Since it launched a few weeks back, The Walking Dead: World Beyond hasn’t really being laying too many breadcrumbs about the fate of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), despite being set right near the center of the Civic Republic Military, the organization that took The Walking Dead hero away at the end of Season 9’s “What Comes After.” We’ve learned more about the organization, certainly; but nothing that would directly tie into Rick’s fate.
That is until a post-credits scene on this week’s episode “The Wrong End of the Telescope,” which may fill in a crucial mystery surrounding his disappearance — and set up a very, very bad situation for the former sheriff.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season 1, Episode 4 past this point.
There’s a lot of information to cover here, particularly if you’re reaching back into your mind to remember everything that happened to Rick nearly two years ago in real time, and a decade earlier in Walking Dead time. First, a brief recap of this week’s World Beyond, which found our group holing up in a high school while waiting out a rainstorm. Part of the episode was sweet, as Iris (Aliyah Royale) and Silas (Hal Cumpston) recreated a Sadie Hawkins Dance, despite not knowing who or what Sadie Hawkins was. Part of it was completely bizarre, as Hope (Alexa Mansour) and Huck (Annet Mahendru) avoided a wolf. Really. But ultimately the group headed off from the high school, in search of Hope and Iris’ father, somewhere at a lab in upstate New York (they think).
That’s where the post-credits scene comes in.
In it, we see a woman with the three ring insignia of the Civic Republic Military tattooed on her hand, just below the junction between her thumb and her pointer finger. She’s recording on a tape recorder and, as we see later, eating a big sandwich with fresh lettuce — tying into Elton’s (Nicholas Cantu) musings about the vastness of the resources the CRM has, earlier in the episode.
That’s not the crux of the scene, though. She’s working on “Test Subject A-402,” who certainly seems to be the red bearded man glimpsed in a picture with her. Also in that picture? An older man we haven’t met yet, and a man who could be Iris and Hope’s father, who we met via flashback earlier in the episode. The desk she’s at and the room she’s in are clean, unlike anything we’ve seen in the zombie apocalypse so far — even at World Beyond‘s initial setting, Campus Colony. In fact, the closest location that comes to mind is the (much-maligned) CDC storyline from The Walking Dead Season 1.
“That’s good there, thank you,” says the woman, looking at her clearly zombified subject. “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.”
The whole speech is presented clinically, scientifically, even when she clarifies that the test subject was “known in life as Dr. Samuel Abbott of Portland, Oregon.” Fun fact, by the way, there is actual a Dr. Samuel Abbott in real life, and he’s located in Portland — except in Maine, not Oregon.
More to the point, though, there are dozens, if not more subjects all attached with clean white straps over the mouths and midsections, lined up in a room as someone in a blue hazmat suit makes sure they’re all secured.
“Thank you, bring out the next TS please,” says the woman, biting into her sandwich calmly.
“Test subject A-403,” she continues, as the camera ominously hovers over the picture again, implying that perhaps Hope and Iris’s dad is next on the docket.
That’s bad news for our World Beyond heroes, but why is it also potentially bad news for Rick Grimes? That all comes down to one letter: “A.”
Over on The Walking Dead, we learned that Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), the leader of a group situated in a junkyard, had made a deal with the CRM, providing them with survivors for unknown reasons. Those survivors were given letter designations: “A,” and “B;” as well as notes about whether they were a “strong A” or not.
Though we never explicitly found out what the letters mean (the Walking Dead wiki notes that “A” means “survivor with leadership abilities and willingness to fight” while “B” means “survivor who is unable or unwilling to fight,” though I’m not 100% sure where that info came from), Rick was noted as a “Strong B” when Jadis saved his life at the end of his final episode.
Jadis insisted that she was bringing him to safety — but if the “A” designation the scientist uses at the end of this week’s World Beyond is the same as the one Jadis was using, and As can be experimented on… What does that mean for Bs, like Rick?
Before you panic too hard about Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) husband, just know that some time between when Rick disappeared, and the current timeline of TWD/Fear/World Beyond (they’ve all roughly synced up at this point), Rick was on a boat that washed up near Virgil’s island, as seen in Season 10’s “What We Become.” So whether Jadis took him to be experimented on and he escaped, or something else happened, chances are Rick may not suffer the same fate as Dr. Samuel Abbott. Doesn’t mean he’s not in serious danger, though; and being a “B” is definitely more worrisome than being an “A.” It also should make you prettied worried about the other character everyone seems to have forgotten was also taken by CRM, Heath (Corey Hawkins).
But regardless of where Rick is, or Heath, that mysterious post-credits lab means very bad things for the World Beyond heroes. Maybe head back and face that wolf, instead?
The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.
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