Monday, September 28, 2015

Z Nation, Season Two Episode Three: Episode #2.3

Two road warriors stop at a car wreck and decide to scavenge.  The writers actually have one the actors say a line straight out of Mad Max.  The road warriors are quickly attacked by a savage zombie and have their faces ripped off. I guess the theme for this week is gross.

The crew is walking and Murphy, being Murphy, is full of complaints.  When Murphy gets into a little spat with Vasquez, Murphy makes it clear that Warren is the boss.  Warren tells Vasquez that he will get used to Murphy.  The group pauses for a moment to get the lay of the ground and 10K approaches Warren to find out what they are going to do about Cassandra, who is still in her hoochie outfit and massaging Murphy's soldiers. Warren suggests that there might be a way back for Cassandra when they get to California. 10K and Cassandra make eye contact briefly before she goes back to massaging Murphy.

The crew watches as a heavily modified 18 wheeler makes its way down the road and it's followed by a caravan of vehicles - cue Mad Max reference number two.  The caravan is ambushed and a gun fight breaks out.  The caravan people are barely able to hold off the pirates. Doc wonders if they should help the caravan and Vasquez suggests that they wait and steal the vehicles from the victor of the fight. Warren says that while they may not be able to save the world, they can save the caravan people.  Warren splits the group up to enter into the fight.

At the top of the valley, Murphy and Cassandra hear a weird noise that catches their attention. Zombies a distance away also react to the sound.

The fire fight is now over and Warren and Addy discover that the 18 wheeler's bed is filled with sick people.  The driver steps out and introduces himself as Sam Custer.  Sam explains that his group is on their way to Edmonton to out run the fall out.  Warren says that they are headed east as well and Sam explains the fitting of his little caravan.  Wrecking Ball, who is Custer's nephew, introduces himself with great enthusiasm for Warren's skills during the gun fight. Vasquez asks about Edmonton, and Sam explains that there will be peace and tranquility in Edmonton because zombies hate the cold. Sam then asks Warren and crew to travel with him because they could use the extra fire power and it's dangerous to travel by foot.

10K and Doc are tucking into some food and Wrecking Ball offers water. Wrecking Ball tries to approach Murphy, but Murphy being Murphy, asks Wrecking Ball to find somewhere else to sit.  In a private conference, Warren preemptively dismisses Vazquez's suggestion to kill everyone and take their vehicle, arguing that there's strength in numbers.  Addy agrees that the food, water and transportation are great but expresses worry about the truck filled with sick people could present a mini zombie outbreak.  Running alongside the side of the truck at a distance are the fallout zombies.

Warren, Doc, Vasquez and Murphy huddle up with Sam to discuss the situation.  Sam tells them about a group they met who kept rambling on about a half zombie/half man person who could control zombies. Sam is absolutely certain that they were insane.  Doc simply calls the rumors crazy. Wrecking Ball is all exicited about the potential of this and asks Murphy and Doc if they went to levitate.  Well, Doc has been sober for way too long right?  Wrecking Ball, Murphy and Doc start toking up.  The weed is apparently grown in an abandoned lab in Minneapolis and they use zombies for compost, hence the name: Z Weed.  The lab is also working on a herbal zombie cure.  Sam knocks on the window and is not at all impressed to see the three of them high as kites.  Sam then asks Wrecking Ball a riddle to see if his mind has been effected by the fallout.  After a moment, surprisingly, Wrecking Ball solves the riddle.  Sam then turns his attention to Murphy and informs Murphy that he is going to have ride in the back with the sick because he doesn't look well. I should say so - this week, Murphy is practically purple.  Sam explains that they can have compassion for the ill because they have rules.

Sam hops up into the truck and the caravan starts down the road with the team distributed along the truck at key points to act as look outs.  In the back, Murphy calls out for Cassandra and she comes running but along the way stumbles on the corpses of the two men who had their faces ripped off earlier.  Cassandra runs behind the truck and is helped on board by Murphy and Addy.  Murphy makes a half assed attempt to introduce Cassandra to the sick people.

They drive by a crash site with bodies splayed out on the road, with their brains eaten before they could turn.  Blasters (people killed by the radiation) eat nothing but the brains.  Sam declares that there is something wrong with those zombies.  Wow, it didn't take long to come up with proper zombie etiquette. Sam goes on to add that blasters hunt in packs and are probably watching them right now.  Vasquez spies a blaster but it disappears before he can shoot.

