Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Z Nation, Season 4, Episode 13: The Black Rainbow

So to DC, with the zombie president, arrive in DC. There’s some suggestion that DC is radioactive - I assume that the end of the world unleashed some nukes along the way?

There’s lots of fighting with the usual level of “is this awesome or is it corny?” moments we see over and over on Z Nation (the answer, always, is “both”)

As they go the zombie president gets more and more abused in Murphy’s clumsy, careless hands (because slacker Murphy of course) and they vaguely speculate about the Man with a Plan who cut off thumbs while following Warren’s visions as they’re led to a bunker underground, through halls full of blind zombies who haven’t seen daylight in years. 10K keeps showing his awesome skills and Lilley is less and less and less subtle about how much she admires him.

The Man with a Plan is also present, throwing zombies at them and trying to get to the drone ahead of them: and with the launch codes he got from Northern Light he may not need thumbs so it’s a race against time.

And we go into Warren’s visions and see why she’s having these: Dr. Tiller woke Warren up during her coma to teach her how to stop Black Rainbow - teaching her step by step. He even apologises for using fire and brimstone to force the memories into her head so she didn’t forget. He hails her as saving humanity

With these instructions Warren sets the team up to use the president and keys to set of the alunch as soon as she replaces the canisters in the drones with the ones she’s schlepped across the country for. But she has to go alone - because this is a suicide mission

We have an extremely powerful and emotional goodbye moment from the gang and Warren goes in like a big damn hero. And confronts the Man With a Plan

Murphy: “He’s shooting at her!” “Never mind, she kicked his ass.”

Because Warren is awesome.

She changes the canisters and seems to be victorious - when the Man with a Plan knocks her out. Horrified and even knowing it’s near certain death, Murphy charges in to help her.

And Warren returns to her visions: only to have Teller joined by the Founder, thanking her for her great role in sacrificing herself for the Reset. Yes, Teller isn’t secretly a good guy (I was beginning to really think he was), they’re not spreading a vaccine: he’s spreading the two canisters that mix together to form Black Rainbow. And she wakes up in time to see one of those canisters break open in the fight between Murphy and the Man With a Plan - and they scream in agony

Warren desperately jumps into the drone, the door closing behind her as it begins to take off. She fights to remove one canister (possibly? Maybe?) - but fails to remove the other before the drone releases it’s Black Rainbow… the drone then begins to crash with Warren inside

The others watch Black Rainbow begin. Despite his cries of pain, Murphy is still alive - but now red. He and Doc prepare for the end, seeming more defeated and tired than scared… while Lilley finally jumps 10k

Murphy and Doc both comment on how they saw that coming. As did we all. Except maybe 10K

I’m left with a lot of questions

Some of them are good questions for a show that has been renewed - did Warren succeed in sabotaging Black Rainbow and what will be the side effect? Who is the Man With the Plan (everyone assumed he was Zona but this doesn’t appear to be the case), what does it mean that Murphy is now red? I’m going to guess now that a) Black Rainbow doesn’t kill everyone and b) Warren survives.

I also want to know where Addy and Sun are because it’s damn weird both disappeared - there’s still a lot of mystery there.

But I’m also left with some more dubious questions - like the Man with the Plan being so hostile to them if he wanted to save the world? And, frankly, last episode I had concluded my recap saying that Warren was causing the reset - since that seemed like an obvious conclusion. I find it odd that Warren decided to continue following the visions after that.

This was definitely Warren’s season - powerful, determined, compassionate, excellently acted and I think the show was even sensible enough to keep her out of some of the more zany antics. Warren is Serious Business. We don’t demean her with shenanigans. I also can’t miss that her chosen weapon is a shield - in this Marvel saturated times we can’t ignore the symbolism of it. Warren is definitely the protagonist and an awesome character - and even if her agency were compromised for much of the season she was still a powerful, inspiring leader and in the end she definitely steps up.

Interestingly her closest relationship is with Murphy which, I think, has really worked throughout the season with layers of complexity. He challenged her more than anyone, but he ended up being her greatest and strongest supporter with a real level of respect there. I think it stands out simply because 10k and Doc were kind of lacking in anything but presence. Though Lilley was close in following Murphy in the strength of her presence.

We continue to have a desperate paucity of LGBTQ characters - one attempt played for laughs is beyond poor

And barring two episodes this season was excellent in balancing both the serious core of the plot (with Warren) and a whole lot of silly zaniness which makes Z Nation, Z Nation. And why it remains one of my major guilty pleasures