The Walking Dead Finally Explains What As Bs Mean After 5 Years (Full Explanation)

By Kyle McLeod Published 5 hours ago

There has been A and B symbolism throughout The Walking Dead for several years, but The Ones Who Live finally explained what the letters mean.

The Walking Dead Finally Explains What As & Bs Mean After 5 Years (Full Explanation)


  • "A" survivors are inspiring leaders who motivate others to fight for their cause in The Walking Dead.
  • "B" survivors in the CRM are everyday people just trying to survive and are allowed into the community via consignment.
  • The CRM kills "A" survivors, viewing them as a threat, showcasing their true nature as a dangerous group in The Walking Dead.


Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 1 of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.The mystery of As and Bs has lingered in The Walking Dead for over five years, but The Ones Who Live finally revealed what the letters mean. Throughout the series, there has been plenty of symbolism involving the letters A and B. The letter A appears in multiple locations, featuring on the train car in Terminus, Daryl's prisoner shirt in the Sanctuary, storage containers in the Junkyard, and even multiple places in Alexandria. Season 9's antagonists were even named Alpha and Beta, highlighting that the letters have had meaning in the franchise for a long time.

Jadis first officially mentioned As and Bs in season 9, finally indicating there was some significance to the letters. Fans have speculated that this ties in with The Walking Dead's Civic Republic Military, which World Beyond confirmed. However, even though A and B seemed to be important in the spinoff, their meaning was never revealed. The Walking Dead did offer clues to the AB mystery in the World Beyond through Jadis. She mentioned that Rick was an A but told the CRM he was a B, and the importance of this decision is shown in The Ones Who Live.

The Ones Who Lives airs Sundays on AMC and AMC+.

"A" Survivors Are Leaders In The Walking Dead


In The Ones Who Live episode 1, Okafor conducts a secret mission with Rick Grimes and Thorne, giving them private information about the CRM. He reveals the meaning of As, claiming they are leaders who would die for what they believe in. Okafor wants to recruit more As to be soldiers for the CRM, as he feels the only way the military can change is through strong leaders who can make the hard decisions. His explanation suggests that As are those the CRM feels are strong figureheads who can inspire and motivate large groups of people.

Given Rick's history, he definitely falls into the A category, since he has plenty of strength and people follow him, which is exactly how Okafor described As. With As being leaders, there is a large portion of The Walking Dead's main characters who would fall under this category. Rick and Maggie would obviously be As as they guide communities, but the likes of Michonne, Daryl, and Carol would also be As due to their leadership skills and resilience. Even Negan would fall under this category, as, despite having a sinister past, he was still willing to die for his people.

As refer to the most influential and inspirational survivors in The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead: Dead City's villains even wanted Negan to help lead New York, showing just how big of an impression he left on the Croat. With the franchise focusing on the toughest and most interesting survivors, it is no surprise the majority of the main cast would be As, which is perhaps a factor in why the CRM haven't attacked Rick's group. Ultimately, As refer to the most influential and inspirational survivors in The Walking Dead, who are capable of motivating others to fight for their cause.

"B" Survivors Are People Just Trying To Get By

The Walking Dead Finally Explains What As & Bs Mean After 5 Years (Full Explanation)

On the flip side, Bs are those that are simply trying to get by. Okafor describes Bs as "everyday people who are just trying to survive." These are the sort of people who may contribute to a community in smaller ways but have no outstanding leadership qualities. This makes up most of those in the Civic Republic that aren't high military officials. World Beyond highlights what this would look like, with peaceful communities having schools and houses, operating like an everyday town. Bs are able to embrace the system, rather than trying to change and perfect it like As.

While most of The Walking Dead's central characters are As, some would likely have been Bs earlier in the show. Eugene has a redemption arc in the latter seasons, but his cowardice and desperation to be safe would have made him a B earlier in the apocalypse. Gabriel would have been a B since he nearly got the main survivors killed before latching on to them for protection. Jadis and Gabriel's Walking Dead backstory even explains this, as Jadis tells Gabriel she thought he was a B until he stood up for his people and became a leader.

