Starring: Kellita Smith, DJ Qualls, Keith Allan, Anastasia Baranova, Michael Welch, Russell Hodgkinson, Nat Zang, Pisay Pao, Matt Cedeño, Sara Coates, Donald Corren | Director: John Hyams
If there’s anything zombie shows have taught any of us over the years, one should try to make the best out of every day. Unlike their southern-fried counterparts with their sweaty, furled brows and steely-eyed threats, the survivors in Syfy’s Z Nation experience their share of triumph and tribulations with earnestness yet with an uncommon propensity for cheekiness.
As the first season concluded, however, the sinister Dr. Kurian (Donald Corren) had the group cornered. They were able to best him at the apparent cost of their numbers. With Murphy in the wind and nukes launched to eradicate key locations, surely the end was near for everyone. Nah, that would be too easy!
Once secure and sheltered in his frigid fortification, PFC Simon Cruller aka Citizen Z (DJ Qualls) now has his lion’s share of issues. Chiefly, avoiding the cluster of frantic zombies darting back and forth across the base. Surviving the missile strike was a giant hurdle in itself, yet it potentially cost the survival of the entire operation. Desperate to keep the network alive and secure Murphy to cure the virus, Citizen Z makes a general broadcast to announce a bounty on Patient Zero. Given Z’s anxious disposition, the episodes that feature his journey of survival will likely result in some madcap adventures.
The lynchpin to “The Murphy” being such a solid opener is thanks mainly to the intrepid force that is Roberta Warren, portrayed by the tenacious Kellita Smith. For two-thirds of the premiere, Roberta was running on fumes; escaping the blast radius of a tactical nuke is no small feat. Despite dehydration, hunger and the fallout depleting her health, Warren’s sense of duty keeps her upright for the entirety of the episode. When all appears lost and Roberta accepts her fate, knowing a single person could be saved from a gory death is enough to reinvigorate her spirit and get the job done. Smith’s depiction of Roberta provides a strength that’s not seen in any of the others. If she were to be lost during this season – a real possibility as Z Nation is known for killing off its group leaders – it would be a diminishing development as her temperament is absolutely critical to her group’s survival.
Her loss, however, could potentially provide compelling storylines…
Seriously though, keep Roberta alive, please!
Of course, Z Nation wouldn’t be Z Nation without its resident wild card Murphy, played with unabashed aplomb by Keith Allan. Murphy was quite a character throughout season one, always willing and able to get under his comrades’ skin (and eventually peeling off huge chunks of his own). In only the first episode, Allan was able to firmly set the tone in making Murphy more facetious and outlandish with his derailing antics. Murphy appears to come to terms with his new calling as Zombie Jesus and casually demonstrates powers beyond mere mortals. Essentially, Murphy – in his exceptionally depraved way – tries to make the best of the shitstorm that unfolds around him.
Growing more confident in becoming a “zombie whisperer”, Murphy displays his abilities for any and all willing to watch. It would likely be impressive to the gang if it weren’t for his disturbingly hilarious demonstrations. Languishing in a strip club (naturally) while what’s left of the world is on his tail, Murphy spends his time teaching his undead companions some pretty damn debaucherous acts.
1 part sexy, 2 parts ewwwww. The only things that’ll definitely rain in a zombie strip club are the rotting body parts. Good grief.
With the world significantly more desolate, dangerous and irradiated, life on the road for our beloved Z squad this season will be tougher than ever. “Crispy” Kurian yet lives, nuclear-powered zombies roam the land, every renegade and opportunist with a handgun is on the hunt for Murphy – thanks, Citizen Z – and what’s this… a baby?! One thing’s for certain: it’s going to be a helluva ride.
Roberta and company continue their pursuit for Murphy in “White Light”, airing Friday September 18 on Syfy!