Villain squads come and go on The Walking Dead, however there’s one factor most of them appear to have in frequent: a fascination with the letter “A.”
All through the collection’s most up-to-date seasons, the letter-slash-symbol has cropped up in some mighty conspicuous locations – most lately, with Jadis portray it on the door of Rick’s holding cell at her heap – and though the contexts have been very totally different, there appear to be a few frequent themes within the scenes concerned with the letter’s look. From bodily captivity to assessments of humanity, there’s quite a bit to unpack from only a single letter.
Since we do not suppose they’re making an attempt to tug off some huge Pretty Little Liars homage proper now, let’s check out what that alphabetical icon of the present may actually imply.
Season four, Episode 16: “A”
The primary look comes alongside within the season 4 finale – which is definitely titled “A” to make sure we do not miss the significance.
Rick, Michonne, and Carl have been wandering across the woods towards Terminus after they cross paths with Daryl and his new pack of biker friends. Issues get ugly actually shortly, and fairly than sitting again and letting Deliverance Dude #2 have his method with Carl, Rick fights (and bites) again by relieving his captor of his carotid earlier than carving Carl’s attacker from intestine to gullet. Rick’s gone ham a whole lot of instances on this present however by no means fairly like this.
Afterward in the identical episode, the trio lastly make their acquaintance with all of the Terminus residents, and it does not take the nice Sheriff very lengthy to piece collectively the clues – Maggie’s poncho, Hershel’s pocket watch being worn by people who find themselves decidedly not them – that their farm mates have been kidnapped. After all, by then they’ve already handed over most of their weapons, so that they haven’t any alternative however to obey after they’re herded right into a prepare automotive bearing the letter “A” on the facet.
Season 5, Episode 1: “No Sanctuary”
At first of the season 5 premiere, we’re proven a pair of prior occupants of that very same darkish field, and – shock! – it is a flashback of Gareth and his brother, who swear they’ve solely ushered folks in to assist them. His brother then asks him, “What are we now?” And with the enormous purple “A” exterior, the reply appears clear: they’re animals. And now they’re on the hunt.
We additionally see the letter adorning the partitions of a number of buildings all through the place, together with one Rick and the remainder depart to assist one other trapped sufferer, after Glenn reminds him that is who they’re and what they do. (After all, their rescue effort is in useless as a result of the man inside is already cuckoo for cocoa puffs, shouting, “We’re the identical, we’re them” earlier than blissfully changing into a walker’s lunch).
Season 5, Episode 1: “No Sanctuary”
And if that is not clear sufficient, when Carol’s about to handle the group’s chief, who’s received an “A” chilling above her shoulder, the girl justifies her transformation right into a purple folks eater by saying others have tried to overhaul the place earlier than and he or she’s realized, “You are the butcher, otherwise you’re the cattle.”
A few episodes later, Rick and the gang have managed to flee the Terminus deathtrap and discover themselves taking shelter in Father Gabriel’s church. However they don’t seem to be completed with Gareth simply but, oh no. Gareth and what stays of his hit squad mark the church with a purple “A” to intimidate them earlier than making their transfer.
Season 5, Episode three: “4 Partitions and a Roof”
Their plan backfires spectacularly, in fact, and that is when Gareth will get to fulfill Rick’s red machete. By the point the letter crops up within the present once more, it is season six and the survivors have discovered reluctant shelter inside the all-too-vulnerable partitions of Alexandria.
Season 6, Episode 2: “JSS”
Jessie’s son Sam has a purple stamp with the ever present letter on it and makes use of it as a type of welcome wagon for the city’s new friends. If we did not know any higher, we would suppose it simply means Alexandria. However take into account what Carol tells him within the scene when he is holding it: “Your dad used to hit you and he received himself killed. It occurred. It is completed. You reside with it or it eats you up.” In different phrases, she’s asking him to desk his sense of harm and anger for the sake of survival, like she’s needed to do.
Season 6, Episode 2: “JSS”
Carol sees the “A” yet another time in the identical episode, after masquerading as a Wolf to combat again in opposition to their raid on city. The letter is innocently stamped on her home perch – a gesture Melissa McBride takes to be a moment of sweetness. From the look on her eyes within the scene, she actually appears to return again from the brink of one thing on the sight of it. The following time “A” arrives in any type of significance, in season seven, it is not the one letter getting some love on display.
Season 7, Episode three: “The Cell”
Daryl Dixon has been captured by Negan and his Saviors (sure, the “Straightforward Avenue” earworm days), and he is given a tan sweatshirt with the letter spray-painted throughout the back and front. As others put on different letters on equally embellished shirts, he’s requested by Dwight to give up that final little little bit of Rick allegiance that is protecting him from assimilating with the Saviors and declaring himself to be, like everybody else, Negan.
Dwight holds Daryl’s face to the fence of the Sanctuary’s walker moat and says, “Your alternative. You possibly can be like them, or me.”
The Strolling Useless author Angela Kang has since mentioned that the letter in this episode is meant to represent one in all Negan’s favourite four-letter phrases. However given the acquainted enchantment being made by Dwight, it is laborious to not see a bigger significance as nicely. Which brings us to the newest however not least arrival of “A.”
Season eight, Episode 6: “The King, the Widow and Rick”
After Rick tries to bully his method into a brand new discount with Jadis and the Heapsters in season eight, he fails to impress or intimidate her, so she throws him – in his skivvies – right into a storage cell. Jadis attracts the letter “A” on there in chalk proper above what appears to be a breathing hole.
On its floor, the “A-hole” reference is true there, however the second additionally ties collectively lots of the frequent threads related to the letter up to now within the present: (1) Rick’s being held in a steel field once more; (2) she’s stolen his sneakers, which is one thing Gareth would completely do; (three) he is being requested to debase himself however refuses; and (four) he is gonna need to go full Pink-Eyed Rick to flee their newest trash zombie monstrosity.
What May It Imply?
In a roundabout way or one other, the letter “A” has all the time been current round somebody being trapped – from the plain conditions like Rick’s crew at Terminus to the much less apparent eventualities, like with Sam holing himself up in his room as quickly as hazard presents itself as a result of that is been his protection mechanism his entire life. So, the “A” is certainly symbolic of confinement.
On prime of that, most of its appearances occur round when somebody’s having a disaster of humanity, like with Rick giving into his interior rage-a-holic in opposition to the bikers and Daryl being pressured to kneel.
It is also value declaring that in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the central protagonist is pressured to bear the letter as an emblem of her sin. Contemplating the letter first good points its prominence within the collection proper across the time Rick completely defiles Gabriel’s church, there are some parallels there for positive.
Followers of Robert Kirkman’s comics could have a sneaking suspicion that Jadis’s use of the letter “A” right here might need extra to do along with her potential arrival because the eventual “Alpha,” a quiet character who heads up the Whisperers and offers Rick and the gang a LOT of hassle after they take care of the Saviors. However then once more, perhaps she’s simply marking her territory with the scrawled mark; she hasn’t precisely hidden her want to get to know Rick in that method, has she?