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After last week’s turbocharged zombies in Z Nation, episode two features a definite “slow down” in pace. Not just in the overall storyline but the undead this time around were more shambling than speedy. The pilot episode was a bit more adrenalized, zombies included, and now the survivors who have agreed to take the presumed saviour of mankind, Murphy, to California have lost that “need for speed” factor that existed in the opening show.
The group with Murphy stop to sort out a tire problem and two men on motorbikes pass by them. Citizen Z seems to be losing his grasp on reality and during a rant to what he thinks are dead airwaves, he sees a lone figure on a dogsled on the facility cameras. After a very brief burst of excitement Z grabs a gun before “welcoming” the new arrival.
One of the two motorcyclists who passed the survivors earlier shows up outside the shopping mall where they are searching for gasoline. Cassandra, the new recruit from last week appears to have some sort of history with the bike rider. The biker tells Garnett that there is plenty of gas at a place called The Devil Jersey Refinery.
Z goes out to find that the man on the dog sled is a frozen zombie, which he shoots, and a husky that appears to be close to death. Garnett and his little band get to the refinery to find it crawling with zombies who are following a pounding sound on the top of a stairway. Cassandra offers to make a distracting noise for the undead to follow, using a wind up music box.
Garnett gives Doc the job of looking after Murphy while the rest of the group take out the pounding noise and start a gas tanker to fill it with fuel from the refinery. Z takes in his new husky friend and as he warms the animal up another dog makes its presence known. Unfortunately this one is a zombie dog which threatens the safety of Citizen Z and his new pal. The first thing that is apparent from Z’s attempt to shoot the creature is that even with a laser sight on his gun, the man is a horrible shot.
Z Nation in episode two is slow in pace and the zombies are not nearly so frenzied. It seems that the survival of the world is down to the group getting more gas and taking Murphy to California. Citizen Z is too busy chasing down the zombie dog to be the “eyes in the sky” and help Garnett’s little band in their refinery mission.
Before Cassandra heads to the top of some adjacent stairs to distract the creatures, the biker volunteers to join her and Garnett agrees. As the two move past the now almost somnambulistic zombies to ascend the steps, the man calls her Sunshine and tells Cassandra it is time to come home. She replies that Sunshine is not her name and that she is not going back.
Mack and Addy discuss Murphy as they go to stop the noise that is attracting the undead. When they get to the top, they find that the area is clear of zombies despite the long line of the things they had to fight through. The two discover that the creatures are falling down an open shaft to land in what looks like unrefined gasoline.
Z has a protracted duel with the zombie dog, Addy and Mark stop the pounding sound, Garnett and Roberta fill the gas tanker and Murphy reveals to Doc that being close to zombies freaks him out…massively. Doc gets out of the SUV and he, along with “10,000,” starts killing the surrounding zombies.
Cassandra, aka Sunshine, takes out the biker, the machine that caused the pounding now causes the refinery to explode and the survivors get out by the skin of their teeth. Citizen Z notices the fire and contacts Garnett on a pay phone a la Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Z tells the survivors to head west till they get to the ocean.
Z Nation has allowed the zombies to slow down in episode two and introduced, via the biker, a new menace to the group. Someone named Tobias, it seems, still wants Cassandra/Sunshine back and at the end of the program two more men on motorbikes discover their now zombie-fied friend. This series feels a bit like watching a Playstation One game. Arguably a lot of PS1 games were more entertaining than Z Nation, Tomb Raider for one, but the overall feeling of the show is of clunkiness and cheesy humor. While not as good as the the brilliant video game Resident Evil, aka Bio Hazard, the show does have that delightful quirkiness of those older games and no dodgy graphics. Not to be taken seriously, but a bit addictive nonetheless.
By Michael Smith