Doc is travelling with Wrecking Ball and says that the ride will be long without the Z Weed.Wrecking Ball offers Doc water from the back.  In the sick truck, Addy takes care Sam's son Zeke, who has radiation sickness.  Addy tries to comfort the dying man by telling him that they'll be in Edmonton soon but Zeke is well aware of what is coming.

A blaster zombie starts to run alongside the truck and Warren and Vasquez shoot several times, managing to hit it in the back of the legs.  The zombie scampers away in a crab like motion.  Another zombie makes an appearance and this time it's 10K's turn. He actually has to shoot it three times before he can count the zombie as 3098.

In the back of the truck, Murphy gives Cassandra a super toke.  Cassandra immediately says that she feels something, so Murphy gives her another toke.  Two men travelling in the opposite direction approach the caravan.  Both sides shoot but no one is hit.  Warren moves to tell Sam to speed up but it seems that something is not right with him. Warren makes her way back and shoots the first pirate she sees.  The group finds themselves quickly surrounded, as riders approach from behind.

Raiders go after Doc and Wrecking Ball, ordering them to pull over, claiming to only want the car. Doc tells Wrecking Ball to speed up.  Riders manage to get on top of the car and are quickly followed by Cassandra, who bites into the neck of one of the men.  Doc sees this as his cue to bail and encourages Wrecking Ball to jump out of the truck.  Sam sees Cassandra drive by on top of the car still munching on a marauder and picks up speed.  Warren has to tell Sam to stop because their people are falling behind.

The caravan comes to a stop and Murphy again hears that weird noise.   Murphy hops out of the truck, runs to Doc and warns him that they shouldn't be there.  When Doc and Wrecking Ball turn, they see fallout zombies and so Murphy warns them not to move.  Doc and Wrecking Ball get to their feet and this is enough to agitate the zombies, so Murphy repeats his command for everyone to be still. Murphy tries to use his zombie whispering technique but fails and so orders Addy to go and start the truck.  Murphy then tries again and this time, the zombies are joined by a fourth one in a ripped white suit. This new zombie seems extremely aware and so Murphy yells for everyone to get back to the truck.  Addy struggles to get the truck moving but when she finally does, she ends up running over the crab walking zombie.  The aware zombie stands in the middle of the road and howls at Murphy.

Up the road, Warren and Sam talk as the dead caravan people are carried into the field next the road. Sam is determined to go after the car they lost because their entire water supply is inside it.  Warren is not impressed that they packed all of the water in the same place.

Later, Sam is in the field mourning over the grave of someone they just lost.  Warren informs Vasquez that there's something not right with Sam but she doesn't want to be on foot with radiation zombies running wild and free.  Vasquez suggests borrowing a car because his bounty is back there. Warren calls Vazquez out on the tone of possession he took.  Clearly Vasquez is not all in with the team yet and is riding along in the hopes of cashing in on Murphy.

Addy pulls up and informs Warren that the fallout zombies did not listen to Murphy and therefore no one is safe.  Wrecking Ball approaches Sam to apologise for losing the car but Sam pushes him up against a truck in rage.  Sam starts yet another riddle for Wrecking Ball and Doc tries to get Sam to back off.  In frustration, Sam orders Wrecking Ball into the medical area.  Wrecking Ball tells Sam that he should check himself because he doesn't look so good. Warren grabs Sam and tells him that he needs to let the car go so they can move out.  Sam makes his way back to the front cab.  The fallout zombies are back and the intelligent one hops onto Vasquez.  10K takes aim but it's Warren who gets off a shot.  The intelligent zombies jumps off Vasquez.  Warren again asserts that they need to leave now and so Sam starts the truck.

In the back, Zeke is really struggling and so asks Addy to kill him now, so that he isn't taken by a fallout zombie.  Wrecking Ball is not impressed to be riding with the sick and claims that Sam is going to get them all killed. Zeke says that the death wagon is his fault because his father wouldn't leave him behind and so created the death wagon.

10K takes aim but stops when he recognizes Cassandra.  Cassandra is standing next to the stopped car and she is covered in blood, having eaten the raiders. 10K and Doc check on her but all Cassandra can say is that she need's more Z Weed.  Cassandra makes her way to the back of the truck and is embraced by Murphy.  10K asks Doc if Cassandra is more dead than alive and Doc answers that Cassandra cuts it close.

