Is it really just to tell the story of these kids who grew up in this post-apocalyptic hellscape? This week even saw them make their way into a high school for a glimpse of all that they'd missed, including the very idea of what a Sadie Hawkins dance is.
"Someone who went here?" Silas and Iris mused upon seeing the words on a banner in what was left of the gymnasium.
It seems unlikely this story exists for these kids exclusively, as then why not set it up as an unlimited series? Limited indicates it has a specific story to tell, and with the way "TWD" is evolving, we suspect that will lead into yet another story.
And we suspect that this week's surprise post-credits scene holds a big clue as to what this is really all about. If film productions take longer, then perhaps "World Beyond" is setting the stage for those Rick Grimes movies in 2022.
After an awkward hour with the kids and their chaperones, we expected to check back in with Julia Ormond's Lt. Col. Kublek and the wreckage of the Campus Colony. Instead, we found ourselves somewhere new entirely.
While her eating a sandwich might have seemed like a throwaway visual, the fact that it looked rife with fresh lettuce and other goodies, it's indicative that she is at least affiliated with a thriving and productive community.
It also makes sense that she is thusly conducting very elaborate experiments on the dead, trussed up securely and safely as subjects like something out of a mad scientist's laboratory. And yet, it's probably the kind of essential work that would be done to try and better understand them in a place where society has not collapsed.
The danger is that the woman appears to be studying one of her doctoral colleagues as a test subject, which could spell bad news for the girls' father, Dr. Leopold Bennett. It could also be a clue as to the kind of fate that awaited Rick Grimes.
When Jadis spirited him away two years ago, she was asked time and again if he was an "A" or a "B" subject, before finally declaring him a "B." The subjects this woman is conducting tests on are all designated "A-402" and the like, suggesting that this may be the same coding designations Jadis was being asked about.
So are "A" subjects terminated outright for study because they, supposedly, showed strong leadership capabilities which would probably not be wanted in an established society. Rick was most definitely an "A," as "B" designees were seen as unable to fight for whatever reason, so perhaps Jadis saved his life by declaring him such.
Or was he then seen as fodder for a different type of experiment. Obviously, as the movies are a thing that's going to happen, we suspect that Rick Grimes survives his ordeal, but the events seen here could take place years after the films, so who knows what has happened by then.
The bulk of the story brought back all the awkwardness of high school as the core six split up into pairs so Felix and Huck could try and convince Elton and Hope, respectively, to convince their friends to turn around and head home.
That left Iris and Silas to share a bonding experience while locked in a gymnasium, complete with bizarre fantasy dance sequence that seemed completely unnecessary. But then, so much of this hour did.
Setting up a sinister threat in the halls of the high school was cool, with walkers being dragged and eviscerated around them. Even having it be wolves isn't a terrible idea. But seeing one wolf that Hope and Huck simply sidle by rendered the whole cool setup stupid.
At least Silas finally killed a walker, though he then lost it on another one, reflecting back to that secret past of his that no one has talked about. Apparently, he has rage issues and he apparently killed his father and his mother testified against him.
But we kind of think his father abused him, as we saw him getting choked in a flashback, and it was a matter of Silas reaching is breaking point and fighting back, perhaps losing himself in the process and beating his father to death.
Another flashback finally fleshed out Iris and Hope's father a bit, including a cryptic clue from him before he left telling Hope that it's not her fault she's frustrated. So what does that mean, exactly? Who knows. "It's big stuff, but it's not bad stuff," he tells her, which is not helpful.
At least Hope is a character we're still invested in and interested in. At this point, we're losing interest in almost everyone else in the cast, which is not a great thing. We were immediately more invested in sandwich lady than anything that had gone before, and that can't be the point of this.
Meanwhile, over on "Fear the Walking Dead," the closing moments of the hour were a great payoff to yet another strong episode in the show's revitalized new season and format. This week, the action shifted to Al and Dwight, on the road for Virginia.
