Z Nation Season 4 Episode 2 Review: Escape From Zona

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Where did everybody go?

On Z Nation Season 4 Episode 2, change is in the air and not the good kind. 

While everything was all Pleasantville in Zona last week, this week looks more like the Soundgarden song "Black Hole Sun."

Murphy is Ready to Fight - Z Nation Season 4 Episode 1

Nothing good ever seems to last, and in this case, the good lasted about an hour of TV time. The Izod wearing rich folks of Zona seem to have a newfound taste for long pig, courtesy of the new vaccine derived from The Murphy's blood.

Murphy likes being the BMOC, so this news doesn't go over very well.

Warren: What the hell is going on?
Dr. Teller: Degenerative brain function. They're all rapidly deteriorating. They're losing their minds: they are going batshit crazy.
Warren: Who is?
Dr. Teller: Everyone. Everyone who has had the new vaccine is failing.
Murphy: My vaccine? No way!
Warren: Why?
Dr. Teller: We don't know.

We get a bit of the slapstick humor that Z Nation does so well here: the crazy old white dude in his boxers, hitting golf balls, complaining about the bad partner he just bludgeoned to death with a 4 iron. 

Dr. Teller takes his sweet time with the explanations, but it gives the creators a chance to show the goofy little set pieces along the way that make it such fun to watch.

Warren, still reeling from her coma, is shell-shocked, but the warrior inside allows her to keep her head even while Murphy is losing his.

The scene where Murphy is literally hyperventilating about how he's losing all the great casual sex on Zona is hilarious, and completely sums up the character of Murphy in one line.

Teller is used as the vehicle for a drawn-out exposition dump: something in Murphy's blood has contaminated the vaccine, and all those inoculated have become murderous maniacs.

Dr. Teller: The first people vaccinated are already suffering side effects. Within the next 72 hours, everyone who's received the vaccine will descend into complete, predatory madness.
Murphy: Seems to be a pattern these days.
Warren: What about us? Are we infected?
Dr. Teller: You're the only ones who never received the vaccine. Murphy didn't get it because he's Murphy. He already had the immunity. And you, because you were in a coma.

This plot line brought to mind the 1973 classic George Romero movie "The Crazies," in which a military aircraft crashed, releasing a bioweapon into the air, causing the populace to turn into homicidal lunatics. 

Z Nation does this a lot, taking a well-known movie or scene and putting their own demented stamp on it.

In this case, it's all played for laughs, except for Teller's ominous warnings. 

Dr. Teller [to Warren]: These visions that you're having: don't ignore them

Once Teller served his expositional purpose, he was gone. Just like that. It would have been nice to have him along for the ride with Murphy and Warren, but it is what it is.

The cast already has one Z expert in Dr. Sun Mei, so maybe that's why they chose to jettison a valuable piece of the puzzle. Maybe I'm quibbling, so I'll leave it at that.

The Founder of Zona - Z Nation Season 4 Episode 1

The Founder turns about to be totally Looney Tunes, despite his foresight in establishing Zona. 

His conversation with Murphy was off the rails, but one thing stood out:

The Founder: You have no idea what's in store. Such glorious things. In time, it will all be news. But first, the reset.
Murphy: The reset. Well, alrighty then.I'll be seeing ya.

Just what The Reset is remains unclear, although the experiments Mr. Sunshine is doing give us some insight. 

Whatever gas he is using burns Z flesh to a crisp, and it clearly has something to do with Warren's visions of fire and a black rainbow. 

Is the point of The Reset to merely eliminate the world of Z's, or does it also involve killing off the unvaccinated survivors?

Warren is Ready - Z Nation Season 4 Episode 1

In more than one of Warren's visions, she is burned alive in addition to the Z's. My guess at this point is the Zona folks are looking to implement a literal scorched earth policy. 

The gas would kill all the Z's and the unvaccinated, but not make the earth uninhabitable like a nuke would.

