As soon as it became clear to me on last night’s episode of Z Nation that Garnett was going to get laid by Warren, I spoiled the entire episode for myself by loudly blurting “TOM EVERETT SCOTT IS TOTALLY GOING TO DIE THIS EPISODE” and then he died. It’s practically a rule on SyFy, especially where zombies are concerned: If you get to experience the splendor of boobs-in-just-a-bra, you are probably going to die, or at least experience some sort of major spiritual, physical, or emotional maiming. You could argue that poor old Garnett got all three, and all that for clothed breasts and maybe the reception of quick oral pleasure.
Here’s my criticism: We would have been saddened by Garnett’s death even if he and Roberta hadn’t admitted to caring for each other and then doing the nasty. I understand that in a world rife with zombies there isn’t always time for impassioned heart to hearts, but the super-rushed “let’s have sex, and also, I love you” storyline between the two leaders of the group struggling to bring Murphy to California before he croaks or turns felt super-strange, especially when viewed in the light of last week’s very careful beginning explorations of a possible romantic connection between the two.
Losing either Garnett or Warren would have always been a palpable loss. That’s because they’ve been such clear, quippy, strong leaders. To rush a sexy relationship between the two of them into one episode in order to heighten the stakes of Garnett’s death was unnecessary, especially when they’ve had weeks to explore the relationship between the two and for the most part, outside of some casual (and murdery) flirting, opted not to go this route.
It makes sense to avoid love stories and stick the more primal aspects of what it is to be a human. For the most part, that’s the road the show has taken. Look at the dynamic between Addy and Mack. We know they’re a couple, but their relationship is about propping each other up in an effort to survive. Sure, they’re sexual, they care about each other, but it’s not in a weepy romantic way. It’s a believable one.
Murphy’s story continues to be the most dynamic one. Is he turning into a zombie? It’s clear he’s gained sympathy for the undead, but it’s also clear that his alliance to the group is growing more and more each week. I think it’s notable that last night was the first time we’ve seen him do something not totally selfish. He put his life on the line for his crew. Yes, admittedly, this involved him claiming that he was a messiah, but no one is perfect. Still, the climactic scene of Murphy proving his immunity was the strongest one of the episode. It’s setting Murphy up for a sea change, one that looks like it’s due to unfold with next week’s episode.