Syfy’s “Z Nation” is no stranger to bringing some of the most absurd things in the world to its zombie-apocalypse universe. Even in this context, though, Season 2, episode 9 almost went a bit overboard on the crazy as the gang made its way to RoZwell, New Mexico, to discover whether aliens are as real as zombies turned out to be.
After narrowly escaping a deranged collector’s hostile museum last week, Operation Bite-Mark has made great strides in its trek to bring the only known survivor of a zombie bite, Murphy (Keith Allan), to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research facility in California. The latest episode opens with a woman named Bernadette (Missi Pyle) running from a zombie on a desert road. As she books it, a mysterious light comes from the sky and catches the zombie before splitting it into dozens of pieces. The light turns to Bernadette as the scene cuts away, revealing the members of Operation Bite-Mark cruising down the road cranking some tunes. They come across another surgically cut-up zombie and begin to speculate about the possibility of UFOs because they’re in one of the most famous alien-conspiracy locations in the world.
As they’re chatting, their car breaks down and some radio interference comes over the speakers. It sounds a lot like what one would expect an alien language to sound like, which freaks Murphy out. Soon afterward, a giant yellow light in the sky goes flying past them at an unimaginable speed. Once it’s out of sight, power returns to their vehicle.
Although the evidence is piling up, it takes a lot more than a mysterious light to convince the gang that aliens exist. Its members make their way farther into the desert and find a town that’s crawling with people who believe aliens are coming to rescue a select few members of the human race from the zombie-infested planet. Their leader is none other than Bernadette, who believes she can communicate with the alien visitors. She claims that someday soon they’ll use her to help facilitate the exodus. She looks drastically different than she did in the cold opening scene, and it becomes clear that, whatever is going on, it’s far more involved than just one woman scamming a group of naive followers. She claims the visitors have told her that a single person will come to them and help bring them all “to a new reality.” Surprise, surprise: It turns out to be Murphy.
Despite the oddness of their current situation and the potential threat to their VIP, Warren (Kellita Smith) believes the best plan is to attempt to figure out what’s actually going on here. Although it’s likely not alien-related, something was definitely flying near them last night, and if it was a jet, then she wants to recruit the pilot for the most important mission in the world. While they chat, a man comes over and introduces himself as Dan Scully (Doug Jones). He has his own odd theories about aliens -- like they come from a hollowed-out Pluto -- and confirms that they’ve been here a while and that nobody should be following Bernadette because she’s a crazy person. He leaves, and a spacey Bernadette offers to lead Operation Bite-Mark to an abandoned U.S. Air Force base that she says is the location where the aliens best communicate with her. Warren plays along, thinking it’s their best shot at finding a plane of some sort.
They get to the base and discover that there’s a lot more to it than an abandoned military outpost. Bernadette reveals that the aliens have told her to avoid bringing anyone there who isn’t among the chosen, but Operation Bite-Mark isn’t so easy to wave off. Now that it’s clear there’s something to these voices in her head, the gang goes exploring underground and discovers something life-changing.
At the end of a hallway is an armored being with a tail. It stands up revealing itself to be exactly what one would picture when they think of a hostile alien. What’s worse, it’s clearly a zombie, too. That’s right, not only does Operation Bite-Mark discover that aliens are real but also that they are susceptible to the zombie outbreak. The alien’s armor protects it for a while, but 10K (Nat Zang) manages to put it down. Before they can examine the body, the armor executes a failsafe and blows it up. With their entire understanding of the universe now in question, the gang continues to explore, this time hoping that they’ll discover something cooler than a jet to help them with their Murphy mission.
As they explore, they come across a highly advanced computer system that’s eerily reminiscent of Tony Stark’s equipment in the “Iron Man” films. Addy (Anastasia Baranova) offers to stay back and figure out what to do with the equipment and maybe contact Citizen Z (DJ Qualls). Meanwhile, 10K, Warren and Vasquez (Matt Cedeno) continue exploring. The former gets his hands on what appears to be an alien ray gun, and the gang uses it to navigate their way past more zombies, both alien and human in origin. Bernadette has run off on her own, and the group finds her outside in the light of a tractor beam. They step out to see a literal flying saucer in the sky trying to pull her up. When it sees Murphy, who has rejoined the group now that Addy is done looking through files, it puts him in a beam, too. The group attempts to free him, but the saucer shoots laser beams at their feet to keep them back. Warren gets the ray gun away from 10K and fires a single charged blast at the saucer’s hull. It’s a direct hit, and it seems as though the hero has shot down an alien spacecraft, which is about half-right.
Also dressed in alien armor, the pilot of the saucer steps out and -- in a “Scooby-Doo”-style reveal -- it turns out that the aliens were none other than Dan Scully and his crew all along. They were sent by the government to the base just a year after the zombie outbreak started in an effort to salvage the technology that was being worked on there in secrecy. While Scully can neither confirm nor deny that the tech he’s been showing off is based on gear associated with the aliens who crash-landed in the area in 1947, he’s certain that no aliens are on Earth at the moment. That’s right: Despite about a thousand red herrings, it looks like aliens aren’t a new threat facing “Z Nation” after all. It was just a boy, Scully, in love with a girl, Bernadette, who wanted to rescue her in his flying saucer. Nothing weird about that.
Unfortunately, Scully dies and Bernadette has to give him mercy. The episode ends with her returning to her followers, who still believe that aliens are coming to take them away. Unable to crush their spirits with the horrible truth, she informs them that the aliens told her they have to wait until the human race is ready. It appears she’s banking all of her hopes on Operation Bite-Mark actually fulfilling its mission and finding a cure.
Odds And Ends
- 10K kill count rests at roughly 4,243 of the 10,000 zombies he’s promised to kill.
- For those who didn’t pick up on it, Dan Scully feels like an obvious reference to “The X-Files” character Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).
- Murphy was really freaked out by the concept of aliens, but it’s never really revealed why.
- Did Addy end up making contact with Citizen Z? He’s been gone so long that his status can only be classified as “missing.”
- Zombie kill of the week goes to 10K for accidentally liquefying a Z’s head with the ray gun.