Saturday, April 9, 2016

Zoo, Season 1, Episode 5: Blame it on Leo

Between experiments and reading Evan’s Bible they find a name to follow up on: Leo Butler. This man is a chemist who worked for… dumdumdum Reiden Global. Jackson instantly declares he is going to go investigate this guy and Chloe agrees

That’s a shame – Chloe was doing her best as a leader in the last episode, that was her role in the group. She could have just said that Jackson and Jamie should follow this up rather than having Jackson present Chloe with an ultimatum (especially since she is the one ponying up the money for all of this). Especially since later on in the episode Mitch pokes Chloe because she, apparently, doesn’t have any field experience. Why are we undermining her? Why do we have to reduce her power and capability? This actually happened last episode as well – when Chloe told Jackson how capable she is compared to the assumptions Jackson may have made when she was panicked in Botswana, she then promptly tripped over a corpse. That’s two – can we end it there please Zoo? She can be competent without having to depower her, just as Jamie can be skilled without Mitch condescending to her about her Reiden Global obsession.

So two teams – Jackson and Jamie go to track down this Leo Butler while Chloe, Abraham and Mitch go to Rio de Janeiro which has a bat problem.

Jamie uses some epic hacking skills to discover that Leo Butler was a chemist for Reiden Global but is now blackmailing the company and giving the money to charity. Awwwww. Her inept hacking also brings her to the attention of suspicious FBI Agent Ben Shaffer who points out how inept they are (and how utterly in need of official representation they need!). Thankfully Shaffer decides that, rather than arrest them for their illegal hacking, he will instead help them find Butler. Then, rather than arrest Butler, they let them, people he barely knows, question him about the weird animal conspiracy theory they have

Shaffer makes no sense – but he provides the desperate authority the team needs. Which would be solved nicely if they shelved the whole confidentiality nonsense

Butler does infodump nicely though. Reiden Global has an awesome vector (allowing their products to be super and fast and letting them utterly dominate the market), which the call the Mother Cell. It’s in everything Reiden Global produces (and they produce just about everything) but has undisclosed side effects which, for some unknown reason, absolutely no-one questions him about but we can probably guess.

Bizarrely, FBI agent Shaffer lets him and Jamie go off to an undisclosed location to retrieve the Mother Cell. They do that – and then crash and Evan shows up to take possession of it.

Over in Rio, Chloe has a friend in the Brazilian intelligence agency which is fortunate because they’re STILL doing the silly confidential thing. The bats are swarming and being kind of creepy and in response the Brazilian government decides they’re going to drop toxins over the whole city. Of course they do.

The do some dubious investigating which basically confirms that bats do have the evil Defiant Pupil but also that they seem to be targeting technology. Somewhat concerning as Mitch points out, technology is the only thing that makes humans an Apex Predator.

Following up on that is fraught because they keep stumbling across gang members in slums.

Can I say again how annoying the whole confidential thing is? It’s all been inserted to remove any kind of official presence which they SHOULD HAVE. The problem is this is used to deprive them of resources and leave them constantly out of depth – like Chloe in the slums of Rio and Jackson and Jamie with Shaffer – leading to the whole convoluted storyline of Shaffer co-operating them and believing their wild story with nothing to back it. It’s been thrown in to drag out extra conflict and drama, but it’s shakey.

Also the depiction of Rio is awful. Not only do we focus on the slums but then the only people we see in those slums are gang members. On top of this, the government is literally willing to drop poison on a city of 6.5 million people to deal with a bat problem because people are “scared”. The bats aren’t even killing people yet, but they’re willing to poison an entire city – also note the “poison that is banned in ‘developed’ countries.” Ooh catch that coded language.

Let’s also look at Abraham. Can he say he’s from “Botswana”? Because he’s now repeatedly referred to as “African” now, he’s lost his nationality and gained a continent. He’s a safari guide, but the expertise he showed in this episode was the ability to hotwire cars and negotiate violent gangs. I’m not against him being streetwise nor even him having familiarity with corruption: but this man is the only POC in the main cast and the only non-westerner: and his expertise is crime, corruption and gangs? And wild animals?

One last storyline – we see Mitch’s ex-wife, their daughter Clementine and Mitch’s ex-wife’s new husband. Clementine is ill (she describes herself as dying) and has seizures – helped by a pet dog that senses seizures before they happen. The dog needs medication… provided by Reiden Global.