Fans of The Walking Dead have been wondering what the letter “A” means on the show dating back several years now, while the periodic resurfacing of a helicopter has triggered curiosity among viewers since the beginning, but more earnestly since season 8. Jadis addresses both of those matters in a lengthy conversation with Father Gabriel in this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Warning Signs,” and it may hint toward the return of an old group of foes from season five of The Walking Dead.
Anne, formerly Jadis, has been connected to the helicopter since last season, when it was spotted by Rick flying toward the junkyard in one episode, and spotted again apparently trying unsuccessfully to pick up Jadis. In this week’s episode, Jadis returns to the Junkyard, opens an old safe, and pulls out a walkie-talkie. “I know you are in range,” she says into the walkie-talkie. “What do you have? An ‘A’ or a ‘B?'” the voice on the other end asks.
“It is you? Did you take them?” Jadis asks. “No pickups,” the voice says. “But the deal still stands. Will you have an ‘A’ or a ‘B’?”
“Neither,” she responds. “It’s just me. I’ve paid my share. When the voice seems to dispute this, Jadis asks, “What will it take?” to which the voice responds, “An ‘A.'”
That’s when Father Gabriel — who had been tailing her all night — pops out. Father Gabriel accuses Jadis of killing Justin and the missing Saviors (which we know to be untrue), and while Jadis denies it, she says that she has done “bad things.”
Gabriel then asks Jadis if she traded people, and Jadis concedes that she has done so. She says that she had at one point attempted to trade Gabriel and Rick “for supplies for my people.” She seems to hint as to what the letter ‘A’ refers to, however, when Gabriel declines an invitation to leave with her to a place where “we can have a life like you can’t imagine” and she knocks him out. “And all this time,” she says, “I thought you were a ‘B.'”
What do ‘A’ and ‘B’ mean? Given the context, ‘A’ seems to refer to an “Alpha,” if it took standing up to Jadis to change Gabriel from a “B” (or Beta) to an Alpha. But that doesn’t square exactly with how the Letter ‘A’ has been used in the past. It was spray painted on Daryl’s shirt when he was being held captive by Negan. It was on the train car that the Terminus cannibals held Rick’s crew captive in. Jadis also labeled a storage container with Rick inside it with the letter ‘A,’ among other instances.
It seems to be a label applied to trapped or confined people. Since its first major use dates back to the train car outside of Terminus, and since Jadis admits in this episode to trading people, it seems to suggest that perhaps she’s been trading people to cannibals in exchange for supplies. Are there still members of the Terminus group alive? And do they prefer “Alphas” to “Betas”?
Recall, too, that Gareth of Terminus labeled Father Gabriel’s church with the letter ‘A,’ before he invaded it and got himself and his entire squad killed.
Does “A” refer to a cut of human meat? Will we see members of Terminus again? Did several survive the destruction of their compound back in season 5, and have they been trading supplies for humans all this time?
It’s certainly an intriguing possibility.