The Walking Dead: World Beyond adds to the ongoing A & B mystery with yet another hint, but what does it mean? The Civic Republic Military remains the franchise’s overarching mystique, but World Beyond is steadily removing that veil.
Viewers have seen the paradise hidden behind enemy lines, learned about the CRM’s zombie cure mushroom trials; and seen Omaha’s ultimate devastation with callousness. The meaning of “A” and “B,” on the other hand, is one of the most vexing CRM concerns.
Season 7 of The Walking Dead introduced Jadis (later known as “Anne”) and her Scavenger society, who kidnapped survivors and helicoptered them to the CRM. Jadis divides her inmates into two groups: A and B; although she refuses to say what these classifications mean. Rick Grimes is an “A” (Jadis subsequently names him a “B,” but showrunner Angela Kang has verified she was lying), Gabriel Stokes was a “B” before Jadis promoted him, and Negan was also upgraded to an “A.”
The Walking Dead hasn’t disclosed the reality behind the A & B system after three years and a spinoff, but World Beyond season 2 may provide a crucial clue. Silas Plaskett was apprehended by the CRM and taken to work at a “decontamination” facility; where zombies are mass-culled by youngsters wielding sharp sticks.
In episode 4, Silas’ team uses firecrackers and Skunk Anansie’s great music to entice the undead into a minefield; but they only manage to get one lucky zombie securely into a cage. The chosen creature is wearing one of Dr Bennett’s monitoring packs, and another rigged-up zombie was dubbed “B-04” a few episodes ago.
That could indicate that “B” zombies are being tracked in the wild, with each number denoting a particular backpack. CRM scientists are known to collect “A” zombies as well, but for a different reason. Dr Abbott’s zombified body was labelled “A402” in the first season of The Walking Dead: World Beyond. When you add in the new information from Season 2, the CRM has a clear distinction between “A” and “B” undead test subjects.
Perhaps Jadis’ “A” inmates (Rick, Negan, Gabriel, and others) were all intended to be Dr Abbott’s test subjects. It’s strange that the CRM is testing one of its former scientists – if Abbott was causing difficulty; why simply murder him quietly rather than retaining the body to prod and poke? The CRM’s experiments on the zombified Abbott imply that “A” subjects all share certain characteristics – brilliance, leadership, cunning, and so on – and are reserved for lab testing.
Perhaps the survivors Jadis classified as “B” lacked these attributes, and the CRM simply zombified them, strapped them to a rucksack; and sent them out into the woods. This could explain why Jadis claims Rick is a “B” to her helicopter pilot. If Rick were an “A,” the CRM would simply turn him around and continue with their lab tests; but because he is a “B,” the CRM will have to save him first in order to put the backpack on safely.
Alternatively, the whole thing could be a metaphor. Many fans assume “A” prisoners are leaders; whereas “B” prisoners are followers, based on Jadis’ verbal cues in The Walking Dead season 8. The zombie categories in CRM could have a similar meaning. But being observed, “B” zombies follow hordes, while one “A” stays safe in the lab, maybe symbolising how “B” survivors become CRM pawns while “A” recruits rise to leadership posts.