We discover that the Zona people know about Lucy and the human survivors, based on this comment from Teller:

Dr. Teller: There's something that I have to tell you. Your daughter's alive.
Murphy: Lucy? How do you know that?
Dr. Teller: The population has been depleted, but there is a small group of survivors, and they're led by military personnel. They set up a refugee camp -- an outpost in the north, and they're all heading there.

This is a major driver for the story going forward. Murphy wants to find his daughter, and more importantly, Warren now has a mission.

She has been adrift since she came out of the coma, partly from the crazy circumstance she finds herself in, but mostly because her entire life is based on having a mission to devote her energies to.

That and the visions will give her the focus she needs to carry on. Murphy is completely leaning on Warren now, and I have no doubt she will carry that weight gladly. 

Murphy started out as this obnoxious, narcissistic jackass, but Lucy softened him. His kinship with the Z's has also brought out his softer side.

His reaction when they found all of the dead "blends" he created gave us an insight into his true feelings. 

Behind all the bluster, Murphy does have a heart after all.

10K and Mueller Under Siege - Z Nation Season 4 Episode 2

The b-side followed Doc and 10K as they tagged along with the soldiers, who were searching for the long-delayed convoy. 

The fact that the convoy was totally abandoned was weird, but finding no bodies was the most disturbing part. Where did they disappear to?

The shootout with the Zona troops was predictable, except for the mercy shot to the head of one of Mueller's men that didn't go quite as planned. 

That was a head shot, man. What the hell's going on?

Doc [to 10K]

As we saw last week, one of the Z's did not appear to die from a headshot. Now we have confirmation: something is happening with the Z's, making them almost impossible to kill, short of dismemberment or blowing them to smithereens. 

Addy and Lucy got separated again, which annoyed me a bit. I don't know why Addy sent her away. They could have just as easily gone with the Zona guard together. 

There must be a plan in place, so we'll see how this turns out.

Dr. Sun Mei is Nervous - Z Nation Season 4 Episode 1

Business just picked up back at the outpost, too. Dr. Sun Mei wakes up, only to find the camp totally abandoned, just like the convoy. 

She stares pointedly at something, and the next time we see the outpost, she has disappeared as well.

I'm very curious to see how these folks apparently vanished out of thin air. It doesn't bode well that 10K went off half-cocked in search of Red, either. 

Random Bites:

  • The bullets hitting each other head-on from Addy's and 10K's shots were pretty cheesy, but totally in keeping with this show.
  • Still no sign of Citizen Z, his girlfriend, or her parents. Will they be part of the Newmerica storyline? My guess is yes.
  • And speaking of MIA, still no sightings of 5K, The Man, or Escorpion.  I miss those guys.

Finally, Lt. Roberta Warren delivered "The Line of the Night"

I liked you better when you were blue.

Warren [to Murphy]

All in all, a very good episode. I thought the escape from Zona would take longer, but they could always get captured and brought back. I don't think we've seen the last of The Founder or Mr. Sunshine.

The mysterious disappearances are really piquing my curiosity. I'm excited to see where that goes. I hope they get the band back together soon: they are much better together than apart.

That's my take: tell me yours. Any theories about the vanishing people? Or the black rainbow visions? Fire away in the comments section.

And, as always, you can watch Z Nation online, right here on the mothership, TV Fanatic!

Escape From Zona Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (2 Votes)

Ron Gilmer is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and read his personal blog at Idiotbox Watcher.

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Z Nation Season 4 Episode 2 Quotes

Warren: What the hell is going on?
Dr. Teller: Degenerative brain function. They're all rapidly deteriorating. They're losing their minds: they are going batshit crazy.
Warren: Who is?
Dr. Teller: Everyone. Everyone who has had the new vaccine is failing.
Murphy: My vaccine? No way!
Warren: Why?
Dr. Teller: We don't know.

I liked you better when you were blue.

Warren [to Murphy]