It seems there is no type of zombie hybrid that Syfy’s “Z Nation” isn’t willing to devote an entire episode to exploring. The latest in the cavalcade of freakish undead monsters were plant zombies, which appeared just in time to stand in the way of Operation Bite Mark finding a potential herbal cure.
After last week’s “Mad Max” homage saw Murphy (Keith Allan) and Cassandra (Pisay Pao) split off from the group to chase a lead on a different cure, the latest episode picked up with them already at their destination. Murphy got word that a lab in Minneapolis was developing both a ton of the hottest new strain of marijuana to hit the apocalypse, Z Weed, and a potential cure made from a plant called Batch 47.
The man running the lab is named Odegard (Dileep Rao), and other than his dirty lab coat, he doesn’t seem like the type of scientist who’s going to save the world any time soon. It turns out he’s just a guy with some science skills who stumbled upon the massive batch of cannabis that someone with a lot of money and resources was working on just after the zombie outbreak. While he was harvesting, he discovered research on Batch 47, which the studies claim can reverse the causes of the zombie virus. There’s just one problem: All of the samples of Batch 47 are stuck in a greenhouse labyrinth that’s been taken over by a new kind of plant/zombie hybrid. The Zs have integrated themselves into the plants and now they’re impossible to kill without taking out the entire greenhouse (because plants are apparently connected that way).
Odegard is allowing anyone to try their luck at harvesting the plant, but so far no one has been successful. That’s where Operation Bite Mark comes in, having just arrived to retrieve Murphy. He manages to prove that the plant is capable of fixing the zombies by getting one to say the word “brains.” This is enough to send the intrepid gang of heroes into the greenhouse to retrieve all they can. Unfortunately, Murphy’s zombie-mind control powers only get them as far as the plants they need. Once they start cutting, the plants and zombies come alive and start to attack. Murphy, despite showing some remarkable acts of bravery throughout the episode, gets scared and leaves his comrades alone to die in the greenhouse.
After he finally gets outside, Murphy bumps into none other than Dr. Kurian (Donald Corren). Fans of “Z Nation” Season 1 will remember Kurian as the man whose research into finding the key to immortality sparked the zombie outbreak in the first place. He confronted Operation Bite Mark at the lab in Colorado during the Season 1 finale. While there, he shot Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) just before Murphy set off the nukes. Murphy is about to strangle Kurian to death for what he did, but the Doctor informs him that, not only will Batch 47 not work, nothing will cure the zombie apocalypse. The only thing that will survive on planet Earth will be Murphy, and the others like him that Kurian offers to help produce. Murphy, obviously enticed by the prospect of ruling the world, agrees to work with the doctor.
Their partnership is short-lived, however, when the kingpin of Odegard’s Z Weed business arrives armed to the teeth in blacked-out SUVs. Kurian reveals that the men are “Zeros,” a mob that supplied his research with money after the apocalypse and is now hunting him down. The boss that steps out is none other than the rocket launcher-wielding man who attacked Operation Bite Mark during the battle for Murphy in episode 2. It turns out that he’s the leader of a drug cartel, which surprisingly didn’t go out of business when the zombie apocalypse hit. His name is Hector Alvarez, but people find it much more menacing to call him Escorpion (Emilio Rivera). He has come to the lab because word has gotten out about Batch 47 and Escopion is sick of Odegard sending all of his customers to their deaths to find it. He holds the camp, including the members of Operation Bite Mark, at gunpoint and demands that Odegard begin human trials with the plant on himself. He gives an unwilling Odegard way more than can safely be administered to a human being only to discover Batch 47’s true secret.
The plant, while proven effective in restoring a tiny bit of humanity to zombies, turns human beings into full-on zombies without dying if ingested (so much for the organic cure). With his house back in order, Escorpion leaves with Kurian and all but one of his vehicles. He leaves two men behind to burn the greenhouse down. Murphy makes a futile attempt to save the zombies inside, because he has always had a bit of a soft spot for the undead, but they hold him in no such regard. The group narrowly escapes with a whole lot of useless Batch 47 and their mission finally back on track.
The episode, however, ends on a massive cliff-hanger as Operation Bite Mark drives past a pregnant woman walking down the road. They pull over and she turns out to be none other than Serena (Sara Coates), who was teased at the end of episode 1 of Season 2 as being pregnant with Murphy’s strange zombie baby.