Questions behind The Walking Dead's "A and B" mystery, terminology used by the Civic Republic civilization engaging in human trading, are answered in a post-credits scene ending Sunday's The Walking Dead: World Beyond. In Season 1 Episode 4, "The Wrong End of a Telescope," Civic Republic scientist Lyla (Natalie Gold) — identified by a three-circle symbol tattoo representing the Alliance of the Three — records notes on a zombified test subject revealed to be a deceased colleague of Lyla's and immunology expert Dr. Leo Bennett (Joe Holt). Muzzled and strapped to a gurney, the empty known in life as Dr. Samuel Abbott died from a zombie's bite and is labeled "TS A 4.0.2."
Inside a testing facility where other restrained empties are kept in storage, Lyla logs her notes into a voice recorder:
"Test subject A 4.0.2. Test subject displayed no detectable responses to psychological stimuli. Necrotic plasma and brain fluid are being drawn for further testing. Results to be compared to tests performed during and immediately following reanimation. Tomorrow we'll begin the climate variation tests as scheduled."
"A" test subjects are identified by a zombie's bite. Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), formerly Jadis of the Scavengers, confirmed this when prisoners she labeled "As" were nearly bitten by walkers.
In The Walking Dead season 8, Jadis captures Rick (in "The King, the Widow, and Rick") and holds him inside a storage container marked with an "A." This same container would hold Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) when Jadis attempts to have him bitten and traded (in "Still Gotta Mean Something") to a helicopter piloted by the Civic Republic Military.
Jadis, now using real name Anne, later tries to sway Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) into running away with her to the Civic Republic (in season 9 episode "Warning Signs"). When Gabriel goes to alert Rick about Anne trading people for supplies during her time as leader of the junkyard-dwelling Scavengers, she attacks him: "All this time, I thought you were a B."
When Anne tells a tied-up Gabriel, now an "A," that he's her "price of admission" into the Civic Republic (in "The Obliged"), she threatens to have Gabriel bitten by a restrained walker but spares him. Anne promised the radio pilot an "A" in exchange for extraction, but she labels Rick a "B" when she begs the helicopter to touch down and save her "strong" friend (in "What Comes After") after he's nearly killed in a bridge explosion.
Rick has spent the past seven-plus years in the hands of the authoritarian Civic Republic, where zombie-bitten "As" are test subjects and "Bs" are implied to be useful to the civilization populated by 200,000 survivors. The top-secret and tightly-controlled Civic Republic doesn't let anyone in or out, explaining why Rick hasn't returned home.2comments
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. New episodes of The Walking Dead: World Beyond premiere Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.