The CRM Lets "B" Survivors Into Its Community Via The Consignment Program

The Walking Dead Finally Explains What As & Bs Mean After 5 Years (Full Explanation)

Despite the secretive nature of the CRM, Bs are let into the community via the Consignment Program. Survivors who are encountered by the CRM are allowed to join the CR if they are labeled Bs. However, there isn't much of a choice, with the CRM essentially forcing survivors to stay. Most people embrace this arrangement as Bs are simply looking to survive, and the Civic Republic offers the perfect opportunity to do so. Rick and Thorne are exceptions, mainly due to the fact they aren't really Bs and shouldn't have been allowed into the Civic Republic in the first place.

The Consignment Program appears to provide survivors with safe living conditions, with B survivors carrying out tasks such as clearing walkers in return. Consignees are kept separate from the main city, but can eventually finish their consignment, as was the case with Esteban. This provides the Civic Republic with extra people to help keep the community safe, and since they have decided they are Bs, they expect these survivors to be obedient and follow orders as the arrangement should suit both parties. The CRM offers Bs the chance at a safe life, but they don't do the same with As.

The CRM Kills "A" Survivors (Because They're A Threat)

The Walking Dead Finally Explains What As & Bs Mean After 5 Years (Full Explanation)

Unlike Bs, As are not invited to join the Consignment Program and are instead killed by the CRM. While Dead City's villains may appreciate strong leaders, the CRM view them as a threat that needs to be eliminated. Rather than recruit them to lead the community, the CRM kill As to ensure the community's safety isn't compromised. Bs are unlikely to cause any problems, but As could inspire people to revolt against the CRM, causing internal conflict. This shows the CRM's true nature as they will kill people without remorse, simply because they pose a threat in the future.

The CRM's size makes it nearly impossible for even the strongest of As to oppose them.

World Beyond emphasizes the group's twisted nature, revealing that the CRM took out several communities, including their own people in Omaha to avoid potential problems in the future. This makes Rick wanting to escape the CRM in his Walking Dead spinoff all the more reasonable. The CRM's size makes it nearly impossible for even the strongest of As to oppose them, hence why Rick has struggled so much to escape. Knowing he could be killed if CRM soldiers find out he's an A, Rick has all the motivation needed to find a way out of the community.

Why Rick Grimes Is Still Alive (Despite Being An "A")

The Walking Dead Finally Explains What As & Bs Mean After 5 Years (Full Explanation)

Given Rick is clearly an A, he shouldn't be alive, but Okafor provided him a lifeline. Okafor vouched for Rick, and given he is a high-ranking soldier in the CRM, his opinion carries a lot of weight. Initially, Jadis' lie that Rick was a B allowed him to get into the Consignment Program, but after numerous escape attempts, it is clear Rick isn't a B. With Okafor trying to change the CRM from the inside, he needs Rick and Thorne's help. This is why he vouches for Rick despite nearly being killed by the protagonist, as he sees value in him.

Okafor clearly believes in Rick's leadership and critical thinking, even if he can't fully trust him. Rather than sending another two As to be killed, Okafor knows Rick and Thorne could help him make the CRM better. Rick seems to even embrace this by the end of episode 1, feeling that changing the CRM is a worthwhile goal if he can't escape the group. Okafor's death and Michonne's appearance could completely change things though, as Rick will likely want to try and escape with Michonne, and he'll have to abandon Okafor's vision.

Without Okafor, no one is there to vouch for Rick other than Thorne, putting his life at risk. The CRM has no reason to keep him around anymore as he doesn't have Okafor's protection. Given how much Rick knows about the group, his status as an A puts him at risk, and trying to survive against such a dangerous group will be difficult in The Ones Who Live.

Episode #

Episode Title

Release Date



February 25



March 3



March 10



March 17



March 24



March 31

Cast Andrew Lincoln , Danai Gurira , Pollyanna McIntosh , Lesley-Ann Brandt , Terry O'Quinn Release Date February 25, 2024 Seasons 1 Network AMC Streaming Service(s) AMC+ Franchise(s) The Walking Dead Writers Scott M. Gimple , Danai Gurira Showrunner Scott M. Gimple

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