Sam is now sitting in the retrieved car and Warren rushes over to tell him that the fallout zombies cannot be far behind. Sam is clearly a bit spaced out but claims to be fit as a fiddle.  Warren asks who drives the semi truck if the driver is riddled with radiation and  Sam responds by putting his gun under Warren's chin, adding that no one drives the truck but him.  Sam however is countered by Vasquez who puts his gun to Sam's head.  Sam quickly gives in and warns Warren that the breaks on the truck are touchy. While Sam, Warren and Vasquez were arguing about who would drive the truck, Murphy saw an opportunity and took off in the car with Cassandra and Wrecking Ball. When will these people learn that someone always has to be watching Murphy?

The convoy gets on the road again and when Addy looks up, she sees several fallout zombies chasing after the convoy.  Addy starts shooting and calls out to Warren that they have to hurry up. Addy calls out to Zeke but doesn't get a response. You guessed it, Zeke is now a fallout zombie and sets about attacking the woman nearest him.  With the fallout zombies quickly catching up to the caravan and Zeke creating zombies faster than a N.Y. minute, Addy decides that now is the time to flee the sick area of the caravan.  The zombies are being led by the intelligent one.

Up front, Warren tries to encourage Sam to drive faster.  The zombies move from truck to truck stopping along the way to bite the drivers of different vehicles, in pursuit of Doc, Addy and 10K. Warren hops into the cab with Sam, who is clearly gone and drives through a barricade in the middle of the road. Sam says repeatedly that he has to get to Edmonton and that he and Zeke loved to camp out there.  Zeke has finally caught up with Addy and so she gives him mercy.  In the front, Warren tells Sam that he isn't going to make it and he asks her to come with him.   Warren honks the horn to get the attention of her crew and says to Sam, "may God give you mercy." Warren hops out of the truck and the rest of her team jump off the truck right after her.  Sam keeps driving down the road with the zombies hanging off the back of the truck.

Warren manages to get to her feet and Doc snarks about having to jump from a moving vehicle twice in one day.  The intelligent zombie breaks through the window of the truck and kills Sam.

Further down the road, Murphy is driving the car and Wrecking Ball is impressed to be riding with "the real Murphy".  Cassandra slaps Wrecking Ball twice on Murphy's command, when Wrecking Ball questions Murphy's abilities.  Murphy explains that to some zombies, he is the messiah but to the blasters he is their dinner like everyone else.  Wrecking Ball notices the bite on Cassandra's face and realises that Murphy is the one who turned her.

Addy tells Warren that Wrecking Ball was talking about a herbal cure for the zombie virus in Minnesota. Down the road, the big rig finally explodes.  The crew hop into a truck that they've reclaimed from the caravan and start driving down the road.

Murphy asks for more Z weed and when Wrecking Ball says that he is all out, Murphy tells him to look again.  Wrecking Ball holds the wheel while Murphy gives Cassandra a super toke.  Murphy then asks about the lab in Minneapolis. Wrecking Ball claims to know the guy who runs the lab and says that from now on, the three of them are a team - cue side eye from Cassandra.

From the very beginning, Z Nation has paid homage to many different zombie movies or just straight up dystopian stories.  This week, I suppose the writers decided to try Mad Max on for size giving it a Z Nation twist by adding the fallout zombies.  I have to say that FX team did an awesome job especially with the zombie being caught under the wheel of a truck.

Adding the fallout zombies adds something new to this show.  Clearly they are not a mindless hungry horde.  They hunt in group and at least this week,we saw that one of them was capable of taking on a commanding role.  Where this is going, I have no idea.  I just hope that it won't end up as gimmicky as the viagara zombies.

I have to say again because it needs repeating, why the hell do they keep taking their eyes off of Murphy. With so many of them travelling together, at least one person should be assigned to keeping their eyes on him. He has proven repeatedly that the first chance he gets, he is going to escape.  I wasn't all surprised to see Murphy taking off in the car.

Warren continues to be very much in charge and I love it.  I must admit to crossing my fingers each week because I'm still not convinced that she will have the same plot armor that other leaders in dystopians have.  That being said, I loved Murphy acknowledging that Warren is the boss and then throwing it in Vasquez's face.    Speaking of Vasquez, he is easy on the eyes but I don't trust him one little bit.

I have to bring up Cassandra.  This week they upped the ante by having Cassandra kill at least two people by biting them like a zombie would.  It made her even more savage in my opinion and that is something I am just not comfortable with, particularly with her being at the very least partially controlled by Murphy - a white man. And what does Murphy do with that? Why give her more weed of course.  I hope that this Z Weed will somehow balance out and give Cassandra some balance and agency, even if it makes her eat people.  I am already sick of Cassandra being like this.