Z Nation: Full Metal Zombie (1×04)

Synopsis: They’re headed for a helicopter, but which of them can actually pilot it? Your guess is as good as mine!

Rating: ★★★★☆

I think I can sum up every episode of Z Nation by saying so much and not enough happens. There’s a Romero shout-out that you have to watch and be in awe of at the very beginning. We get a little hint at 10K’s past, when he talks about his father’s passing – he killed it, not his dad, but it.

This week, the caravan – though I guess it’s not so much a caravan anymore when they’ve just got one vehicle left – gets car-jacked by some people who have been waiting long enough for others to come by that they’ve hatched an elaborate chained-up-zombies trap. But before we can lament their new jalopy, they find the same people who took their truck in a stand-off against a poor family with little kids. Garnett and the group swoop in to save the family from the same fate. Just kidding, that family with those little kids mow down the other group in a hail of bullets and take the truck for themselves.

And before you can even recover from that hilarious twist, we come across the family mysteriously having become zombie lunch and the truck is back with whom it belongs! They manage to get in touch with Citizen Z over a drive-through ordering camera and speaker. Z’s a little uncomfortably obsessed with Addy after speaking with her in Philly, but he’s a lonely little weirdo, so who is surprised? They want air transportation, despite none of them looking qualified to fly a helicopter, and Citizen Z points them towards McLean, Virginia.

At least they all fit? [SyFy]
At least they all fit? [SyFy]
They manage to make it a hundred miles south in approximately ten seconds (where’d the gas come from? How was the traffic? Who held back who from strangling Murphy on this road trip?) to General McCandles and the chopper. With only one guard outside, they ply him with OxyContin and only then is Doc allowed up to see the General, under the guise of being an actual medical doctor. When he can’t give the General the answers he wants to hear (he can’t save his gangrene infected leg), Doc’s shoved down an air vent and tangled up with a zombie.

While everyone else mounts a rescue attempt, Doc figures it’s a good time to try to hotbox the zombie. They take the lone soldier up in the elevator to confront the General and promptly throw him to the group of zombies that are waiting for the group on the top floor. Murphy has another panic attack in the confined space of the elevator and ends up running off – again. They take out as many of the zombies as they can before they run out of ammunition and the appearance of the Boss Zombie, which ends up being a giant zombie that can pick up and throw the guys around and takes more than a few blows to the head.

Exactly what you think is happening is happening. [SyFy]
Exactly what you think is happening is happening. [SyFy]
Garnett ends up pulling the pin on a grenade on the zombie and Addy shoves it down the same air vent that Doc was thrown down as it explodes and things are looking grim for our good Doc. After the explosion, Murphy tells them Doc was down that vent. They finally find General McCandles, who has clearly lost his mind and is surrounded by a table of dead colleagues as he fights this imaginary war. He cheerfully brings them up to the helicopter to help them save the human race, which is in bad shape and not in any condition to fly. As they give up their ideas of air transport to California, two zombies jump out of the helicopter and take McCandles over the ledge with them.

Having come right back to square one – but hey, they’re in Virginia now! – they’re loading up the truck when Doc stumbles towards them. At first, it looks like Warren is going to have to give him mercy, but when she misses him and he shouts, everyone realizes he’s still alive! I’m already so invested in the well being of these characters and there may have been a fist pump at this revelation…

It was a good idea... maybe? I guess? [SyFy]
It was a good idea… maybe? I guess? [SyFy]
The zombies are showing signs of intelligence… kind of? Boss Zombie knew enough to pick Mack up and toss him. The Doctor Zombie with Doc appeared to get high and even mimic some of his movements, which was hilarious. I so appreciate Z Nation absolutely taking every opportunity presented to them and I haven’t been disappointed yet. The callbacks – intentional and unintentional – that I caught this week were obviously the Romero name-check, as well as maybe 28 Days Later with its own military skirmishes. We could say Garnett and the hammer called out to Tyreese and his hammer on The Walking Dead. Citizen Z referenced to Keyboard Cat and Doc blatantly quoted Apocalypse Now with “Never get out of the boat.”

What did you think? Did I miss any references? Are you completely sold on this show yet? If you’re not, just know that next week is the ZNADO – which, can only be explained by Warren, who said in the previews, “Well… At least it’s not sharks…”


4 thoughts on “Z Nation: Full Metal Zombie Recap”

  1. Doc is the only thing that makes this show watchable. Also did you notice the windshield wipers on the truck randomly did one swoop as he gave up the oxycontins???

    1. Aww, Doc’s not the ONLY thing! Aren’t you waiting for the dramatic, “And that’s why I REALLY. HATE. SHARKS.” monologue translated to the zombie apocalypse?

    1. His IMDB tells me he was Otis but I’ve never seen the movie, just remember it being mentioned in an article that he was in that movie.

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