Monday, November 17, 2014

Z Nation, Season One, Episode Ten: Going Nuclear

At Northern Light, NSA Command Center, Citizen Z  is searching for the team.

In the Black Hills, South Dakota,  Warren leads the team, who are tired and frustrated.  They pause when they see that Mt. Rushmore has been defaced and Murphy simply says that this is why they cannot have nice things. Doc is certain that it's the same people who defaced the liberty bell.  Murphy is frustrated and demands that Warren admit that they are lost.  They come across an installation of some sort and Doc uses a crow bar to open one of the buildings for the team.  Cassandra makes it clear that she is not at all comfortable.  Murphy finds a bottle of water and drinks it despite Doc's concerns.  The team are forced to hide when a glow in the dark zombie starts to make its way towards them.  Unfortunately, Murphy farts and this attracts the zombies attention.  Doc swears that if he dies because Murphy farted, he will take the zombie with him.  Doc manages to take out the zombie but it's not long before they realise the zombie was not alone.  Warren moves to shoot but finds her gun is out of  bullets.  Two people burst in the door and start shooting and warn the team not to touch the zombies because the zombies are radioactive.

The team follow Wilbur and Amelia outside, to see a leaking nuclear power plant.  Doc simply says, "it looks like it's going be another one of those days."

Wilbur and Amelia welcome the team to the tiny uninhabited town.  When Wilbur starts to cough, Amelia reveals that he has radiation poisoning.  Wilbur says that he is fine and offers to check the team out and give them some food.  Later, Amelia hands out iodine pills.  Wilbur assures the team that where they are is safe in terms of radiation but adds that the reactor is heating up, and it could lead to a blast, which would kill everything within a 300 mile radius.  Murphy being Murphy, announces that they have places to be and starts to gather his things.  Wilbur informs Murphy that every vehicle in town is gone. Murphy suggests they start walking but Wilbur informs Murphy that he won't make it because the reactor is going to blow within 40 hours.  Warren questions why Wilbur and Amelia are both still there and Wilbur explains that there is still a good chance to stop the reactor.   Wilbur adds that he is already a goner, looking at his hand.  Amelia explains that she is staying around to help her father and because she is a pilot, she can fly them out of the hot zone.  Wilbur is quick to point out that there is only room for one passenger in the plane and that he has bullets for all of the team, instructing them not to get any ideas. Warren tells Wilbur and Amelia that Murphy is the only survivor of a zombie bite, making Murphy the last best hope for humanity.  Wilbur laughs, so Murphy opens his shirt to reveal his scars.  Doc tells Wilbur that a lot of people got killed getting Murphy this far and Warren asks for instructions to cool down the reactor.

Outside, Wilbur explains that he needs to get to the control room to figure out why the cooling rods aren't dropping down. Wilbur explains that he hasn't been able to get in there because it is surrounded by zombies.  Wilbur explains that the team will be safe for two minutes of interacting with the zombies but warns that they are to keep the zombies far away because of the threat of contamination.  Warren orders 10K to stay behind with Murphy, to get him to California if they don't make it.   The team enters the cage and starts killing zombies, as Murphy limps his way through.  Warren kills a zombie with her sword, in a method that even Michonne would have been jealous of.  The team makes their way into the building, with Cassandra dragging Wilbur along.  They escort Wilbur to an elevator and he informs them that they are out of time and must return to the safety of outside.

The team head outside, as Amelia gets on the radio to encourage her father to keep going.  In the background, the warning siren continues to wail.

In the arctic, Citizen Z continues to send an automated message looking for the team.

Wilbur, still limping, makes his way outside and collapses in front of Amelia.  Wilbur tells Amelia that he is not going to make it before dying.  Seconds later, Wilbur turns into a zombie and Warren is forced to kill Wilbur.

