Monday, October 23, 2017

Z Nation, Season 4, Episode 4: A New Mission: Keep Moving

Last episode it looked like Murphy and Lilley were heading north, but the gang’s all together now. I guess rushing off without Warren appealed to no-one

Time for a long walk and lots of banter - though, no Doc, I prefer immortal zombies to happy peaceloving zombies that love weed because Z Nation has already done waaay too much of that nonsense

They enter what Lilley describes as the “Great Pile” basically 200 square miles of abandoned vehicles. Way back in the early apocalypse a cult leader declared they’d all be raptured by aliens if they gathered at this spot. Unsurprisingly this didn’t happen and everyone died - though most of the zombies left (headed to the Grand Canyon, something 10K and Doc deny all knowledge of considering their experiences there). Doc also has a dramatic external monologue with 10k asking who he’s talking to, they know all this?

See, these are the whacky silly moments that work with Z Nation, humour without completely derailing the whole show or an entire episode of nonsense.

It adds up to a terrible place. The cars are parked so close together you can barely squeeze past, it’s hard to maneuver and there are no long ranged sight lines so it’s easy to be ambushed

Lucy keeps hearing zombies and still has issues with Murphy - as far as she’s concerned her dad could hear zombies, was blue and they could feel each other on the other side of the world. Him adding that he’s cured again doesn’t help matters as she resents the idea she needs to be cured.

10K has his own angst- leaving Addey, 5k and Red behind is eating at him - but he and Red made a promise that if one of them vanished they’ve leave a sign, the other was to look for a day and then move on if they found nothing. He refuses to break that promise but it’s clearly bothering him. He clings to the idea she’s still alive and Doc very obviously humours him - it’s another nice little moment this season has managed to pull out, lots of undertone and connections.

Of course, being Z Nation we have some silliness, with both Rat zombies making them run in every direction and Enders (wild, mindless humans) causing similar chaos.

At one point two Zona soldiers appear to kidnap Lucy, but between Warren’s fury (and visions) beating one to death and Murphy getting lucky with the other and locking him in a camper van full of zombies (and kudos Z Nation for that extra creepy touch of having those little family stickers on the camper van to remind us of the humanity of the zombies) they managed to rescue her. Murphy is super pissed and lashes out at everyone for not helping - while most of them claim they were too far away, 10K makes it clear he doesn’t really give a damn about Murphy. Given their history that’s not exactly surprising and I’m glad that grudge hasn’t just been buried. Liley is the one to speak up and demand unit cohesion.

More travelling and nifty little conversations - Lucy explaining she can’t hear the “Mad Zs” because they just scream. Warren getting some advice on fatherhood from Warren who wisely advises him he doesn’t have to be perfect, sometimes you just have to be there. Though he does point out Lucy likes her more than him - but hey, as Warren says so does everyone

As they keep trekking through the Big Pile, Murphy demands an intervention and… he’s not wrong. They all gather in a caravan to demand some answers from Warren and while Murphy is demanding, Doc is wise and sensible: because she is making decisions for all of them. Warren describes her visions and the certainty she feels in her gut -but it’s not really enough to convince people. Even with 10k having more of a beef with Murphy and no issues with Warren, 1 by 1 the others all vote for Newmerica. So does Warren, accepting she can’t possibly expect the others to come with her based on so little.

She’s clearly emotional and shaken by this but as she leaves Lilley takes a moment to assure Warren she won’t let her down, before lining up everyone to move out

Again, I have to say how much more mature Z Nation is this season. This whole scene, despite the content and the doubt, was so careful and gently handled even with little snipes and 10k popping in from the roof. And I love the little nuanced moments - like Lilley at the end there, even with what Warren confessed and her being outvoted, Lilley was still showing her deep respect and deference, it was clear that this did not undermine Warren, not her visions or her being outvoted. And the fact Warren didn’t get angry or demand everyone believe her, she respected the others enough to know she isn’t being credible.

Back moving the find a heavily armed zombie literally weighed down with weapons so everyone helps themselves (Murphy gets a sword cane). It’s actually booby trapped which Lilley disarms - despite Warren telling her to get to cover. I think I like this as well, sure Lilley didn’t obey but I like that she isn’t just obedient - and she knows her own skills.

Murphy also annoys Lucy again by suggesting mercying a zombie. He does have a chance to test his new sword cane on an apparent immortal zombie, carving it up neatly…. So either this sword is special woo-woo beyond-razor sharp or it’s Z Nation silliness poking through. I suspect the latter. If there’s one problem with this more mature season it’s that it can be even harder to fit the silliness in among it.

Despite the vote, Warren splits up from the others - she sees a signal beacon on a pole to the East and has to go investigate - getting stranded up it as the pole base is surrounded by zombies. The others look for her -and Lucy is distracted trying to save a zombie tied up in barbed wire - and booby trapped with a dozen grenades - if she moves they all blow up

Who is setting up these elaborate zombie grenade traps?! And why?

There’s a huge fight as Murphy wants Lucy to come to safety but she refuses to “abandon” the zombie (never mind that their noise summons more zombies, including the ones around Warren, that they have to kill). Desperate, Murphy kills the zombie so Lucy has no reason to stay: she’s furious she rages - and Warren appears. With quick, calm, firm words she convinces Lucy to move and they all get clear before the big boom

Because Warren is always awesome

She leads them to the tower and describes how its in her visions. There they also get a radio message from Kaya and her baby - she’s looking for Citizen Z, reminding us they’re both out there still.

With the vision antenna and a clear highway heading east, Warren is clear -she’s going East. But she doesn’t expect them to follow her, she expects them to go to Newmerica. Of course they decide to follow her - even Murphy agreeing to “throw a little faith your way”. For now.

And yes I believe it - because she’s Warren and they all need her, they need to follow her. They just needed her to give them enough to believe in her visions. And maybe it isn’t literally enough to make a reasonable decision, but it’s enough of an excuse to keep following her.