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It has to be said, that Z Nation is getting better, at least in terms of esoteria being left behind while still holding on to the grim humor; there is a zombie stampede in Nebraska and the group discover that in that state, no one can hear you scream. The dual plot this week had the little group of survivors, tasked with saving the world, along with Murphy trapped in a town enveloped by a hoard of stampeding, or migrating, undead. The wandering zombies take over the little burg and Murphy’s tired, dehydrated group lack the energy to do much more than hide from the encroaching tide of a zombie tsunami, or as the episode title calls it, a zunami.
In this week’s show, Citizen Z starts losing the plot as his loneliness and boredom takes over and using the inside of his shelter as a driving range turns out to be a very bad idea. In what must be one of the best shows in the season so far, viewers get a chance to see Z in action and he does a bit more than just act as the eye in the sky addressing the world’s last hope over radio airwaves. After someone tries to hack into his computer, a spacecraft crashes outside the facility and his dog sleeps through the entire incident.
Later, Simon meets a cosmonaut survivor from the crashed rocket and the two cautiously bond over vodka and Earl Grey Tea. The dog continues to sleep and Simon’s new friend, Uri, worried about the animal and keeps asking his host what is wrong with the animal. While Murphy temporarily becomes the group’s saviour Simon and Uri become close, playing video games, golf and generally having fun. But all is not right in the bunker and the cosmonaut keeps asking Simon questions about how everything works and what is wrong with the dog. Meanwhile, in Z Nation, the survivors are learning that in Nebraska, no one can hear you scream.
After playing all the games, drinking, and bonding, Simon discovers Uri standing in front of a control panel, staring at it. When Simon explains to his new friend that their golf match is down to a sudden death playoff, Uri says, ‘Your game does not sound very fun, Simon.” At this point the eye in the sky man becomes disturbed as he has never told his Russian pal his name.
The group outside the shelter have to hide in the city morgue and Murphy goes searching for supplies to keep his little bunch alive after the zombie tsunami moves on. It is here that the show departs from its usual cheesiness and moves firmly into “deep” territory. After pausing for a moment to allow Murphy one of his patented “What?” scenes, he notices light reflecting off something in a second story window. He goes to see what is there, moving past a zombie in a red jacket who seems to be guarding the building’s door.
Murphy makes his way upstairs and finds a girl and her mother hiding in a room and they have food and water. Murphy takes their supplies and leaves them. As he walks out the door, the woman asks him to tell her husband, “he’s wearing a red jacket,” that she is still “alive.” When he leaves the building, Murphy lets the zombie in red into the building.
Later, just before the group sing Murphy’s praises, Roberta asks him where he got the food and water. “From a dead family,” he replies. Wow. This quirky, cheesy and quite often unintentionally funny show just took a hard sharp turn into left field. This episode felt like a turning point for the show. Simon, making a new friend at the bunker also takes a left turn and while the events with the lone survivor up north are confusing at first, later things become deadly and real.
By the end of the show, Murphy has shown a very dark side to his nature and the zombie herd has moved on. The saviour of mankind also seems to be turning into a sort of undead leader. Not only do the band of survivors in Nebraska learn that no one can hear you scream in a mortuary drawer in a room full of zombies, but Simon also learns that space is not the only environment with no air. Z Nation airs Fridays on SyFy.
By Michael Smith