Beyond premiere react: Waking up from a 12-year coma has its drawbacks
Welcome to the New Year — and to a new serialized show to binge! If the mysteries of tonight’s two-hour series premiere of Beyond were enough to suck you in, then you’re in luck: The remaining eight episodes are now available to stream on digital platforms.
Before the premiere, Holden Matthews himself — Burkely Duffield — previewed the series for EW, teasing what his character would be facing after waking up from a 12-year coma. We know catching up on Apple’s latest products and Wikipedia are the least of his concerns, considering he has supernatural powers and fiery nightmares of a creepy old man. Plus, he seems to have lived in some alternate universe or world or something for the last decade-plus.
Everything kicks off years earlier in Fort Reed, Kansas, where two young best friends just want to enjoy a beer and meteor shower at their town water tower. Death Stalker and Falcon — or better known by their real names, Holden and Kevin — are having a classic buddy hangout where they look forward to high school and the girls who go there. “Aren’t they the same girls we knew in middle school, but without braces?” Holden rightfully asks.
The good times don’t last for long as Kevin’s brother, Jeff, shows up angry about the missing six-pack. As Jeff gets aggressive with Kevin, Holden stands up for his friend and smacks him with his bike helmet. Then Holden books it on his dirt bike with Kevin and his crew in pursuit. He loses them in the woods but is taken out by a branch. Despite some scratches, he appears fine…until he begins to hear some interference on his walkie-talkie. Soon, rocks and twigs start to levitate and then quickly drop. A strong light from above flashes down on him, and boom — we cut to the opening title.
We jump from the spooky woods to a hospital bed, where a man wakes up. His sudden movement alarms a fellow patient and nurse. It’s Holden with a beard, and he’s been in a coma for 12 years.
His doctor explains he shouldn’t even be speaking, let alone moving, but he soon proves quite the physical specimen and is allowed to return home. Not even reuniting with his parents and not-so-younger brother, Luke, could prepare him for what’s next: He’s haunted by dreams filled with fire, an old man, and a young woman — and then he awakens in the same woods where his accident occurred.
Holden’s doctor has a rough morning, too, as she finds her office has been broken into. The police are suspicious why someone would ransack it, but she believes she has the answer: Holden’s file, which she happened to have on her.
Returning home, Holden goes with Luke to get some new clothes. Younger brother takes on the role of big brother as Luke gives Holden advice on fashion and women, urging him to approach a girl who’s checking him out. When he goes up to her, she’s happy to see him, saying she knows his name. After an embarrassing attempt at hitting on her, Holden tries to walk away, only for her to pull him closer and write something on his arm. Once she leaves, he realizes he didn’t get them digits. Instead, he got a concerning message: “You’re in danger, trust no one.” That night, Holden once again has similar dreams and wakes up in the same woods.
Shaking off the leaves and dirt, Holden eventually makes his way to a school. No, he isn’t there to finally finish the eighth grade; he’s meeting someone. “Nice office, Falcon,” he says. “I’m so sorry, Holden,” responds Falcon, a.k.a Kevin, embracing his friend with a hug. Kevin is now married, has a son on the way, and works as a school counselor. He tells Holden he can talk to him, but truth be told, Kevin isn’t handling it well.
Unaware of his friend’s secrets, Holden heads for another reunion, this one with the hospital. Put in an MRI machine for more tests, he starts to have his fiery visions again, with the mysterious girl becoming clearer and appearing to be the one who wrote the message on his arm. As he deals with his demons, the machine turns off, the electronics go haywire, and a fire engulfs the nearby area. When Holden wakes up, it all stops, and his only question is, “Do we have to do it again?”
Meanwhile, Kevin is hiding from his wife when he gets a mysterious call asking about Holden. Begrudgingly, he says he will get them what they want. Kevin arranges a meeting with Holden at a bar and shows up with a gun on him. As the duo have a beer just like the good ‘ole days, Kevin comes clean, confessing that he screwed up and that people are coming for Holden. Obviously, the news doesn’t sit well with his friend, who heads outside in the rain with Kevin following behind. Suddenly, they get ambushed by a group led by a man we saw going through Kevin’s office earlier. They take the gun from Kevin and turn it on him, saying they want Holden to stop the bullet. “I’m not who you think I am,” he yells, slamming his fist into the ground, which sets off the lights and sends the bad guys flying. The dream girl has perfect timing and shows up to drive Holden away.
