Z Nation: Party With the Zeros (Review) Saint Murphy

After last week’s Native American tribute, along with a nod to Hannibal Lector…Z Nation this week revisits the Zeros and the gang end up attending a party, in their and Murphy’s honor.

Gina Gershon as La Reina with a minion...

After last week’s Native American tribute, along with a nod to Hannibal Lector…Z Nation this week revisits the Zeros and the gang end up attending a party, in their and Murphy’s honor. A familiar face turns up,  Dr. Kurian (Donald Corren), who was last seen in Batch 47 being taken away by Escorpion (Emilio Rivera) and his henchmen.  Although the entire episode is quite serious, compared to last week’s show, and the ending a real cliffhanger, there are some comic moments.

The episode begins with   Vasquez shooting through a door, marked “Training” and clearing a path through a huge group of Z’s.  Lt. Warren, Doc and Addy help a wounded Murphy through a Mexican compound full of zombies. Apparently Murphy is still recovering from being shot in Corporate Retreat.

After being cornered, the gang check their ammunition levels and Warren tells Murphy to act like the “Zombie Messiah” he is supposed to be and produce a miracle. Cue the Zeros coming to the rescue as Murphy weakly tells the group that there are too many Z’s to control.  Escorpion opens a door in the wall and tells Warren and the rest to come in.

Z Nation: Party With the Zeros marks a higher level of subtlety from previous episodes.  It also self references previous episodes, most importantly the episode RoZwell and the mysterious “Zona.” Escorpion questions Vasquez toward the this installment and asks who they are working for, after listing “obvious” choices like the Russians or Chinese, he then asks:

“Those rich b*stards in Zona?”

Guest star Gina Gershon (Killer Joe, Red Oaks) is “La Reina de los Muertos, Queen of the Zeros Cartel” who offers to either pay Roberta and her group the CDC bounty or welcome them into the Zeros gang. What follows is an initiation, but only after Warren spares Kurian’s life. The “examination” has the group fighting off a zombie horde and surviving.

Stand out moments:

Stand out moment number one is during the build up to the zombie cage battle in the dark. After being given some rudimentary weapons by the Zeros, Warren chooses a knuckle duster and knife, the Murphy leader “zeroes” in on Escorpion and mimics the legendary Bruce Lee with a thumb brush to the nose.  (On a cool scale, with 10 being the pinnacle of coolness, this ranks an 11. #TeamWarrenOwnsEscorpion)

Stand out moment number two occurs when Murphy, after being reluctantly reunited with Dr. Kurian, has a “Marx Brothers Duck Soup” interaction with a Cassandra type Z created with his blood by Kurian.  The doctor injects the “volunteer” who then turns. The new Z immediately goes for Murphy who controls the creature.

What then happens is a brief “Z see, Z do” scene which culminates in a  very brief recreation of the classic “mirror scene” from the 1933 Marx Bros film.

Stand out moment number three is the “Z piñata scene”  where Zeros gang members are “breaking” the party favor open to get bags of drugs instead of small toys and sweets.

Honorary Mention:

The Vasquez execution attempt of Escorpion. The slow motion “dance” between the mercenary and the Lieutenant works beautifully. As the three players, one who is unaware of his role in this waltz, finish, La Reina believes that Warren has saved her life and Roberta becomes a member of the “royal” circle.

Plot Hole:

Earlier, in the previous episode of Down the Mississippi Escorpion tries 10K, Sketchy and Skeezy for stealing from the redneck zombie traders. Despite being “up close and personal” enough to pass a sentence of death on the three, Escorpion fails to recognize the sniper in this episode. Considering that this storyline has the Zeros following The Murphy and his group of protectors, which is used to explain a myriad of plot threads, it makes no real sense that the Zero enforcer would not recognize 10K.

Cliffhanger:

Kurian, is working  on a ploy to escape La Reina and the Zeros. He is using Murphy’s blood to create more “Cassandra” hybrids that Murphy can exclusively control.  After announcing that he has developed a vaccine, Kurian demands he test it…on Vasquez, cue one hypodermic needle being slowly moved to the DEA agent/mercenary’s neck.

Rivera (who is best known to television viewers as Marcus Alvarez in Sons of Anarchy) continues to rock as the Zero enforcer/middle management “right-hand” man to La Reina. Gershon turns her guest starring role into something memorable as well. Her power mad leader of the cartel can be seen as an ethereal relation to the female leader (in Ray Donovan) of the  Armenian  mob, Mrs Minassian (played brilliantly by Grace Zabriskie).

By the time the end credits roll on Z Nation: Party With the Zeros, Murphy confesses he likes being treated like a  Saint, although he should be wary of the honor Saints, after all, have to be dead to have been bestowed this status and Vasquez looks as though he will  become a new “Cassandra.”

There are three episodes left in this season on SyFy, the series airs on Fridays, and despite the titles all sounding a bit “final” The Asylum show will be back in 2016. Tune in and see whether or not Matt Cedeño‘s character become’s Murphy’s newest pet.

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Author: Michael Knox-Smith

World traveler, writer, actor, journalist. Cinephile who reviews films, television, books and interviews professionals in the industry. Member Nevada Film Critics Society

2 thoughts on “Z Nation: Party With the Zeros (Review) Saint Murphy

  1. “What then happens is a brief “Z see, Z do” scene which culminates in a very brief recreation of the classic “mirror scene” from the 1933 Marx Bros film.”

    Don’t forget the little Michael Jackson pose at the end where Murphy laughed out loud–something I also did (laughed, not danced).

    “it makes no real sense that the Zero enforcer would not recognize 10K.”

    Not to mention that he doesn’t recognize Vasquez, unless he’s not the real killer of Vasquez’s family, or he’s just killed so many people he doesn’t remember them all.

    I’m a little behind, but I’ll get caught up soon. This was a good episode. Could’ve done without seeing 10K getting a pedicure from that guy. Eww. Addie? Sure, but a dude? Haha I’ll pass. Doc’s curly beard was hilarious, by the way.

    1. Agreed! My final edit of the review omitted the red suit and the pose…I WAS in stitches and included it in stand out moments initially. Thanks of pointing it out and Doc’s beard? A clear homage to Beauty and the Beast! Another stand out moment that got lost in draft! 🙂

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