Monday, November 10, 2014

Z Nation, Season One, Episode Nine: Going Nuclear

Addy and Mack ride down highway 162 in Utah.  Mack thinks back to he and Abby killing zombies together.  I suppose that this is what passes for remembrances of good times these days.  Later, they stop to get water and Addy suggests that they camp there because she is tired but Mack wants to keep going because this is their last chance to sync up with the others.  Addy talks about trying to get in touch with Z to get an update on their location.  Mack it seems envies Z because he is so far away but Addy points out that Z is all alone.  Mack then brings up the fact that he and Addy aren't talking and that it seems that Addy can barely look at him.  Mack questions what is going on and Addy claims to be working through her issues, adding that not everything is about Mack.  Addy again asks to stay because the place is beautiful but Mack answers that beauty attracts trouble.

The two head out again but don't make it far because the bike runs out of gas.  They continue to forge ahead, with Mack walking the bike and Addy following behind.  They stop at a factory where Mack admits that they should have stopped at the creek but adds that he thought they would get further on the gas they had.  Addy stares off into the distance, reliving her horrors and does not answer Mack. 

Later, the two sit in a tent and Mack asks Addy what she sees when she drifts off.  Addy still does not want to talk, so Mack adds that he just wants to help.  Addy admits that she is reliving a memory but she doesn't know what triggers it.  Apparently, when Addy tries to understand the memory, it gets further and further away.  Addy explains that she sees the same thing over and over again and for some reason,  he zombie won't die.  Addy asks that they talk about something else now.  Addy asks Mack what he would do if he could do anything  and Mack stands, saying that he would take Addy to the best restaurant in town.  Mack describes a romantic evening, which of course ends in sex. 

Addy tells Mack that they never stood a chance because their relationship is based on the apocalypse.  Addy questions if she and Mack even have anything in common, adding that they don't even really know each other.  Mack points out that they have kept each other alive and have been there for each other.  Mack says that this is more of a bond than a ring could give them.  Addy is not convinced, adding that they survive together, have sex together and kill together.  It seems that Addy doesn't even remember the night that she met Mack but Mack is insistent that he needs Addy.  Addy points out that in three years, they have never thought of anything past tomorrow, until their mission with Murphy came about. Addy again asks what kind of future they have because they cannot even think about marriage and kids but Mack simply says that they have each other.  Mack gets down on one knee and asks Addy out on a date with him.  Addy laughs but Mack tells her to sit there and look pretty, as he heads off to improvise a date. Unfortunately, when Mack returns, Addy is fast asleep.

Mack wakes in front of the fire to a scream and Addy gone.  Addy screams out again and Mack stands and goes looking through the ruins for Addy.  Mack sees someone on the ground and calls out for Addy but the person keeps moving. Further ahead, Mack sees a pile of zombies covered in bite marks of all things.  He questions what bites a zombie but is quickly answered when a snake surrounds his feet.  Mack manages to get away but he is confronted by a zombie, who has Addy's weapon buried in his chest.  Mack again maneuvers away and continues to call for Addy. Mack notices that zombie has Addy's necklace caught in his teeth and starts to freak out.  A big stone falls from the ceiling, trapping Mack and though he tries to shoot the zombie, he misses and the zombie takes a big huge bite.

Mack wakes suddenly and it turns out that this has all been a dream.  Mack hears Addy calling out for him and so he unsheathes his sword and gets moving.  Mack follows the same path he did in the dream, realising that he has been there before.  Mack even finds the pack of zombies who were bitten by the snake.  Just as in the dream, Mack sees the zombie with Addy's weapon embedded in its shoulder.  Mack starts to attack the zombie screaming, maneuvering, it into position to have the stone fall upon the zombie instead of himself.  Mack takes the necklace away from the zombie before walking away, deciding not to give the zombie mercy. Unfortunately for Mack, the zombie manages to push the stone away and gets up and attacks. Mack fires his weapon and just like in the dream, he misses.  Mack takes off running but quickly finds himself trapped. Mack is forced to jump off a ledge, accidentally impaling himself, leaving the zombie to take a bite out of his skull.

Mack wakes again to find Addy gone and he goes through the whole process all over again.  We go through this cycle one more time and this time when Mack jumps off the ledge he lands safely.  Mack now starts running through the factory until he sees a familiar door, only once again to be confronted by the zombie on steroids.  Mack tries to attack but is still unable to take the zombie down.  Mack tells the zombie that he will not allow it to have Addy.  Mack questions if there is something behind the door which the zombie does not want him to see.  Mack attacks the zombie again and is once again over powered, this time having his throat sliced.

Mack awakes again to find Addy questioning if he is okay.  Mack explains that he had a weird dream and that it felt like a psychic premonition.  Addy tells Mack that she cannot have him falling apart on her and Mack professes that the dream just felt so real and was about something.  Addy says that it wasn't about the future and was in fact about Mack.  Addy suggests that they figure it out and so Mack tells her about the repeating dream and how he woke up and Addy would be gone.  Addy tells Mack that he just worried about her and admits to being worried about him.  Suddenly, they are interrupted by the zombie roar and when Mack gets frantic, Addy suggests that they go and kill the zombie together. 

