Z Nation: Zombie Road review

There's a whole new breed of zombie in the latest episode of Z Nation. Here's our review...

This Z Nation review contains spoilers.

Z Nation Season 2 Episode 3

This week Z Nation caught a fever — a Mad Max-style fever! (I apologize for NOTHING)

Frankly, that’s the best sort of pop-cultural illness one can catch. The symptoms include prolonged post-apocalyptic convoy montages interspersed with gun violence and tribal face paintings. Also, a feeling of general awesomeness may come over the viewer upon watching said infected episodes. The gang joining up with a doomed convoy headed for Edmonton was a touching, cool, and in-touch choice. But I don’t think I’m alone when I say that all eyes this week were on the newest breed of zombie to emerge — the Blasters.

The addition of a different subspecies of Z is a smart choice for season 2. The stakes must continue ratcheting up. That’s a tricky proposition on a show where every episode is, quite literally, life and death. Other shows might have taken this week as an opportunity for the cast to process the death of one of their own. But other shows aren’t Z Nation.

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Something I have appreciated about the show from go, is their adherence to the rules of the world around them. That might seem perverse on a show that revels in its gory packaging of zombies caught on the massive wheels of tractor trailer trucks, but it’s true. When every second of every day is a battle for you life, you aren’t going to sit around, Breakfast Club-style and bare your soul. Time and a teenaged idea of catharsis isn’t a luxury you have.

Paying homage to the great westerns, the gang meets up with a convoy from Seattle in their attempts to make it through a valley in the journey to the CDC. As is so often the case, the convoy isn’t quite right — most of its members are dying of radiation sickness. While our plucky heroes try to decide to be cut-throats or to save the day, they are introduced to the Blasters: Zombies turned by the nuclear explosion, who are super-fast, super-smart, and seemingly immune to even Murphy’s thrall.

For the first time in a quite a while, I found myself actually frightened of a zombie on the show. That isn’t to say that I’ve become inured to the violence and the danger of the zombies we meet on a weekly basis, but their sloth, their comical killings, the fact that a clown like Murphy leads them, these make them the sort of scary creatures we can imagine escape from easily. A high-speed zombie eager to rip my face off and eat it? Yeah that it just plain terrifying.

We clearly haven’t seen the last of the Blasters. And for this I am thankful.

By the episode’s end, Murphy and Cassandra were once more on their own (plus or minus a featured guest star who was probably eaten by Cassandra mere moments after the credits ran). Their weird co-dependent relationship continues to be deeply unsettling. I want someone like the clearly smitten 10K to do something and help Cassandra — but in the world of Z Nation there just isn’t the time. At least, not yet.

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3 out of 5