Synopsis of 1×13: We learn a little bit about what happened pre-zompocalypse to bring us to this point as Murphy leads the charge for answers from Dr. Merch…


There are two stories being told in the season one finale of Z Nation – one following a doctor four years before the zombie apocalypse and one following our plucky heroes to the lab in Colorado per Citizen Z’s direction.

First, let’s see what brought us to this point with the mysterious doctor that we meet on the streets of New York. A young man approaches him covertly and brings him to an injured man named Bill. Poor Bill is looking rough, open sores and unable to move, and the good doctor gives him an injection of some kind – after which he proceeds to jam a needle up Bill’s nose into his brain, pulling out some fluids.

In the present, Warren is getting the new destination from Citizen Z – Fort Collins, Colorado – and updating him on the status of Murphy, as well as how Cassandra is struggling from her previous injuries. They’re running out of supplies and Murphy almost makes a run for it, only to be thwarted at the last moment before he can actually flee. Once they’ve all piled back into the van, Doc doesn’t help matters by reminding Murphy that he’ll basically be a lab rat once they turn him over to Dr. Merch.

When they get to the meeting point, Warren decides to handcuff Murphy to keep up the illusion of a group of civilians transporting a prisoner, but it upsets Murphy to the point that he stirs the meandering zombies after the rest of the group. They’re forced to ask him for help – which he provides in the form of a group hug of protection – and they all make it into the empty lab in one piece. Once inside, they’re greeted by the aftermath of something awful happening in the lab. They also hear the tell-tale signs of zombies inside with them.

The mysterious doctor of the past next pops up at the UN Ebola Quarantine Camp in Western Liberia, where he finds another poor soul. Blistered and immobile, but conscious, the doctor performs the needle-up-the-nose act again.

The group runs into a few zombies in the lab, and we witness one of 10K’s rare misses, before stumbling upon someone’s phone. The man had been texting his wife before whatever went down in the lab happened and we get an overview that our bad vibes aren’t all that unfounded. Citizen Z texts them to the phone and directs them to a video file on the computer that showcases animal testing a year before the zombie outbreak. Murphy finds another video that shows Dr. Merch questioning a man about his decontamination protocols after he’d been quarantined. Doc thinks this might be the time to turn around and head back outside, but Murphy is single-minded in his need to find Dr. Merch.

Two years before the zombie outbreak, the good doctor is in an abandoned bioweapons lab in Kazakhstan, only to find his next possible brain-needler already dead. In order to further his scientific mission, he knowingly infects his guide for the ol’ needle-to-the-brain trick.

Citizen Z calls the group and informs them that they’ll have to go through decontamination procedures – naked – and lets them know that before they head out, they’ll have to do the decontamination process again. If they don’t, the lab will be incinerated by nuclear weapons. After they go through the process, Cassandra collapses and 10K insists he’ll continue to carry her along if he has to.

They find a darkened hallway in the lab that is filled with horrifying human experiments, some even still alive, and then they come upon an open door. Doc sends Murphy to talk down the zombies they stumble upon, but it turns out that not all zombies are created equal. The mutant zombies attack Murphy and he ends up ripping both of their heads off. Yeah, that happened.

One year before the zombie apocalypse, our favorite stabby doctor is in Haiti and finds the most responsive subject so far. The man listens to commands and doesn’t even look all that sick. He survived twenty one days under rubble, but has been catatonic ever since. Apparently, he’s perfect and he gets the same treatment as the rest of the people this doctor has hunted down.

Sadly, 10k – whose name we find out is actually Tommy – has to set Cassandra down and everyone braces themselves to say their goodbyes. Murphy is the last one to speak with her before they leave her to her fate. He leads them to a biocontainment room, where they find the man from the video. He’s kind of like half a mud-monster thing, but he’s still disgustingly alive and he is conscious enough to show them a video on the computer he’s near. It is Dr. Merch administering the first human trial of the vaccine to him before the video is cut.