Apparently, Virginia wants them chronicling settlements that failed to see why people died, and according to Dwight they've done hundreds of this. So clearly this is important to Virginia, but we're not exactly sure why. Is it so complex to imagine? All it takes is one death.
Adding a layer to this, though, is the mystery of the people painting "THE END IS THE BEGINNING" everywhere. Al and Dwight found this message outside of an office building wherein they discovered a rat infestation and an outbreak of the bubonic plague.
This was way off-script from what Virginia wanted, as Al has been spying on communications from her would-be lover, the CRM helicopter pilot Isabelle. Dwight went with her to an upcoming drop point -- without checking in -- that happened to be on the roof of that building.
We got some fun "Die Hard" shenanigans inside as they met the last of the survivors, who'd been inside that building since the world collapsed, and made their way through plague-ridden walkers to the roof.
It was actually filled with good tension, even as Al ultimately decided to abandon the survivors to their fate. And while the episode was about familiar faces, we welcomed the addition of Nora -- the building survivors' de facto leader -- to the larger family. We like her moxy!
In the end, Al shied away from meeting Isabelle, and in fact warned her away from the building altogether telling her about the outbreak. Isabelle then told her about some beer in a crate on the roof, but it also happened to have a whole box of plague cure.
In fact, while we were so sure that Isabelle would be the reunion and returning character for the week, we were instead in for an even bigger surprise and treat as Al's flare to turn Isabelle away was seen by someone else. And it was a voice Dwight recognized immediately.
Even better, when she pulled back her hood, we recognized actress Christine Evangelista, back as his estranged wife Sherry. Now, "TWD" fans know these two have a complicated history with the Saviors, to say the least, but we still felt that same joy Dwight did in their reunion.
Hopefully, the actress is free to stick around long enough that we can start to unpack some of that history. Plus, after all this time, who knows what's going on in her life. She's betrayed and screwed him over before. He may recognize his wife, but is this the same woman?
Isabelle clearly recognized Al over the walkie, as they shared some cryptic words, so we assume she also knew about the cure being in that crate. Does that mean that she -- and thus CRM -- infected the building? Was the whole building some experiment about how the plague impacts walkers?
Does that mean that "THE END IS THE BEGINNING" is a CRM message, as it didn't seem that way when we first saw these guys. Or perhaps their message being here is a coincidence? Of course, we're also not sure why CRM is landing on these buildings.
Nora told Al and Dwight that one of their group went up on the roof to try and meet whoever was landing up there, and got shot and killed for their trouble. His body wound up on the street outside. So clearly CRM has no direct communication with the building denizens.
Because they were test subjects? Or did Isabelle have intentions of dropping the cure down to them at some point (though they were almost all dead by that point). That said, Dwight picked up the plague outside the building, so maybe it's a regional problem?
Further, was it Isabelle that shot the man from the building who came up? We know she's a reluctant believer in the CRM cause, but how far is she going for them? Is any of this her going rogue? Having the cure in that crate? Certainly pointing Al to it -- after hearing Al may be infected -- was self-serving.
Also, if this is what is happening at "Drop Site Beta," then what's going on at "Drop Site Delta," where Isabelle opted to go after Al told her about the plague and she declared "Beta" burned. Also, she was willing to just abandon those supplies, indicating they must exist aplenty in CRM.
Oddly enough, the CRM stuff is emerging as more intriguing on these shows than some of what's going on in the main plots. Don't get us wrong, Virginia is still a very interesting "big bad," and we're totally invested in seeing Morgan kick ass and reunite his family.
It's just a testament to a strong and cohesive vision for the universe that these teases and glimpses got us like Director Fury showing up at the end of those early movies to talk about the "Avengers Initiative."
We're still on board with what's going on now, but we're definitely starting to feel that excitement again about what the future holds -- even after two years of waiting!
"Fear the Walking Dead" and "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" air back-to-back every Sunday night starting at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.