Sunday, November 22, 2015

Z Nation, Season Two, Episode Eleven: Corporate Retreat

The crew fights their way through a forest fire killing Z after Z.  Doc says that he thought they killed all of these zombies last week and Addie replies that maybe the Grand Canyon filled up.  They come to a clearing and make their way to what looks like a hotel. They struggle to pry the doors open and Addy calls on Murphy to control the zombies headed in their direction.  Stretching his arms in the air, Murphy sends the zombies on their way. What the group doesn't know that inside the hotel, there's a group of survivors trying to decide whether to let them in or fire on them.  Immediately, the group in the hotel are extremely suspicious of Murphy because of his blue skin.  It's Iggy who rushes to let in Warren and the crew, stating that it's been more than a year since they have seen other people.  Iggy is warned that if he opens the door that there will be consequences.  Doc notices that there's someone inside and Warren points her gun yelling, "open up or you'll be sorry." Iggy complies and pulls the doors open. It's then that Warren notices that there are weapons being pointed at her and that she does not have the high ground.

Gideon gives the order for Warren and the group to turn around and leave but she says that though she doesn't want to hurt anyone, they cannot go back because there are too many zombies out there. Doc adds that there isn't a lot of oxygen either.  Gideon says that while he may be the facilitator, everyone participates in the decision making.  Warren asks for some shelter until the smoke clears.  Gideon asks his group to lower their weapons so that the two groups can chat.  It's Dana who suggests a popcorn circle process.  This involves someone holding a stick, indicating that it's their turn to talk and then the stick gets passed on so that everyone can have input.  Ummm, do these people realise that they are in the middle of a zombie apocalypse?  It seems that the group was attending a conflict resolution seminar when the outbreak happened. When Gideon is handed back the stick, he says that he wants to play a game called "honesty integrity" in which he gives Warren and the crew his unfiltered impressions of each of them.  Are you rolling your eyes? I know that I am. Gideon picks Warren as the leader saying that she has a wisdom born of loss.  Vasquez is called the enforcer, Addy the strong one who has more loss than she can handle, Doc is the sad one who has manged to keep his sense of humor. Gideon then asks for permission from the group to hug Doc.  Gideon then approaches 10K, who apparently has a good heart but is a little bit angry. Gideon picks up on the dislike between 10K and Murphy.  Gideon tells Murphy that he has the weight of the world on his shoulders and that Murphy does more for the group than the group realises.  Gideon hands the stick to Warren and she agrees that her group will stand down.

Murphy asks for food and Gideon decides that they need to have a meeting.  Warren picks Addy to help her represent her side and Gideon picks Dani.  Some of Gideon's group don't seem pleased with his choice.  Gideon tells Addy and Warren that as long as they follow their rules they are welcome to stay until the smoke clears up.  Warren says that this is fine with her as they have someplace to be. Gideon then offers food but says that everyone is limited to 1,000 calories per day.

Murphy lies down on the couch and grumbles about his hunger.  10K and Doc head into the kitchen with Iggy to look for food. It seems that Iggy has wanted to leave for awhile now but the group keeps voting him down.  All of the food is now kept under lock and key since it was discovered that some of the food went missing.

Dana takes Addy to the roof so that Addy can look at the satellite dishes.  Unfortunately, there's not enough left for Addy to make contact with Citizen Z.  Dana explains that they have been inside the hotel since day 1 and that some people escaped and some people were banished.The people who left always returned as zombies and after awhile, Dana quite trying.  Addy responds that it makes sense that Dana stayed because they have food and shelter in the hotel.

Murphy continues to sleep on the couch and the zombies continue to gather at the door. When Vasquez leaves to check it out, Murphy stops pretending to be sleeping and sneaks away.  What Murphy doesn't know is that he is being followed by Greg.

Dana explains that sometimes she just wants to be someplace without a ceiling and adds that Gideon is very controlling.  Addy determines that the satellite is done for.  Dana is giving off the vibe that she is totally into Addy. Addy explains to Dana that things are pretty fucked up outside. Dana questions how Addy keeps going and Addy responds that she promised a friend that she would get him to California.  Dana leans in like she is going for a kiss but is interrupted by the sound of a gun shot.

Vasquez rushes back to the couch to find Murphy gone.  Vasquez meets up with Warren and a member of the hotel crew and they rush to where the sound of the shot came from.  After pushing through a locked door, they find Murphy and Greg shot and bleeding on the floor.  Both groups get their people to an area where they can treat the wounds.  Vasquez wants to mercy Greg and pulls his gun but Gideon says that they cannot mercy Greg until he is dead. Warren says that they can talk about this later but instructs Gideon to tie up Greg before he turns, or she will mercy Greg herself.  Doc tells Warren that Murphy must have a concussion but that the bullet went right through him.

In his dream state, Murphy finds himself standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon. The zombies rush over the edge and Murphy tries to keep his balance but ends up falling over the cliff.

