by Barbara and Alex Doyle
Citizen Z is burning documents in a barrel to keep warm in the ruins of Camp Northern Light. He’s trying to radio Addy to let her know the mission has been compromised, but his battery dies, prompting him to say “All good things must come to an end” while symbolically dropping his radio into the fire. We should point out that if the arctic in the zombie apocalypse is his idea of a good thing then he really needs to get out more, which he does—heading south, pulling a dogsled, until, mostly frozen to death, he is approached by a mysterious parka clad figure.
Meanwhile, the gang is still waiting outside to see if the coast is clear while Warren has tea with “Auntie,” the proprietor of the last operational dive bar/tea house in California. Vasquez checks the place out and decides it’s nothing out of the ordinary, Warren waves the gang in, and we see Murphy is disguised in an outfit that 1970’s era Cher would think was too much. Addy says, “Gotta say—I kinda like the new you.” Murphy replies, “You don’t wanna meet the new me.”
The team is just settling in when a group of bounty hunters arrive to cash in with their very own “Murphy.” Not-Murphy sure is blue, and, it should be noted, he is also full on Z. The tension ratchets up as we wait for things to come to a head between the two groups, which it does when Bounty Hunter leader investigates the “Shy Girl” in the corner, and discover not only that “the dude looks like a lady” but because their faux Murphy is imitating ‘her’ gestures, the dude looks like The Murphy. And speaking of simultaneous gestures, this prompts literally everyone else to pull a weapon on the person standing nearest, like the world’s worst game of telephone. Things go badly when the leader demands Murphy take off the dress and instead, Murphy compels Not-Murphy to bite the crap out of him. This is trigger enough (see what we did there?) to send the rest of the gang in a shoot off that ends up with all of the bounty hunters dead and our gang wound free. Or does it? Nope. GAH!!!! 10K got hit!!! As Doc and Addy try to assess the damage Auntie leaves to signal a submarine offshore that contains vaccine developer Doctor Merch and what’s left of the Mount Wilson CDC lab. 10K needs a surgeon—a sick bay—and they are all hoping the sub has one.
The military wing of the CDC arrives with that surgeon, the sub’s captain, and Dr. Merch, who is unsure if Murphy really is the prisoner she tested the vaccine on years ago. That is until Murphy provides a positive ID and jolts her memory by screaming “Pike me. Pike me! Or I will hunt you down and eat your brains!” Oh, yeah. That’s him.
Turns out there’s only room for two guests on the sub so Doc can’t go with 10K as his physician. Murphy tells Vasquez he is sorry about his family and nods meaningfully to Addy. Doc demands a goodbye and Murphy tries to get away with a handshake and ends up with a hug instead. He offers Doc the gift of the ace up his sleeve. Doc reciprocates with a Z-weed joint, in case Murphy gets seasick. They call each other brother and it is actually pretty touching. Warren goes to him and Murphy thanks her for everything. He makes to shake her hand and she touches his face gently and again—is someone cutting onions in here or something?
As the team starts dragging the dead bounty hunters outside, they are beset upon by hybrid Zeroes looking for Murphy and retreat to the restaurant. Also? La Reina is there, too, and she definitely needs a new hairstylist and some moisturizer. Vasquez wonders how the Zeroes found them and it turns out they were led there by Kurian. Or his head, anyway, which is in a box, and now we are avoiding singing an obvious Timberlake/Sandberg parody song. You’re welcome. La Reina may call him Head Doctor, but even as he groans “My queeeeeen…” it’s clear she finds Kurian more repulsive than ever.
On the sub, Murphy is led to his quarters while 10K is taken to surgery. When Murphy asks who they are working for, since the government is long gone, the Captain tells him a new world is rising: Zona. Apparently, a bunch of businessmen and world leaders decided to save humanity by creating a zombie free island and plant the seeds of a new human race. The pilot they met in Roswell was trying to recover technology and items of cultural significance before they all disappeared. As the captain talks, Murphy sees that the crew has creepy glowing eyes—side effects of an early vaccine that is losing its efficacy, leaving it’s recipients to slowly turn zombie, hence the need for Murphy. (Good thing we don’t have a lot of those people trapped in a small space in the ocean where you can’t escape from them. Oh. Wait.) Once they create the new vaccine, the Zona higher-ups will get it first, then, Merch assures him, everyone else. Murphy has a bit to ponder this while he’s taken for a medical examination. When Merch is distracted, he overpowers her and declares: “I did not spend three years fighting my way across 10,000 miles of zombie crazed America just so I could be a human blood bag for a few billionaires in Hawaii.”
Back on land, the standoff at Auntie’s restaurant continues until the Zeroes decide to storm the place in a two line advance where the second line has shoved machetes through the front line to use them as not-quite-human shields as they advance on our heroes—and that is both horrifically cruel and totally badass. During the battle, Auntie is shot, turns immediately, and attacks Doc. Fortunately there is a Zero trying to Jack Torrence his way into the building, and Doc swings Auntie into the path of a descending axe, earning Zombie Kill of the Week in the process.
