Friday, September 18, 2015

Z Nation Season 1 Addendum *UPDATED*


Before we get to the opening of Season 2, let's finish up with Season 1. Last time I covered the overarching aspects. But there are some other things worth knowing about the show.


Let's start with the zombies. It is a zombie show after all.

First, they do use that term. There are other terms used clinically, like Infected. But most people just say zombie, or Z. So no one is weirdly not using the word, or acting like the modern idea of a zombie is alien.

The zombies themselves in Z Nation are a mixed bag. They are generally slow, but the newer they are the faster they move, including jogging. They aren't the sprinters we've seen in a few movies. But some can move up fast on you. And the variability adds to the discomfort of the characters. You don't know if a noise will lead to a shambling husk, or something that will be on you in a few steps.

Humans aren't the only ones that can be infected. Animals also are vulnerable.

Zombie bear! (I forgot that one last post. ...And just how nasty a zombie baby can be.)

"Hi. Good news, bad news. I no longer want your picnic basket."

UPDATE: I wanted to add that I am unsure how animals are changed. Were they all infected, along with the humans? If that were the case could people eat meat? Because when you slaughter animals, they'd turn, and you'd be ingesting zombie material. So is there a limited strain of the disease that's hit some animals? Or, just hungry zombie bites one animal and it's going around like rabies.

Also, drugs affect the zombies. It can leave them disoriented, agitated, etc. Whatever the effect was in life.

And as to how one becomes a zombie, it varies. Somehow everyone in the world now is infected. So if you die of old age, or injury, or illness, you will arise the undead. If you are bitten or ingest their blood you will also change.

The characters theorize that whatever created the zombies became airborne and was spread globally. It isn't an unsound idea.


As I said before, the show is what it is, and doesn't apologize. It isn't a dark drama. It's more adventure horror.

An example for how the show can work came in an early episode when Addy had to you her prized weapon to block up an oil processing machine. I knew they wouldn't be abandoning that weapon of hers. But how would she retrieve it from the machine later?

I figured the machine was jammed, and was going to inevitably blow. And it did. Then I guessed, to be ridiculous, the weapon would fly out and land near Addy. And true. But then I guess it would have to hit and kill and zombie in the process, just to give it that little extra something. And that is what happen. You either think like that, laugh, and enjoy what happens, or you don't

I do.

The show has also been a bit of a travel log, as they make their west from New York, They've passed through many states, and even stopped at Mt Rushmore (where, apparently there's a nuclear reactor -- I'll let that slide.), before reaching Fort Collins, Colorado. It's fun to see people in a zombie story on the move so much.

Yeah! Screw Zod!

Roberta Warren

The show gives up different possible leaders as it starts. It gives us a Delta Force, but he's taken down by the nastiest zombie baby around. Garrett is around for half of season 1, to give us a starting noble lead and relationship between him and Warren.

But they both existed to die. One a quick death. One a slow one coming to hit us at the midpoint of the season. A death that can throw Warren and make her evaluate what she's going to do.

What she's going to do is kick zombie ass, and get Murphy to California.

And you better not get in her way.

The boon of having Garrett at first is that it allowed Warren an added arc of becoming a leader and embracing the full weight of the mission they're on part way through. It allows her her humanity and strength, and motivates us to root for her all the more.


Cassandra has had an issue in Season 1. She's generally stuck in the middle of the pack, trying to stay alive. As we watch the season we can see she's come out of trauma, and isn't eager to share or trust. So it has been nice to see her find a group that will care about her. I hope we get to see her shine more in Season 2.

Of course we had a bit of an issue at the end of Season 1. She had ongoing injuries that inevitably wore her down. And then before she died, Murphy bit her (We'll get to that shortly.). And now she's something new. Not dead, but not what she once was.

Again, I hope to see her grow.

