Warning: this story contains spoilers for The Walking Dead series finale. Rick Grimes never appeared on The Walking Dead: World Beyond. The spin-off about the first generation to come of age in the walker apocalypse told the story of Iris (Aliyah Royale), Hope (Alexa Mansour), Elton (Nicolas Cantu), and Silas (Hal Cumpston), survivors of Nebraska’s satellite Campus Colony. But it was Silas’ story in the final season of the limited series that revealed clues about the fate of the long-missing Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who finally returned to The Walking Dead for the last scene of its final episode in Sunday’s “Rest in Peace” series finale.
The series-ending coda caught up with Rick sometime after Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) whisked him away aboard a Civic Republic Military helicopter in The Walking Dead Season 9 episode “What Comes After.” Last we saw Rick, he was gravely injured from blowing up a bridge and a walker horde, saving the family and friends who believed him dead for the last six years.
Jadis bargained for Rick’s life, telling the helicopter pilot she had a “B” instead of an “A.” The black CRM helicopter with the three-circle symbol then flew Rick to parts unknown.
On The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season 2 episode titled “Who Are You?,” Jadis returned as CRM Warrant Officer Stokes, now a high-ranking figure in the black-clad organization overseen by the shadowy Major General Beale. It was revealed Jadis traded Rick to the CRM in exchange for a “new life” within the Civic Republic, an advanced civilization of 200,000 survivors living within the fortified walls of a post-apocalyptic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The spin-off saw CRM prisoner Silas put to work at a Civic Republic Cull Facility, one of six decontamination centers across New York State. In the World Beyond Season 2 episode “Foothold,” it was learned CR military personnel operates abandoned stadiums and arenas transformed into decontamination centers to perform mass zombie cullings: the CRM’s attempt to clear an entire state of walkers and gain a foothold.
Workers wearing brown-and-orange jackets are given three-pronged kill sticks and are tasked with luring in the dead with lights and music. Then they blow up the walkers with explosives, clean up the remains, and truck the blasted body parts away off-site.
The Walking Dead‘s series finale revealed Rick — referred to as “Consignee Grimes” — was put to work at a CRM cull facility. His kill stick and jacket are the same as those seen on World Beyond, explaining why Rick hasn’t returned home after years away from his family. On a riverbank littered with severed walker parts outside the CR, a fugitive Rick was recaptured by a CRM helicopter pilot who told the fleeing consignee: “It’s like he told you, there’s no escape for the living.”
Read our postmortem with episode director Greg Nicotero breaking down The Walking Dead‘s series finale coda. Rick and Michonne return in The Walking Dead: Rick & Michonne spin-off premiering in 2023 on AMC and AMC+.