by Barbara and Alex Doyle
By getting this week’s episode to air, one thing is for sure: writer Jennifer Derwingson* just won a bet, and I’m guessing that bet was to write an episode that used the network censor’s rulebook like a to-do list. The list reads like a Saturday Night Live’s Stefon recommended nightclub: there’s drug use, drug theft, violence, crime, condom sense, adult situations, awkward sex talk, blasphemy and things I can guarantee you’ve never seen done with an umbilical cord.
I’d say it was over the top if the top could even be seen from where it started, which was with our crew fleeing a parade of Zs left over from the Wisconsin Cheese Day parade, and for the first year, the cheese is the best smelling thing in the lineup. They make their escape after Warren buys them time when they find the only thing in the apocalypse that has aged well – the world’s largest wheel of cheese – which Warren and Addy send rolling to crush the pursuing horde.
Murphy’s awkwardness with his ‘pie lady’ Serena begins to thaw while she recovers from a bout of morning sickness that makes The Exorcist look tame. The crew comes under fire, they think for driving an SUV stolen from the Zeroes, but before Warren can coordinate a response, Serena has had it in only the way a heavily pregnant lady can. She storms out and guns the attackers down while berating them mercilessly, proving once again, if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody…gonna live to see tomorrow.
Serena needs a safe(r) place to deliver Murphy’s spawn, so the crew travels to a Mennonite farm, sending Vasquez and 10K to split up and scout it out. As soon as he’s out of sight, Vasquez tunes into a Spanish language channel where people are mentioning Murphy and de nada and that’s pretty much all we understood.
Meanwhile 10K sees a group of farmers being attacked by two powder coated zombies and an undead sheep (a zombaaa?) Following them back to a farmhouse 10K meets up with the rest of the crew in time for everyone to be attacked by more zombies. After the fight the leader of the Mennonites explains that, unfortunately (actually, is there any other kind of fortunately in this show?) the zombies are anthrax laden, and by bringing the noise Addy gets coated and 10K is infected hardcore. He is taken to be treated with the other sick Mennonites, who don’t have nearly enough antibiotics to cure everyone so, by distributing the Cipro evenly, are pretty much prolonging everyone’s death longer than the zombie apocalypse has.
Addy, Vasquez and the leader of the Mennonites go to see if there’s any antibiotics left in a local drugstore, and end up having to kill a man in self defense, which causes the Mennonite leader to see them in a whole new light. Returning to the farm, Addy falls sick from her previous encounter with the anthrax Zs, and, for once, needs people to hold her hand and tell her to be strong.
Since they’ve returned empty handed, Warren decides the mission comes first and steals all the Cipro to save Addy and 10K, causing the Mennonite leader to see them in, well, pretty much the same light as last time, except it’s shining in his eyes now and he’s wishing them peace and we’re kind of torn between admiring his kumbaya and wishing he’d grab a pitchfork and go postal on everyone’s ass.
Meanwhile Serena, set up on a hay bale in the barn, has gone into labor and Murphy and Doc are trying to get her through it. Turns out Murphy can’t, not without a hit to calm himself down, but all Doc has on offer is nicotine gum. (Serena, meanwhile, gets a fat lot of nothing for pain relief, because even when you are delivering a zombaby life for the pregnant lady is totally unfair.) We see that Murphy clearly has a connection with the baby, calming it, even while it’s still internal, by getting nearer to Serena’s belly.
As Warren and Vasquez get 10K and Addy into the barn to heal them with their stolen drugs, an exterior view of the barn shows it bathed in the light of a guiding star. Then three Z’s leading a zombie camel (a zomedary?) and a zomburrow and other undead animals head toward the barn and HOLY CRAP! THEY’RE REALLY GOING TO GO THERE! Not since midichlorians has there been such an inference of the twisted rebirth of the Savior. The Three Rise Men are followed by more zombies, and they discover there is for damn sure room in this inn.