Next up, it’s La Reina, Kurian’s head, and her white-suited second in command approaching the restaurant. Doc and Vasquez clean up the straggler Zeroes as White Suit approaches Addy and her Z-Whacker with his skull headed staff of doom. (Wasn’t that a rip-off Indiana Jones movie?) He and Addy have a good go around, and our girl holds her own until the Z-WHACKER IS BROKEN IN HALF! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! White Suit knocks Addy in the head and makes to kill her until she jams the broken, spiky end of the Z-Whacker into his junk and holds him literally by the balls until Warren can shoot him dead.
La Reina comes in looking for Warren, again saying she only wants Murphy. She says that since Escorpion is dead Warren can be her second. Warren confesses they already gave Murphy to the CDC, and La Reina, again, is unamused, prompting the bad-ass-bitch cat fight of the century, and It. Is Awesome. Warren moves up to Ripley level hard core as she pounds La Reina, who gives as good as she gets, finally leveling Warren with a beer bottle to the head and pulling a deadly hairpin out to stab her to death. But then? But THEN? She is piked through the head with the Staff of Doom by…get this!…ESCORPION! Who resigns that title by telling La Renia: ‘Soy Hector.’
Escorpion, er, Hector helps Warren up, right before Vasquez hits him from behind, saying he doesn’t care that Escorpion saved Warren’s life. Hector tearfully says that La Reina wasn’t human anymore and that’s why he knew she needed to die. He tells Vasquez that he will not rob him of the revenge he has earned, and apologizes to Vasquez, saying that the man who killed his family is dead and he has been Shawshank Redeemed in the zombie pit. (Sounds like somebody needs to get Stephen King AND George Romero on the phone.) Hector tells Vasquez to pull the trigger. Warren, Addy and Doc leave him to do what he must, stepping outside and hearing a gunshot. Hector emerges alive and puts up his hands in surrender. Warren enters the bar and sees Vasquez, alive, confessing he can’t do it. Warren is glad, for his sake. Vasques tells Warren his mission is over and Warren says her is too. Warren, Doc, Hector and Addy leave for the beach, not seeing Vasquez take off into the woods, pursued by Zs.
Back on the sub, 10K wakes up to red lights and klaxons. Uh oh. That’s never good. The crew is dashing around, and he makes his way to the hall in something of a panic.
At the beach? The remainder of the gang plus Hector approaches the cliff and looks out into the distance, seeing the sub on fire. While that’s sinking in (heh), they see a boat is leaving the scene, containing Murphy, two bitten guards and a bitten Merch and Captain, but no 10K.
Fortunately, they don’t have to think about that for long because, unfortunately, they’re being held at gunpoint by…Chinese soldiers?
And fortunately, that’s not the most unexpected ending possible for this episode because unfortunately, we cut to the Midwest where a now toddler Lucy has a tea party with two rotting Zs that she can control and as she giggles and shouts “Bad zombie!” we aren’t creeped out at all.
So, at the end of season 2, we’re left wondering:
Who did Citizen Z find in the arctic?
Where is Vasquez running off to?
Did 10K get off the sub? If so, where is he now?
What has Murphy got planned for his new group of wanna-Zs?
How is the rest of the team getting out of their standoff with the Chinese soldiers?
What happened to Lucy’s foster parentz ?
Did they leave Kurian on the porch?
Still Alive: Warren, Vasquez, Doc, Hector, Addy, Murphy (kinda), Kurian (1/6), and 10K (?)
10K’s Kill Count: Still something north of 5076
What we loved:
Warren, insisting that Murphy be treated humanely.
10 K still wearing his goggles after surgery.
Addy holding her own fighting the Zeroes second in command.
Auntie’s deranged expression whilst shooting…everything. Ever.
What bugged us:
Escorpion being alive after crawling out of a pit of Zs ? That beggars belief even for an offscreen death.
Everybody being ready to go their separate ways after dropping off Murphy. Really? You’ve got people who kick ass and you can trust in the ZA? How often does that happen?
The Z-Whacker was made of wood? We always thought it was aluminum.
What we didn’t see coming:
The Chinese military.
Murphy leaving 10K on the sub…or did he?
The Zona vaccine doesn’t seem to give any protection from a Murphy bite, as the guards in the boat were obviously bitten.
Quote worthy lines:
Doc: “I hope it’s not another top secret underground lab. That last elevator made me nauseous for a week.”
Warren, as Murphy is about to leave: “Hey, you ready?”
Murphy: “No. But when did that ever matter?”
Doc: “A handshake? Really? After all the shit we’ve been through?”
Vasquez, dumping dead bounty hunters: “Well, I guess there’s no harm done to the gene pool.”
Warren: “The fact that they haven’t started beating down these doors yet? Worries me more than if they just kept attacking. Mindless mayhem we can handle. Whatever the hell they’re planning? I’m not so sure.”
Merch: “Have there been any side effects from the vaccine?
Murphy: “Side Effects? Lady, I am a giant walking side effect.
Doc on La Reina dying: “Well ding dong, the bitch is dead!”
Hector: “I’ve been a one-man apocalypse all my life. I’m not afraid to die… Death? Shit, that’s all I know.”
Doc: “Well, what do we do now, chief?”
Warren: “I don’t know. I’m not in charge anymore.”
Doc: “I hate to admit it but I kind of miss Murphy.”
Hector: “Really? I didn’t get to know him too well but he seemed like kind of a dick.”
Zombie Kill Of The Week:
Doc takes it, giving zombie Auntie a splitting headache.