Saturday, September 26, 2015

Z Nation Season Two, Episode One: The Murphy

Alarms are going off up north and Citizen Z, is actually away from his monitors, having gone outside to meet the incoming bomb.  Warren and Murphy are driving separately away from the lab. Murphy's skin has gone the oddest shade of blue/purple.  In the rear view mirror, Murphy watches the explosion.  Similarly, Doc and 10K see the explosion out the back of Warren's vehicle.  At the lab, Dr. Kurian, having climbed into a fridge has survived the explosion.  In the Arctic, fortunately for Citizen Z, a plane got into the path of the oncoming bomb, thus allowing him to survive.  Warren manages to drive her truck into an underpass and though the vehicle tips on it's side, she and Doc and 10K survive the explosion. Cassandra climbs out of the wreckage of the lab.

Warren regains consciousness first and climbs out of the over turned car.  10K follows, helping Doc out of the truck.  The first thing they see is radioactive fall out from the explosion.

In the arctic, zombies start to walk out of the plane that intercepted the bomb.  Citizen Z is ready for them because he has a rifle and begins shooting.  Unfortunately for Citizen Z, he is a terrible shot. Citizen Z makes his way back into the compound and almost immediately a zombie attacks.  It actually takes the man three shots to bring the zombie down.  Another zombie comes running and Citizen Z barely manages to blow its head off.  Anyone else notice how fast the zombies are suddenly moving? They need to explain why the change.   Citizen Z then heads to the broadcast room, seals the entrance and sends out an all call bulletin for Murphy to be transported to the CDC.  Upon reflection, Citizen Z adds that the CDC is offering a reward for Murphy, as well as the opportunity to be first in line for any cure which is developed.  Citizen Z implores his listeners to save humanity by saving Murphy.

A naked Mruphy hops out of his van and enters a store of some sort.

Mack is driving along on a four wheeler and he makes his way to the compound where Addy decided to stay last season. Addu tells Mack that the women are all dead.  She explains that they were on the hill watching the nukes explode and the boy who was banished returned and set the whole place on fire.  The boy capped it off by releasing the zombie men.  Mack snarks about men being all bad and then they share a moment of awkwardness before Mac walks back to his four wheeler.  In the distance, the bear can be heard. Somehow I don't think we've seen the last of that bear.  Mac simply asks Addy if she is coming or not, then starts his four wheeler.  Addy hops on back and Mac drives away.  The woman who is pregnant with Murphy's baby walks out of the woods.

Murphy is wearing a ridiculous satin robe and is being followed by a group of zombies.  When Murphy finds an item he likes, he simply tosses it at the zombies.  Finally, having chosen a suit and a hat, Murphy swaggers along until he gets intercepted by someone who heard Citizen Z's broadcast. The stranger shoots Murphy's entourage and then plays Citizen Z's broadcast which includes a description of Murphy and a warning that Murphy can control zombies.  The stranger then asks to see Murphy's bites at gunpoint. Murphy complies and opens his shirt, asking what is going to happen now.  The stranger informs Murphy that everyone is looking for him, so Murphy tries to buy his way out by offering the stranger some Oxycotin.  The stranger decides to take the drugs and Murphy to California.  Murphy starts to laugh at this and gets tased for his trouble.  The stranger starts to threaten Murphy but is stabbed in the back by none other than Cassandra.  Cassandra is clearly changed.  She can barely communicate and looks wild.  The stranger who attacked Murphy comes back as a zombie and becomes the newest member of Murphy's zombie entourage.  Murphy and Cassandra pause long enough for Cassandra to put on the clothing Murphy picked out for her.

10K struggles to support Doc, as they try to walk.  Doc is ready to give up and asks for a weapon and some ammunition but Warren isn't ready to give up.  Warren decides to take off on her own to look for food and water since Doc is no position to keep walking.  Warren warns them that if she is not back in 48 hours that they are on their own. 10K and Doc wish her good luck.

Citizen Z is hiding with his dog from the zombies who have invaded the compound, as in the background, the emergence broadcast repeats.

