The beauty of watching characters in the zombie apocalypse is that only so much time will pass before they find themselves completely out of supplies and vulnerable to attack. That’s the case in Season 2, episode 10, of Syfy’s “Z Nation,” as another massive horde of the undead threatens to block Operation Bite Mark from making it to California.
As established in Season 1 of the camp zombie hit, the monsters tend to form in packs. Sometimes, especially in the flatter parts of the United States, enough of them get together and form a horde that’s several miles deep. In the latest episode, the group finds itself near the Grand Canyon driving right into the path of, what they affectionately named, a “zunami” (zombie + tsunami).
The episode opens with Addy (Anastasia Baranova) using her newly discovered radio skills to try and get a message out to the group’s friend at the National Security Agency, Citizen Z (DJ Qualls). It’s been several weeks since viewers have heard from him after a plane filled with soldiers-turned-zombies crashed near his outpost. It turns out he’s been spending his time away systematically killing them off one by one. Although he’s practiced and become a bit better of a fighter, he’s still no hero. He’s got the pack whittled down to just one very big zombie. Operation Bite Mark gets in touch and, after they confess their relief that they’re all still alive, asks Citizen Z to send them the exact GPS coordinates to the lab they’re headed to in California.
Sure enough, the rickety van they stole from Roswell, New Mexico, last week breaks down in the path of the storm. Warren (Kellita Smith) splits the group up sending herself, Murphy (Keith Allan), Addy and Vasquez (Matt Cedeno) to scout for help on ATVs while Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) and 10K (Nat Zang) agree to stay behind, find high ground and wait out the zunami.
The ATV crew quickly makes its way to the only high-rise building in the area, a casino run by the tribe’s chief, Danny Firegod. He informs them that his building will be safe from the horde of zombies bearing down on it, given that his men have reinforced the walls since the zombie outbreak. However, Warren and Operation Bite Mark aren’t convinced. Although Danny has the place well fortified, he’s never seen a zunami before. Still, he assures them that the place is safe and that the real danger is outside in the wild, where his son is hiding.
That’s when the episode cuts back to Doc and 10K who, sure enough, almost immediately are attacked and captured by a mysterious group. They wake up to find the chief’s son, Red Hawk (Eddie Spears), pummeling the heck out of them. It turns out that Red Hawk didn’t like the way his father was selling out their land to make a casino for outsiders to the tribe. When the outbreak happened, half the tribe sought shelter in the casino, the other half followed him into the cliffs. He says that he doesn’t trust people that wander onto their land, especially white ones, since that usually leads only to pain for his people. In fact, he goes as far as to blame Doc and 10K for the zunami headed their way. Doc tries to explain the situation but Red Hawk would rather punch than listen.
Fortunately, his sister, Ayalla (Tinsel Jorey), shows up in the nick of time and puts her brother down for acting like a racist child. She takes the survivors to get some medical treatment for their injuries, and that’s when things get a little weird.
Doc is a great character, but he’s hardly a role model when it comes to saying no to drugs. When one of the women patching up his wounds offers some “pain management,” he tries peyote for the first time. Not surprisingly, he trips all the way completely out of his entire mind.
After they’re patched up, Red Hawk seizes them and appears to be escorting them off tribal land. Unfortunately, that was just an act to appease his sister. He strings the duo up in trees and leaves them there to wait for the horde to find them. When a couple roaming zombies approach, Doc trips out and thinks he astral projects outside his net to kill one. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but the zombie is dead. However, when the second starts bearing down on them, he’s lost the drug mojo. Luckily, Ayalla finds them and rescues them from their trap. She agrees that her brother has gone off the deep end and takes them to her father’s casino, where they link up with the rest of Operation Bite Mark.
While Doc and 10K have been away, the gang has been helping Citizen Z play. He left the safety of his computer room to go hunting for the last zombie at his base. Just as the two arrive at the casino, Warren is talking him through the use of a rocket launcher that he hopes will take care of the big bad Z once and for all. It takes a couple tries, but he finally manages to blow up the monster and regain control of his outpost. As soon as he does, he checks the computers and tells them that the casino’s walls won’t be strong enough. It takes some convincing from his daughter, but the chief agrees to send all of his people off the reservation to seek shelter in the cliffs with his son. He, however, decides to stay back for almost no reason.
With his father’s last wish being for the people of the tribe, as well as Operation Bite Mark, to seek shelter with him, Red Hawk softens on his anti-outsiders policy. After an emotional confrontation between the two siblings, he agrees to let everyone take shelter with them high up in the cliffs. However, the altitude proves not to be enough as zombies continue to get close to them. Murphy uses his psychic connection with the undead to determine that they’ll be overrun in a matter of hours if they don’t do something. That’s when Warren hatches her best plan yet.
The path to the cliffs narrows greatly at a particular spot. With the horde heading right for it, they create a wall of fire that they hope will discourage the zombies from running straight at them. In what had to be the most expensive shot of the series so far, the plan works and the zombies abruptly change direction at the fire wall and run directly off a cliff. That’s right, the gang took out an entire zunami all at once thanks to some clever planning and help from their new Native American friends.
Now that they have the exact coordinates they need and Citizen Z is back online, the trip to California seems closer to being over than it ever has before. For once, the episode ends on a high note as the survivors pile back into the van and head off into the sunset.
ODDS AND ENDS:
-The episode opens with a steamy dream sequence that Warren is having about Vasquez.
- In said dream sequence, she throws a grenade wrapped in barbed wire ... which seems like an ineffectual weapon.
- This is the second time Doc has saved his own life by astral projection this season.
- Why does Warren know how to speak the tribe’s language?
- Zombie kill of the week, of course, goes to Citizen Z for his rocket launcher mayhem.
- Murphy feels for the zombies that were killed: Warren’s speech about him choosing a side was actually one of the better dramatic scenes in the series.
- Citizen Z is alive!