The Walking Dead: World Beyond, “The Sky is a Graveyard,” was written by Elizabeth Padden and was directed by Loren Yaconelli, whose main credits are for camera and electrical and cinematographer, which explains the many truly wonderful shots in this episode. Yaconelli has also directed for Shameless and Animal Kingdom. Padden’s other writing credit is Altered Carbon, but this episode hits a lot of important plot points, so presumably she had a lot of notes to have to cover in the episode, but I really liked how she unfolded the story. We finally get the full backstory for Silas, and Hal Cumpston delivers a truly wonderful performance as we finally get a glimpse inside Silas.
As the episode opens, Silas is tied to a swing set in a playground. It’s clearly cold and he’s crying and shaking. I thought immediately that it was a stupid thing to do – almost staking him out – and of course, eventually a walker does get in. It seems that as Silas remembers the rejection of his own mother (Catherine Taber), he’s going to accept his fate and let the walker bite him. I have to admit that I was surprised it was Hope (Alexa Mansour) who saved him – but then, her name is a little on the nose, isn’t it?
The others are discussing what happened to Tony. There was a trail of blood to the river that they presume was Percy and that Percy is dead too. Of course, if Silas attacked them, why would Percy run from the others? It doesn’t make much sense. Both Iris (Aliyah Royale) and Elton (Nicolas Cantu) try to fight for Silas. Iris points out that Tony and Percy must have had enemies with the life they were leading. Elton insists that Silas has earned their trust. Huck (Annet Mahendru) says she knows what Silas’ motive was: jealousy. She produces Iris’s drawings that Silas has been carrying in his pack. Elton points out hat Silas was a janitor – it was his job to empty the trash and Iris had thrown them away. Elton tells them that all they have is what they can carry on their backs, making everything they carry precious and meaningful.
Each character has a moment with Silas. Elton tells Silas that he never hurts people unless he’s defending someone else or in self defense. The flashbacks clearly support this view. Elton is amazed that Silas can’t seem to believe in himself, so takes on believing in him for both of them – of course, this episode also highlights the difference of the upbringing the two had.
Felix brings Silas some water. Silas asks if Iris is ok. He tells Felix that he can’t remember – his father couldn’t either when he blacked out. Felix tells Silas he wants to help, but Silas needs to help. He asks Silas if killing his father was self defense – but that’s not an easy question for Silas to answer, especially given his mother’s reaction…
Hope helps Huck dig Tony’s grave. Huck points out that Tony was a “mixed bag” – doing what he had to survive, neither good nor bad. She adds that sometimes you have to serve the greatest good. Some times choices are hard. And you can be forgiven if at this point in the episode you were thinking more about her flashbacks last week. But, by the end of the episode, it seems a lot more likely that Huck is the one who killed Tony and Percy.
We get the usual Hope/Iris sister scene. Iris is adamant that Silas didn’t do it even while she’s tortured with the thought that she could have been that wrong. Hope is adamant that they now can’t let anything stand in the way of getting to their father. Not when they are so close.
Hope saves Silas from the walker, but tells him that while she thinks he didn’t mean to, she does think that he killed Tony and Percy. She tells him she saved him because enough people have died.
As Elton and Iris try and fail to sleep, they discuss the stars. Iris thinks she’s looking at a graveyard – suns that have died but the light still travels to them – like walkers. Elton points out that you’d be able to tell the dying suns from the ones that are alive and the bright stars they see are all still very much alive. Is this also playing into the outer space theory of the virus?
Iris is the last to visit Silas. She asks him why he kept her drawings, and he tells her that they were too beautiful to throw away. Silas appears to be our muse of music and poetry! Iris asks him to tell her that he didn’t kill anybody – but he can’t because he kind of killed his Dad twice! Iris reminds him that she told him that she wouldn’t leave him behind and asks him to help her keep her promise. At that, Silas stands up, having gotten free during the night. I suspect he was 100% free by the time the walker was almost on him. He tells her that when he gets angry, he can’t control it. He tells her that he’s glad he met her and that he’ll never forget her. He then tells her that he killed his Dad, Tony, and Percy – and I 100% don’t believe him! Unless it was Huck who got him drunk and got him to do it…. And then Silas leaves.
In the flashbacks, which I’ve saved for almost last, we see that Silas was the product of an abusive father (Kai Lennox). Like most children in an abusive home, the abuse would seemingly come out of nowhere, and at other times his father was very loving. In fact, Silas’ preoccupation with music comes from his Dad, and we see his Dad share his own love of music and concerts with Silas as they lie on the floor with the music playing full blast next to their heads. It becomes a way for Silas to shut out all of the other noise in his life, especially the parts he doesn’t want to hear.
On the day his father died, he attacks Silas, and in defending himself, Silas hurts his father. It doesn’t seem like enough to kill him, and he’s able to get up and seemingly patch himself up in the bathroom while Silas answers the door. The neighbor, Ruth (Jennie Fahn) has heard the commotion and thinks that Gary is beating Silas’s mother – clearly something she’s heard and noticed before. She tries to encourage Silas to leave and come with her, promising to get both him and his mother to safety, but like most abused kids and women, Silas just can’t seem to leave, believing on some level that it’s all his fault – like Tony and Percy.
When Silas goes back into the house, Gary is gone from the floor, and Silas eventually finds him upstairs – turned! So we are clearly at the very beginning of the outbreak here. Silas just retreats to his room and hides behind the door and his music. When his mother comes home, however, Silas immediately comes to her rescue when she’s attacked by Gary. Her look of horror after Silas has bashed in Gary’s head is all Silas needs to know that it’s all his fault – at least as far as she’s concerned.
Elton has been adamant that Silas is part of their family now, and families help and support each other. Hope wants to know if that includes letting Silas get away with murder. Elton points out that you don’t get away with it – or from it – you have to live with it. So, when Silas leaves and Elton says that he’s going after him, and that everything happens for a reason and maybe he’ll even find his mom and sister, Hope tells him the truth and gives him back his mother’s charm – which he eventually puts on his own neck. Elton leaves distraught, trying to carry both his things and Silas’s which he’s left behind.
Felix remarks on hearing that Silas has gone that all Silas really wanted was a fresh start. He hopes this might be it for him. We see Silas routinely kill a walker and then leave his music behind. It does feel like a clean break from everything, but what is Silas embracing?
And in the after scene, we see that I was right in my review for “Madman Across the Water” – Huck looks like the Lt Colonel (Julia Ormond) BECAUSE SHE’S HER MOTHER!!!!!!!!!!!! She gives Huck her father’s watch – I’m betting the Lt Colonel is also an abusive parent… She wasn’t scouting for 48 hours – I also called that – she was reporting in. Now the question is, who is the “asset?” First guess would be Iris – but is that too obvious? I suspect that we’ll get a better idea when we see how she reacts to Elton and Silas going off on their own…
Really great performances from Hal Cumpston, and also Alexa Mansour and Nicolas Cantu. This was a really interesting and well-structured episode. I particularly liked the shot of Silas that turns upside down with the stars overhead. The last two episodes of the season will air on November 29th – it will be interesting to see how many answers we get and what the inevitable cliffhanger will be! What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised by Huck’s betrayal? Who do you think killed Tony – and do you think Percy is dead? I feel like he’s not… Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!