Addy and MacK are next to a radio tower but all they can here is a repeating broadcast which says a list of numbers.  Addy is sure that it is some kind of code.  Addy picks up a part of a message about Murphy.  Mack questions if they still care if Murphy is still alive and Addy asks why he is still trying to contact Warren and the others.

Warren stumbles through a wooded area and falls.  Clearly, the time without food or water has gotten to her.  In resignation, Warren lies on her back and says, "don't die until you can kill yourself." Warren then sits up and pulls out gun to check on her bullets.  Warren notes that she has two more bullets than she needs and says, "sorry Doc and 10K I tried."  Warren puts the gun in her mouth but before she can shoot, she hears a little girl crying for help.  The girl is trying to hold of a group of zombies with a long stick.  The zombies have managed to encircle the girl.  Fortunately for the girl, Warren arrives and takes out all of the zombies before collapsing on the ground.

Murphy is now inside a bar which is pretty much intact.  Cassandra is now looking at herself in the mirror admiring the outfit Murphy chose for her.  Yep, she is wearing gold hot pants, a gold crop top; it could be a strippers out fit.  When a zombie gets too close Cassandra attacks it, throwing the zombie across the room. Cassandra is adamant that she is not a zombie and Murphy assures her that she is better.  I don't like this new Cassandra one little bit. What the ever loving hell is this? Murphy decides that now is the time to show off his zombie whispering.  This results in two female zombies making out while Cassandra and Murphy watch.  It goes okay for a while but one zombie decides to rip the lip of another zombie.

Warren wakes up to find herself on a soft bed in a room lit by candles and lanterns.  Warren grabs a candle stick as a weapon and slowly makes her way out of the room, and runs into the young girl she saved.  The girl introduces Warren to her parents and Warren joins them at the table for a meal.

Mack and Addy are still at the radio tower and Addy wonders what the numbers indicate.  Mac suggests that they are defense code triggered by the nukes. They walk through a lot of but pause when they hear a sound.  Addy and Mack arm themselves and continue to walk through the lot.  They are attacked by two zombies and struggle with the second one. Fortunately for Mack and Addy, 10K and Doc have made their way to that location after seeing the flashing radio towers that Mac set up. 10K shoots the zombie attacking Mac in the head, thus adding to his zombie kiss count.

Warren is sitting with the family and admits to them that she had given up. Warren says that she needs to get back to her partners and the family agrees to give Warren some provisions for the road. Warren is informed by the father of the neighbouring areas where she will find fall out. Looking at the map, Warren realises that she is a two day hike away from Doc and 10K.  As Warren heads out the door, the father wishes her luck with Murphy.  Before Warren can leave the porch, the mother tries to thank her but Warren thanks her instead, saying that the children gave her a reason to live. The two women hug and Warren walks away carrying two water jugs.

Warren makes her way to a road and pauses to take a drink of water.  When Warren looks up, she can see a vehicle approaching.  Warren pulls out her gun and gets her stone cold face on.  It turns out that the vehicle  is Mac's four wheeler with a cart attached to the back carrying the rest of the crew.  When next we see them, Mac is driving them into Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The town is filled with armed people and Warren suggests that they all need to think like Murphy to find him.  10K directs Mac to stop outside of a former strip club.

Of course, Murphy is at the bar having a drink.  Murphy asks them what took them so long.  The crew doesn't have much patience for Murphy and when Warren pushes Murphy into a wall, Murphy's zombie entourage gets loud and restless. It's Doc, who reminds Warren what the mission is.  Warren let's go of Murphy but makes her displeasure known.  Murphy reminds Warren that if he dies, the human race dies and suggests that Warren blame Citizen Z or Doctor Kurian.  10K moves towards Murphy, suggesting that Murphy be tied up but Cassandra jumps in front of Murphy to defend him. 10K totally missed the reason behind Cassandra's actions and so he hugs her because he is happy that she is alive.  10 K slowly pulls away and notices something is not right with Cassandra.  Doc brings up the zombie standing around and Murphy says that they are friendly as long as he is friendly.  It seems that Murphy is not interested in going to California, so Doc points out that Murphy is turning into a zombie himself and needs the vaccine.  Murphy decides that now is the time to show off his zombie whispering routine and asks the crew to have a seat.  Cassandra puts on some music and a zombie saunters on stage and then stars moving in a circle around the stripper pole. Warren is the first to make her displeasure known as the zombie circles faster and faster.  Finally, the zombie falls off stage and Murphy asks for a round of applause for his zombie.

