This The Walking Dead: World Beyond feature contains spoilers.
To understand what happens after the credits roll on The Walking Dead: World Beyond episode 4, one needs to look a little further back in The Walking Dead history.
The final sequence of Rick Grimes’ last Walking Dead episode “What Comes After” features an anguished Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) on a walkie-talkie, communicating with a mysterious helicopter. “I have a B,” she announces. “Not an A, I never had an A.” The “B” she has is a delirious, impaled Rick Grimes, making his final appearance on The Walking Dead as a lead character. The A, at the time, was a mysterious reference that wasn’t explained, but didn’t seem to augur well for whoever was tagged with the letter. After the closing credits of The Walking Dead: World Beyond‘s fourth episode, “The Wrong End of a Telescope,” an equally mysterious post-credits sequence seems to shine just a little bit more light on just what that A or B designation might have meant insofar as it involves Jadis and Rick’s helicopter evacuation.
Jadis, with her connection to the helicopter people, had spent the bulk of Season Nine talking on the long-range radio. Gabriel goes from a B to an A during the course of “The Obliged” after overhearing Jadis’s plotting. Gabriel is offered a life beyond that he knows, a sweet set-up as part of what we can now assume is the Civic Republic, but Gabriel refuses, deciding to tell Rick instead. That’s unacceptable, and with a sad, “All this time, I thought you were a B,” Jadis knocks Gabriel over the head and ties him to the same restraint board that she’d used on Negan in “Still Gotta Mean Something” after he had been declared an A. Jadis tells Gabriel, “There’s only one place left for me to go, and you’re the price of admission.”
The price of admission was, until she’s able to convince the helicopter pilot otherwise, an A.
Cue test subject A402, the key alphanumeric being “A”. A402 is a bearded, ginger walker in a white science loincloth. He struggles against his restraints, as he’s strapped to a familiar-looking board with a Hannibal Lecter bite guard over his mouth. As a female scientist talks about his lack of responses to psychological stimuli and the necrotic plasma and brain fluid they’re drawing from him for further testing, the camera pans up to reveal the large bite mark in the middle of his chest, the same place Jadis was going to have her limbless walker bite Negan and Gabriel during their time on the board.
That’s clearly not a coincidence. The scientist conducting the test, a brunette with a Civic Republic Three Rings tattoo on her hand, dispassionately describes the experiments planned for A402, known in life as Dr. Samuel Abbott of Portland, Oregon. Portland, like Campus Colony, is part of the Three Rings alliance. Dr. Abbott, presumably, was part of the same science exchange program that pulled Leopold Bennett away from Campus Colony and his daughters Hope and Iris, and into the mysterious research facility in upstate New York that the girls currently are trying to reach on World Beyond.
That relationship is confirmed. As the scientist takes a big bite out of a delicious-looking sandwich and has the next test subject moved into position, A403 isn’t shown. What’s shown is a picture of four people standing together: an unknown male scientist, a serious-looking Dr. Bennett, the currently unknown female scientist conducting the experiments, and the distinctive face of Dr. Samuel Abbott, known in death as test subject A402.
If that visual alone wasn’t enough to make the viewer nervous, an ominous stinger underlines the threat nicely. If Dr. Bennett isn’t already a test subject, he very well could be next on the list for the A4 line of zombie experiments. Trying to escape from the CRM seems like the sort of thing that would turn a B-grade citizen into an A-grade test subject pretty quickly. Hope and Iris know things aren’t safe, and that he’s had to flee for his life, but avoiding walkers is one thing and avoiding an armed militia is something else entirely. If Rick Grimes is a B, then the class of people marked as B must be pretty formidable. It’s not a question of if, but when. It’s not shown, but there’s definitely a board with Leo’s name on it waiting for him.