After a ten-episode first season of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the endgame has finally snapped into focus. After previously hinting that Iris was the “asset” that the CRM and Elizabeth were seeking, we learned in the two-hour season finale that it’s actually Iris’s sister, Hope, that CRM wanted all along. Why? Because Hope is secretly a genius, even though it was Iris who gave her school’s valedictorian speech when the series kicked off, which was all part of a ruse to make us think that Iris was the more important character to CRM.
What is the importance of Hope’s genius? Recall that the CRM is collecting “A”s — who are test subjects to be used in experimenting with a zombie cure — and “B”s, who are useful in creating the future of civilization. Rick Grimes is a “B,” and so is Hope, although her “genius” seems to extend mostly to the ability to crack rudimentary codes and make homemade wine, which maybe isn’t something to dismiss so quickly, considering how difficult it has been to create palatable beer on Fear the Walking Dead.
What CRM is doing is not eugenics, exactly; they’re not trying to create a master race through genetics. They are, however, trying to assemble only those whose skills might prove useful to the continuation of the species. Everyone else is expendable. That is why the CRM massacred (most) of the Campus Colony in the opening episode, and why Elizabeth — now in possession of Hope — essentially put out a kill order on the rest of them: Silas, Elton, Felix, and even Hope’s sister, Iris.
The other twist, however, is that Hope is not exactly the genius they believe she is; her “genius” is only compatible with her sister. They’re a good team, but their parents too often gave secret credit to Hope while publicly acknowledging Iris’ intelligence. In the end, Hope — who figured out that Huck was a CRM spy — allowed herself to be captured, because she reckoned that she could take CRM down from the inside while working in tandem with her sister, Iris, from the outside.
So why the season-long journey? This is maybe the silliest aspect of the entire season. Huck planted messages to make it appear as though Hope and Iris’ father was in danger, and Elizabeth (the lieutenant colonel of the CRM) left a map to the CRM headquarters in New York for Hope to find. Elizabeth wanted Hope to journey across the country with her daughter, Huck, so that she could gain some experience in the world outside of her sheltered Campus Colony. That experience, combined with her intelligence, is what Hope such a valuable “B.”
There’s another aspect, too. Hope and Iris’ father, Dr. Bennett, is working for the CRM, but he obviously doesn’t know about the arrival of Hope. Dr. Bennett’s girlfriend, Dr. Lyla Bellshaw, is not only privy to that information but also engaged in human experimentation that Dr. Bennett obviously would not appreciate. Dr. Bennett, meanwhile, is growing suspicious of CRM’s motives, and in revealing that to Dr. Bellshaw at the end of the episode, Dr. Bennett may have inadvertently put himself into danger.
Meanwhile, Felix’s boyfriend, Will, appears to have assembled some survivors from the Campus Colony, and it is strongly suggested that Felix and Iris will join them in an attempt to take down the CRM with the help of Hope (and potentially Dr. Bennett) from the inside. Silas — captured by CRM soldiers at the end of the episode — may help from the inside, too, while Elton and Percy (who escaped the CRM) may join Felix’s new group and help them take down the CRM from the outside.
It all essentially sets up a second season in which Hope and Iris and their alliance will be pitted in an “All Out War” with the CRM.