The Walking Dead: World Beyond showrunner on that bloody cliffhanger
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond titled “Shadow Puppets.”
Scott Adsit’s Tony was introduced on last week’s episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond as a magician-grifter who used the art of deception to both rob and entertain others. But the final trick pulled at the end of this week’s episode was quite the doozy. Only it wasn’t a trick after all. Tony ended up bludgeoned and dead at the conclusion of Sunday’s “Truth or Dare” episode, and while his partner in crime and grime Percy was nowhere to be found, there was someone else found at the scene of the crime — a bloody and possibly drunk Silas, who was clutching on a bottle while curled up in a stall.
Is that really Tony’s dead body, or yet another ruse from the master illusionist? Did Silas — who has a history of violence — seriously just bash the dude’s face in? And where’s Percy? We asked World Beyond showrunner Matt Negrete all that and more, and Negrete also shared insight and intel as to Huck’s backstory and the origin of that once mysterious facial scar.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’re going to start at the very end. First off, can you confirm that is Tony’s body with his face bashed in?
MATT NEGRETE: I can confirm that, yes. It's a little hard to tell, his face is so bashed in, but that is definitely Tony. We see his playing cards scattered around and he's got that bowling shirt happening, so it's definitely him.
With these grifters, you never know.
It's a decent con, but by all appearances… No, it's Tony.
So let's do some follow-up questions which you're going to have to dance around. Where is Percy?
We don't know. When Iris came in and was looking around, she saw Tony's body... His face bashed in. Silas' bloody wrench was right there. There was a trail of blood that went out through this broken window. We don't know, but if that was Percy's blood trail, it does not look like he was in good shape. It does not look good for Percy.
Then what are we to make of the bloody Silas in that stall? Obviously, we saw him earlier not looking too happy with the way things are going. This looks to be somewhat of an open and shut case here, but sometimes looks can be deceiving, so what are we supposed to make of that?
Exactly what you said, Dalton, is that we saw throughout the episode Silas was not too thrilled with how the dynamics shifted once Percy and Tony entered the group. I think Silas is someone who has a hard time maybe fitting in with others. He was finally feeling like this was the group where he had his place and he was starting to figure things out. He and Iris were sort of hitting it off.
Now that Tony and Percy were on the scene, that definitely changed things. During the earlier Truth or Dare game, we saw that Silas opted not to drink. Then at the end there, we see him clutching this open bottle, which could be booze. It does look like he likely maybe got a little drunk and freaked out a little bit and maybe did some damage. Yeah, a lot of that will be the discussion of the next episode, so I'm going to force people into checking that out.
You brought up the Truth or Dare game. I found that scene really interesting because you have this scene of the kids having a party, and it seems like a pretty typical scene you would see in a TV show or a movie of kids having some drinks and playing a game of Truth or Dare, but the thing I thought was really interesting about it is the fact that Elton and the others are basically like “What’s Truth or Dare?” That rite of passage we all went through is not even part of their post-apocalyptic upbringing.
Those are always the things that for me and also the writers, we always look for. What are the things that we take for granted that are just accepted as common knowledge for us growing up that aren't necessarily true for kids growing up in the apocalypse? Playing drinking games is a rite of passage. Percy's definitely more worldly. He's seen more, he's probably done more. Obviously, he injects this bit of maybe drunken wisdom to the group which is he knows about drinking games and this is one of them. Yeah, it's just a final detail we decided to throw in there.
Let’s get into the Huck of it all. We see all these flashbacks to her days as a Marine. What is her relationship to this fellow marine with the scar of his cheek?
He is her spotter. She's a sniper, he is her spotter. They have this professional relationship. As a sniper, you depend on your spotter. Your spotter is everything. You have to be simpatico with the other in that situation to not get yourself killed. It's a little of an open question whether or not it was more than professional, it's possible that it was; but there definitely was this mutual respect and admiration that they have had for each other going into this episode.
What ends up happening towards the end of the episode with what Huck did, I think that's a very profound thing that's obviously affected her. Part of it's not just having to turn on her own men to save these group of innocents, but also in the fact that she had to kill her best friend. That's obviously something that weighs on her to this day.
I mean, isn't there another reminder she could have given herself instead of slicing her own face open? That seems kind of extreme.
Huck's an extreme person. [Laughs] In all seriousness, I think that this is such a profound thing that's affected her. This is just, based on what we've seen, how she chooses to deal with this and not forget about the bad things she's done. She saved people, but she also had to kill people to save people. That's something she lives with every day and that's her reminder. Yeah, it's definitely a more dramatic reminder, but a reminder nonetheless.
It's one thing to disobey a direct order in the military. That's a big deal. It's another to shoot and kill your fellow troops. Is this something you think she's considering as these orders that come down as she walks up to take that position to mow down these civilians, or is this more of just a quick, snap decision that she makes?
I think from the moment she gets that command, her red flags are raised and she is just thinking, "How can I do this?" Part of being in the military, being in her situation is to follow orders and not to ask questions. This is something that feels so profoundly wrong with her. In her mind, I think she joined the military to protect civilians and to protect the interests of the United States, and all of a sudden, she's being asked to kill what appear to be innocent civilians.
That's just not something she can do. Even from the moment her commanding officer gave her those instructions, we see Drake, her partner there, just look at her and essentially say, "Jennifer, we have to do this. We don't have a choice," and we can see that she doesn't want to do it. Ultimately, she finds a way out by kicking the lights and doing some damage to her fellow soldiers.
You think she made the right call? I mean, she saved innocents, but she also kind of killed some innocents in the process, right?
I had a lot of discussions with [actress Annet Mahendru] about this. One of the questions she asked me after reading the script is, "Was it worth it? Did she save more people than she killed?" That was something we talked about, and I think she did. It was also not just other soldiers with guns she killed, but she also saved innocent children that we see marching out behind her in that final flashback sequence.
For her, it was definitely worth it. I don't think she regrets her decision, but it's just something that was so hard core and so profound that it is something that never goes away that she just has to live with and will continue to live with into the future.
It also ties in directly as she relates her own experience to Hope. She's then telling her not to tell Elton and Iris about Elton's mom, and to carry that burden herself so they don't have to. We see Hope then take that in and agree with that. I guess then the question to you is: Will Hope remain strong in that way? Will that secret remain a secret now? Does this at least for now put this issue to bed somewhat?
Yeah. I would say it's put to bed for now. I think that Hope's takeaway here is that she's doing exactly what you said. She's living with the bad so other people can remain innocent and pure. I think that's what she wants for Elton. It might make her feel better in a way to get this off her chest, but ultimately, it's going to do more harm to Elton. Now she's looking about this as, "If I tell him, it's essentially a selfish fact because I'll be doing it for myself and not for him." That's where she's at now. I do think it will probably take something potentially profound for that to change. So, we'll see if that happens.
Okay, so what's coming up next on World Beyond?
That cliffhanger will be resolved very soon going into the final stretch of episodes. I think it's everything coming to a head. The final three episodes really deal with this group, what's happened so far and the aftermath. I'll say that the first chunk of episodes this season was really about this group finding their groove and coming together, and now we're seeing things really start to fall apart.
I'll say that relationships will be tested. There are going to be a lot of things about each other that they assume that might not actually be true. We're going to see some riffs between characters that I think are going to be surprising for people. The CRM will also factor in in a big, big way as we get into this final stretch. Yeah, I'm really excited for people to see it. Next week's episode is really fantastic. The stakes are just getting higher and higher as we ramp up to get into the season.