by Barbara and Alex Doyle
Star Trek has its redshirts. Spinal Tap had its drummers, and Z Nation has its bi-gones: the two guys that come in and go out before the opening credits even roll. In this case, it’s two travelers who are offered free dentistry from a re-purposed ice cream truck. Seeing that it’s not an _entirely_ white van, they figure it’s legit and climb into the chairs, immediately getting get flipped into the back, dumpster style.
Cut to our crew, who have just commandeered a boat to go down the Mississippi. En-river they run into Sketchy and Skeezy, the weapons dealers and con men who have survived the Zunami from “Welcome To The Fu-Bar.” As soon as they come on board, the boat hits a zombie jam and, unable to go over this obstacle corpse, everyone has to swim to safety.
The crew swims west and is separated from 10K, Sketchy and Skeezy. Doc wants to go after 10K, but Murphy, who has no love lost for 10K after he mercied Cassandra last episode goes out of his way to point out that he is the mission. Vasquez agrees, and Warren decides they’ll give it 24 hours of traveling south to the next bridge to see if 10K made it there.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, 10K meets up with Sketchy and Skeezy, and they immediately run into a group of hostile good ‘ole boys, who, unlike those Duke boys, _are_ meaning some harm. Sketchy fast talks his way out of getting shot, convincing them that Skeezy is The Murphy, and offers to have Skeezy zombie-proof their group for some ammo.
Four bites later they discover they’ve been had and chase the trio off into the woods, where they find the dental truck from the opening of the episode. With the keys still in it. Driving off they come to a town that seems to be expecting them, or at least the truck.
And what a town it is. If it was a chic new club based on southern stereotypes it, would be called Bio Hazzard, it would have everything. Good ole boys. Trouble with the law. Undeadnecks, plastic flamingos, hillbillies, trailers, moonshine, a passed out piano player, a gallows, drunkenness, a Boss Hogg mayor dressed like Leisure Suit Larry, references to the War Of Northern Aggression and a human carousel. What’s a human carousel, you ask? It’s that thing where zombies push a merry go round….forever.*
Lying his way into town, Sketchy tells the town’s mayor, Tyler Burr, that they’re the replacements for the previous drivers, and watches as zombies are unloaded from the back of the truck. The mayor explains they’ve got a friend who helps the town use the zombies for electricity, as he passes a group chained to a Conan style ‘wheel of pain’ that is powering the town. 10K catches the eye of a lady who is watching him, but when he goes off to talk to her, she pulls a gun on him and calls him out on ex-human trafficking.
10K explains that they stole the truck, and the lady (named Sadie) and 10K find common ground in her disgust with what the town is doing, pointing to her ex husband who is doing an extended shift on the wheel. As soon as we start to think things might be going well for 10K, the two “dentists” show up, the trio is arrested for grand larceny (That’s still a thing? I’d think they could have plead down to ‘joyriding’. ) and the Mayor makes a phone call to the town’s friend.
Turns out he’s calling Escorpion, who, as, the town’s protector, isn’t a fan of anything that disrupts business. The trio is put on trial, and Sketchy, being a different kind of expert in self defense, launches into an epic monologue that is the most clichéd, populist, conspiracy ridden spray of BS ever. Seriously. It could be confused with the trail of a herd of easily startled cows, or a good three minutes of election year television.
During Sketchy’s monologue, 10K nods to Sadie, and she takes off. We cut to the bridge where the rest of the crew is waiting. They’ve found a car and Doc persuades the group to wait a bit longer for 10K.
Cutting back to Sketchy, we see he’s winding down his defense…just in time for the good ‘ole boys from earlier to charge in and accuse the trio of being con men, thieves and biters. Escorpion likes the trio, but the law is the law, and they get … death by hanging. Probably should have seen that coming when the town had a gallows set up. As they’re just starting to dance at the end of a rope, Sadie returns with the rest of the crew and well placed shots by Addy and Doc cut the ropes on 10K and Sketchy.
Murphy frees the zombies from their wheel, and everything predictably goes to hell. Another shot frees Sketchy and they all take off in the dental van, their escape probably not aided by it playing ‘Turkey In The Straw’.
Once they reach the bridge, Sketchy and Skeezy stay behind with the guns, and Butch and Sundance it up, taking on the zombie horde while the crew escapes. Unlike Butch and Sundance, though, I think we’ll be seeing them again.
Still Alive: Warren, Vasquez, Doc, 10K, Addy, Murphy (kinda), and, let’s be honest, Sketchy and Skeezy (probably)
10K’S Kill Count: Something over 3255
What we loved:
Zombies as (kinda) clean power. It’s definitely a renewable resource.
Doc’s dedication to 10K.
Sketchy’s defense blackboard.
What bugged us:
That town has a blackboard?
How is everybody looking so sharp after being dragged out of a zombie infested river? Is it downstream from a leaking Cover Girl (TM) plant?
They didn’t clear the zombie off the outboard motor by getting it to start.
Where is Citizen Z? Somebody has to emcee this apocalypse.
Addy has a brace on her left elbow, but Cassandra twisted her right arm. A new injury?
What we didn’t see coming:
The Zeroes have questionable ethics, definitely break the law, and now they’re branching out into the energy industry? If they’re not careful, they’re gonna turn into Enron.
Escorpion has a golf club and doesn’t beat the crap out of anybody with it.
Quote worthy lines:
Murphy: “Never get off the boat.”**
Doc, seeing Sketchy and Skeezy: “Well, if it ain’t tweedledum and tweedledumbass.”
Doc, about 10K: “That kid is a survivor. He ain’t going out like that.”
Sketchy: “Never trust an Eskimo in a windbreaker.”
Tyler Burr: “You pay the piper, the piper keeps you safe. Facilitates a life of recreation.”
Sadie: “In this world that’s all you need. Just one other person. That’s reason enough.”
Escorpion, on Sketchy’s defense: “That was beautiful, but you’re guilty, bro.”
Escorpion: “And God, please get the word out that if anybody steals any of my trucks, they’re in for a long nap.”
Doc, to 10K: “I told you you’d survive anything, you damn cockroach.”
Sketchy: “Where to next? I’m thinking maybe Australia. They speak English there.”
Zombie Kill Of The Week:
All the kills this week were pretty standard Z Nation perforations, but Sketchy’s defense blackboard deserves a second look, since it will soon be getting it’s own show on talk radio.
* It’s a funnier description if you picture Bill Hader from SNL reading it as Stefon.
**Used in Apocalypse now, and referenced in the video game Left 4 Dead 2, amongst other places.