This is not an easy recap for me. I’m still very emotional about this latest episode of Z Nation. This show has never been particularly nice to its characters. The writers pretty much established in the very first episode that they’d kill off their main cast. But with the passing of a second cast member in just six episodes, I’m feeling a bit battered!
Anyway, let’s dive into some of the highlights:
1. We’ve been questioning whether or not Cassandra is still Cassandra or not since Murphy bit her on the face. It’s been very, very apparent since the first part of the season that Murphy can control her actions. How much of her interaction was controlled by him has been one of my major questions. As I noted in a previous Zcap, whenever Cassandra’s humanity peeked out during her interactions with 10K, Murphy would always reel her back to his side. Furthermore, his control over her actions was shown to be pretty absolute when he kept having her smack Wrecking Ball in the back of the head. Now, how much of the human Cassandra remained inside is not really certain.
One of the worst things about her zombie enslavement to Murphy was that he made her into the very things she hadn’t wanted to be. He dressed her up like a prostitute and made her a cannibal, the very roles the Family in Philly Feast had her fill. Murphy also demanded that she hang all over him, be his personal slave and bodyguard, and distanced her from the group. His word became her law.
“Nobody leaves,” he tells her.
And that phrase becomes her final words.
When Murphy slips away and leaves Cassandra guarding Addy, Doc, and Cassandra, it’s pretty clear that he has no concern for anyone’s well-being other than himself and Lucy. He knows how dangerous Cassandra is. She’s ripped people apart before. Also, she’s been evolving, becoming more feral and physically strong.
The genius of the final confrontation between the group and Cassandra is that it’s with 10K, the person closest to her. As Addy and Doc scramble off to find Murphy and Lucy, 10K and Cassandra battle. Up until this point, no one has believed – other than 10K- that Cassandra will actually hurt anyone the group. 10K knows her better than anyone else and he can see the change inside her. He KNOWS what he’s doing is dangerous when he distracts her to let Addy and Doc slips away and KNOWS that he may have to kill her. Though Doc and Addy don’t appear to believe this will be necessary, 10K is prepared.
The battle between Cassandra and 10K is particularly difficult to watch because we all could see the romantic stirrings between them last year. They even shared a tender moment when it was apparent that Cassandra was going to die. It’s very clear in the final seconds that Cassandra is still inside the monster she’s become as tears glimmer in her eyes and threaten to fall. She has no choice but to follow Murphy’s edict of “Nobody leaves” even if it means killing 10K
That 10K is the one to kill the creature Cassandra had become makes perfect, horrible, wonderful storytelling sense. He’s loved her for quite some time and he understands that what she’s become is not something the human Cassandra would ever want to be. Weaker storytelling would have had 10K’s love somehow restoring her, but this ending for hybrid Cassandra makes terrible sense.
I have to admit I am still not certain Cassandra is really, truly dead. My reasoning is that we saw her take a hatchet to the back and I’m pretty certain she was shot before. But 10k stabbing her in the base of the skull/back of her neck has been shown to be lethal to zombies before. Of course, there have been variations of zombies where headshots didn’t work. But the damage appears to be severe enough to kill her. Or did it? A few people claim her eyes returned to normal when she dies, and hope this means she’ll regenerate and crawl out her grave in a different version of Cassandra. Though I do think this fits storytelling wise, I’m not certain the show would want to fake us out in this way. I guess we’ll see.
But for now, I’m pretty sure she’s dead.
And I miss her already.
2. 10k really moves to the forefront in this episode. As usual, he has some awesome zombie kills in the very exciting opening moments of the show and continues to have some of the more creative kills. On top of that, he’s the provider of food this week as he returns with non-zombie fish. (Apparently, the fish are immune?) He also has a much better understanding of what is going on with Murphy and his control over Cassandra. Add in that he’s the one who spots Vasquez sneaking away (again), and 10K is really on a role this week. I love seeing 10K move to the forefront in the storytelling because he has so much potential as a character. I can’t wait to see what happens in next week’s episode, which appears to be centered around him.
3. Roberta Warren continues to be awesome. Just simply awesome! The fearless leader of the group knows exactly what she needs to do and how to best utilize her group. The big unknown is the newcomer, Vasquez, and she makes it a point to follow him when he slips off on one of his secret missions. I love it when Warren is in an action sequence because she’s such a bad ass. I loved how she signaled Vasquez before rescuing him and saved his ass from the Zeros. It was also an awesome scene when she loaded her reserve bullet for the berserker zombie in the hospital.
Of course, my favorite moment was when Vasquez once again made a sexist comment while stitching up Warren. ”You’re doing great. Being a real man about it.”
This is why I love Roberta Warren. She doesn’t have time for sexist bullshit during the zombie apocalypse.
4. I liked that we finally got to know more about Vasquez. He’s been a huge mystery up until this episode. Though it was clear that he had some connection to the Zeros and Escorpion, we haven’t learned much about him. I did suspect he was either DEA, Border Patrol, or the member of another cartel because of his reaction to Escorpion. That he had lost his family to the cartels was a tragic and effective backstory. Anyone want to place bets that the man who killed his family is Escorpion? I also loved that Warren kept thinking the worst of him throughout his story. Of course, they’re usually on the opposite sides of every conversation, so her distrust of him makes sense.
When he appeared to die, I thought Z Nation was doing one of it’s surprise character deaths. But when he didn’t immediately turn, I suspected he’d passed out from the pain. So much for taking it like a man, huh, Vasquez?
5. The humor was much more on the lowdown this episode. Z Nation can be pretty damn funny at times, but it also likes to punch viewers in the gut. This was a gut puncher episode. The only real laugh out loud moment for me was when Doc took refuge in a bus only to find out it was inhabited by Abe Lincoln lookalikes and he thought he was having an acid flashback! Gotta love Doc. And gotta love these small moments in the more serious episodes.
6. Murphy had some comedic moments in this episode, but he was mostly on a mission to find a save haven for his daughter. It’s pretty obvious he has no idea how to take care of a baby, and he soon realizes this himself. I want to believe that Murphy is being completely selfless by leaving his daughter with the couple he finds, but she has been making his life very complicated. She’s been nullifying his zombie whisperer powers and bringing zombies down on the group like an avalanche. Leaving Lucy behind definitely makes his life much less complicated.
7. I am worried about the potential conflict brewing between Murphy and 10K. It’s been there for some time since Murphy turned Cassandra and made her his minion. 10K obviously hated what he saw Murphy doing to her and Murphy appeared to be jealous of 10k’s connection to Cassandra. With Cassandra dead at 10K’s hands, a whole lot of tension is in the air.
Considering Murphy’s inclination to take care of himself and what he considers his possessions, I’m really worried what he might try to do to 10K, especially if he starts controlling the dead again.
8. This was a very disturbing part of the episode. Murphy bites the couple he leaves his daughter with and makes them into compliant caretakers. They obviously can talk and act like regular humans except that they are now totally devoted to Lucy. Consider Cassandra after her change. She was feral, didn’t speak anymore, defended Murphy, and hung all over him like he was her Sugar Daddy. Why such a vast difference? It seems to point to Murphy himself and what he wanted/needed out of his minions. Which makes Cassandra’s demise even sadder. Maybe she didn’t actually need to be that way. Maybe Murphy could have let her be more of her normal self.
All in all, yet another solid episode. I love this show even when it leaves me curled up in a ball ugly crying.
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