Four episodes in, and The Walking Dead: The World Beyond still does not work particularly well as a stand-alone series, but it does continue to offer intriguing clues and other bits of information concerning CRM and, possibly, the fate of Rick Grimes. This week’s episode featured a two-minute post-credits scene that was by far better than anything in the episode itself.
Briefly on the episode itself: the series continues to tread water much in the same way that The Walking Dead did in its second season, when the characters spent entirely too much going on supply runs. The World Beyond is basically a journey across the country — itself not very interesting — and in this week’s episode, “The Wrong End of a Telescope,” our six characters took a detour to find supplies to aid them on their journey. They stopped by a high school, and spent the entire episode navigating the hallways and classrooms searching for food, eventually successfully finding some food, but not before Silas lost his temper and repeatedly punched a zombie in the face.
Logically, Silas should be infected — how is it possible to punch a walker in the head, face, and mouth over and over without transmitting the virus? — but logic went out the door on this series when the character slept all night beneath clouds of toxic smoke from a tire fire. The episode’s flashback, meanwhile, provided some information about the relationship between Hope and her father, who decided to leave the Campus Colony to help CRM find a cure for zombies. Hope had a very empowering epiphany that encouraged her to continue their journey.
That’s about it for the main episode.
However, the post-credits scene gave us a glimpse into how CRM is trying to find that cure. It’s doing so by testing some sort of compound on test subjects to see if they respond after reanimation. “Test subject displays no detectable response to psychological stimuli. Necrotic plasma and brain fluid are being drawn for further testing,” a scientist eating a sandwich says. “Results are being compared to tests during and immediately following reanimation.”
What’s perhaps most interesting about the scene, however, is that the scientist refers to the test subject as TSA402, and the next one as Test Subject A403. In other words, the test subjects are As, which answers at least one half of the question we have been wondering for several seasons of The Walking Dead now: What is an ‘A’ and what is a ‘B’? The ‘A’s are clearly test subjects, who are being used to help find a cure.
What’s doubly interesting here is that the scientist conducting the experiments has a photo on her desk. Pictured in the photo are herself, Hope’s Dad, the test subject (also a doctor), and an unknown fourth man. Does this mean that doctors are being used as test subjects? Does this also mean that Hope and Iris’ father is in danger?
Meanwhile, what does it mean for Rick Grimes? Recall, when CRM picked up an ailing Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead, Jadis said to someone in the helicopter pilot of Rick, “I have a B. Not an A. I never had an A. He’s hurt, but he’s strong.” That suggests that Jadis had originally planned on turning someone over to be a test subject for CRM, but — because Rick saved her life — she decided to turn him in as a B, whose life would be saved by CRM. The fact that he is “strong” suggests that Bs are more likely being used as worker/leaders, etc. Bs are someone who can be useful to CRM’s goals while alive.
Unsurprisingly, given that there will be a movie made about him, that suggests that Rick is still alive. The other suggestion may be that the movie will be about Rick’s efforts to dismantle CRM, since it is using healthy individuals as test subjects, which is the sort of evil thing that movies are made about. It may also mean that Elizabeth had everyone in the Campus Colony massacred because she feared it was not the type of community that would stand for testing of this nature.