Warning: MAJOR spoilers for Daybreak are ahead.
At the center of all great dramas and mysteries is a villain and the secrets that the character olds. Netflix’s original post-apocalyptic series Daybreak ticks off this necessity before the first episode is halfway over. The series is set in a fantastical version of Glendale, California where a nuclear blast has turned all adults into zombie-like creatures called Ghoulies and only those under the age of 18 remain. The first few episodes are told through the eyes of Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) and they give the audience a rundown on all they need to know about this post-apocalyptic world.
We learn early on that one of the main villains of the series is named Baron Triumph. (There are some very interesting character names in Daybreak, including another character named Eli Cardashyan). The mystery of who Baron Triumph is drives the first half of the season and the reveal leads to even more questions. So, for those of you too impatient to make it through the first four episodes: Who is the evil man who wears goggles over a helmet and tortures just about everyone? You asked for it...
The audience first meets Baron when Josh is hiding from him. Baron is towing a young boy, who is crying for help, in a small crate behind his motorcycle through town. “That turd lord catches kids and purees them into hummus,” Josh tells the camera in case it wasn’t obvious that this a bad guy.
And it seems like we're about to learn who this guy is... except we don't. Daybreak uses the “schmuck bait” technique — Josh literally calls his own narrative out on this — in episode 2 to fool the viewers into thinking Baron will be unmasked. But really it is just Eli (Gregory Kasyan) who is impersonating Baron to have control of the mall. Still, Baron’s identity is revealed pretty early on in the series.
Episode 4 is voiced by Principal Burr (Matthew Broderick), who declares he is dead. Burr is obviously withholding secrets, because so far his character has only been shown in flashbacks. Baron captures Josh and Wesley Fists (Austin Crute) and holds them him in his lair where he puts children in cages and forces others to work for him. Josh breaks free and discovers that Burr is actually Baron, which is wild because Burr, as an adult, somehow hasn’t turned into a Ghoulie. Burr doesn’t really know why he hasn’t become a full Ghoulie, but he is now a cannibal in this new world.
Burr craves human blood just like the Ghoulies, and he doesn’t feel remorse for eating children. He tells Josh that most of his students treated people terribly and the apocalypse hasn’t changed who they are.
Rightfully, Josh lures Burr into a trap that causes the antihero to be covered in pounds of cereal. The captured children on freed and Josh and Wesley decide to imprison Burr. Wesley later says this is because they don’t want to kill anyone, which is confusing because they have killed Ghoulies and it seems like Burr is halfway to Ghoulie, but with an even more devious brain. Plus, the end of episode 4 shows that some type of uncontrollable mutation is occurring within Burr’s body. So, he is basically becoming a monster, so Josh and Wesley are probably definitely going to regret keeping him alive.
But for now, all Burr can do is try to manipulate Wesley, who is tasked with checking in on him and the other public menace, Turbo (Cody Kearsley). It in this surely temporary setting that Burr makes a few eerie statements that could foreshadow the teenagers’ future: “You’re gonna hurt everyone you love."
He may be momentarily detained after he is revealed, but his villainous reign in Glendale is far from over.
The writers of Daybreak undoubtedly intended to give their series a dose of irony by casting the star of Ferris Bueller's Day Off in the role of an evil principal that students hate. It remains to be seen if Josh and Wesley will be able to truly outwit Burr like Ferris did to his high school principal in the 1986 classic.