With just two episodes left until Season 2 of Syfy’s “Z Nation” comes to a close, the penultimate episode saw each member of the team consider their past as they reach their destination in California. With the long journey almost at an end, the remaining members of Operation Bite Mark each flashed back to where they were when the zombie virus initially broke out.
The episode opens with the gang lamenting the loss of their cadre of El Caminos that they stole from the Zeros during last week’s episode. Although they only had two miles until they reached California, it’s a big state and the cars broke down before they could reach the CDC outpost. Warren (Kellita Smith) tells them that they’ll have to go the rest of the way on foot. They make a long trek through the ruins of Disneyland before finally making it to, what looks like, an abandoned seafood restaurant. Inside, they're supposed to meet Dr. Merch (Lisa Coronado) so she can develop the cure to the zombie virus using Murphy (Keith Allan) and his blood. The episode ends with Warren and the team’s newest member, Vasquez (Matt Cedeno), going inside the restaurant to discover a sweet old lady packing some serious heat behind the bar. While she acts nice to them, something is definitely off.
However, the real crux of the penultimate episode of Season 2 took place during the long walk to the abandoned restaurant, in which each character flashed back to who they were before this entire mess started.
As previously reported, Citizen Z (DJ Qualls) wasn’t always a member of the military, which isn’t surprising given his very nonmilitary physique. It turns out he was about to go on trial for some kind of cyber crime that would likely end with him doing life in prison. He’s being offered a deal from the FBI that includes an admission of guilt, but he refuses. When he does, a representative of the National Security Agency (NSA) offers him a new deal. As the episode’s preview clip showed, he says that the world suddenly finds itself in desperate need of someone with Citizen Z’s skills. He offers him a total pardon if he comes and works at the NSA outpost in the North Pole, where he remains today.
So far on the show, Warren’s back story has been pretty well-tread territory. The flashback finds her commanding a group of National Guard soldiers as her commanding officer gives her surprise deployment orders over a cell phone. While she’s chatting and trying to get the rowdy group of military personnel in her command to settle down, she hears a loud crash outside. She investigates to find that someone has crashed an ambulance right into her barracks. However, the only person inside is a patient in back. She tries to help him but it becomes clear he’s a zombie. Not fully knowing what’s going on at this point, she retreats back inside where she makes a chilling discovery -- The ambulance driver apparently got in and quickly infected everyone in her unit. She takes them out with her sidearm before declaring that the world has officially been overrun by zombies.
Although Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) has never exactly been forthcoming about what kind of doctor he actually is, the audience learns that he was a therapist that specializes in drug addiction. When we meet Doc on “Day One,” he’s a more put-together looking character than we’ve seen before. He is sitting in an office with a patient that’s recovering from drug addiction. Doc informs him that he’s been sober for five years while stashing some pills he confiscated from a previous patient. As they’re chatting, someone walks by the door and bangs into it. Doc goes to check it out to find a mentally unstable man attacking his co-worker down the hall. He pins the attacker and calms him down until he’s ready to hug it out. He returns to his office to find, in a surprising twist, a zombie eating his patient. Doc takes care of them both with a golf club before opening the front door to retreat. Outside, he sees the world in full panic mode as zombies have taken over the streets. He pops some of those pills and ventures out into the apocalypse.
Addy (Anastasia Baranova) always talked about how she met her dearly departed boyfriend, Mack (Michael Welch) during the first night of the zombie apocalypse. It turns out, she was at a hockey game where Mack was playing for the opposing team. When the crowd starts to turn and people realize there’s zombies infecting the audience, Addy and Mack both run to the locker rooms for safety. They meet while Mack is having difficulty killing the last of a small pack of zombies that were inside. Together, they battle their way through the undead until they reach an emergency exit. Addy asks Mack to accompany her back to her mother’s house and he agrees.
The only thing told to the audience about 10K (Nat Zang) prior to this point was that he had to kill his father when he turned in the early days of the apocalypse. However, on “Day One” he was out fishing while his old man hiked nearby. As he’s walking back home with the day’s catch, he encounters a zombie park ranger with arrows sticking out of her chest. Not realizing that she’s a zombie, 10K tries to help her. Before he knows it, the noise has attracted close to 20 more zombies that start chasing after him. He falls down and is about to be surrounded when his father snipes a zombie hunter. He tells 10K to grab the hunter’s weapon and we learn where he got his signature gun. He covers 10K until they're together and they run off into the woods to avoid the plague.
Vasquez told Warren his story earlier in the season, saying he had to kill his wife and daughter after they turned from Escorpion’s (Emilio Rivera) murder. However, it turns out that the real story is even more grim. Apparently, Vasquez didn’t kill them the day they were murdered, but rather several days later at their funeral. He is alone in a funeral parlor mourning the loss of his family when the director comes in and apologizes for the interruption. Vasquez shares a few words with his departed wife and daughter before he notices their caskets starting to shake. He turns around to find the funeral director is now a zombie and he is forced to brutally bash his head in. Surging with adrenaline and confusion, he turns around to the horrible sight of his wife and daughter crawling out of their caskets towards him. All he can do is scream as the camera cuts away.
Finally, the audience gets to see the kind of person Murphy was before he was experimented on and injected with the botched cure. The flashback finds him, with a full head of hair, in prison running a crooked game of cards for cigarettes. A stranger approaches and asks if he can play and Murphy agrees. He let’s him know that the game isn’t exactly on the up and up but invites him to sit anyway. Just when the stranger is about to catch Murphy for stacking the deck, an inmate in the background stabs another to death. The guards rush in, but the stabbed man has already turned and starts to bite those near him. In all the confusion, the gate to the yard is left open. Murphy and the stranger make a break for it, but when Murphy gets through first, he shuts the door behind him leaving his new friend to die. It turns out that, despite being the only hope for humanity, he was never really a good guy.
Odds and Ends:
- Vasquez’s weapon is stupid and inefficient.
- Murphy is very scared of going to the CDC outpost to be experimented on, which may be why he seems to side with the zombies more often than not.
- Someone hacked Citizen Z in order to track Murphy? Who could possibly have done that?
- Anyone else find themselves missing Garnett (Tom Everett Scott) this episode?
- Mack was a really cool guy at the beginning of the apocalypse, what happened?