Saturday, May 28, 2016

Zoo, Season 1, Episode 13: That Great Big Hill of Hope

So who was the clueless one who didn’t realise the last episode of Zoo was a double episode? That would be me. I thought it lasted longer than expected.

Anyway, last episode there was a plane crash which everyone survived. That’s a surprisingly lucky plane crash. Even the baby leopard cure survived. Did they land on a giant pile of mattresses?

Nope, they landed in the ocean. Near Canada. While flying from Zambia to US. Via Canada

what they didn't drop in on Belgium on the way?

Ok, maybe they got lost.

The whole gang does think Jaime is dead because she’s been found by a First Nation’s Canadian who doesn’t speak English who she assumes has kidnapped her when he’s actually saving her and nursing her back to health.

The rest of the gang is super depressed because they think Jaime is dead and because everything is going terrible. Now they’ve got the help of officialdom, they’ve also lost control. And officialdom has made a deal with Reiden Global, basically letting them off the hook. The gang is not happy. Jackson is quickly sidelined. Mitch climbs into a bottle, Abe gets a job escorting people around the city. On Chloe remains in power

That note of Abe escorting people across the city – the animal attacks are approaching dystopian levels. Crossing the city is a menace as Jackson finds out going to buy some meds; to such a degree that Abe now works for a company bodyguarding people across the city in the face of animal attacks. Animals are being quarantined and the plan of the powers that be is literally planning to wipe out ALL the animal kingdom and hoping to restore the world’s devastated ecology by cloning cells they’ve taken samples of

They’re literally planning to destroy the world and humanity. I just can’t even imagine anyone would think this is a good idea. But the source of the cure in devastated Zambia is gone and they know no way of distributing it either

More interesting twists – people are turning to vegetarianism because Rage Cows are not something anyone wants to eat. And there are underground cat fancier clubs (what, cats hate you now? You have clearly never been owned by a cat).

Everything is awful. Everyone is sad.

But after some inspirational moment, the deeply depressed Abe steps up and does what he does best – dragging everyone back into the fray just as Jaime gets a satellite phone to tell them she’s alive and so is the leopard cub cure! Just as Jackson has an inspiration moment about how to spread the cure! Time to reunite and make everything better

Except there’s a wall of angry animals stopping them – and preparing to eat/squish/maul them.

And lo finale.

Ok the next season promises to be a full on dystopia – and I generally like the story and characters a lot once it finally went out of its way to explain their bizarre secrecy plot line. I am actually looking forward to the next season

But I do have issues

On this episode we had 2 disabled characters introduced – Jackson’s neighbour (who Jackson went for medicine for) and a man dying from cancer who inspires Abe to get back into the game. I’m happy to see disabled characters but both feel like they’re there for… inspiration. Which is a fraught concept.

Which also brings me to Abe. I’m torn with Abe – because Abe is awesome. He’s strong, he’s deeply moral, he’s thoughtful, he’s tough without being dangerous, he’s kind without being weak, he has a deeply poignant and passionate history. He has a number of skills. He is the rock of this group. He is the heart of this group. He is the group that makes the whole team stay together. I love Abe. Abe is by far the best character on this show. But Abe’s concept is one that centres around inspiring others, supporting others and helping others: He’s amazing at it, but he’s, above everything else, a caregiver to the white characters (sure he’s a lot more than that. It’s also interesting to see a man so physically imposing as Abe be such an utterly gentle character). There’s also an ongoing depiction of Africa in this show as, well, a war torn wasteland. Abe’s poignant and painful past rests on this. The way we see the police in Botswana and the way Zambia is presented (overwhelmed with animals we still have militias) and the gang deciding they had to take technology to Zambia (or “Africa”) even if it meant delaying their escape

I love Abe, I love everything he does but there are… issues which aren’t objectively terrible but are troubling when we consider the tropes that dog POC, especially as he is the only recurring POC except for the evil-then-not Delavene

In terms of the worst treated character, I am frankly annoyed by the portrayal of Chloe. She was the leader of that group. She was the one with the resources and expertise. This was her role. Like a well balanced Dungeons and Dragons group, a group cast has everyone having different roles and skills that complement the group. Chloe is the Cleric who can no longer use divine magic (it’s possible this analogy is waaaay geekier than I imagined). She’s now out on a limb with little real role – worse: her skills have been completely undermined from the moment it was revealed that they were Reiden’s puppets. All her skills have been pretty much shredded and degraded. What is she now other than a love interest with a gun?

Speaking of that – was it necessary to have all four of the white cishet characters hook up? Really, was it that essential? When we consider that Abe is conspicuous as the only character who didn’t and that the only LGBTQ characters was a pair of lesbians who were introduced in the same episode they ended up dying. And they were singled out for death by bats that literally embraced their death by crossing to Antarctica to bring them down. Those bats hate lesbians more than a CW writer.