Addy and Mack

Much to my surprise they did actually have Addy walk away from the group, and stay away. Her post traumatic stress from having to kill her own mom proved too much and she embraces an all female commune. It gave her peace, and as a viewer I couldn't fault her for wanting to get off the road. Granted, the women drive out all men, and kill any man who hurts a woman...Which post-apocalypse doesn't seem all that extreme. (And they have a zombie bear, man!)

Then Mack refuses to leave her, and it looks like he might have died trying to get to Addy. And as a viewer you think, "What?" And the show moves on.

"Dear Lord. Please give me a full beard next season."

Right at the end of the season we do get a quick shot of the two. So it seems they are both alive still. Though where are they? And can they get back to the team?

"Dear God. Can I not wear this shirt next season."

Citizen Z

Citizen Z, PFC Simon Cruller, is stuck in an odd spot. He's seemingly safe from zombies, isolated in the far far North. But he's trying to shepherd Murphy to some place scientist can get his blood and create a vaccine. And he has to rely on strangers to do this. All he can do is watch, and affect various electronics.

Luckily he quickly does get a friend in Pup. And, again, this show could have gone the route of introducing the dog and killing it. It did arrive with a zombie dog, which Citizen Z had to take down. It would have been easy, and common in zombie stories, to have the dog die helping Citizen Z, or have the dog infected (So Citizen Z would have to put it down.). But no! They dog lived!!!


Finally, let's talk Murphy. He is interesting. A convict used for an experiment. It would be easy to just have him be the worst. He isn't good, but he isn't the worst either. He is selfish, bitter, sarcastic, and mean at times. But he's a guy that was experimented, repeatedly but by zombies, and possibly a blood bag for some doctors somewhere.

I get why he isn't too pleasant.

Yet, a part from the occasional panic moments, he isn't running away. He isn't betraying the group. He does try and help, sometimes. He sometimes gives support. He even got them food and water when they were dying...He stole it from a woman and her child, but heart in the right place...sort of.

And when he sees Cassandra is getting weaker and weaker, he knows that she is going to eventually turn. So when it's almost over for her, he uses his abilities to give her a chance. What that chance is we still don't know. But he does seem to care some.

The point I'm making is that he's seriously flawed, but not irredeemable. And I appreciate that the show is offering up a complicated character. The rest of the characters have somewhat clear noble streaks to them, but Murphy's his hidden. Being around the group helps to drag it out.

It all allows the character to be extremely enjoyable to watch, and change.

Speaking of change...Murphy? What are you?

He seems to be something between zombie and human. As the season ends, he molts his skin. What is happening to him?

UPDATE: And, of course, Murphy has seen a possible future, with the subject they found in the lab. A guy who was infected, but then received a treatment. And he's still around, though he's mostly a puddle of purification. And he's begging anyone to kill him. Seems the fellow can't be turned into a zombie, and he can't die.

Is this Murphy's fate? Did they receive a similar vaccine? Or are there important changes that Merch made in the years between?

And what happen to Dr. Merch?

Let's look at the opening to Season 2 and find out.


I also wanted to make note of the finale, "Doctor of the Dead", In it the make it to a infection lab in Fort Collins, Colorado. They were informed that inside they should find Dr. Merch, who created the vaccine Murphy was given.

So they have to get in. And once inside, you realize the situation has been set up like a haunted house. And it's just such fun.

Monsters ar the front door to set the mood.

Like I've said, Murphy has some control over zombies.

Mundane, yet macabre settings.

Zombies behind windows popping up.

Zombies behind piping, obviously lurking.

Horrific victims of madness.

Bright odd colored lights..

And things that leap out at you, and take away your sense of control in an artificial setting.

It's a matter of your taste. It's just fun to me.

But I am interested in how they bumped into some weird mutant zombies down in the lab. Are they an early form of the zombie? Or, with Kurian around there, are they the new generation of zombie cut off from whatever Murphy can manipulate?

And will Murphy be running into more on them as we go on?

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