The Walking Dead: World Beyond showrunner on going inside the CRM hidden city
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond titled “The Tyger and the Lamb.”
We still don’t know where the Civic Republic’s hidden city is in the world of The Walking Dead. But on Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, we did get our first look inside the city.
After watching the four teens (Hope, Iris, Silas, and Elton) try to navigate their way through the Blaze of Gory, with later assistance from Felix and Huck, we ended with a dramatic shift to the apartment of Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek back home in CRM central. That’s not all. A visit from the sergeant confirmed that the Civic Republic Military had indeed caused — rather than simply cleaned up after — the slaughter at the Campus Colony we saw at the end of episode 1. And said sergeant was feeling a tad guilty. Elizabeth’s pained reaction — after sending the sergeant to a labor prison camp for his second thoughts, it should be noted — seemed to indicate that she too has some sort of a conscience, albeit one perhaps buried deep, deep down.
We spoke to showrunner Matt Negrete to get the scoop on that and everything else that went down on “the Tyger and the Lamb.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So the episode is called “The Tyger and the Lamb”, and we hear the poem by William Blake at one crucial point. So what can you tell us about why you all chose to make this unlikely connection between an 18th century English poet and some kids taking on zombies?
MATT NEGRETE: That's a great question. The Farahanis, who wrote the episode, actually came up with that and I just really loved the idea of the poetry. And having Iris' voiceover carry it through that final action sequence and the thing that's interesting about that poem for me is it's essentially... There are many interpretations, but it's essentially about the duality of mankind. And how no one is purely good and no one's purely evil.
I think that the lamb symbolizes a goodness, and not that the tiger is pure evil, but I think that's the point of the poem is that there's also is some darkness there. And I think another level to add on to that is the idea that the lamb personifies innocence and the tiger is fierce. And I think that's the journey that these characters are on and the show itself is on, is it's really going from a place of innocence to a place where these characters have to earn their stripes. And ultimately, become these fierce warriors, if they're going to make it in this world. So it's all a personification of their journey.
You show us flashes of Silas beating the crap out of someone back in Omaha. When are you going to give us more info as to how that happened to and why?
More information will be coming out fairly quickly. We're going to get a little bit more of the story in this next episode. But just based on what we saw in these quick glimpses, we see Silas very emotional, and he seems to be doing something very violent. And in the present day, he's very concerned about the amount of violence he may inflict on empties, and it seems like it's a door that he's afraid to open. So really in this episode, it's about him trying to find a place with this group where he can use his strength in a way that doesn't require violence.
And so that's really his struggle for this episode. To answer your question, we will be learning more, getting more clues on the next episode. And there is an episode coming down the pike where the whole story comes out and we learn everything that happened. And all the ramifications of that will play out, so it's a really great episode. I'm excited for people to see it.
He says at one point he does not miss his mom, and then amends that to say sometimes. Why does he only miss her sometimes? What does he mean by that whole interaction?
It obviously implies a complexity there that his first reaction is, "No, I don't miss her." So there's some resentment that comes across there, and we know based on the pilot that he was sent to Omaha to live with his uncle. This is basically a slowly building, putting together the pieces of the puzzle that will be coming more and more clear as the episodes go on. I think like a lot of the characters in this series, he does have a very complex relationship with both his parents. And there is some baggage with his mom there and that will be coming out before too long.
What can you tell me about the tapes he's listening to?
Based on what we hear in the tapes, they're his grandparents and they're leaving a voice message for him when he's six years old, wishing him a happy birthday. And they're words of encouragement for him, and there are also some hints in there in terms of how they're talking to him. And they seem to have this very comforting tone and they quote a prayer, a passage from the Bible, in that last section there with Silas.
And it's assuring him that the world is good because we make it good, despite the adversity that we may face. So, there's an implication there that even when Silas was six-years old, there was something very harsh that he was facing. And his grandparents were trying very much to be there for him emotionally, even if they weren't there for him physically.
What about the big moment when Hope gets this burden off her chest by telling Iris what happened that night when their mother died? What will telling the truth about that night do for Hope, and what will it mean for their relationship moving forward?
For Hope, there's this burden that's been lifted. It's been weighing on her over the years, but she's been pushing it back. But now that they're out in the world, and part of the reason why her sister wanted to go on this mission was because of the fact that she feels like she didn't do enough that night. Iris blames herself for her mom's death, when, in reality, there's much more to that story and Hope has kept that section of the story from her sister. So I really do think that she feels unburdened in a way, but at the same time, this puts her in a very vulnerable place because in episode 2, we saw Iris tell Hope that, "I wanted to be brave. I wanted to be different like you."
And now I think there's this revelation that Iris is going to question how she sees her sister, the fact that her sister kept this from her. And it's not necessarily about blame, but I think if I were Iris, there would be a sense of resentment there. Iris is someone who has been living for everyone but herself, even before they left the university and that's affected her life. And she's missed out on a lot of things because of this burden she put on herself, and had Hope told her the truth years ago, Iris's life could be very different now. So I think that all of these aspects are going to be considered with both characters as they move forward into the next episode and beyond.
Let’s get into the revelation at the very end. This sergeant shows up at Elizabeth’s door asking why they neutralized this threat, referencing the slaughter at the campus colony, and she says they were going to be a threat. What more can you now tell us about that scene at the end of episode 1 and why this was something that The CRM seemingly caused rather than cleaned up?
We get a sense from what Elizabeth tells the sergeant there, what her goals are and what's important to her. And she's not the head of the CRM. We mentioned Major General Beale who, based on his title, would be above her in the CRM but that was in the pilot. She's following orders, but she is part of this mission, which obviously ended in the slaughter of this community as we saw in the pilot. And there is a lot to protect. She talks about there are 200,000 souls living in the hidden city, which is where she is in this scene. And they have to protect everything they have, which is commerce and education, and they have water and electricity. And they're trying to rebuild society, and for reasons that aren't quite clear yet, she feels and the head of the CRM feels that the campus colony was going to be a threat to everything they hold dear.
And as hard as it was for her, I mean, we do see a couple of tears end up on that map there at the end, it's the ends justify the means. And so it's something that she felt like she had to do and say. And it also does show the audience that these people, they do have feelings but there's also this sense of, I wouldn't quite say brainwashing. But this is one soldier who's cracking from the weight of what he had to do, and when she sends him away it's to, in a way, reprogram him a bit. And remind him of the value of the mission, of what they have to sacrifice as people, and what they have to do to uphold what they believe in. And if that doesn't work, then he's going to be pulled from duty. The ends justify the means and that's what it comes down to for Elizabeth.
Yet she does tear up.
I think there's also something very interesting about her public face and her private face. And it shows that she is a human being. It's never my intention or any of our intentions to make these characters who do horrible things sympathetic, but they are human beings. And she does have feelings about what she did and it's just that I think to her, those feelings are a sign of weakness. And that's not something she's going to show to her fellow soldiers.
What can you us about what’s coming up next week on World Beyond?
Coming up we have a really great story in which we learn a little bit more about Silas. There's a really great moment between Silas and Iris coming up that I just love, it's one of my favorite moments in the series. And there's a lot of tension and suspense that revolves around this location that they find. And it really is a great character piece, and I will say, we're going to get another glimpse into the greater world around them. And it's a side potentially, of the CRM that we haven't seen before. And we're slowly going to be building out this world this season and by the end of the season, we'll be able to put these pieces of a puzzle together in a way that I think is going to set up season two really nicely.