Previously on Z Nation, ‘RoZwell’
Starring: Kellita Smith, DJ Qualls, Keith Allan, Anastasia Baranova, Russell Hodgkinson, Nat Zang, Matt Cedeno, Tonantzin Carmelo, Eddie Spears, Tinsel Korey | Director: Juan A. Mas
BITES AND MORSELS
Delta X-Ray Delta reestablishes contact with Citizen Z in time to learn a wall of undead is only hours from their position. Warren tries to help a Chief and his people who don’t want to leave their land. Meanwhile his equally obstinate son ignores Doc’s warnings about the oncoming horde. Also, 10K seems to have fallen for yet another woman. I hope she has excellent life insurance.
ZOMBIE ROLL CALL
Due to the devastation caused by the nuclear strikes in The Murphy, the group is forced to contend with more Blasters than they care to take down. What’s even worse is those buggers along with other undead stragglers they’ve found along their path have merged into a “zunami” that’s miles deep. Anything within its path is immediately consumed or destroyed. Not good… not good at all.
CURSE OF THE ZENDIGO
With the gang split up and dealing with their respective troubles, much of “Grand Canyon” was focused on the difficulties 10K and Doc had in the settlement led by Red Hawk (Eddie Spears). Stubborn like his old man Chief Firecloud – who lead the older tribespeople that Warren hoped to evacuate – Red Hawk had no time for Doc and Tommy’s foolishness. Clearly he was a rational man once – a professor of Native American Studies before the ZA – yet now adheres to the ancient beliefs of his tribe, reflecting the cautiousness and enmity felt when white settlers first encroached upon their land.
Technically, Red Hawk was correct: the zombie virus is a curse created by the white man. However, he used his people’s fears to justify some rather malicious tactics, like stringing up 10K and Doc to use as an early warning system/zombie bait.
Thankfully the duo found allies in Red Hawk’s camp, one of whom happened to be his sister, Ayalla (Tinsel Korey). Along with Kuruk the Medicine Woman (Tonantzin Carmelo), who spent a good deal of time with Doc, both are depicted as resilient, confident and quite capable of handling themselves; a mainstay in the portrayal of women in Z Nation. Although bizarre and occasionally silly, Z Nation has always been refreshingly progressive in its character development, rejecting tired tropes and gendered storylines (with exception to a satirical narrative or two).
Unlike its popular counterpart whose current storyline has to deal with a neighborhood filled with inept, bumbling dumbbells who deny the world has gone to crap beyond their walls, everyone in Z Nation is already at the fifth stage of Kubler-Ross model: Acceptance. The ZA is here to stay, so pull yourself up by your bootstraps and kick some ass already.
In regards to the representation of Native Americans in “Grand Canyon”, as a person of color and dedicated fan of Z Nation, never once has an episode ever intentionally denigrated religious or cultural beliefs. Yes, this is a show featuring zombies, an eclectic band of survivors that roam the country and the typically outlandish folk they encounter. But not once has it derided one’s heritage for humor’s sake. The only instance where anyone could spell a complaint is when Doc has yet another out-of-body experience and channels his inner warrior to take down a Z. It would be difficult to claim it was written in disrespect, due to previous scenes when Doc acknowledges past atrocities and shares his deference to Native culture and practices.
HASTA LA VISTA, Z-BAG
Well well well, look who’s still alive! Not much has been heard from or seen of Citizen Z (DJ Qualls) this season, but he’s apparently been working on his skills off-camera. CZ has been slowly picking off the zombies that continue to lurk around Northern Lights (where they’ve been coming from, he hasn’t a clue). Although Qualls’ screen time is limited, he provides the right amount of humor during the especially tense situation of not being devoured alive. Now that Citizen Z can shoot a bit straighter and knows how to arm an AT4 anti-tank missile launcher, there’s no stopping the man!
TO Z OR NOT TO Z
Murph had very little to do this week but sit back and throw the occasional barb and quip. Still Keith Allan found a way to make the most out of every precious second. Spread throughout season two, Murphy’s loyalties to the living have been tested but never so strongly until “Grand Canyon”. The loss of Cassandra, the birth of Lucy (and her absconding), even the treatment of the Zs under The Collector’s rule have all taken their toll on Big Blue.
When the zunami was diverted into the Grand Canyon, Murphy pleads desperately to the others that despite their supposed mindlessness, they can feel. Distraught after seeing thousands of his kind being led to their second deaths, Allan is able to churn out a deeply emotional moment between himself and Roberta. With only two lines, all of the conflict and inner turmoil Murphy has experienced since Fort Collins can be seen, plain as day. No doubt allegiances will continue to be tested, given that humanity hasn’t exactly proven themselves worthy of saving. Damned if Murph does provide the cure, damned if he doesn’t.
NOTES OF THE DEAD
- That damn dream sequence… wow, Warren is gonna need some serious therapy once mission’s accomplished.
- I wish the peyote Doc and Kuruk shared could open up the minds and hearts of everyone, for real. Plus, who wouldn’t want to get to know their spirit animal?
- Did Citizen Z ever name his dog?
- Considering the zunami appeared to originate in California, the Golden State must be in awfully poor condition. I bet rent still has tripled across the coastal regions. Go figure.
Next up, the group acquaints itself with another band of survivors who are more concerned about engaging in a hostile takeover. Pack your bags accordingly for “Corporate Retreat” this Friday at 10/9c on Syfy!
Z Nation S2E10
Death was literally and figuratively looming over everyone in “Grand Canyon”. For some, they were able to overcome adversity and grow stronger from it. Others, like Murphy, fell deeper into the rabbit hole, despondent about what the future holds. Hopefully, the tribe – at least Ayalla and/or Kuruk – will return next season as they provided another (positive) dynamic to this expanding, devastated world.