Sunday, October 26, 2014

Z Nation, Season 1, Episode 7: Welcome to the FU-Bar

So, after last week dramatically changed Z-Nation I can’t even begin to guess the direction they’re going to take next…

And we open addressing that, with Citizen Z broadcasting a heartfelt (and well acted) obituary for Garnett.

The gang is still travelling, though the vehicles have problems. Murphy is still an arsehole, unwilling to give Warren even a moment to grieve. He goes to her and pushes her into waking up from her fugue – he needs to get to California, he doesn’t have much time and he makes it clear, she is the only one who could possibly lead them. While it doesn’t get through to her, he’s not the only one who realises the group will fall apart without Warren. Mac even tries to convince Addie that they should go off on their own – something she firmly rejects (and seems to be showing fractures in their relationship).

But as they head back they are blocked by a vast swarm of zombies.

The rest of the group finds a camp (and unlike the last one, they’re more concerned that they’re all armed so they don’t need protecting than taking their guns off them) which sells guns and booze. Doc finds a man called “Sketchy,” and Skeevy, old friends of his and fellow drug dealers/users with a whole load of weapons. Sketchy is also convinced they’re safe in the middle of rural Kansas, assuming all the zombies have moved to the cities where there’s still people to eat.

Looking to trade for a new vehicle, they have 10K sign up in a zombie killing competition (the prize is a big gun which they can then trade). Sounds good, but one of his opponents is a trained military sniper

In the bar, Warren is making a concerted effort to drink the place dry. The rest of the group looks to barter for a car but is generally foiled by people being drunk or unwilling to sell. Murphy follows one of them out back to try and steal his keys – which leads to a fight… and Murphy zombie-ing out and biting the guy before coming to his senses and bludgeoning him with a  rock

The shooting competition starts and 10k is all distracted by an attractive woman who is also competing – she is much more focused on shooting things.

Inside, Warren continues to drink the place dry when Forman, the man Murphy bit, staggers in to tell everyone he was bitten and robbed of his keys – though the barman points out if he had been bitten he would have turned – but he does manage to lead a small mob to hunt down and kill Murphy.

Meanwhile, cut to Citizen Z who uses his satellites to track an odd dust cloud. It is caused by a tsunami (zomnami?) of zombies – a huge, vast herd of them. He broadcasts a warning.

The mini-mob finds Murphy and are faced with a man who looks kind of zombie-ish and has zombie bites but can still talk. One man points a gun at him and Doc rushes over to intervene. Several guns go off, missing Murphy but ricochets and unfortunate misses hit several other people (one grazing past Warren to hit the bartender)

The shot then rise as zombies. Not much of an issue with so many guns around, they’re all put down  while Doc drags Murphy away to demand to know what happened; Murphy tries to dodge the whole biting issue but Doc follows it. He announces, hilariously, that he’s very disappointed in Murphy. Interestingly, the man Murphy bit, despite being killed, didn’t turn.

Unsurprisingly, the shooting competition comes down to 10k and the woman he was flirting with. They have comically ridiculously awesome skills (she shoots a bullet through the bullet hole he left).

In the bar Warren easily knifes the bar tender to the bar so she can now share her woes to zombie bartender all about Garnett, yes yes she does. It’s actually a really good, well done scene about the pain of the hope Garnett gave Warren. She punches the zombie in a rage at what Garnett gave her – then took away. It ends with her killing the zombie – and declaring she will find a reason to live.

A horde of zombies arrive and, being Z Nation the competition continues – and 10K wins when he kills a human who is caught by zombies, giving him “mercy”. He gets his prize. Everyone cheers – then flees. 10k and the woman bond over zombie killing, especially when he saves her father. 10k gives her the gun he won because hormones never did make for sensible decisions. She later returns the favour by saving his life from a zombie that grabs him. Aaaawww zombie apocalypse love story

An oddly sober Warren emerges from the bar and kicks arse just to show us all she’s back in action.

They drive off in the car Murphy stole.

Mac and Abbie are still separated from the group and Citizen Z continues to report on the terrifyingly huge horde of zombies

Much as I normally don’t pay much attention to romances in zombie shows, I kind of wish that 10k and his competitor (I don’t think I ever heard her name) stayed together a bit longer. They could have had so much fun slaughtering zombies.

This episode was a little slow – we had some movement with Murphy and his odd not-quite zombieness, but it was largely there for being both a little fun and for Warren. Last week we hoped that Warren would step up and lead the group because it is something we so rarely see. Seeing Warren crawl into a bottle was something I enjoyed – because it was an excellent scene in showing grief and loss and pain and allowed Warren to continue to be an emotional, feeling, caring person as well as being an awesome killer and leader of the group – while at the same time I feared it because I worried they were backing away from her being leader. By the end of the episode it was clear she was back – and an episode to be emotional (and, yes, her grief did represent heavily as anger, but we’ve seen her show despair and sadness before as well, so she’s not a one-note emotionally) is not a bad thing after last week. The only thing that fell flat for me about it is that, frankly, I don’t really care about Garnett’s death.

I’ve talked for weeks now about Z Nation being both whacky and serious and whether that could work – and this episode did. We had ridiculous shooting and fighting (Warren cut off two zombie heads with one swing. We had the zombie running around with his trousers round his ankles) while at the same time Warren was really pulling out some excellent grief and rage. Maybe Z Nation can pull this off.