Saturday, November 5, 2016

Z Nation, Season Three, Episode Seven: Welcome to Murphytown

After a nasty sojourn in a mental hospital, Z Nation is back on track.  Doc and 10K are reunited with Warren, Addy, Sun and Hector. This is when Warren finally learns that Murphy has taken up residence in Spokane and is busy making his society of Blends.  Quite unsurprisingly, Warren is disgusted with this.  Warren and Sun discuss the injections that 10K is carrying with him, wondering whether it's a version of the virus that Murphy was injected with it.  Sun and Warren both feel that it's imperative to get to Murphy so that Sun can get to work on some kind of cure.  10K is not at all forthcoming about what the injections are and in fact, he steadfastly refuses to admit that he's been bitten despite Doc's advise that he come clean.  Warren continues to question him and it's clear from the look on her face that she knows that something is up with 10K but she gives him space, waiting for him to tell her.

10K is absolutely shit at keeping his cover despite not wanting to tell Warren that he has been bitten. Twice, 10K speaks up in defense of Murphy.  We all know that 10K has always had a contentious relationship with Murphy, so the very idea that he's saying that Murphy isn't such a bad guy and defending his desire to make Blends really stands out.  This tells us that the effect of Murphy's bite really isn't effected by distance.  Murphy may not be there to directly control 10K, but 10K is very much changed and is moving in a sort of zombie mode.

The man arrives in Spokane.  Season three started with a flashback for the express purpose of introducing this new antagonist, so when he shows up, we know that he is there to do some dirty work for Zona.  At this point, I don't think we really know a lot about Zona, except that its run by some powerful pre apocalypse people.  The man lines up with all of the others to take the vaccination, since Murphy is no longer biting people, given that he's having some trouble controlling himself and his skin is peeling again.  After being ordered around and sought after, Murphy believed that Spokane would be his dream. He does after all have a throne now.  It turns out that the dream isn't exactly what Murphy thought it would be. Sure, he has a group of sycophants willing to do whatever he wants but it also means that he cannot have an honest conversation with anyone.  He clearly didn't think that he would miss that despite the contentious relationship he used to have with 10K and Warren.  Now, when he tells a joke, whether or not it's funny everyone laughs as though it's the most hilarious thing they've ever heard.  It's an uncomfortable scene and reminds the audience how important honest communication is. Everyone, no matter how much power they have needs someone to be honest with them.

The man is quick to ingratiate himself with Murphy, who's rather quick to let his guard down. Murphy's big plan is to get the lights back on and get some brains supposedly for the purposes of research. The man pretends that he wants nothing more than to serve Murphy and his happy to kill one of Murphy's sycophants and even eats brains to prove his loyalty.  The Man pretends to eat all the brains but his happy to supply Murphy with more when he asks.  Later, we see in a flashback that The Man hasn't actually eaten the brains and in fact, didn't get vaccinated because he used a fake arm.

When Murphy is isolated, The Man takes the opportunity to try and kidnap Murphy. When Murphy balks at leaving with The Man, The Man pulls his trump card - Cassidy whom the man wrongly believes is Lucy. Murphy may have some latent feelings for Cassidy but not enough to allow himself to be kidnapped. When Cassidy is killed, Murphy ends up feasting on her brains.  If anything, this shows exactly how thin Murphy's control is given that he actually cared for Cassidy.

This lands The Man is his own set of handcuffs.  Murphy is downright pissed and determined to get information from The Man.  We all know that The Man is going to be to tough to break with a couple of punches and so are thankfully spared more interrogation when Murphy gets news that the lights are finally ready to turned back on.  Murphy heads off for the big ceremony as it marks a huge milestone for Spokane. Murphy stands on a clock tower and is excited to see the lights turned on, not aware that Warren is watching from a distance.  When Murphy heads back to his throne, he finds The Man gone and The Man's severed hand with the finger extended, clearly a message to Murphy. We know damn well that we haven't seen the last of The Man.

As for the gang, they come across one of Murphy's trucks which is broadcasting his message about Spokane.  They find a Blend dead behind the wheel courtesy of the Red Hand.  This is when we learn that if you die after being vaccinated or bitten, you don't come back as a zombie. 10K then reveals Murphy's plan to reunite with Lucy and so Warren decides that the team should split up with Doc and Addy doubling back to grab Lucy.  When 10K defends Murphy yet again, Warren has had enough and confronts him.  10K reacts by grabbing one injection and taking off.

Up north, after some fiddling, Citizen Z, with the help of Kaya's uncle, gets the power up and running at the base.  This allows Kaya to fulfill a dream of doing her own broadcast.  With the background music playing, Kaya raps. I've heard better but it's hard not to cheer for the sweetness of Kaya.  It's Doc and Addy who hear the message, though they aren't able to communicate back for some reason. It does help Doc and Addy feel not so alone and helpful about the future.

One of the things I find interesting about this situation is Z Nation is its continual juxtaposition between life in Spokane and on the road with Warren.  Murphy at one point sits to have a steak meal with his sycophants.  Despite what they had to trade, the Blends are comfortable, well fed and well on the path to establishing some sort of society.  Warren and co on the other hand are forced to feed on cricket and bemoan the fact that they are no longer able to eat meat.  I like that Z Nation does not shy away from the fact that there are absolutely benefits to being a Blend, even as they show Warren's fierce opposition. This basically comes down to a difference of opinion as to what during/after a zombie apocalypse should look like. Just because Murphy is an asshole, doesn't mean that all of the people of Spokane are suffering and in fact, some of them are quite happy. Murphy may have originally wanted to be in a position of power but clearly even for him, it's all wearing a little thin.

I think it's time that Z Nation finally pull the trigger on the Red Hand and the fake Escorpian. They've been waving this gun around for quite some time now. It adds a lot to the directionless feel of this season.  I'm tired of seeing signs of the existence of the Red Hand without it really going anywhere. They either need to do something with it soon, or drop it all together.