This Z Nation review contains spoilers.
Z Nation Season 3, Episode 10
Syfy’s Z Nation has separated itself into three main storylines in Season 3, and it’s getting harder and harder to care about these fragmented parts of an already broken mythos. However, with only a handful of episodes left until the camp zombie series either gives its last bow or shocks everyone and picks up a 4th season run, things are starting to come together, however odd.
After last week’s episode went way out of its way to justify one of the series’ bigger dangling story threads, “They Grow Up So Fast” continued that trend by tackling the show’s biggest unanswered questions, Lucy. For those who need a refresher, and don’t want to take the strange kid version of the story that Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) gave as gospel, these are the broad strokes: Murphy (Keith Allen) met a woman who was inexplicably attracted to him in Season 1. They bumped uglies and she revealed herself to be pregnant with his grotesque blended zombie/human hybrid love child. The baby was born, the mom died a heroic death and Murphy let baby Lucy live under the protection of two of his flying monkeys when Operation Bite Mark started to question if they were lugging around a baby Z. Now, with Murphy consolidating his power in Spokane, Warren (Kellita Smith) sent Doc and Addy (Anastasia Baranova) to pick up Lucy so they can use her as a bargaining chip.
The only problem there is that, when the duo finds the zombaby, she’s aged about 5 years more than she should have and she’s got some freaky control of the Zs in her presence. Like-father-like-daughter I suppose. Still, this isn’t enough to deter Doc and Addy from their mission. After all, what is this show without videogame-style side quests for our bonkers characters to navigate their way through?
Meanwhile, Murphy, who has no idea any of this is going on, is focusing on his most troubling blend, 10K (Nat Zang) from here on referred to as Thomas. It’s unclear why Murphy has such an obsession with breaking the sniper’s spirits and making him his most loyal blend. It could be that they’ve previously rubbed each other the wrong way, it could be that 10K killed Murphy’s first blend or it could be that Murphy is kind of a dick.
Whatever the case, he menacingly declares that he cannot allow 10K to have his mission of killing 10,000 zombies and, instead, needs him to be Thomas, his personal assassin. This is troubling for many reasons, but the one I’m choosing to harp on is the fact that Season 3 has pretty much abandoned 10K’s gimmick of counting his kills. As viewers, many expected a payoff to this that we might not get now. It’s been forever since we’ve been updated on the tally, and now it’s looking like we may never get there – unless, of course, the producers have something waiting for us in the finale. Either way, this 10K is a far cry from the gawky youngster who was acting as a one-man army against the undead. Now he’s ping-ponging so fast between Murphy and freedom that the plotline is beginning to lose its luster. Literally half of this episode’s real estate was spent with Murphy telling him to go after Warren and bring her to him. That’s not a complicated message to convey, but boy was it dragged out. Honestly, the episode didn’t really pick up steam until the final 10 minutes, when an unexpected visitor arrived to throw a monkey wrench into Doc and Addy’s caper.
After playing along with a twisted zombified game of hide and seek, Lucy is confronted by an Ender, feral humans that have survived the apocalypse but gone mad. Addy rushes in and kicks the crap out of said Ender and therefore endears herself to the child. She agrees to go with them, not knowing they don’t actually plan to bring her to her dad. However, when they’re all loading up in the car, The Man (Joseph Gatt) appears. Previously, this guy was working on behalf of Zona, the alleged safe haven that’s running low on zombie inoculations. It seems as though that’s still his game, but he still followed Murphy’s orders to pick up his daughter. Even if he wasn’t kind to her. For real, he tased her for being annoying and then put a bag over her head to teach her a lesson – this is a child remember.
Unfortunately for him, Murphy and Lucy appear to have some kind of psychic bond that allows him to realize that the man he sent to rescue his child is a colossal jerk. So, it’s official, everyone on the board right now really wants to see The Man killed in the most gruesome way possible. He is a grown man that elects to wear flip-flops in the apocalypse after all, so how much are we supposed to sympathize with him anyway?
Given the sum of all its parts, it’s hard to hold this installment of Z Nation up against the larger pantheon of episodes. Frankly, the good ones are getting few and far between as larger-scale stories take the forefront. Fans are getting progressively less of the post-apocalyptic zombie world with each episode in favor of high-concept plot lines about foreign factions, vaccines, mind control and more. While these things make the show unique in its own right, each one is a step away from the zombie genre that it cannot afford. However, with possibly only a few episodes left, perhaps it’s time we indulge the show in its insane final bow?