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This week’s episode of Z Nation features Bill Moseley in a pretty impressive cameo as the mad-as-a-hatter General with a hole in his leg and previews of the next episode shows that SyFy really did want to make a zombie version of Sharknado, in other words, Z Nado. Of course the show is not meant to be taken seriously and to give Asylum credit the series is entertaining in a campy and cheesy fashion. The producers of the show do not bother to provide answers to any questions raised by any particular turn of events. They are not there to provide logic.
Each scene can be seen as a sort of comic book, or manga/anime/graphic novel sort of freeze frame presentation brought to short life. There is a faint connection between each event, but in reality, all these separate vignettes do not add up to keep the storyline together. Each set piece is like a visual punch line to a joke.
For example, in the beginning of this week’s Z Nation episode Garnett’s group are ambushed by a load of well armed crooks who are disguised as zombies, with real zombies chained next to them for effect, which is a clear “take off” on the Shaun of the Dead scene where the protagonists disguise themselves as walking dead to make their way to the Winchester Pub.
The scene where they go to meet the general could also be seen as a nod to any number of military films. Of course the dead give away is, please excuse the pun, the title of Full Metal Zombie. From Apocalypse Now to 28 Days Later viewers can take their pick of whichever film references they can find in that particular exchange. Z Nation may not be the best television on offer but at least the show’s producers had the good sense to bring in House of a 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects actor Bill Moseley to pump up the volume till next week’s Z Nado.
It was Doc’s turn to have the spotlight on him this week in his little interaction with horror veteran Moseley. The last episode zeroed in on Addy and Cassandra as the latter’s backstory managed to catch up with Addy who was kidnapped by the group of cannibals. This week on Z Nation it is all about Doc’s stash of drugs and his last doobie, something he was saving as a treat to party down with when they reach California with Murphy.
Not only is Doc allowed to have a shining moment, trapped with a zombie in an air shaft that Moseley’s general dumps him in, but 10K has a bit of his backstory introduced into the show. Out of the two, Doc’s little story is amusing. His interaction with another victim of the general, a zombie who is literally inches from his face, is worthy of a chuckle or two. Lighting up his weed and blowing it into the zombie’s face felt like a Cheech and Chong solution to the zombie menace. It was also very clever how the zombie looked like a living dead version of Doc.
Z Nation is nowhere near The Walking Dead in terms of plot or character arc. This week’s episode, despite the previews of the next show being a Z Nado, albeit a small one, was still entertaining and as long as the viewer does not attempt to take the show seriously, a lot of fun. SyFy are not trying to make a black comedy, this show is not highbrow enough to pull that off, but it is amusing and that counts for something. The show still feels like the viewer is watching a PS1 Resident Evil video game and that is entertaining to a degree. Z Nation airs Fridays on SyFy.
By Michael Smith