The Walking Dead’s ongoing A and B mystery has been half-solved, as World Beyond’s series finale reveals what made Rick an A and why Jadis told the CRM he was a B. The concluding episode of Walking Dead: World Beyond proved to be a treasure trove of long-awaited answers, explaining the virus’ origin, variant mutations, and Noah Emmerich’s Walking Dead season 1 comment about the French. Evidently in a generous mood, “The Last Light” also sheds some light on the mystery behind A and B.
When Jadis and her Scavengers debuted in The Walking Dead season 7, it soon became clear the junkyard group was kidnapping other survivors and sending them off via helicopter to parts unknown. Jadis’ captives were labelled as either “A” or “B,” but The Walking Dead failed to disclose precisely what these designations meant. Jadis did offer a few clues – describing Rick and Negan both as As and telling Gabriel she once thought he was a B but changed her mind. Adding to the confusion, Jadis earned passage into the Civic Republic by assuring the CRM helicopter pilot that Rick was a B, despite her previous assessment.
Since then, Walking Dead viewers have formed various convincing A and B theories, many of which revolve around character traits and personality, but without firm answers, all ideas remain purely speculative. Now, after much waiting, Walking Dead: World Beyond’s series finale directly addresses the matter, offering the first concrete details in years. World Beyond’s last episode culminates in a brutal duel between Jadis and her former mentor, Huck. During the fight, Jadis remarks, “I had someone special. I had an “A” but I said he was a “B” so he wouldn’t end up in your mother’s lab. I owed him that much.”
Jadis is definitely talking about Rick Grimes in this scene, and her line reveals a whole lot about the CRM’s A and B labels, as well as what became of Rick after Andrew Lincoln’s departure in The Walking Dead season 9. Firstly, we can deduce an A is the CRM’s preferred Christmas present. Jadis confirms she intentionally downplayed Rick’s importance, and would’ve been better rewarded by admitting his true value. The scene also reveals what becomes of A-grade prisoners – Project V lab experiments. The CRM’s secret science club required fresh specimens to test their prototype reanimation-slowing drug, and A subjects were apparently reserved for this purpose. Knowing what the CRM used A types for, it’s possible to deduce why Rick was among them. Since CRM doctors would’ve picked up any biological traits, the criteria for an A must derive exclusively from personality. The CRM obviously wanted to test Project V on victims with certain qualities – maybe hoping a determined, tenacious personality would prove more successful in resisting reanimation.
Jadis’ Walking Dead: World Beyond fight scene clears up a second major question from the main show – why Rick was downgraded from A to B in his farewell episode. Some viewers speculated that Rick’s near-death state was to blame, but Jadis now confirms he was always an A, and referring to Rick as a B was merely a ploy to spare him certain death. Rick Grimes treated Jadis with respect and accepted her into Alexandria. Even though she ultimately left the community, Jadis couldn’t bear condemning her friend to death by revealing his true status. This hints toward a glimmer of friendship still existing between The Walking Dead’s two helicopter escapees.
While Walking Dead: World Beyond provides a fairly solid explanation behind the CRM’s A captives, question marks remain over the B side. Based on Jadis’ reason for lying, the fate of a B is obviously less deadly than an A, but it’s still not clear what happens to those deemed unworthy of Project V experimentation. Jadis also doesn’t address whether B subjects have their own specific criteria, or whether anyone who isn’t an A gets lumped into the B category together. One possibility is that B captives are recruited as soldiers because their personalities are less rebellious and stubborn. If so, trying to mold Rick Grimes into a compliant officer likely didn’t end well for the CRM.