Greg gets tied down and Gideon asks for a moment alone with Dana.  Vasquez and Warren go back to the room where Murphy and Greg were shot and Vasquez breaks down what he thinks happened based on the evidence.  The bullet went through Murphy's shoulder and then hit Greg in the heart.  When Doc hears this, he checks Greg's eyes and declares that Greg looks just like Cassandra did.

Gideon is holding the damn stick again and invites the group to join him in the "trust circle".  Gideon wants the situation resolved without violence and Warren declares that this won't be easy because one of them, just shot someone in her crew.  Gideon is adamant that they can resolve the issue between them and that violence spreads quickly. Warren grabs the damn stick and say that the issue is that one of Gideon's people shot Murphy. Meg takes the stick and says that since Murphy is their prisoner, maybe Murphy tried to escape and then one of Warren's group shot him.  One by one, members of Gideon's group step forward to suggest that it was 10K who shot Murphy, and that they saw him acting suspicious.  Addy responds that 10K doesn't miss. Dana takes the stick and yields it to Addy, who informs the hotel people that if 10K wants someone dead, they are dead. 10K takes the stick and declares that Murphy is not his friend and that when the time comes, he will kill him but now is not the time. Vasquez then throws down a bag of food that he found and suggests that Murphy got shot when he came across someone's secret stash. Gideon replies that if it turns out that one of them was stealing food, the policy is immediate banishment.  Gideon then announces that the only other person to have access to the food supply is Iggy and he demands to know where Iggy was when the shot was fired.

Iggy defends himself when it is pointed out that this isn't the first time that he has taken food. Iggy says that it was more than a year ago and that he has been on lowered rations every since.  Gideon accuses Iggy, saying that Iggy was the only with a key and that he has made it clear for a long time that he wanted to leave. Iggy screams that the hotel is a death trap and quickly finds himself surrounded.  In fear, Iggy attacks Gideon and has to be pulled off of him. Gideon grabs Iggy's keys and demands that Iggy be placed outside because Iggy knew the rules.  Warren questions how Gideon knows for sure that Iggy did it and adds that sending Iggy outside now is a death sentence.  Iggy is thrown outside and Warren has to suggest that Iggy at least be given a weapon. The doors are slammed shut and Iggy bangs on them repeatedly asking his group not to do this.  Iggy makes his way through the smoke and it's not long before he runs into his first zombie.

The group checks on Murphy, who is still struggling from his injuries.  Doc reports that even though the bleeding has stopped, Murphy has not regained consciousness and keeps moaning like he is having a bad dream. Zombies continue to bang against the hotel walls, causing Warren to say that as soon as Murphy can travel, they have to get out of there.  Doc advises that they wait until Murphy is conscious because if they try to move him now, they could kill him. Doc has been feeding Greg Murphy's blood because he is curious what will happen given that the little bit of blood on the bullet stopped Greg from turning in the first place. Doc points out that Greg is getting better because his fever has broken and he is breathing normally despite being shot in the heart.  Greg's skin is ever so slowly turning blue like Murphy's. Warren orders Doc to keep an eye on Greg and to keep Murphy alive.

10K sneaks up on Meg and Paul talking about Iggy's banishment.  Meg wonders when Dana started leading the circle, considering that she never even finished her Masters degree. Meg questions why they are sharing anything with the new people and Paul replies that Iggy played the price for that decision.  Meg argues that they are going to need every bite of food that the new people take.

Warren heads to talk to Gideon, who apologises to her for having to witness the banishment of Iggy. Warren acknowledges that they have all had to make tough decisions and Gideon says that Iggy supported all of the decisions that lead to his banishment.  Warren questions why they never left and Gideon replies that they lost a lot of people within an hour after seeing their first zombie but managed to keep things together based on the teamwork workshop they had just done.  Gideon says that there were 120 of them initially.

Murphy continues to dream of zombies and with each moan, the zombies outside and those trapped in the hotel rooms become more and more restless.  Gideon again apologises for Murphy being shot and heads into the kitchen with Warren hot on his heels to see about getting her people some food.  Gideon calls out for Washington but finds the kitchen deserted.  Warren pulls her sword and takes point, only to be confronted by zombie Washington.  Washington makes a break for it and manages to attack Meg.  10K shots Washington with a sling shot and goes to check on Meg, who has already turned into a zombie.  Meg jumps on 10K's back. Vasquez manages to shoot Washington.  Gideon declares that whoever stabbed Washington, is the one who stole the food, causing Vasquez to snark that Iggy came back for the food.

Another shot rings out and the crew rush into the impromtu infirmary to find Doc on the floor. Doc explains that someone took a shot at him.  The team divide up to find the culprit and Addy is with Dana. Addy moves to checkout a room and leaves Dana to watch her back. While Addy is in the room, someone sneaks past and Dana encourages them to move. When Addy pops out of the room, she has to pull Dana out of the way because zombies are approaching. The two women lock themselves in a closet to wait for the zombies to go past and Dana takes the opportunity to ask Addy to take her with them.  Dana makes it clear that she doesn't want to die in the hotel and adds that she doesn't care where they go.  Vasquez and Warren kill the two zombies causing Dana and Addy to dive to the floor to avoid being shot.

