials join them, but the CRM ‘wasn’t comfortable sending civilians.’
Secret passenger: Hope stowed away on the bus, but her sister was part of the delegation
She then met with the students, whose updated sign read, ‘The Civic Republic US.’
At home, Iris chided Hope for changing the banner, reminding her that their father was working with the CRM to end the zombie plague.
He kept a fax, pager and radio tuner hidden in his university office just to send them messages.
Absent father: At home, Iris chided Hope for changing the banner, reminding her that their father was working with the CRM to end the zombie plague
Iris prepared to give a speech for Monument Day—so named, she said, ‘because we are all monuments to the past. We survived, and the rest didn’t.’
Iris barely remembered the world before apocalypse, but felt sure she could change the future.
In her notebook, she drew a crashed plane, a DNA strand, an opening gate, and a map of the US, with question marks around everything that wasn’t Portland, Omaha or CRM territory.
Strong personalities: Iris barely remembered the world before apocalypse, but felt sure she could change the future, while Hope didn’t trust authority and wanted more freedom
The next day, Iris visited her dad’s office and again found no pager messages from him.
From her backpack, she took out ‘The Lost Rocks,’ a 2011 book which investigated what happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Virginia.
Her father had left messages in it, the last one apologizing for missing Monument Day, and offering, ‘Sending these messages are a risk, but I need you both to know I’m okay.’
Iris went off to class, where she learned that Hope was busted for making alcohol in her room.
Illegal alcohol: Hope was busted for making alcohol in her room and was temporarily jailed
Felix, who held Hope in a cell, was the sisters’ temporary guardian, having also dated Will, the head of their father’s security detail.
Iris got Hope out and they ran into Elizabeth, who thanked them for allowing their father to help the CRM, praised Iris’ studiousness, and complimented Hope’s distillery.
‘I don’t need to listen to this crap,’ Hope spat, telling her sister, ‘She is part of the reason why we’re never gonna see Dad again. And deep down inside, you know that.’
In a visit to her psychologist, Dr. K (Beth Leavel), Iris confessed that she’d been having dreams she was ‘stumbling around dead,’ and her doctor urged her to speak to Hope about their loss.
Death dreams: In a visit to her psychologist, Dr. K (Beth Leavel), Iris confessed that she’d been having dreams she was ‘stumbling around dead,’ and her doctor urged her to speak to Hope about their loss
Iris remembered The Night the Sky Fell, and how she had been so afraid of zombies she broke free from her mother in the crowd and never saw her again.
Dr. K worried that a traumatized Iris had been so focused on the future and helping others that she neglected herself. She urged her to remember how precious time was.
‘It’s your life,’ Dr. K affirmed. ‘Only you can figure out how to give it meaning.’
Sage advice: Dr. K worried that a traumatized Iris had been so focused on the future and helping others that she neglected herself and urged her to remember how precious time was
In the school gym, Hope was also thinking about her mother, and how they walked through the wreckage of the downed plane, with its pile of zombies and dead bodies.
She had been learning from Huck how to fight the dead, and yearned to see the world outside.
Heading to her dad’s office, she found Iris in front of the fax machine, reading a message from him that said, ‘My safety is not assured!’
Horrible memory: In the school gym, Hope was also thinking about her mother, and how they walked through the wreckage of the downed plane, with its pile of zombies and dead bodies
Classmates Elton Ortiz (Nicholas Cantu) and Silas Plaskett (Hal Cumpston) also spotted the fax, and vowed not to tell.
Elton even revealed his own secret: He regularly snuck outside the school’s borders.
Hope grew frustrated with Iris’ allegiance to the CRM, and told her she had seen five CRM helicopters flying around the day before—not one, as Elizabeth had suggested.
Offering support: Classmates Elton Ortiz (Nicholas Cantu) and Silas Plaskett (Hal Cumpston) also spotted the fax, and vowed not to tell
After consulting with Felix, they reluctantly decided it would be best not to help their dad.
Outside, Hope yelled at Iris, ‘How can you not see this? They are bad people, Iris, and they have our dad!’
