The previews promised hilarity in this episode, but that really wasn’t the case in Episode 3, Zombie Road. After Mack’s death, I was looking forward to much lighter fare. Though there were some fun moments and great lines, overall this episode was filled with action, gore, and a very high death count. I have noticed SyFy tends to play up the more comedic aspects of Z Nation, but it’s sometimes a disservice to the actual show. Z Nation can hold its own when it comes to action, adventure, and zombie mayhem. This episode once again proves that.
Don’t get me wrong. Z Nation does have fun with tropes of the genre and apocalyptic fiction, but it’s can deliver some hard punches.
A caravan of 20 refugees leaves Seattle’s blast zone for Edmonton. They meet six survivors and one Murphy. How many refugees survive? – Roberta Warren
Here are my highlights of the episode:
1. I love how the group is always surviving by the skin of their teeth. Forced to retreat from their planned path to California by the fallout, they’re back on foot again having lost yet another vehicle. I wonder if they ever miss their black truck from early in Season 1? Anyway, they come across a road and witness marauders attacking a modern day post-apocalyptic wagon train, which is noted by Doc. What follows is a nice tribute not only to the recent Mad Max Fury Road, but all the old wagon train movies.
2. We immediately see a difference between Vasquez and Roberta in this scene. Vasquez is more than happy to let the convoy and bandits fight it out, then steal a vehicle from the victor. Warren is determined to help the survivors. It’s also made quickly clear to Vasquez just who is the boss in the scenario. For once Murphy capitulates to Warren, acknowledging that she’s in charge.
Again, this is one of the things I love about this show. The person in charge is a black woman who knows what the hell she’s doing and this is acknowledge by everyone around her. Even when a man attempts to take her spot, it doesn’t happen because Warren is the boss. She doesn’t concede her role as leader to the first brawny dude that comes along.
3. The convoy is lead by Custer (Custer’s last stand, huh? I see what you’re doing, Z Nation writers!), a former long haul driver. The group is trying to keep ahead of the epic storm caused by the bombs that’s carrying deadly fallout. It’s pretty clear that the group is headed to Edmonton on blind hope. Though the weather will be colder (so the z’s will freeze), there isn’t any proof that things are better there. Custer is not a bad guy. He is single-minded in getting to Edmonton because it holds happy memories for him with his son. It’s clear his son, Zeke, is very important to him, yet he’s banished him to ride in the bed of the last truck with the others dying of radiation poisoning. Though it seems Custer has it together when the group first meets him, he deteriorates over the course of the episode. He won’t – and can’t – acknowledge he’s sick, too. Again, Custer isn’t a bad guy and I sympathize with him in his single-mindedness, but in the end, it costs the people he’s trying to save their very lives. Again, proof that you can try to do something good and have it go very wrong.
4. One of the parts of the episode that I liked quite a bit and it does look like it will be addressed more fully in the future, is what is going on with Cassandra. She’s not a zombie. She’s not human. She’s a hybrid. It’s clear that Murphy does control her. How much of her behavior in this episode was her? How much of it was Murphy? Also, there were flashes of the old Cassandra at certain moments. It’s clear that she still cares for 10k, but Murphy is very possessive of her. It’s very clear that 10k still cares deeply for Cassandra. He keeps searching for the young woman he used to know.
Last season something was forming between 10k and Cassandra. She obviously cared for him and when she was about to die, he was the one to comfort her. Murphy, of course, changes their dynamic by biting her. So what is Cassandra to him?
All of the above?
And just how much of her behavior is controlled by him? Did the Z Weed make her situation more tolerable? Did it make her feel more like herself? Just exactly how was it affecting her?
Also, it’s evident that Murphy does not want to see the rekindling of 10k and Cassandra’s almost relationship. He obviously summons her back to his side where there is just a glimpse of the old Cassandra.
I’m dying to see how this all works out.
5. Also, 10k is just cursed when it comes to potential love interests.
6. Since Murphy is the Zombie Messiah aka Zombie Whisperer, I really wondered how the writers were going to keep up the threat level if Murphy could just send the zombies away. Well, the fact that there are other types of zombies that Murphy can’t control strips away any potential downgrading of the zombie threat. The Blasters were scary, creepy, and pretty gruesome zombies. I’m glad we finally have brain-slurping zombies caused by radiation! A nice little call out to zombie films. That Murphy couldn’t control them was pretty awesome. Things shouldn’t be too easy for him. He’s a jerk after all. That these things see him as lunch, too. So I wonder what would happen if one of them ate Murphy’s brain? Would they then control the regular Z’s? Also, the Blasters were scary smart. That roadblock they set up shows they’re a monster to be reckoned with.
7. Wrecking Ball and his Z Weed were a nice edition to this episode. Wrecking Ball is a goofy young guy that probably played a ton of zombies video games before the apocalypse (well, both of them). He most likely only survived as long as he did because of his Uncle Sam (Custer). His one job is to drive the car laden with the groups’ water supply. At the mere mention of Z Weed, Murphy and Doc are more than happy to climb into the vehicle and partake. The Z Weed aspect of the episode is pretty much the goofiest (zombies as compost!), but it’s a plot thread that will lead us to next week’s episode, Batch 47. Some people in Minneapolis are attempting to make an all-natural cure for the zombie virus. Yeah, that totally sounds like it’s going to end well.
Wrecking Ball ends up with Murphy and Cassandra after they steal a vehicle and head in the direction of Minneapolis. Wrecking Ball has a friend working on growing the Z Weed (and potential cure), so he has a valuable connection. Once he realizes he’s with The Murphy, he’s pretty ecstatic about the newly formed trio. Unfortunately for him, Murphy finds him annoying and Cassandra is looking hungry. I wonder just how long Wrecking Ball will last? It probably depends on how long Murphy will need him.
8. Addy offers to take care of those sick with radiation poisoning. She knows they’re most likely going to turn, but she gives them as much comfort as she can. This was a very nice contrast to her zombie killer instincts. Mack is dead, but Addy’s heart is still open. Of course, she ends up scrambling from both Blasters and zombies when things go to hell. Zeke turns and takes out the rest of the sick as the Blasters overtake the convoy. We all knew it was coming, but it was an awesome scene when Addy is confronted by zombies on all sides.
Once again, Addy is just awesome. I love how this show treats women!
9. Roberta Warren is such a bad ass. She knows what’s going on and tries to keep things from devolving. Yet, she’s stymied by Custer’s dogged determination. The fact he won’t let anyone else drive his rig costs the lives of the people with him. His refusal to capitulate finally forces Warren to jump into action when the convoy is overcome with both zombies and Blasters. Seriously, why couldn’t he just let her take the wheel from the beginning? When the group finally has to abandon the overrun zombie wagon train, Vasquez makes a snide comment about the group bringing on the bad stuff. The truth is that the convoy would have all died anyway.
10. In the end, the group is on their own again and separated from Murphy and Cassandra (and Wrecking Ball). It’s pretty clear that Murphy will head to where the Z Weed and possible cure might be. So the group snags one of the convoy vehicles and start on their journey again. The one thing I love about the group as a whole is that they just keep going. Despite all the death, destruction, zombies, Blasters, and tough times, they keep trying to save the world. And Murphy is not making it easy. At. All.
And the answer to Roberta Warren’s question from earlier is…
Not one. – Addy
Next week we get more Z Weed, plant zombies, and the return of the well-dressed Mexican!
All images from http://www.syfy.com/znation unless otherwise noted.