Z Nation: Die, Zombie, Die… Again (1×09)

Synopsis: Mack and Addy continue their quest to reunite with the rest of the group, but are sidelined by personal issues.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

This week’s episode gives us an update on Mack and Addy’s whereabouts after they split from the group two episodes ago. They’ve been in contact with Citizen Z, who has been steering them towards a meet-up with the main group once more, after Addy insisted that they continue on with the mission to get Murphy to California. Unfortunately, their tentative truce on the matter is wearing on them, as they’re having difficulties even speaking to each other.

They’ve stopped at a picturesque clearing that Addy wants to spend a little bit more time at, but Mack wants to push forward. He tries to address some of Addy’s recent issues, but she shuts him down. They end up leaving the creek, but the motorcycle runs out of gas near some warehouses and Mack admits his mistake as Addy zones out. She’s having some kind of flashback or premonition to a zombie and blood and the necklace she wears when he interrupts her daydreaming.

Everything's good... too good... [SyFy]
Everything’s good… too good… [SyFy]
Mack continues to try to talk to her about her issues, which leads her to try to explain some of what she’s feeling. It’s a memory that seems to fade the more she tries to remember it – every time it’s dark, there’s one light, and a zombie that’s fighting someone. She’s not sure who, but it could be Mack. They change the topic to their relationship, discussing how it’s built on madness and mayhem and the apocalypse. Addy goes so far as to say that they’re “trauma bonded” and that’s it. She doesn’t even really remember night one when they met. He tries to make her feel better by asking her on their real, first official date.

Unfortunately, by the time he sets up the best apocalypse date possible, Addy has already settled in for a nap. He soon follows her into sleep, only to be awoken later to find her gone and hear her yelling out for him. Exploring the area, he finds zombies bitten by a snake and then a giant zombie with Addy’s bat stuck in his chest chases him down. Cornered in one of the warehouses, a giant cinderblock slab falls from the ceiling, pinning him, and giving the zombie the chance to bite him.

He wakes up from his dream, shaken, only for the whole scenario to be achingly familiar – Addy is not sleeping in her spot and he hears her yelling out for him. Buckle up, kids, this is the worst, most stressful Groundhog Day of your life. Mack dies at the hands of the same giant zombie, who has Addy’s bat in his chest and her necklace in his teeth, over and over again. He continually jolts awake and starts the scenario over again every time he ‘dies.’ There’s a strangely familiar door in the warehouse that the zombie won’t let him get to in every scenario.

So... this happened. [SyFy]
So… this happened. [SyFy]
Eventually, he wakes up and Addy is there. He explains to her that he must be having a psychic premonition of some kind and she tries to make sure he’s holding things together. Mack drags her around, explaining the nightmare scenario to her, until they get to the door. Addy encourages him to open the door and break down the boards blocking it, insisting that she’s awake with him. While they’re distracted with the task, Frankenzombie attacks from behind and kills Addy this time. In a rage, Mack manages to finally kill the zombie before waking up and starting the process over again.

Once again, Addy’s not there, but this time, he leaves all of his weapons behind and runs straight for the door. Outside and around the door, it almost looks like someone’s living room. The giant zombie is near the door, but hasn’t attacked yet. As Mack stares it down, he opens the door and walks down the stairs into a basement. Hearing someone yell out for help, he rushes down the steps and finds someone injured. They’ve been bitten and Mack takes their knife as the giant zombie comes out of the shadows to attack him. He repeatedly stabbed it until it accidentally falls on his knife and dies. When it’s finished, he finds Addy’s necklace in his hand.

Suddenly, Addy wakes him up because he’s been talking in his sleep. He’s rattled from his nightmare, but gets up the courage to ask her about her necklace. Before she can answer, she startles awake and proclaims that she is not afraid, as she leaves Mack behind and runs for the same door. The same scenario repeats itself for her; only it’s an older woman that attacks her, rather than the Frankenzombie. She kills her in the same way that Mack had killed the giant zombie and sobs.

How much of this episode was a dream within a dream? [SyFy]
How much of this episode was a dream within a dream? [SyFy]
Mack wakes up gently near the creek that they never left. He hears her call out for him and he finds her crying into the grass. She thought it was Mack in the flashbacks, but it was her and she’s finally realized what they were. It was a memory of the first night of the zombie apocalypse and the woman she killed was her mother. Ouch. All in all, it was a tense, suspenseful episode that focused on Addy’s backstory and the relationship between Mack and Addy. Michael Welch and Anastasia Baranova proved they can carry an episode on their own merits, I didn’t even miss Murphy… much.

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