The Walking Dead: World Beyond recap: A Huck Finn adventure
There's a reason why Huck got her name, and you can probably guess what it is. Heard of a certain literary character by the name of Huckleberry Finn? Huck on the show was found by the Omaha colony's security force drifting down the Missouri River on a boat, just like the hero of Mark Twain's book — only she was near death. There's a lot Huck leaves out of that story: how she went days without knowing if she would live, how close she came to giving up and letting the water take her life, and she had to keep pushing every single moment to make it to Omaha.
These memories come back as the kids make it to the Mississippi River, what they consider to be the last big impediment on their journey to New York State. The military blew out all bridge crossings along the river when things went bad, so they need a boat. The problem is, all the ones along the water banks are busted. So, the kids are determined to build their own. Using spare parts from a warehouse further north, including bits from an air-conditioning unit to build a steam engine, they get to work.
It's nice. The sun beams down on the group, as if one summer day they got together to have an adventure across river — ignoring their actual reality for a moment: once they do cross the river, there's an even more treacherous and unknown landscape waiting for them.
As Felix tries to work Elton into getting on board to convince the others to turn back, the kid faces his own flashbacks. After episodes focusing on the memories of Hope, Silas, and Felix, it's already getting a bit too repetitive. What makes this one remotely interesting is we finally arrive at the point in the story where the promise of an emotional collision between Elton and Hope becomes more real.
Elton remembers a day when he went to visit his dad at the Natural History Museum. His mom, Amelia, pregnant with his sister, sits on the couch as his father teaches him about meteors and that one that wiped out the dinosaurs. The voice of his mom rings loud in his head as, in the present, he's also re-reading her manuscript, which is all about the power of nature and the inevitable force it will wield against humankind. Elton also flashes back to the day the sky fell. Empties were ripping through the museum and his dad hid him inside a small crate, an experience that resulted in his current claustrophobia.
Everything is going well on the boat until Hope overhears Felix whispering to Huck about Elton potentially convincing the others to turn back. She confronts Elton as the group argues about his trustworthiness. As they split off to vent and continue gathering parts, Hope reveals her brewing resentment towards Felix. She and Iris wanted a brother, but Felix never seemed to embrace that role when their dad took him in. Hope is still mad that Felix didn't tell Leo not to go with the Civic Republic. Felix, opening up for the first time to Iris, reveals he was the one who was supposed to go with Leo as a protective escort instead of his boyfriend Will. But Leo made Felix promise to stay behind to protect the girls.
By this point, the group is almost done with the boat, but they can't get the wood hot enough to start the steam engine. Silas and Elton head back to the warehouse to retrieve flammable nail polish they remember seeing earlier, but there's a storm on its way which threatens to wash away the boat as the tide comes in if they don't leave soon. Adding to the hustle, a lightning bolt strikes a lamp pole, which topples into a shack filled with empties. Iris and Felix rush back to the boat to warn of the impending dead. Silas and Elton are running back, too, when Elton trips and spills a bucket of nail polish. He promises he didn't do it on purpose and Silas, perhaps having been the focus of Huck's vitriol in the past, extends a helping, understanding hand.
When they rendezvous with the others, the nail polish seems to work until the engine catches fire. A piece fell loose and they need someone small enough to crawl under the boat to fix it. It's left up to Elton, who fights through his claustrophobia to do so while Felix, Hope, and Iris fight off the oncoming empties. The group comes together in the end to get the boat in the water and float away before the dead reach the shore.
Later that night, as they set up camp on the other side of the river, Huck makes the decision to leave the group and go scout ahead. They don't know what this new terrain looks like and she hopes to come back with intel. Hope goes off to check up on Elton, who sits alone, scribbling notes in his mom's manuscript. He says he still thinks sometimes that maybe his mom and sister are alive somewhere. He turns to the back of the book where he keeps a photograph of Amelia. Hope sees it and instantly remembers her as the woman she shot as a kid.
Her focus is pulled back to the present, however, when the kids hear a crunch in the leaves nearby. Iris says it's an empty and goes off to take care of it. But it's not an empty. It's too dark to make out who exactly is waiting in the shadows, but it's human. And they unsheathe a staff as the kids stare frozen on the spot. Might she have something to do with the post-credits scene we glimpsed last week?