by Barbara and Alex Doyle
To start the holidays right, the episodes starts with the “Flower Duet” from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé, (or, as you might know it better, the music from that hot scene in 1983’s The Hunger, but we digress) and slow motion zombies roasting in an open forest fire. Unfortunately, the entire team is stuck in there with them, stylishly slaughtering their way to safety. Seriously, it’s like the Oprah-pocalypse: Warren gets zombie kill of the week! Vasquez gets zombie kill of the week! Everybody gets zombie kill of the week!
As the slow motion fades, they make it to a hotel and start trying to pry the doors open. Inside a group of survivors is debating the merits of letting them in when one named Iggy breaks with the group and opens the doors. Inside, some mutual gun pointing between both groups is dissolved when their leader, Gideon, an expert in “corporate communication and conflict resolution” uses his teachings to validate everyone and tries to establish mutual trust.
It turns out the building survivors were on a corporate retreat to learn team building skills when the outbreak happened, and they’ve managed (heh) to use those concepts to survive in the hotel, rationing food and barricading themselves off from the zombies in the rooms above.
After the intros, Warren goes off to have a word with the manager, Murphy wanders off to go find a snack, and Addy goes off to check the telecommunications equipment with a corporate survivor, Dana, who Addy discovers isn’t happy with life in the hotel, but does seem to be pretty interested in escaping with Addy. Before we can find out if she likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, a shot is fired. Vasquez and Warren find Murphy with a bullet hole through his shoulder plus a concussion lying next to a dying member of the corporate team. Vasquez (a former cop, remember?) analyzes the crime scene and determines the bullet went through Murphy to kill the second victim.
Doc immediately treats Murphy and notices the other victim hasn’t turned yet. He theorizes that since the bullet passed through Murphy and then entered the victim he is about to become thoroughly Cassandra-ized. Intrigued, and fully aware it’s a bad idea, he starts doing Weird Science, giving Murphy’s blood to the victim and watching him get better, even if he’s looking decidedly blue.
Meanwhile a trust circle is formed and a meeting is booked, and the agenda is to discover the gunman. While it’s established that 10K has plenty of motive, Addy correctly points out that “when 10k wants something dead, it’s dead.” So, case closed there.
The burden of proof tilts towards the survivors when Vasquez, using his law enforcement skills, shows up with a backpack full of food near where Murphy was shot, the conclusion being that someone was in danger of being discovered as hoarding food and planning an escape.
Due to his priors in food mismanagement, Iggy is banished and pushed out to fend for himself, which hasn’t gotten easier because Murphy’s concussed brain is summoning zombies to break into the hotel. Warren and Gideon go to check on the guy guarding the food and find him stabbed through the heart and very zombified. As they go searching for the murderer, Warren and Vasquez split off from Addy and Dana. As Addy checks out a room, Dana looks down the hall, sees the gunman carrying bags, and waves him on, proving she’s in on it too. Addy and Dana end up stuck in the closet (in perhaps more ways than one) hiding from two Zs. When Dana reiterates her desire to leave with Addy, she draws the attention of the Zs, who draw the attention of Warren and Vasquez, who up their kill count.
Chasing the gunman back downstairs, everybody discovers the Zs breaking in and have to retreat to the room where Doc is treating Murphy and the other victim, who is starting to look Cassandra-like. As he starts coming around, Doc asks him to point to the guy who shot him. Once identified, the perp pulls guns on everybody and asks Dana to leave with him. Between the guilt and recriminations the standoff is broken by the murder victim stealing Doc’s gun and shooting his murderer.
The stunned silence is broken by a knock at the door where we find a bloodied and very pissed off Iggy, who has a word with Gideon. And by word, I mean he beats him to death with the talking stick. The crisis is resolved when Murphy wakes up and the zombies lose interest in attending the meeting of the local brain trust.
We end with the corporate group deciding to leave the hotel and bidding farewell to our team as they journey westward, with Doc gently trying to discourage them from a sightseeing visit to the Grand Canyon.
Still Alive: Warren, Vasquez, Doc, 10K, Addy and Murphy (kinda)
10K’s Kill Count: 5075
What we loved:
The opening kill sequence during the credits was beautifully shot. That montage could hold its own against any television show or movie out there.
Doc still has the scar on his head from the last episode.
The posters advertising Gideon’s seminar are still up in the hotel room.
Everybody looking at Dana looking at Addy…and not saying anything.
What bugged us:
As smart as the food distribution strategy is, how do the hotel survivors look that stocky on 1,000 calories or less?
What we didn’t see coming:
A Gideon in a hotel? Who would have thought?
Iggy surviving. We thought for sure that guy was dead meat.
Quote worthy lines:
Doc: “I thought we killed all these Zs last week.”
Murphy: “Buddy, I’d feel a lot more trust if you all pointed your weapons someplace else.”
Addy: “10K doesn’t miss. If 10K wants something dead; it’s dead. And he would never try to kill Murphy. Kick him in the nuts a few times maybe, but he would never try to kill him.”
Doc: “I know, bad idea, right? But check it out, he’s getting better. His fever broke, he’s breathing normally, which I don’t know how the hell you do that when you’ve got a hole in your chest the size of a silver dollar and look at his skin: it’s turning that pretty blue, just like Murphy.”
Addy, identifying footsteps as human: “Zombies don’t stop.”
Doc: “Who you callin’ corporate?”
Warren, to end bickering: “Shuuuut! Uuuuup! Now do your little stick thing.”
10K: I’m glad I never had an office job. Those people were messed up”
Zombie Kills Of The Week:
10K gets a twofer
Doc unleashes his inner Gordon Freeman.
Warren, kicking ash.
Vasquez, killing it with style.