Z Nation: Zunami (1×08)
Synopsis: Citizen Z may or may not have a visitor while the group weathers the zunami in an unlikely hideout.
So… Citizen Z is a little weird, right? After a few episodes without too much of him, we’re reminded that yes, he’s still up there keeping a watchful eye in the sky and I don’t necessarily like him, but I understand his purpose. He opens the episode reminding our ragtag group of survivors about the zunami headed their way and then goes about his daily, lonely, routine. And when things can’t get any more rote for him, he finds himself suddnely hacked by an unknown source. An alarm goes off in the middle of the attack and he angrily bats it down from the ceiling with a broom.
Fatigue – or something else – is getting the best of him and he’s notified of a fireball from the sky, feeling it hit near Camp Northern Lights. Further inspection shows the fireball to be a spacecraft that fell from the sky and he rushes to investigate. Before the camera pans away from the screen, but after Citizen Z has left, we see a notification that determines no life forms were detected on the ship.
Unfortunately for our group of survivors, they’ve run out of water and metaphorical steam – everyone except Murphy, who is uncharacteristically chipper. As the zunami (or zombie haboob in my opinion) closes in on them, they are forced to take shelter in a mortuary with a twitchy redshirt survivor that came running from the herd.
Back at Camp Northern Lights, Citizen Z finds wet footprints leading in from outside and meets Yuri, in full space suit, who calmly proclaims, “I am friend.” He reluctantly takes off his helmet after Citizen Z confirms the air is safe. After he’s somewhat settled, Yuri tells Citizen Z that he came down from the International Space Station in an escape pod after the food ran out and the system failed. There was no more crew to come back to Earth with him. Curiously, his dog is not at all interested in the new visitor.
In the morgue, everyone but Murphy is still suffering from days without water, and without much more choice, as the zombies are closing in, they have to push further into the morgue. They determine that hiding out in the morgue slabs might be their best chance for survival and everyone but Murphy and Warren climb in. Warren is stuck in a body bag after the slabs are all taken and Murphy opts to wander free through the zunami – despite Warren telling him not to leave them.
Citizen Z and Yuri continue to bond, with Citizen Z showing him all the secrets of essentially being the oversight committee of the apocalypse. Yuri takes a particular interest in how the base operates and why his dog is suddenly so lazy, setting off a few red flags with Citizen Z it seems. But regardless of that, the two of them continue to bond. Once, Yuri wanders off and is found staring intently at machinery that regulates the air inside the base. He also refers to Citizen Z as “Simon.”
Yuri becomes increasingly sinister, showing a high level of aggression while playing video games and making Citizen Z uncomfortable enough that he excuses himself. In the restroom, Citizen Z finds a news article on the internet that claims everyone on the ISS died after they ran out of air. When he confronts Yuri about this, he finds him in his space suit once more and they struggle for the gun Citizen Z is brandishing. It turns out that Simon is Citizen Z’s real name, but no one actually knows that.
At the morgue, everyone is left alone with their thoughts – except 10K who is taking this opportunity to get a nap in – and the zombies. The random redshirt survivor loses his cool, breaking out of his hiding spot and immediately being eaten. Outside, Murphy wanders into a building where he finds two survivors – a mother and a child. He takes all of their supplies, including their water, even after the mother urges him to leave some for her daughter. When she presses him to look for a man in a red jacket, Murphy ushers their zombie father/husband into the building as he’s leaving.
Asking about the dog again, Citizen Z thinks that Yuri did something to his dog. He is surprisingly calm about the whole thing as Citizen Z loses more of his control. When his attention wanders, Yuri gets the upper hand. After he subdues Simon, he continues to ask him about his dog and what he knows. Losing his patience, he starts strangling Citizen Z and urges him to fight and do better. Finally, Citizen Z realizes he can’t breathe because there’s no oxygen and Yuri disappears – it’s just Citizen Z and his dog again as he spots the alarm he knocked down earlier. Fighting the lack of air, he drags himself and the dog outside where he can breathe again.
The zunami has passed through town and Murphy ends up back at the morgue in time to save Warren from one last zombie. He shares the food and water with the group, telling him that he took it from a dead family, and they accept him as one of their friends. While everyone relaxes and enjoys the food, Murphy suddenly gets uncomfortable and fidgety – getting up from his seat and announcing that he’s ready to get a move on.
Citizen Z is shown getting everything back up and running, still sadly alone, and the episode ends. It was a good showcase of DJ Qualls’ acting abilities and it did kind of make me feel for poor, isolated Citizen Z. His original golfing activities at the beginning of the episode seem to have broken something and his hallucination helped him to realize what happened. Murphy’s twisted morality continues to intrigue and alarm me. That wasn’t the first time we witnessed him passively refuse to help another survivor, but he did go back for the group – actively helping them for the second time. I need to know where Murphy’s head is at… and also where Addy and Mack ended up! Next week looks like we get an update on their situation after splitting off from the group last week.