Mack and Addy reach the landing point and Mack insists on waiting for the zombie to show up.  Mack explains that he stood there and saw it every time in his dream; however, the zombie never arrives.  Mack takes off running with Addy on his heels but this time, he does not find the snake bitten zombies.  Mack checks the area where the snake was in his dream to find no snake.  Addy gets a concerned look on her face and suggests that Mack might be "a little bit crazy." Mack takes off running, telling Addy that they are about to encounter a hulk like zombie but not only is there no zombie, when the hawk flies by, the stone does not fall from the ceiling.

Mack and Addy then come across the door from Mack's dream and Addy suggests going inside.  They hear a sound behind the door and Mack clearly does not want to go inside but Addy is insistent that they cannot be having the same dream because she is awake.  Mack says that whatever is inside is probably mad.  Addy is insistent and opens the door, they only find a wooden wall.  Addy starts bashing on the boarded up wall but Mack takes her weapon away and knocks down the boards himself.  When Mack peers inside, he sees some sort of room and again insists that they leave. Addy tells Mack to keep trying, so he continues to burst out boards.  Mack sees a staircase leading down but what he doesn't know is that the zombie is behind them.  The zombie attacks Addy, killing her and then glares at Mack.  Mack attacks the zombie but once again, this zombie has some moves.  This time however, Mack is able to kill the zombie.

Addy is gasping for breathe and so Mack makes his way over to her.  Addy tells Mack not to be afraid and when he turns around, the zombie now has the weapon and bashes Mack upside the head.

Okay,  another dream sequence,  this time with Mack once again waking up alone and taking off after hearing Addy scream.  Mack runs past the snake bitten zombies and into the factory, where he sees the door again.  Of course, hulk zombie is waiting for him.  Instead of fighting, Mack simply smiles at hulk zombie and opens the door.  Mack heads inside and goes down the stairs calling out for Addy. He hears someone cry out "don't" and at the bottom of the stairs, lies a child covered in blood, who says that he has been bitten.  The hulk zombie has made its way downstairs and so Mack ends up stabbing it repeatedly with the knife in the stomach.  At this point, Mack is frantic but because he is stabbing the body rather than the brain, the zombie does not die. The zombie ends up tripping on Mack's knife and dying.  Mack looks at his hand and sees Addy's bloodied necklace.

Addy wakes Mack up saying that he is having a nightmare.  Mack asks Addy where she got the necklace from.

In yet another dream, Addy sits up suddenly to see Mack fast asleep.  Addy tells herself that she is not afraid and takes off running with her weapon in hand.  Addy runs across the factory and heads straight for the door where the zombie is standing guard.  Addy strikes the zombie across the jaw and then opens the door and heads downstairs.  Addy rushes when she hears a child scream.  At the bottom, the child says that it has been bitten and Addy takes the knife out of the boys hand.  Addy hears a zombie and this time, it's a woman who walks towards her.  Addy struggles with the zombie and ends up stabbing it furiously in the stomach.  Addy screams, "why won't you die." The zombie ends up tripping and stabbing itself with Addy's knife.  When Addie looks at her blood covered hand, she finds her necklace.

Mack wakes up back by the creek to hear Addy screaming.  He finds Addy doubled over screaming, saying that she is sorry.  Addy says that she didn't know on the first night how to give mercy, so the first night she just kept stabbing the person over and over again.  We learn that Addy killed her mother. 

This is easily the most boring episode of Z Nation to date.  There had to be a way to tell this story without the repetitive dream sequence and if Z Nation is depending on such a cheap device only nine episodes into the first season, I fear the show just might be in trouble.  Every time Mack woke up and the dream restarted, I found myself rolling my eyes. I was absolutely grateful when the episode came to an end.

I think it was important to tell Addy's back story.  Z Nation has made a point of showing how painful this apocalypse has been on its characters.  The death of a parent being used to for character building is yet another trope Z Nation decided to play with this episode.  I suppose in a show which actually wants us to believe that anyone can die, this can be slightly excused by the fact that at least Abby is not the protagonist.

I really enjoyed Addy talking about how what really connects her and Mack is the apocalypse.  They have been running, hiding and killing together since the beginning but none of this is the foundation for what we would view as a normal relationship.  Would these two even be together had zombies not taken over the world.  This is a question worth asking particularly because as Addy said, they have nothing in common.  For his part, Mack does not want to think about this question because Addy is what is keeping him sane. 

I think I have come to the conclusion the Z Nation is a serious show with bits of camp to lighten the heavy weight of a zombie apocalypse. I really wasn't sure what to make it of it what with scenes like the liberty bell and Murphy's constant shenanigans.  The truth of the matter is that this show is growing and the writers are becoming more and more in-depth in their characterization.  Each person is dealing with their own personal horror, whether they are up in the arctic, or roaming the highways trying to get to California.  It will be interesting to see whose back story they tell next.