Elizabeth strolled out of the dark. ‘Are you talking about us? The Civic Republic? One of your Alliance partners? C’mon, tell me. How are we bad, exactly?’
Surprise appearance: Elizabeth strolled out of the dark. ‘Are you talking about us? The Civic Republic? One of your Alliance partners? C’mon, tell me. How are we bad, exactly?’
Iris faced her. ‘You don’t let anyone in or out. You won’t let people communicate with your people. Or vice-versa. You don’t tell anyone where you are, and you have our dad.’
Elizabeth told the girls she had a daughter who was a CRM soldier, and while she was often scared for her, she felt emboldened by the bravery she showed.
She let them know that their father was teaching at the CR research facility in New York, and risked jail time by handing them a coded map with her own stamp and watermark.
Risky map: She let the girls know their father was teaching at the CR research facility in New York, and risked jail time by handing them a coded map with her own stamp and watermark
Elizabeth then conceded that she was drunk on champagne from Hope’s own stash.
‘You really are your father’s daughter,’ she told the girl. ‘You both are.’
The sisters retreated to their father’s office for brandy, passing out and waking up to another message.
Father’s daughters: ‘You really are your father’s daughter,’ Elizabeth told the girl. ‘You both are.’
‘It’s all gone bad,’ it said. ‘Keeping my head down. I’ll find help. Don’t tell the Council. Don’t tell Felix. I love you girls.’
Iris went to see Dr. K, but found to her horror that the woman had turned into a zombie.
Numb from the discovery, she scrapped her cheery Monument Day speech and improvised a new one about how Dr. K had taught her to seize control of her life.
Zombie now: Iris went to see Dr. K, but found to her horror that the woman had turned into a zombie
‘The Night the Sky Fell, I was just a little kid, and I just jumped to living for the future,’ Iris said as Elizabeth sat nearby. ‘I think a lot of us did. And what I figured out? I have to start with now. And I think ”now” starts with the truth.’
She turned to the CRM leader. ‘The truth is I don’t trust you. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you’re doing.’
Elizabeth said Iris would know ‘someday,’ but the aspiring scientist insisted that wasn’t enough.
The truth: ‘The truth is I don’t trust you. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you’re doing,’ Iris said during her speech
‘Science is about finding the truth, not just deciding on it,’ Iris noted, acknowledging it was hard to wait. ‘But someone once told me that I’m brave. So I’m gonna keep working in the now to find it.’
Iris took her sister aside and told her they needed to go save their dad.
She apologized for letting her suffer through the loss of their mom alone.
Big day: Elizabeth was the featured speaker for Monument Day
‘I’m glad you didn’t have to see it,’ Hope said.
Hope knew that on the night in question, her mother had tried to commandeer a truck to find her husband and daughter, but a pregnant lady who wanted the vehicle held a gun on them.
When Hope rushed her, she discharged the gun, killing Hope’s mom. Hope picked it up and aimed it at the woman just an explosion went off, and she fell dead.
Gun violence: Hope witnessed her mother get shot and picked up the gun and aimed it at the woman who fired it
Elton and Silas asked to join the sisters on their journey, offering to help them escape the gates.
The girls left a note for Felix, who immediately set about looking for them with Huck.
Outside, Silas stumbled across a strange object, a triceratops horn Elton had bought years before for his unborn sister.
Heading out: Outside, Silas stumbled across a strange object, a triceratops horn Elton had bought years before for his unborn sister
‘We weren’t together,’ Elton said of his mom, looking at a photo of the same pregnant woman Hope had shot. ‘I never saw her again.’
He strapped the horn to the barrel of his weapon, and Iris used it to kill her first zombie.
In their absence, a massacre had occurred on campus. A tank drove through the gate, and students and zombies were stabbed by MRC soldiers. Monument Day banners were torched.
Through it all, Elizabeth walked calmly, killing zombies at random.
Calm killer: Elizabeth walked calmly killing zombies at random after a school massacre
‘We’ve searched every building on campus and the surrounding areas,’ a soldier told her. ‘We can’t find her.’
‘Good,’ Elizabeth replied.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond will return next week on AMC.
Zombie killer: Iris volunteered to kill the first zombie they approached after leaving
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk