by Barbara and Alex Doyle
I am Barbara. He is Alex. We are married. We bond over all things zombie, including our current favorite undead television indulgence, the over-the-top-with-a-heart-of-gold Syfy show Z Nation. Let’s talk episodes one and two, shall we?
We start season two literally dealing with the fallout of season one. Warren and her crew are trying to outrun the nukes that Murphy triggered when he had his anxiety attack and ditched the zombunker. Murphy, it seems, is still the Died Piper, and where he goes in bunny slippers? The animated corpses are sure to follow.
Episode One: “The Murphy”
To get Murphy to California, Citizen Z has put a faux bounty on his head, all while trying to outrun the thawed out undead flight crew intent on eating him alive. Basically? It’s a post-apocalyptic game of Quidditch and Murphy is the snitch. Addy’s residence at Lilith Fair has come to a close because the rejected man/boy from Season One set the camp on fire and released the zombear, leading the ladies to a grizzly end. Except the one Murphy knocked up. Wait. What? In any case, Mack isn’t dealing with rejection well but he teams up with Addy anyway because she still has the Z-Whacker. In an effort to save the injured Doc, Warren comes across the family from Little House on the Prairie and saves their daughter. Uh oh. It’s a nice family.
They must be…no wait. They actually are a nice family! Murphy’s rewarded with provisions and a reason to keep killing puppies and kittens Matrix style. 10K and Doc are about to become lunch when they happen upon Mack and Addy and double their zombie killing resources. With the crew reunited, they head to Cheyenne where Murphy has opened a Ztrip Club with the not-human-not-zombie Cassandra (whom Murphy has dressed like an even more bizarre and savage Nicki Minaj.)
Murphy shows the gang some unfortunate undead girl on girl action, before the bounty hunter that will clearly become Murphy’s love interest shows up to collect. Instead? Murphy sics the zombies on them and makes himself scarce. Oh, and did we mention that the chick Murphy knocked up can ask her zombaby where its daddy is? AND IT SQUEALS AND POINTS IN RESPONSE? We close with pretty much the best season preview ever. Hang on, kids. It’s gonna be a rocky ride.
Still alive: Warren, Doc, 10K, Mack, Addy, Citizen Z and his dog (yay!) and Murphy and Cassandra (kinda.)
What we loved: The shooting style, in more ways than one. Especially during Warren’s slow motion ballet of death against a slew of zombies. Her literal double tap bullet-time shot was a close contender for zombie kill of the week.
What bugged us: Citizen Z’s arctic base, which looks more like an empty Costco than a military headquarters, even when factoring the fact that was partially nuked. Plus, the soldiers zombies thawed with the heat of the nuke but once that cooled should have re-corpsesicled almost immediately. That said? The show budget was better served elsewhere.
Quote worthy lines:
Mack, seeing Addy for the first time: “……………”
Mack, after Addy tells him of the fate of the camp: “Well, I guess she was right about men.”
Cassandra, stammering: “I’mmm…nnnot…a….zzzzombieeee…” Murphy: “I know. You’re better.”
Doc, regarding the zombie stripper: “Hope she ain’t workin’ for tips.”
Murphy, when the undead stripper’s arm rips off and slides down the pole: “TA DA! I know, I know, the finale needs a little work, but hey! Let’s hear it for Chantrelle!”
Doc, seeing the gathering bounty hunters: “Folks are friendly here in Cheyenne!”
Warren: “Okay, so we all need to think like Murphy. Get inside his zombiefied head, and I know that’s a scary place to be.”
Doc, outside the club Live Nude Girlz: “Hell, they might as well have his picture on the sign.”
Zombie kill of the week:
Alex: 10K turning a zombie’s eye into a new version of a peephole.
Barbara: 10K turning a Z into an undead version of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man. What’s that kid’s count up to again?
Episode Two: “White Light”
It’s a mad, mad, mad apocalypse. In the Arctic Circle, Citizen Z is still doing his undead housecleaning. He is forced to develop into a weapons wielding badass, killing zombies with conviction. The crew is still chasing down Murphy and Cassandra, who have become some weird version of Bonnie and Clyde. Unfortunately, so is a town full of bounty hunters. Also? There’s a dude with a rocket launcher that looks like something out of the Machete movie, so naturally there are some awesome Michael Bay style explosion shots.
