Sketchy and Skeezy are back, which usually means nothing good for everyone involved.
Z Nation Season 4 Episode 10 gives us everyone's favorite con men, this time in a weird, crazy barbershop setting.
More a bottle episode than anything else, the flimsy plot is the jumping off point for plenty of slapstick shenanigans involving Doc, Murphy, Sketchy, and Skeezy.
Our heroes wandering around in a toxic foam came off more like a bad day at the laundromat, with suds everywhere.
It was a bit creepy, but it smacked more of a cost-saving measure. Z Nation isn't the first show to find a cheaper way to produce an episode, and it surely won't be the last.
Warren wandering around in the toxic foam was a waste of her character frankly, but it did advance the black rainbow storyline a teeny bit.
She saw a shadow of the giant flying devil ray again and talked to the ghost of Dr. Teller at the end.
You have to get up. You have to keep moving. Everything depends on you.Dr. Teller [to Warren]
Will this lead the crew back to Mercy Labs, where Teller used to work?
We saw that lab in last season's premiere, the flashback movie that introduced us in depth to The Man, as well as Teller, Red, and 5K.
It would seem like a logical next step on their journey since there is probably something there Warren needs to help stop the black rainbow from happening.
Other than that little nugget, Warren was basically a walk-on, which was not great.
She is THE driving force of the show now: a strong, compelling figure that moves the plot forward in ways none of the other characters can.
Warren has always been the emotional anchor of the series, but this season her visions and mysterious behavior have taken everything to another level, and Kellita Smith has delivered a layered, emotional performance to back that up.
Meanwhile, back at the barber shop, the razor-thin story was nothing more than an excuse to have Doc, Murphy, Sketchy, and Skeezy mug for the camera and deliver one wisecrack after another.
Don't get me wrong: I like a goofy episode as much as the next guy.
It's just a little disappointing for me, considering how the show took such a great creative and thematic leap forward this season.
Z Nation was always the crazy outlier in the zombie TV genre, and it did what it did well.
As the show grew, it became more serious (for the better IMO), with much more nuance and better overall writing and performances than in seasons past.
The tragic death of Lucy in Z Nation Season 4 Episode 6 remains, for me, the high point of the entire series.
Since then, with the exception of a few high spots, it has devolved back into the silliness that marked previous seasons.
It still does silly very well, but it all seems like a step back, especially now that the show has gotten more complex and raised the stakes.
Sketchy and Skeezy are always fun, but it was hard to believe everything they did was part of some elaborate plan to take over the barbershop and scam away their lives there.
The big takeaway was, of course, the unspoken love affair between the two:
Skeezy; Why didn't you ever say anything?
Sketchy: I didn't think I had to.
Skeezy: I love you.
Sketchy: I know.
I have to say I did NOT see that one coming. Good for them.
I also couldn't help but think Sketchy's half shaved/half woolly beard deal could become the next big hipster thing.
And just what was the deal with the mute giant Tiny? IDK, other than an excuse to have a really weird character thrown into the mix.
They always do riffs on other movies and shows on Z Nation, and this episode brought to mind three such instances.
The trap door under the barber chair was right out of Sweeney Todd, am I right?
The suspicious group, along with the stuck door gimmick, reminded me of The Hateful Eight.
And the chain reaction vomiting brought back fond memories of the "barf o rama" from the movie Stand By Me.
All in all, it was just another side trip that felt unnecessary.
After all the wonderful setup of the black rainbow storyline, these standalone episodes are more frustrating than fun for me at this point.
With only three episodes left in this season, I worry that the resolution of the black rainbow arc will be rushed and unsatisfactory. We shall see.
- Still no sign of Addy, Sun, or Red. It's time to put their faces on milk cartons.
- It was very quick, so you guys probably missed it, but the magazine cover Skeezy was looking at had Esther Johnson on the cover. Who is she, you may ask? Well, she's the First Assistant Director for the show. I love those kinds of Easter eggs.
- The "Tan Mom" Z from the tanning bed was a callback to the real-life Tan Mom from a few years ago. Use the Googles and look up Tan Mom: you won't be disappointed!
And Doc delivers The Line Of The Night:
I'm getting too old for this shit!Doc
That's my take: tell me yours. Do you like the constant detours from the main story? What do you think about Sketchy and Skeezy's romance? Let me know in the comments section.
And, as always, you can watch Z Nation online anytime, right here on TV Fanatic!