In the shocking conclusion to Syfy’s “Z Nation” two-parter, the gang finds itself the reluctant allies of the nefarious cartel known as the Zeros. With time running out and the survivors closer to California than ever before, they have to trust the two least trustworthy people who remain amid the zombie apocalypse.
The episode opens where last week’s left off. Dr. Kurian (Donald Corren) claims to have developed a cure for the zombie virus. He’s about to inject it into the Zeros' prisoner Vasquez (Matt Cedeño), when Warren (Kellita Smith) speaks up and convinces the infamous cartel leader, La Reina (Gina Gershon), that they shouldn’t trust Kurian.
The cartel Queen insists that the Doctor inject himself first, which he is reluctant to do. It was previously revealed that the vaccine he’s come up with won’t really make humans immune to zombie bites, but simply make them susceptible to Murphy (Keith Allan) and his unexplained mind-control powers. Still, there’s nothing he can do to correct the problem in a room full of Zeros, so he injects himself. Although his plan was to rule the Zeros' army jointly with Murphy, now he’s just another mindless drone like the rest of them.
With nothing stopping Murphy from controlling everyone in the compound, he shows a remarkable amount of restraint. Thinking that Warren saved her life last week, La Reina decides that she deserves the honor of being the second person inoculated with the so-called cure. Obviously, she doesn’t trust something cooked up by Kurian, but when Murphy gleefully volunteers to be the one to give her the injection, he fakes the rest of the group out and doesn’t really give her the shot. While the ploy fools most of the gang, La Reina’s general, Escorpion (Emilio Rivera), believes that Operation Bite Mark is hiding something. He asks for more time to torture Vasquez and figure out what’s going on, which La Reina agrees to. In the meantime, Kurian gets to work, jabbing all of her men with the vaccine.
Vasquez finds himself in a bad position, dangling from the ceiling and acting as Escorpion’s personal punching bag. Although the former DEA agent is too tough to rat out the rest of the group, he sees no harm in explaining to the villain that he wasn’t trying to kill La Reina, he was trying to kill him. It was previously revealed that Escorpion murdered Vasquez’s wife and daughter just before the zombie outbreak began. The Zero general doesn’t like what he hears, and is furious that it gives him no explanation as to what Warren and the others are really up to.
Meanwhile, as Warren continues to bond with La Reina, she breaks off to ask Murphy and Kurian what’s really going on. As they work away in the lab making more of the vaccine, it becomes clear that the inoculation has already taken over Dr. Kurian, turning him into one of Murphy’s own personal flying monkeys. She realizes that Murphy is drunk with power and about to have control of an army unless she and the others do something. She returns to the gang and informs them what’s going on.
They quickly hatch a scheme to grab Vasquez and Murphy and continue on to the CDC research center in California before all the Zeros go bonkers from whatever they’ve been injected with. Before the plan can be hatched, Escorpion calls a meeting with Warren and La Reina. Fed up with not knowing what’s going on, he lies and claims that Vasquez told him that Operation Bite Mark is really just a U.S. military operation with a mission to assassinate La Reina. Warren protests, but her word doesn’t carry as much weight as Escorpion's. Luckily, the effects of Murphy’s mind control start to take over and he gets La Reina to order the capture of Escorpion and the release of Vasquez.
They go to where prisoners are kept and turn the tables on Escorpion -- leaving him to die in a cage alone with a zombie. Meanwhile, Murphy is trying to give commands to the Zero army, but everyone, including Dr. Kurian, isn’t listening. They’re too attracted to his blood and getting more of it to be decent mind-controlled slaves. He grabs Kurian and retreats to the lab, where the good doctor, who was responsible for causing the zombie outbreak in the first place, attacks him. Luckily, Murphy has had enough and is ready for a fight. Even more luckily, he doesn’t have to have one as Warren comes in and chops Kurian’s head off in one swipe.
With Vasquez and Murphy rescued, Operation Bite Mark sets out to escape in the tunnels below the Zeros’ giant wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. However, La Reina, a handful of Murphy-obsessed Zeros and the still-talking head of Dr. Kurian give chase. While Murphy’s mind powers don’t necessarily work on those that have been inoculated with the vaccine, they still work on normal zombies. He floods the tunnel with them, giving Operation Bite Mark just enough time to escape up a ladder. Once they’re all safe and sound above ground, one last loose end emerges covered in blood.
Escorpion somehow made it out of his cage and decides to challenge the survivors to fight one at a time. Vasquez steps up first, having the biggest beef, and promptly gets beaten within an inch of his life. Fortunately, he's not down for long as thoughts of his murdered wife and daughter give him the strength he needs to practically cave in Escorpion’s chest before throwing him down the ladder into the zombie pit.
With the mighty Zero army in shambles, the gang snags a caravan of muscle cars and rides off into the sunset, just two miles from their destination in California. While the group is closer to its goal than ever before in the show’s history, the episode ends on a cliffhanger as Kurian’s head is retrieved by La Reina, who somehow survived the flood of the undead in the tunnel. With just two episodes left in Season 2, only time will tell if California proves to be the haven for humanity that the group hopes.
Odds and Ends:
- Was Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) in jail before the outbreak?
- The gang is only two miles from California, at long last!
- No update on 10K's kill count this episode, which is always disappointing.
- Zombie kill of the week is awarded to Addy (Anastasia Baranova) for taking out the masked Zero before she really could have known he was turning.
- Why didn't the already wounded Vasquez just shoot Escorpion? The fight was reckless, dangerous, awesome and stupid.
- Murphy, the only character to care about his appearance in "Z Nation," takes the time to don a flashy new red suit during all this chaos -- because you have to look good for the zombies.