The Walking Dead: World Beyond showrunner on that big reveal
The Walking Dead: World Beyond
Answers! We got them on Sunday’s “The Sky Is a Graveyard” installment of The Walking Dead: World Beyond. We finally learned all about the violent encounter that led Silas to janitorial duty at the Campus Colony — that he fought back in a blind (and protective) rage against his abusive father, inadvertently killing him, and then having to take him out again in zombie form to save his mother.
Of course, other questions — like who definitively killed Tony — remained somewhat open, and a whole new series of questions presented themselves as we learned at the very end of the episode that Huck has not only been working the whole time with the CRM’s Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond) to keep eyes on the “asset” (whomever or whatever that is), but that the two may even be related. That possibility was put into play when Elizabeth handed Huck a watch, to which the latter marine responded “Dad’s?”
What does that final scene mean? We went straight to the source and asked World Beyond showrunner Matt Negrete, and also inquired about Silas’ past, present, and future, as well as Hope’s big revelation to Elton that she was the one who killed his mother. Will we get more answers from the showrunner as we head into next week’s two-part finale? Let’s find out.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You show all these terrible flashbacks of Silas’ dad beating his wife, beating Silas, tearing off the headphones at the dinner table, yet you also include a really sweet one of them listening to some heavy metal. Why include that scene?
MATT NEGRETE: One of the things that the writers and I talked about in terms of how we wanted to depict Silas' dad is a disturbing portrait of domestic abuse. I think it's really easy to categorize someone as being horrible and abusive. Silas' dad definitely was, but I think part of the nature of the abuse is that it's not always bad. There are good times to remember with the bad times, and Silas' was father was wrestling with something too, but I think the nature of abuse is that, in so many cases, if it was always so bad, it's like, "Well, why don't you just walk away?" But it's psychological in a way — at times, he could be a really good person.
I do think that he loved Silas, but his father was obviously a very disturbed person and had demons of his own. It really was designed to create the full picture of Silas. Obviously, Silas was influenced by his father in so many ways in terms of the music he listens to, and so there was the good of that, but also the bad that Silas took from it, which was he fears that he's like his father in other much darker ways. That's the thing that's really affecting Silas in the present.
Let's stick with the music for a second. When we see him as we've seen him throughout this season with that Walkman and listening to that music, is that his way of keeping his dad alive? And, if so, what is the symbolism of him dropping that Walkman on the road at the end?
I think that as adults and young adults, we're shaped by our childhood, both the good and the bad. I do think music is such a powerful thing and such an important thing [for] young adults. I know it was for me. I'm dating myself by saying this, but I used to stand by the boom box that I had as a teenager and wait for the song that I love to come on the radio so I could hit record and make a mixed tape because there was no Spotify. There were no streaming services back then.
I think for Silas, music is a powerful thing that reminds him of his family — not just his father. He references his grandparents in episode 4. I think part of it is that music and his headset is a combination of who he's become at this point, and all he's wanted is to start over. By him leaving the Walkman down on the road as he's walking away, it's really him basically shedding everything from his past, including his friends because he sees himself as probably a danger. But maybe if he can shed these things, these parts of himself he's carried with him over all these years, he can finally start over again. That's his hope at the end of the episode.
As I'm watching the episode, and Silas retreats from his dad, locks himself in the room, and then his mom gets home — at first, I was like, "Oh, no, she's going to get bit, and he's going to be responsible." But I didn't see her get bit in that scene, which leads to the question: Where is Silas' mom now?
Silas does save his mom. His mom is not bitten, but the meat of that relationship is revealed when Silas has finally brutally killed his father for basically a second time, but this time in front of his mom. She basically tells him she's traumatized for obvious reasons, but she's also kind of scared of Silas in that moment, and she tells him to stay back. She's putting the pieces of this puzzle together, which is Silas killed his father as a person and then again as an empty. She's afraid of silence in this moment. For Silas, that's the ultimate betrayal. He just risked his life to save his mother and to save her from more abuse, and she's looking at him like the monster that his own father was.
