Previousy on Z Nation
Z Nation – S3E1 – No Mercy | Kellita Smith, Keith Allan, Anastasia Baranova, Nat Zang, Russell Hodgkinson | Writers: Karl Schaefer and Daniel Schaefer | Director: Abram Cox
Before kicking off the third season proper, the good folks at The Asylum treated us with a two-hour flashback that featured a bunch of new faces and a spanking new conspiracy that’s mostly unrelated to the big one known as Operation: Bite-Mark. In typical Z Nation fashion, “No Mercy” was filled to the gills with puppies, kittens, and creeps of the highly contagious fungal variety. The show is already eleven kinds of zany but this new divergent path the team briefly faced last season – only to be revealed now – will most certainly complicate their lives to the nth degree.
The timeline for this event is a bit hazy however it’s certain Warren and crew arrive at Mercy Labs sometime before “Zombie Baby Daddy”. Before we’re reacquainted with our favorite band of skulls crushing misfits, “No Mercy” opened with a mystifying scene involving a swanky pad crawling with suntanned beauties… and a very wizened hand reaching for a phone. Creepy old person close-up aside, could this lush landscape free of zombies be the mythical Zona? It’s possible. One thing’s for certain: it ain’t Cleveland.
On the other end of the line is the latest big bad of the apocalypse, an intimidating stranger known simply as The Man (Joseph Gatt). There have been a plethora of villains within Z Nation that have given the squad a run for their money before and they’ve overcome most of them with few bumps and bruises. Unfortunately for them, their previous encounters couldn’t have prepared them for the unyielding nature of The Man. Although the film took place during season two, chances are phenomenally good we’re going to see The Man face off against Warren, Murphy and the others multiple times in their third outing. It’s clear Gatt has the physical presence to create an imposing villain but where he truly shined is playing the straight man to his own one-liners and enjoyably corny references. Not to mention there are few men who can play a convincing antagonist while wearing a three piece suit with flip flops. That’s straight up diabolical.
Thanks to a chance encounter with a feral child raised by crows (seriously), our intrepid adventurers became acquainted with The Man through a group holed up in a facility that’s two seconds away from coming undone. They resist The Man because of Harold Teller, a doctor who eventually admitted to Warren that he was working on a cure for ZN1 during the Black Summer. Sadly, he and his wife’s work was compromised by a horde, resulting in Teller’s co-workers and his wife to be exposed to the volatile compound. Did we mention it was extracted from a really nasty strain of fungus?
Although they aren’t proper zombies, Murphy (Keith Allan) is able to read their thoughts and give Dr. Teller and his infected wife a means to communicate. The Murphy aka Big Blue aka Smurphy went through considerable changes last season physically, emotionally and most importantly psychologically, redressing his status as man who lives only for himself to a doting father that wants to assure his darling Lucy has someplace on the world to call home. Clearly, Murphy was still in his panicked dad stage as he left his kid in a cooler to investigate the compound. Fortunately for the baby she was tended to by Cassandra (Pisay Pao). Hey, it’s her! Pao’s presence was truly appreciated and well worth the venture back in time. Even if all Cass did was frown and growl at the occasional human that walked by too closely, that would have been worth the trip. Knowing how much Pao was missed by fans, the Schaefers managed to include her in some rather bizarre moments (naturally) while crafting a tale that evoked true danger for every character.
“No Mercy” was a special event for the series but in true Z Nation fashion, every player was written into a dire situation with no assurances of being alive the next week. Granted, as a flashback episode, there were a handful that we knew would see another day yet the long-term hazards they faced in “No Mercy” will assuredly come back to haunt them in the near future.
While it was nice to see the gang still together and giving out mercy to every rotting fiend like it was candy, things aren’t so sweet in present. It’ll be damn interesting to see what’s left of the world and how it’s shaped now that Murphy has gone rogue, California was a wash and a powerful faction is on the rise. All we know is Roberta ain’t got time for any of their mess and Lord help those who get in her way!
Z Nation S3E1 = 8.5/10