When it comes to Z Nation, I will always be willing to overlook a lot of its chief sins. It can be cheesy, it can be over the top, it can be confused in regard to its tone. But I give the show a pass on these fronts, because while it can be all of these things (and also intensely inconsistent) its sheer enthusiasm for its undead, and for exploring the human side of the flesh-eaters is absolutely contagious.
The scene earlier this season, with Doc caught in the airshaft with the zombie is a great example. Sure, it’s easy to roll your eyes at Doc getting the zombie stoned. But if you do that, you miss the opportunity to acknowledge the haunting moment when Doc realizes that he and this former-human were once probably fairly similar to each other. Powerful stuff. The weed, and also the moment in question.
Tonight’s entire episode was a study in taking the good with the bad. The good, Warren’s hour long journey from shell-shock over the loss of Garnett, to rage, to taking the reins as the group’s rightful leader. The bad, the old west style homage of the rest of the hour.
While it was totally refreshing to have the gang’s encounter with another segment of the actually living that wasn’t marred by distrust and dissension, the episode would have done better to focus on the onslaught of zombies headed towards the heartland. A few frantic dispatches from Citizen Z about the imminent wave of flesh eaters was tantalizing sure, but that was where my interest went this week, towards the encroaching danger and Warren’s untapped fury being unleashed on the zombies and, subconsciously, on Garnett for promising her a life that they’ll never have.
I’ve got to say, Kellita Smith’s murder-laden monologue was awesome enough to almost allow me to forget my gripes about the rushed feel of their romance. I now know (thanks to a panel on Monday) that the frenzy of the romance was intentional. The show wants you to know that no one is safe. But here’s the problem with that: If you tell us that no one is safe, you are demanding that we disconnect from these characters because they are all basically zombie chum anyway.
If we think someone’s as good as good, we’re going to protect ourselves from feeling that loss by pulling way, way back. That’s the only thing that kept from me leaping off my couch and cheering during Warren’s ass-kicking montage. I CAN’T root for her or cheer or like her too much, because the show’s made it clear that she could be dead tomorrow. Maybe that will change now that the group is dividing, but it doesn’t seem likely.