by Barbara and Alex Doyle
This week on a very meta Z Nation, we get Murphy’s perspective on his place in the zombieverse, more than a few nods to the fans, and all manner of pop culture references as Murphy is bagged by a zombie collector.
We start with the team out of food and, worse, nearly out of ammo. In a new twist, Murphy has started dreaming of eating brains. After he is woken up, Murphy and Doc go scrounging in the woods for anything edible. Doc returns to the group, but Murphy is distracted by a juicy brain hanging on a string. Reaching for it he drops into the ground and out of sight like an Atari 64 playing Pitfall (except, for the record, he didn’t run backwards in a cheat like fashion.)
When Doc meets up with the rest of the group, they realize they’ve lost Murphy and go door to door searching for him in a nearby, almost deserted town. Vasquez gets the line of the night, pointing out “As important as this guy is, we sure do lose him a lot.”
Murphy finds himself in a pit with a zombie who is gnawing down on some brain jerky. Starving, Murphy tries a taste and seems to have a visceral reaction to it, foreshadowing that he’s taking the next steps in his evolution to…whatever he’s going to be
An armored figure drags him out of the pit and secures him on to an examiner’s table, where Murphy wakes up wearing a less than fashionable shock collar and discovers he’s in the clutches of a monologuing amateur scientist and zombie collector who is about to cut out his brain. When Murphy manages to fast talk his way off the table (actually he didn’t even need to talk terrifically fast) the collector realizes he’s bagged The Murphy, and couldn’t be happier.
Now there are mostly two types of zombie preppers – those who have everything figured out in case Z-Day does go down, and those who have everything figured out and can’t wait for Z-Day to go down. The collector falls into that latter category, and it becomes apparent as he gives Murphy a tour of his soon to be zombie museum this guy knows his stuff, delivering a condensed college course on zombies in pop culture as they pass movie posters. And, although not discussed, it should be pointed out here that there is a poster for the most excellent zombie movie EVER, Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead, which, as a fan of Z Nation, you really need to see if you haven’t. (If you have? Watch it again. Seriously. So. Good.)
The relationship between Murphy and the collector becomes less congenial after Murphy tries to escape and wakes up, post tranquilizer dart, strapped to a chair on a TV talk show set (because even in the zombie apocalypse there is no escape from reality programming. Side note? Where is zombie Oprah shouting “And YOU get a brain! And YOU get a brain!” over and over and over.)
As Murphy’s slowly being drained of blood (his blood’s so exotic it may warrant it’s own exhibit), the Collector interviews him to understand what it’s really like to be a zombie. Murphy, weakened from blood loss, and realizing that zombie Ashton Kutcher is probably not going to announce that he’s being Punk’d, opens up about how he got to where he is, even becoming verklempt when he thinks of baby Lucy, who has now probably eaten her foster parents and is out living life on the lam. Murphy’s also discovering a taste for brains as the Collector feeds him one on live TV, so we can see that daytime programming has lost none of its edge in the apocalypse.
After the interview Murphy gets a tour of the live exhibits, featuring phyto zombies, blasters, toxic zombies, and the star attraction, zombie George R.R. Martin, salvaged from a Comic-Con gone bad. The Collector encourages Murphy to mind meld with Martin to finish his latest manuscript “Summer is Here” which we imagine is the story of the Lannisters and the Starks facing off in a massive game of Wolf Blanket Bingo.
Later, trying to escape, Murphy is brought up short by an electrified door, and summons a nearby zombie to help.
Meanwhile, in town, 10K spots a zombie moving with purpose and goes after it, leading to a brief conversation with the Collector at the doorway of his museum. Suspicious, 10k drops his gear outside the building and sneaks in, and finds Murphy on a throne in the hall of real zombies exhibit. Before he can do anything he’s jumped by the Collector, who wants to see what happens when The Murphy bites a human.
Outside the building the rest of the team spots 10K’s gear and breaks in Meanwhile Murphy goes to bite 10K, who says he’d rather die than turn into another Cassandra. While the Collector is watching this drama, Murphy has gotten the exhibit zombies to attack the Collector, who finally gets to know what being a zombie is like. There’s a reason that old saying “be careful what you wish for” holds up, Collector.
The team caches up with 10K and Murphy, dispatches the remaining zombies, and hits the road again. In a final, touching moment amidst all this mad-hattery, Murphy pleads with Warren to not leave him when they get to California, and she makes the promise, leaving us unsure as to whether she is telling the truth.
Still Alive: Warren, Vasquez, Doc, 10K, Addy, Murphy (kinda)
10K’s Kill Count: Easily something over 3255
What we loved:
The Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead poster in the gallery
The Collector’s fan’s-eye view of all things zombie
Keith Allan’s face as Murphy realizes he’s on the set of Dead Live
The book George R.R. Martin was signing was A Promise Of Spring, and given it’s beyond the next book to be published, that means we’ve got a good long time before Z Day
What bugged us:
How, exactly did Murphy get the exhibit zombies out of their invisible fence cages? Did they just need a push?
Previously the blaster zombies weren’t controllable by Murphy, yet he gets one to eat The Collector? Power of suggestion, perhaps?
Phytozombies were part of one big plant, and headshots didn’t work on them, but Addy takes one out by perforating its skull.
That we don’t have one of those Dead Live mugs from the set. How do you score one without being a guest? Do we order from Etzy? Amazomb ?Z-Bay? Somebody hook a recapper up.
What we didn’t see coming:
The Wyrmwood poster. We know we keep harping on this but truly—it was a delightful surprise to see this little known movie be recognized for its stellar contribution to the genre.
If we hadn’t seen the previews, we would have never foreseen George R. R. Martin’s cameo. Kind of a bummer that that was spoiled for us.
Quote worthy lines:
Addy: “I’m going to be really pissed if my last words are ‘Murphy, where are you?”
10K: “Murphy better hope he’s not around when I reach 9,999.”
Murphy: “Has there ever been a zombie movie that captures how exhausting and dirty the apocalypse is? I’m filthy all the time. I blow my nose and mud comes out.”
The Collector: “Caribbean slaves feared they would remain servants even in death.”
Murphy: “I’ve had that nightmare.”
10K: “I don’t fear you. I hate you. If you’re the key to mankind’s survival then we should all just go to hell.
Murphy: “Finally. Something we agree on.”
Doc: “Zombie Fun Pack: collect all ten!”
Zombie Kill Of The Week:
Badass Addy is back! In this episode she was much less “administering to the sick” and way more “hit it with the z-whacker and ask questions later.”