He tries to hit 10K and fails but gets close enough to render him deaf. Doc retrieves him and the crew splits up. Oh, no. Bad, bad idea. It’s 10K and Doc, Mack and Addy, Warren solo (leaving her free to meet up with future Love Interest, natch.) Murphy leads yet another crew of groupZs through the town, Cassandra snarling at his side.
He goes all “Pimp My Zombie” by swapping clothes with an undead doppleganger and sends him out as a decoy into the firefight, which has now seen more rounds doled out than a bar during Spring Break. The gang invades the motel Murphy has hidden in, and they all have a job to do. Doc and 10K work together to take out a sniper. Warren roams the halls looking for Murphy. Mack and Addy get split up, and Mack runs for the motel basement. Oh, no. Not the murder basement, man. That never ends well. Basically, the rest of the episode makes the last half of Black Hawk Down look like My Dinner with Andre. Pretty much everyone almost bites it, having mysterious near death experiences (NDE) as they do. Doc is almost choked to death by a sniper, until his NDE out of body self sees a weapon within reach and he stabs the sniper in the jugular. Warren’s NDE involves a suburban swimming pool, which she survives when Love Interest shoots and beats the guy tracking her, giving new meaning to the word overkill. Murphy makes his way to the roof to enjoy the sight of his bullet filled domain. Mack and Addy split up further, both running from a horde, and you have to wonder if this is when Addy the defeatist is finally taken down. And speaking of defeatist, Love Interest, Warren, 10K and Doc find Murphy on the roof, morose. Warren tries to talk him…well, not down, exactly, but Murphy jumps anyway, seeing an NDE of pot smoking with a pretty girl. He lands in a…get this…swimming pool filled with zombies, and yes, IT IS JUST AS GROSS/COOL AS YOU ARE IMAGINING IT COULD BE.
Sadly for him, he doesn’t die. I wish, more than anything, we could say the same for Mack. Addy tries desperately to free Mack from a padlocked basement, but she can’t, and Mack, in heartbreaking slow motion, dies horrifically. He sees the tunnel of light of the NDE, complete with the peaceful song, but before he can reach it he turns. Addy, stunned, shoots him in the head. Murphy tries to round up Cassandra in an unfortunately colored white van, but Addy gets to him first, beating him viciously. Cassandra makes to stop her via teeth, but Love Interest and the gang (which sounds like a bad 70’s band, let’s be real) stops them both. Warren tries to calm Addy down, asking “Where’s Mack?” The crew realizes they have lost him, and all of them are broken by it. They tie Murphy up, throw him in the van, and hit the road with Love Interest, Cassandra following 10K dutifully, if confused. Love Interest reminds Warren they need to go to outrun the fallout, but she needs a second to get it together. “Damn,” she whispers in tears, and then they hit the road again.
What we loved: The NDEs were fascinating in that they added a depth of drama and poigniancy that somehow still really works with the over the top action sequences. Z Nation is above all a character driven show, and just when you think it’s a B-movie, they do something like this. Also? The blood splash when Murphy hit the pool.
What bugged us: Mack’s death. It’s not the first time we’ve seen him die on screen. We’re sad that it’s going to be the last. Michael Welch acted the hell out of that shocking death, and he will be sorely missed.
Quote worthy lines:
Warren, watching the new bounty hunter gun down a truck full of gangstaz: “Okay. It’s like that then.”
Addy, during the episode long firefight: “Why the hell is everybody shooting at everybody?” Warren, growling in answer: “’Cause Murphy’s the golden goose.”
Murphy, to his brainless fanboys: “You guys are KILLIN’ me! You guys ever consider how annoying this might be? I mean seriously—it’s like a guy can’t even think! This is my dance space, and this is your dance space. A little me time. That’s all I’m askin’.”
Murphy, sneaking away from his former friend: “What’s up, Doc?”
A zombie inundated Mack, to Addy: “Addy please. Addy please! I don’t want you to see me turn!”
Still Alive: Warren, 10K, Doc, Addy, Love Interest, Citizen Z and his dog (yay!) and Murphy and Cassandra (kinda.)
Zombie Kill of the Week: As much as we hate to say it? Mack. For what seems to be the first time in a long time Addy made a quick and clear decision when she set him free with a headshot.
Mack Thompson, she gives you mercy.
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