Vasquez enters the bar holding a gun looking for none other than Murphy.  Murphy naturally denies his identity. Warren declares Murphy their prisoner but Vasquez is determined to sell Murphy to the highest bidder.  Murphy tells the group that he is not going anywhere with anyone.  Cassandra triggers smoke in the bar and Murphy sets the zombies on attack so that he can escape.  The group and Vasquez are forced to kill all of the zombies. Cassandra follows Murphy out of the bar.  Vasquez is the first to follow with Warren right on his heels but Warren is forced to stop and deal with a zombie.

Once outside, Warren tells the crew that they are going to find Murphy and get him to California so that a vaccine can be made.  The plan is to kill any bounty hunter that gets in their way.

Up north, Citizen Z tells his dog to stay as he climbs out of the barricade that he created.  Armed now with a baseball bat and a gun, Citizen Z moves away from his hiding area.

Murphy's baby mama gets out of her vehicle and stands in the middle of the road.  She asks the fetus to locate Murphy and a bump appears on her stomach and then moves to the left.

Okay, Z Nation started off exactly where it left off last season.  It was a spectacular season ending however I'm not happy with the way it was set up for everyone to survive.  Come on, the plane just magically crashing into the bomb that was targeting the base where Citizen Z lives?  Really? No, seriously really?  There's convenience and then there's just nonsense.  Clearly the writers just tossed a hail mary get get themselves out of the bind they wrote themselves into.

I am glad that Warren is still the leader of the group.  People of colour tend to fall into sidekick roles in dystopian shows (think The Walking Dead or Falling Skies).  I love that when things get rough, Warren puts herself out there and the others depend on her and respect her leadership.

Okay I don't want to do it but we have to talk about what they've done to Cassandra.  At the end of the last season, Cassandra was dying, so Murphy bit her.  Obviously the bite from Murphy saved Cassandra's life but as a result she has absolutely no agency and is barely distinguishable from Murphy's zombie entourage. Murphy even dresses her up, naturally in the most revealing clothing he can find.  It's Addy who points out that the hot pants and crop top aren't practical for the zombie apocalypse.  I am thoroughly disgusted with what they have done to Cassandra.  At this point she is little more than an animal. It's both a sexist and racist portrayal.

Murphy has figured out that he can do more than walk by zombies - he can control them.  Naturally uses his new talent to be gross because that's who Murphy is.  The first thing Murphy does is to control two female zombies and get them to kiss. The following is what Sparky had to say about this scene, "I would call it classically homophobic and misogynist - however I also think we're expected to see it as gross. But we're expected to see it as gross because Murphy is gross, always has been gross and there's no doubt that everything Murphy wants is gross. But I think there is still no overt challenge and no sense that "2 women making out for a man's pleasure is homophobic, fetishistic, misogynist and gross" is the issue rather than "Murphy is making zombies make out and that is gross". I think the latter will outweigh the former in the audience's mind which is part of the problem of relying on the grossness of a character to call out his behaviour."

I know that unlike The Walking Dead, we are not meant to take Z Nation seriously.  It floats back and forth from dealing with weighty issues to having a zombie explode like a cream pie.  At times, it makes it confusing to watch because I'm not sure how to take what is going on.  Back to Murphy for a second if you don't mind.  On one hand, we are meant to be disgusted by Murphy and other, he really functions as comic relief.  Yep this is a potential problem because it means having the audience laugh at the racist, homophobic, misogynistic things that Murphy does. These things have real world consequences and should never be a laughing matter.

As far as season openers go, I suppose The Murphy, was okay but it certainly wasn't must see TV for me.  Let's hope the pace picks up in the following episodes.