Her name is Willa and she says they know each other. Holden has no memory of her and demands she stop the car, resorting again to the classic yell-and-slam-your-fist move, causing the windows to burst and the engine to explode. “Your body was dormant all those years lying in that hospital bed, but your conscious wasn’t,” she tells him. “You lived a life these past 12 years.” Willa warns him he can do so much more, but he’s dangerous if he doesn’t learn to control it. Wanting his old life back, Holden leaves.
Willa must have called an Uber because next time we see her, she’s visiting an old man who also seems to be in a coma. Upon sharing a Holden update with him, she somehow gets a text message that appears to be from the comatose man, urging her to protect Holden. What a cliffhanger!
NEXT: But not for long…
We don’t need to wait, though: We get episode 2 right away! Things pick up with Willa and Holden, but here they seem to be having a much friendlier conversation. “Feels like I just got here,” he says after she tells him he has to go. As Willa gives him a compass, a storm begins and Kevin runs by. Suddenly, her face starts to melt and she yells for him to run. As he does head off, the mysterious man from the bar shows up and fires his gun at Holden. And then… He wakes up, but luckily this in his bedroom this time. Already disoriented, he heads downstairs to find the cops wanting to talk to him about the previous night’s wild events. After learning Kevin is missing and sharing a few vague details of what happened, his dad cuts the interview short.
The brothers take a quick trip to scope out the scene outside the bar before heading to church with mom, both looking forward to checking out the “scenery.” The relaxed and spiritual mood is put on hold when Holden recognizes a familiar face. Turns out it’s Jeff, the man who basically caused all of this. During the pastor’s sermon, Holden causes two disturbances. First, he gets a ring from Willa on a phone he didn’t even know he had. Upon rejecting the call, things only get worse. He ends up in another one of his dreams, but this one is even worse because it’s just him and the older man in the church. “Leave me alone,” yells Holden, suddenly waking back up in front of everyone.
Clearly, church isn’t right for Holden, so he heads home for some bonding time with his dad. Turns out they still have his dirt bike and they fix it up for him to take it for a spin. For a moment, everything seems like it did so many years ago, but that doesn’t last long as a pickup truck is in hot pursuit. Luckily (maybe), it’s Kevin, who takes Holden back to their special spot at the water tower. Kevin does a whole “woe is me” spiel, which probably isn’t smart when talking to your BFF who just woke up from a 12-year nap.
Meanwhile, we catch up with the mystery man from the bar. He enjoys quite the travels, going from a bus where he offers a child his gun to walking down a long dirt road in the woods. Eventually, he’s escorted through a secured community to a main house to meet with the powerful Mr. Frost. Instead, he’s met by a nameless woman (does anyone wear name tags in this company?). Bad news: The incident with Holden means he’s getting reassigned. “I gave him proof,” he exclaims. His travels are finally over as he heads to a picturesque neighborhood, where he walks into a house. Thankfully, he isn’t there to kill anybody — he actually lives there. His wife isn’t happy he didn’t get a promotion at his “sales job.” Well, things may be turning, because he gets a surprise call from the almighty Mr. Frost.
Holden is back home, but still getting nonstop calls from Willa, so he throws the phone away. The guy has had a stressful few days and his brother has the perfect solution — a college party. At the party, Holden gets a helpful rundown of the right color liquids to drink and gets paired up with a girl named Jamie, winning her over with some Aristotle talk. Jamie clearly loves philosophers because they’re soon making out. Things get weird, though, when he starts to picture Willa in Jamie’s place. Things then get even weirder when the old man makes another appearance, prompting Holden to make a run for the bathroom.
Seemed like a smart plan, but the bathroom actually ends up sending him to some spooky alternate reality that resembles a cave. As Holden tries to avoid being destroyed by an aggressive creature on the other side of the door, it’s not looking any better in the bathroom, where he’s passed out and once again causes a fire. Flames start to set the house ablaze, sending everyone running and Luke searching for his brother. He eventually tracks him down, breaks the door open, and carries him to safety. Big little brother does it again!
Despite having weird dreams, being ambushed by gunmen, and a girl saying he lived a life while in a coma, the fire is finally the last straw for Holden. He shows up at Willa’s apartment to seek answers. “The other night, you said we lived a life together,” he says. “Where?”
Where has Holden been? Will he ever check out the town’s Apple Store? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and check out our postmortem interview with Duffield.