Later, the siren continues to wail and Doc asks what they are supposed to do about it.  Cassandra points out that they cannot run because they are still within the blast zone.  Warren suggests that they head in but Doc argues that Wilbur was the only one who knew how to fix the reactor.  Warren calls Wilbur a good man and asks if Amelia can shut the reactor down, if they protect her and Amelia reveals that Homer is the only guy who could shut this down.  Homer however has been hiding in the woods since the apocalypse.  Warren asks how they can find Homer but Amelia is adamant that Homer won't talk to them.

Later, Amelia leads the team into the woods and tells them they have to stop because Homer has the place bobby trapped.  Warren consults 10K, who explains that Homer's traps are designed for Z's, suggesting that if they keep a sharp eye, they should be able to avoid the traps.  The team heads in, after dividing into two.  It's Warren, Doc and Murphy who find Homer.  Homer knocks Doc to the ground and points his gun but is stopped by 10K, who puts a cutlass to Homer's throat.

Inside Homer's home, Homer calls Wilbur a good man.  Homer is not very interested in helping but Warren talks him into it.  Homer grabs a duffel bag, telling the team to load up.  Murphy of course uncovers the booze and starts drinking, only to have Warren stop him.  10K examines the building plans for the reactor and Homer notices that one of 10K's weapons looks like one his son carried. Homer and 10K have a brief bonding moment.

Citizen Z continues to look for the team and pauses when he is contacted by a satellite phone. Warren is making her way back to the reactor, desperately calling Citizen Z.  Out front of the reactor, Homer is traumatized to see a friend of his son's, who has been turned into a zombie.  Homer says that he needs someone to back him up inside the reactor and Warren volunteers.  Doc is not pleased and quickly points out that he is not capable of getting Murphy to California.  The task falls to 10k and in the control room, Homer realises that something is physically blocking the insertion.  Homer grabs a remote control device to get the rods moving.  They watch by camera as the drone enters the reactor. Homer seems to greatly enjoy using the drone to blast the Z's.   Unfortunately, the zombies pick the drone up off the ground and destroy it. 

Outside, Murphy asks what they are to do now and Warren is quick to tell him that he is not being helpful.  Homer says that he can do a manual scram and will need heavier suits to reach the control room.  Homer explains that the suits are in the lab, not far from where they lost the drone, adding that four people can go in. Murphy asks what happens if the plan does not work and Warren asks Amelia to fly Murphy out of the radiation zone.  Amelia admits that she lied to Wilbur and does not have enough fuel but adds that if she had a few gallons, she might be able to get herself and one other person out.  Warren suggests converting the vodka to fuel. The team separates to handle their tasks.

10K leads a group back into the reactor, which is set to blow in forty minutes.  They message Warren to let them know where they are.  Warren is now at the plane with Murphy and Amelia.  Amelia explains that they will head to Wyoming, as Warren begins to work.  At the plane, Warren hands over some alcohol, explaining to Amelia that they are flying on vodka and not gas, meaning that the mileage might vary.  Warren starts to say goodbye to Murphy, who snarks and so she tells him to be grateful for all of the sacrifices everyone has made. Warren starts to walk away and Murphy calls out to Warren and when she turns, he nods and acknowledges her statement.  Amelia starts up the plane and Warren steps back to watch it take off.

In the sky, Murphy starts harassing Amelia to find out if they are there yet.  Murphy suggests finding more fuel, so they can fly to California but Amelia points out that what they need is vodka because she does not know how to change the corroborator back.

Warren contacts the team inside and reports that Murphy is up in the air.  Doc promises to see Warren on the way out.

Amelia questions if Murphy misses his friends, and he refers to them as foxhole buddies.  Suddenly, they start to experience turbulence and the engine shuts right off. When we next see Murphy, he is crawling out of the plane which has crash landed.  Murphy checks on Amelia, to find that she has turned into a zombie. Murphy struggles to find something to give Amelia mercy.  By the time Murphy finds a rock, zombie Amelia has made her way outside of the plane and looks weirdly confused.  Murphy starts walking and zombie Amelia begins to follow. 