Watching the freaky blue baby climb out headfirst, waving its arms (making Barbara scream and hide and flashback), Murphy realizes the weirdest thing in the apocalypse so far is becoming ap-parent. Turns out the baby is a girl! Kinda. As Murphy holds his offspring (which looks surprisingly like him in its bone structure and dead yellow eyes) everyone coos over it—her—and that’s hella weird. The Hallmark Movie moment is over when the Zs charge him, attracted to the baby even more than the promise of fresh guts. Serena goes Mama (zom)Bear on the Z’s, buying the team time to get to the door, but is bitten and dies for real in the thick of the horde.
And it’s funny, this show, because it is crazy and gross and in no way realistic, but Z-erena’s death, saving her baby, is surprisingly sad, and we’re grateful when Warren gives her mercy.
The episode closes the next day, on the road, with Murphy holding the devil smurf and naming her Lucy, while somewhere in farm country, a giant wheel of cheese rolls on.
*Jennifer Derwingson also wrote the Season 1 episodes Sisters Of Mercy, which introduced Serena, and one of our favorites, Welcome To The Fu-Bar, in which 10K won the shooting contest.
Still alive: Warren, Vasquez, Doc, 10K and Addy, and Murphy and Cassandra and Zombaby Lucy (kinda.)
10K’s Kill Count: 3215 from last week + 3 to 4 this week + whatever = > 3219+
What We Loved:
Sara Coates, as Serena, doing the hand puppet theater adaptation of the tough guy getting fed to the zombear. Utterly delightful.
10K and Addy speak! They had more dialogue this in this episode than they have in the entire season so far.
Anthrax zombies, proving, no matter what you think, it can always get worse.
It never ceases to amaze us how this show walks the line between being so aggressively, comically shocking, and yet still has honest moments of real consequence portrayed by its characters. Warren deciding to rob the people who are helping them clearly showed her guilt and regret, and Serena’s last stand sincerely showed a mother’s love.
Vasquez’s backstory is hinted at again with his use of the radio.
The cheese wheel at the end of the episode. Dare we hope it will return in a future episode? (Hint: We are.)
What Bugged Us:
Nobody was alarmed by the zombies sneaking into the barn?
Where do you get a camel in Mennonite country, anyway?
What we didn’t see coming:
Warren ultimately deciding to steal the antibiotics, proving that, in the zombie apocalypse, the needs of the one can outweigh the needs of the many.
Quote worthy lines:
Vasquez (to Murphy): “Hey, I thought you controlled these things.”
Murphy: “Not that many. And not for you.”
Warren, after unleashing the cheese wheel: “If anybody asks…”
Everybody: “We were nowhere near Wisconsin.”
Doc, to the tune of Rawhide: “Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’. Keep that cheese a rollin’…”
Serena: “You dirt eating bastards! You filthy goat loving whores! There is a baby on board here! A mother-loving baby! I am going to rip off your arms and saw off your heads! Yeah, that’s what I thought. People are so rude.”
Doc: “I’m starting to like this girl.”
Warren: “What happens in weird zombie apocalypse community stays in weird zombie apocalypse community.”
Addy, regarding the average sex life in Z Nation: “Apocalypse. Total cock-block, right?”
Addy, explaining kill or be killed: “It’s just what we have to do now.”
Warren, to the Mennonites she is robbing: “I’m sorry. Forgive me.”
The Mennonite Leader: “Grace to you. And peace.”
Vasquez: “I’d feel a whole lot better if they’d at least tried to kill us.”
Warren: “Only in a messed up apocalypse was that the right thing to do.”
Doc, horrified: “Well, what is it?”
Murphy, beaming: “It’s a girl!”
Doc: “Oh. Yeah! Of course.”
Zombie kill of the week:
Definitely the cheese wheel. (A kill so nice we had to GIF it twice.) If you recall season one’s Liberty Bell kill, (“If anybody asks, we were nowhere near Philadelphia” becomes “If anybody asks, we were nowhere near Wisconsin.”) Not only was it hilarious to watch, we appreciated the obvious fr-homage. Extra points for it claiming a cow at the end of the episode. Had to be done.