We've put in references to his mom in prior episodes, and we played in some clues that implied there was a trial, and Silas's mother sent him to sent him to the Campus Colony, and he was from Omaha originally. Really, it was his own mother distancing him from her, and she really didn't want anything to do with him because I think she was at the point where when she looked at Silas, she was just seeing her husband, and that was too much for her to bear.
You know my favorite game is Walking Dead What If?, so I want to play that with you now. Let's say Silas does not leave on his own after he's freed himself from the swing set and he doesn't just walk off, and let's say it does go to a vote by the group on what to do with them. What happens?
I think that it would have been close, but I think that he would have stayed. I think Elton's assessment that he tells Iris earlier was pretty much correct. I think that Felix would have been able to convince him that Silas could stay, but obviously under careful watch. I think that Iris would've wanted him to stay. There's this moment at the end where Iris just wants him to say he didn't do it. She doesn't believe he does it, but she just wants him to say it, and she'll believe it.
Silas doesn't want to put her in that [position] because Silas doesn't know whether or not he did it, and there's no other reason to suspect it wasn't him, so he just has to assume it's him. He really lets Iris off the hook in that moment and doesn't want to put this on her shoulders. He feels like he's been enough of a burden. That's why he does what he does, but I do think that Huck and Hope would have said no, [and] Elton, Iris, and Felix probably would have voted for him to stay. But obviously, there would have been still things to work out in that scenario.
Put yourself in the group. Knowing only what they know and having seen only what they saw at this point, which way would you have voted, Matt?
Based on only what I saw, I think I would probably fall, honestly, in the Hope camp where I don't want to believe that he did it, but all evidence points to it. You have no reason to believe that he didn't do it, but by all appearances, it just seems like he has some issues, and you just can't trust them. It looks like he flew off the handle, essentially. He has these triggers, and if you don't know what's going to trigger someone like that, you really can't trust that person to be around you, so it's horrible to say it, but I think when it comes to brass tacks, I would have said, "Sorry, Silas. I wish you the best, but you just can't be with us."
Yeah. Later, skater. I would've said the same thing with that information. All right, so we see Hope tell Elton about what happened with his mom. Obviously, he's very upset, but we don't see his reaction towards Hope, which leads me to wonder: Does he blame her?
We really don't have a chance to get into it in this episode. It's really him reeling, and I don't know if Elton even knows the answer to that question when the episode airs. It's just him playing this conversation in his head, and he's in this dazed stupor walking off thinking that, "I just have to get away because I don't think Silas did it, and I need to find him."
Everything that Elton believes about the world has been rocked. Really, I think it's Elton processing. I honestly don't think he knows the answer to that question, but I will say that's something that will come up in the next episode, and so we'll get some clarity on that as Elton wraps his head around everything.
All right. Final scene. We learn that Huck is working Kublek. What can you tell us about this scene?
Yeah, that's a big revelation there at the end of the episode. They referenced dad's watch, which seems to imply that there's a mother-daughter relationship there. I will say that we'll get some answers in the coming episode before the end of the season. There's obviously going to be a lot more we're going to be exploring in season 2. But I think the thing for the audience to take away from the revelation of who Huck is, is that there really have been clues about how she sees the world and how she operates and how she's willing to do some pretty horrible things for what she believes is the greater good.
I think that if people want to go back and look at some of the things she said over this whole season, there are definite clues in there that can kind of pinpoint her philosophy of the world. I think it also might recontextualize the Huck flashbacks we saw in episode 7. It just seemed like she was willing to do a horrible thing for what she saw as the greater good, so it's an example of that. But looking at those flashbacks, I think that audiences may find some other clues, let’s say, that may hint at maybe more of an origin story about how she became who she is and that there'll be more blanks we'll be filling very soon.
Can you confirm that Huck and Kublek are mother and daughter?
I will say that, if nothing else, there seems to be a mother-daughter relationship. There are more things to unfold there, but they referenced dad's watch, so it sort of leads one to believe that there's some sort of a familial connection happening there
Then who or what is the asset?
Oh, that's a great question. We will get clarity on that in the next episode. That's going to be a big question lingering over the proceedings, particularly in episode 9. But I will say that we'll have an answer to that question as we roll into the finale of season 1.