Outside, Warren looks for a vehicle to make their escape.  Citizen Z contacts Warren and she asks about glowing zombies and Citizen tells Warren not to allow the zombie splatter anywhere near her.  In the background, the siren continues to wail.

Inside the reactor, they have finally made their way to the core.  Homer explains that he is going into the core by himself and 10K is insistent that Homer needs back up.  The two are quickly attacked and a zombie bites into Homer's suit breaching it.  10k asks if there is something he can do, so Homer suggests that he add to his count.  Homer adds that 10k is smart like his son Max was and wishes him better luck.  Homer asks 10K to go on for all of them, living the life that Max never had.  10K helps Homer to his feet as a warning continues to sound about the radiation levels.  In the center, Homer discovers that two rods didn't go down, instructing 10K not to drop him as he will blow up instantly.

Outside, Cassandra is very worried but Doc points out that they were at their limits and couldn't stay. Doc assures Cassandra that Homer knows what he is doing.  Inside, 10K has begun lowering Homer down into the pool.  They manage to release one bar and Homer instructs 10K to shoot him and leave once the reactor is fixed because he does not want to become a zombie.

Murphy continues to walk, carrying his bottle of vodka, as Amelia continues to follow.  Murphy falls to his knees, thanking the universe for all of the shit he has been through.  Zombie Amelia, simply stands a few paces back waiting for Murphy to get to his feet. Murphy tells Amelia that he does not give mercy, ordering her to go home.  Murphy throws a rock at Amelia and while she looks bewildered for a moment, Amelia continues to follow Murphy.

In the reactor, Homer has managed to release the other rod and they get an all clear sign.  10K prepares to lift Homer and Homer asks 10K to shoot him now. 10K explains that he already killed his father and does not want to kill Homer as well. Homer simply releases himself into the pool and quickly turns into a zombie.

10K makes his way outside and starts to march away, with Cassandra and Doc hot on his heels.  10K is upset that he was unable to save Homer and Cassandra points out that 10K gave Homer mercy.  Warren pulls up in the battery charged golf cart, saying that they are all safe.  Doc suggests that they get back on the trail but question where to because Murphy is lost.  Murphy makes his way back, saying that the vodka only made good fuel for ten minutes.  Warren questions what happened to Amelia and he points to Zombie Amelia, who has been following him.  The group is disgusted that Amelia was not given mercy and Murphy explains that it didn't seem right.  They prepare to shoot Amelia and Murphy rushes forward saying that Amelia is not hurting them and that maybe it's time for a different kind of mercy.  Amelia simply stands and stares, so the group makes their way to the cart and drives away.

This episode touched on a real threat in a zombie apocalypse.  There are nuclear reactors all over the world and without someone constantly manning them, they present a real danger.  Even if the team manages to escape the blast zone, releasing that kind of radiation into the earth's atmosphere is still going to cause problems. 

Z Nation is clearly still trying to figure out what it is going to be.  This episode we had the defacement of Mt.Rushmore, which had me cracking up, though it isn't nearly as awesome as what happened to the liberty bell.  All of this was juxtaposed to the clear threat of the nuclear reactor shutting down, and 10k's reaction to having to give Wilbur mercy.  At this point I think Z Nation needs to decide if it's going to go camp, or serious because the blending of the two doesn't always mesh well.  I could have bought 10k's pain over giving Wilbur mercy if they had known each other longer.  The you remind me of my loved one thing they had going on, didn't feel right and it was based on the flimsiest of observations. 

Murphy's relationship with the zombies continues to more complicated every episode. It's clear at this point that he doesn't see the zombies in the same way as the team.  In his mind, Murphy has very much humanised them and this is why he couldn't bring himself to give Amelia mercy.  For Murphy mercy meant allowing Amelia to continue on with her zombie existence.  I do find it interesting how fast the team acquiesced to Murphy's request, given their clear disgust with his failure to give Amelia their form of mercy in the first place.