A zombie charges like a bull at the hotel and manages to stick it's head through some plywood. Warren uses her sword to chop of the zombie's head.  One of the hotel residents says that it's like the zombies are suddenly attracted to this place.

Doc slices Murphy's thumb and offers it to Greg who sucks on it.  Outside the zombies are banging on the hotels walls and some of the glass starts to crack.  Warren heads to check on Murphy and is told that he is still unconscious.  The zombies start to push against the chain link gate and 10K tells Warren that the gate will not hold. The glass breaks and zombies come pouring into the makeshift infirmary.  Gideon notices that Greg is sucking on Murphy's thumb and Doc explains that this is a blood transfusion.  Everyone starts to bicker and Warren gets their attention by screaming shut up and informs Gideon that he should do his stick thing now. Holding his talking stick, Gideon suggests that through conversation, they can discover the identity of the killer.  Doc interrupts to say that they can just Greg who shot him, since Greg just woke up.

Doc asks Greg, whose eyes are now a freaky blue who shot him and Greg points slowly to Travis. Travis pulls two guns out and says that he is not surprised that a zombie figured it out before the corporate morons. Travis warns that if anyone moves, he won't hesitate to kill them.  Travis asks Dana to join him and says that they are getting out of here.  Dana protests that she didn't want anyone to get hurt. Gideon tries to stop Dana and she explains that she would rather take her chances outside then die in the hotel listening to Gideon. Gideon tells Travis and Dana to go because they are both liars and murderers. Gideon adds that they will ride this all out and give Dana mercy. Travis points his gun at Gideon. Greg shoots Travis and in return, Travis shoots Greg in the head. Everyone starts pointing their guns and Warren tells everyone to be cool. When Travis comes back, he gets a blow to the head to end it all. A stunned Dana takes Addy's hands but Addy pulls away shaking her head no.

Gideon grabs Warren's arm and tells her that it's time for her to go. Vasquez points his gun at Gideon's head and Warren informs Gideon that unless his stick shoots slugs, they're staying until Murphy is well enough to travel. Someone knocks on the door and when 10K and Addy open the door, a blood soaked Iggy walks in.  Dana immediately tells Iggy that she is so sorry. Gideon tells Iggy that he has every right to be angry and that the process failed him.  Gideon then apologises on behalf of the group. Iggy laughs manically, as Gideon tries to manage Iggy. Gideon asks Iggy if there is anything he would like to say. Iggy grabs the stick saying that he has something to say for everyone who isn't there to speak for themselves and then bashes Gideon over the head with it. Vasquez grabs an enraged Iggy, and pulls him away as Iggy screams that Gideon did all of the speaking for everyone else.

Murphy regains consciousness and sits up slowly.  With Murphy now awake, the zombies slowly move away from the hotel. Murphy says that he had the craziest dreams.

With things all cleared up, Warren thanks Iggy for the food.  Iggy hugs Warren and thanks her for the freedom, adding that if Warren hadn't come along, they would all still be under Gideon's control. The group says that they are going to take their chances out on the road.  Warren hops into the bus and watches as Dana and Addy say a goodbye filled with plenty of subtext. When Addy opens the door to the bus, she finds the crew staring at her and so she shakes her head. 10K drives off slowly, as Addy watches Dana out the window.

I don't know about you but I found that there was a lot of subtext in this episode.  The chemistry between Addy and Dana was really strong.  Addy seemed to be responding to Dana's flirtatious behaviour.  Here's the problem: it was all subtext.  At no point was it made explicit that either woman is bisexual.  The only relationship that we have seen Addy in was heterosexual and all of Dana's sexual interactions seemed to be heterosexual as well.  Despite all of the subtext Z Nation laced this episode with, it all amounts to conjecture because they failed to make an explicit declaration.  I know that a lot of people were probably all excited about this but for me scenes like this represent how shows get inclusion cookies without actually have to do any of the work of proper representation.  It's particularly bad because thus far, there has been no LGBT representation on Z Nation.

Once again, Z Nation chose to go back to a gimmick which considering the redface and outright racism of last week was a bit of relief.  I know I cannot be the only one who was relieved when Iggy based Gideon with his own stick.  Anyone who has ever worked in a corporate setting has been forced to attend these horrible meetings. I know I have lived through what feels like more than my share and yes, the desire to smack the facilitator is almost overwhelming at times. It was almost cathartic when Gideon got his.

Z Nation also continues to build on Murphy's connection to the zombies. Clearly the zombies were drawn to the hotel because of Murphy's unconscious state.  This is building to something.  Warren made it clear that the time was coming when Murphy would have to decide if he is human or zombie. I think however that the answer to that question is neither.  I guess we will have to say where it goes.