Z Nation Season 4 Episode 9 heralds the return of the much-missed Citizen Z (whose real name is Simon, btw).
Kaya in the skya bashed the noggin of a presumed Zona goon but was instead pleasantly surprised to find her boo under the parka hood.
Kaya: What do you want? Tell me!
Citizen Z: I want to see my boy.
Citizen Z: Kaya.
Kaya: Jay Z, it's your father. Look at what the zombie dragged in.
The chemistry between the two actors is very natural, so it's good to see team Northern Light at full strength again.
It was sad to hear that Uncle Koukou perished in the plane crash, but such is life in the apocalypse, right?
Who are they? Zona, whatever that is.Kaya
It comes as no surprise Zona would make their way to Camp Northern Light, especially with the revelation that the base was a secret NSA site of government secrets for years.
Kaya had the drop on Mr. Sunshine, so it was hard to take when she let him escape.
I get that she thought Citizen Z was in danger, but she should have tied Mr. Sunshine to the chair, or at least done something to keep him there.
I would have popped a cap in his leg, but that's me. Oh well.
Letting him go clearly serves the overall narrative, but it's still an annoying plot hole.
Citizen Z and Kaya fighting the Mad Z over and over got old fast and smacked of a time killer.
Two big reveals here: Citizen Z coming back, and the revelation of why Zona was so interested in Camp Northern Light.
Citizen Z: Zona soldiers just attacked us. They stole files.
Murphy: Zona? Are you sure?
Warren: Files? What did they take, exactly?
Citizen Z: Not sure. They covered their tracks.
Kaya: They were after old floppy discs. We're not sure what was on the discs, they were damaged. All we know is the name on the label of the files. Black rainbow.
Murphy: Black rainbow?
Warren: Black rainbow's real.
Warren is completely vindicated now, and judging by the tearful relief on her face, the crippling inner doubt is now erased entirely.
It should give the crew renewed focus required in their mission to find and stop the black rainbow from happening.
There are only four episodes left in this season, so they'd better get cracking. The momentum of the front half of the season has been blunted by the last few standalone journeys.
I found this season to be a massive improvement over previous ones because the show has developed more nuance and characterization.
Warren and Murphy especially grew as characters, and the black rainbow storyline has added real stakes to the plot.
That's why it's a little dismaying to see the narrative get hijacked by the last few episodes.
They are more like the wacky, fluff-filled romps from previous seasons, but it has a been there, done that feel.
Which brings me to the silly TV station interludes.
Maybe it's because I've worked as a Director in the TV news business for a long time, but I found the comedic take on local TV news rote and pretty unimaginative.
Don't get me wrong: local TV news is, in almost every market, an absolute joke, and is ripe for parody.
I have known and worked with every archetype shown: the pompous anchor, the weather person who wants to be taken seriously, the jerk news director, and the beleaguered crew.
All of them exist to be sure, but lampooning them is such a ham-fisted way is almost a stereotype in itself.
It's low hanging fruit, and it would be nice to see a more clever skewering of the genre.
I did like the flashing back and forth between Day 1 at the Green Bay station and the present-day travails of Warren and the crew.
Finding weather girl Carly as a Z on the roof was ultimately very sad. Just think about that: she's trapped on the roof for EIGHT YEARS, dies, turns, and wanders all that time, only to get killed.
The original Dawn of the Dead movie did more of a nuanced parody of the news biz and consumerism, and it would have been refreshing to see the news flashbacks played more for pathos than cheap laughs, but it is what it is.
It seemed like the writers needed to serve the narrative by getting the crew to a place where they could finally contact Camp Northern Light to reveal the black rainbow shocker, and then worked in reverse.
The setup did work to a degree, but the whole thing felt forced. To devote so much of the episode to a cut-rate take on local TV news seems like a waste of airtime.
All in all, this was another detour from the black rainbow mission that didn't really need to be taken.
Having Citizen Z back almost saves the episode, but that (along with the black rainbow reveal) is really the only positive to take away from this.
- Citizen Z is off the MIA list, but we still don't know what's up with Addy, Sun, or Red.
- Who knew that Green Bay is the toilet paper capital of the world? Not me.
- And yes, killing a Z is about all a local news Emmy is good for (full disclosure: I have a few. They are glorified paperweights).
And poor Carly gives us the "Line of the Night":
Sometimes Taco Tuesday fights back.Carly
That's my take: tell me yours. Are you happy to see Citizen Z back? Would you like to see Warren's crew concentrate on the black rainbow for the rest of the season? Let me know in the comments section.
And if you missed this episode because of the holiday, then, by all means, watch Z Nation online on TV Fanatic to catch up!