Before they can process this information, Citizen Z cuts in to let them know that Dr. Merch and two soldiers are headed their way in the facility. Murphy goes to confront her, but it turns out that the good doctor didn’t make it and the mysterious doctor we’ve been seeing in the past is her boss, Dr. Kurtz. Citizen Z does a quick background check on him, only to find that the man claiming to be Dr. Kurtz doesn’t match his picture. Using facial recognition, Citizen Z identified the doctor as Dr. Kurian, and he’s actually responsible for the zombie virus!

In the lab, Dr. Kurian is explaining the plans for Murphy – taking him on the California, sequencing his genes for a cure – and it’s safe to say the group is hesitant. Murphy volunteers to give mercy to the mud-zombie, Brendan Doyle (aka Patient Zero), who tells him not to trust the doctor before he dies. Then Murphy decides he’s not going with them and things get tense. At the same time, Citizen Z realizes he sent Murphy into a trap and is trying to get the group to kill the doctor.

10K notices Citizen Z’s efforts just as a door behind the doctor opens. It’s Cassandra! She’s visibly changed with a bite mark on her face, but insists that she’s not dead. Murphy gives her the order to kill the soldiers and she easily complies. In the gun battle, Murphy escapes and Doc is shot by Dr. Kurian. While the group fusses over Doc, Murphy is cornered in the decontamination chamber.

Citizen Z finds him on the monitor and Murphy accuses him of setting them up. He tries to talk Murphy down from leaving the lab without decontaminating first – because of the nuclear weapons that would be launched to destroy the lab – but it’s no use. Murphy breaks through the door and rushes towards the elevator. This launches the weapons at the lab and, surprise, the weapons actually aim for a couple places in the United States – including Camp Northern Lights.

At least Warren and 10K managed to resuscitate Doc, while Cassandra distracted the zombie guards, and escaped through the same elevator Murphy left out of. They find the skin he shed in the elevator after he’s taken the Mesa Pharmaceuticals van and left. Luckily, they get another SUV working, but 10K spots the missile headed their way and they have to leave immediately, leaving Cassandra behind.

Another view of the missiles are shown and we see it’s Mack and Addie looking at them! They’re alive! This is all I wanted out of this episode to be honest. There’s a shot of Dr. Kurian running from the scene as well. And Citizen Z runs outside to watch the incoming missiles just as the episode ends.

So that’s it for the first season finale of Z Nation! Did you love it? Did you hate it? Are you going to be waiting impatiently for season two like I am? A lot of interesting developments were brought to light in the last two episodes of the season and I can’t wait to see where we’re headed. What did you think of the episode and of the season as a whole?

4 thoughts on “Z Nation: Doctor of the Dead [SEASON FINALE]”

  1. I love this show. I also love Citizen Z and hope he survives. Ditto the rest of the characters, minus Dr K and the zombies. Why are the warheads targeting Camp NL? I don’t get that. Hopefully the missiles have “expired” or somebody out there can head them off.

    1. I’m actually not sure why there are nuclear missiles headed towards Camp Northern Light (and it looked like a few other places that weren’t Fort Collins too). I think it has something to do with whoever set up the decontamination protocols? My theory is that someone must have set them up after the apocalypse and known about Citizen Z up there to point them in that direction. Didn’t someone try to hack him once already? Dr. Kurian couldn’t have been working alone that whole time…

  2. The automatic nuclear strikes are a Cold War relic: the USA and USSR both invented “Fail-Deadly” systems which will fire at pre-designated targets without any human interaction. The trigger is usually when another (automatic) system detects an ICBM launch. (A new trigger is added in the show: containment failure at Ft. Collins.)

    The whole setup is designed to work even if the military command structure is destroyed. So, fire 1 US missile, and a bunch of Russian missiles will automatically fire, then a bunch of US will automatically fire back, etc. It’s meant to prevent anyone from starting nuclear war.

    Camp NL is either on the Russian target list or the American list. It isn’t clear when the target was programmed.

    This is all part of “Second Strike Capability”. It’s referenced in the show when Citizen Z says “it must be a Third Strike!” and then despairing, “what are we like?!”.

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