Z Nation: Zombie Baby Daddy – And Then There Were Five (Review)


Z Nation - Season 2
Only The Asylum and Z Nation co-creator Craig Engler (who wrote Zombie Baby Daddy) can  produce an episode that combines some splendid comical moments with a disturbing death.   With a flourish of drama (in the case of Lucy, aka Lulu tinged with a foreshadowing of doom for her “new parents” Ma and Pa Kettle) Engler settles the issue of just what Cassandra turned into.

Of course it was almost preordained that Lucy’s story was not going to end well in Zombaby! last week.  In this week’s episode, which starts in downtown Springfield, Illinois, the expanded group of seven, counting Lucy, are trapped by a horde of zombies who are all attracted to the newly born infant. That Murphy’s offspring draws the undead like flies when she makes any noise, either crying or just “baby noises” is interesting.

Almost as interesting is the fact that since the Batch 47 phyto zombie episode,  Murphy’s ability to control  zombies has faded almost to nonexistence. In Zombie Baby Daddy, he briefly holds the encroaching undead at bay, but his control fades quickly and he throws Lucy to Doc.

The start of the episode gives Russell Hodgkinson’s character the best lines. Grabbing little “Lulu” out of the air, Doc hops on a school bus. Locking the door behind him he realizes too late that the vehicle if full of undead Abraham Lincoln lookalikes. The Lincoln zombies stir when Lucy starts crying, but not before Doc utters a pained, “Holy acid flashback man.”

When Addy and Roberta force the bus door open,  Doc, with Lucy cradled in his arms, leaves the bus and the little group back away from the yellow vehicle as zombie Lincoln’s exit. Roberta says, “What in God’s name?” Doc, with a sense of relief, answers, “Oh good, you see ’em too.”

The group then dispatch the zombie’s with 10K (Nat Kang) getting the visual punch line by shooting the Abe Lincoln zombie with the giant penny attached to its head.  All this before the opening credits roll.

The group are aware, and concerned, that the baby is a zombie magnet.  The child does not just attract  the human undead. In a hilariously, yet oh so creepy, scene Murphy is trying to calm the crying child when a group of zombie animals come out from behind a bit of machinery that Murphy is setting on.  Like many of Z Nation‘s episodes and scenes the event is disturbing as it is funny. A sort of zombie Disney moment, sans the singing critters. (Or varmints as Murphy calls the undead animals.)

Z Nation - Season 2
Murphy and Lucy seconds before a disturbing “Disney” moment.

The group scatter. Vasquez heads out through  the woods and Roberta follows. 10K brings back some fish he caught and Murphy takes Lucy away from the team, leaving Cassandra behind with orders to let no one leave.  The mercenary winds up at a Zeroes “hideout” and as Warren watches, the man is captured and she “bails him out,” but not before the two of them are shot.

Back at the camp, 10K, Addy and Doc attempt to leave by splitting up. Addy is positive that Cassandra will not hurt them badly as she still believes that the girl is their friend. The first time the trio split up, Cassandra chases Addy down and almost breaks her arm. Addy’s cries of pain bring Doc and 10K back.

The second attempt to leave ends with Cassandra starting to break 10K’s neck and, in desperation, he stabs her in the head.

Engler’s episode is shocking. The whole storyline of Cassandra, becoming Murphy’s bodyguard, slave and pet, was at times very amusing, as was Pisay Pao’s performance, with the actress channelling her “inner” guard dog.

*Sidenote*Mad props to Pisay Pao with her performance as the increasingly animalistic Cassandra.  She managed to keep enough humanity in her character that when she dies the viewer is truly upset.  It also has to be mentioned that  only Anastasia Baranova can impress so much with a slow-motion short-hair “shampoo advert” toss of the head. (Springfield, Illinois hair toss outside the Lincoln school bus = win.)

The buildup and then the quick sudden death of Cassandra (made all the more disturbing as it was at the hand of 10K who still seemed to have a little crush on her) is indicative of where this zombie alternative to The Walking Dead is headed this season.  Like the first season, the humor is still there but Engler and co-creator Karl Schaefer are packing in some serious sucker punches this season.

Season one saw the death of Garnett just as he and Roberta were about to “hook-up” and the only other thing more shocking  in the first run of the show was when Addy left Mack for Camp “Sappho.” Season two saw the two reunite only to have Mack die. (Kudos to Michael Welch for his performance in that scene.)  Now Z Nation has lost Cassandra and baby Lucy.

One does get the impression that Lucy will show up later, after her crying (Which we know will draw zombies to the little home of the Kettle’s.) exit while her new parents coo over the cot she is in. Cassandra will presumably not return, her resurrection last season by Murphy is not permanent and death by a knife blade in the brain cannot be fixed in a zombie apocalypse.

Murphy’s decision to leave his baby with the couple in the clearing was a little surprising after his obvious infatuation with the infant. Although this move does make sense for a number of reasons. Not least being the problems of having a CG baby as a repeated character.

Z Nation - Season 2
“Murphy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do…”

The other main plot thread in this week’s episode was  Warren/Vasquez  attraction which resulted in the two  “bonding” over stitches. This pair of “type A” personalities have been getting closer even as they continue to argue with one another. Roberta saving the newest member of the  Murphy group was a nice touch. So too was her starting to slam a scalpel into Vasquez’ brain just as he “recovers.”

Z Nation airs Fridays on SyFy and this second season is darker and a tad more…serious. Tune in for the sly tongue-in-cheek humor, but watch out for those sucker punches, they really hurt.

 

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

12 thoughts on “Z Nation: Zombie Baby Daddy – And Then There Were Five (Review)”

  1. how did murphy bite pa and ma kettle? how can murphy control 2 humans before the bite? I think lucy at the end must have known her daddy wasn’t coming back. but if lucy can find murphy in the womb, she probably can find him anywhere out of the womb.

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  2. dang, someone deleted my comment. just wanted to post that I will miss lucy. cant wait for her to return later on. maybe they will have her as a human blue child. lucy can control all humans, and zombie humans and zombie animals. the 3 zombie wise men was funny. or what it 2 wisemen and 1 wisewomen?

    I like murphy and doc’s humor.
    10k for killing Cassandra is now under murphy’s radar. hope 10k isn’t anywhere alone with murphy. (bitting nails) Cassandra’s eyes were weird looking when she got mercy from 10k.

    when Cassandra bled on 10k, maybe 10k got some of the zombie immune from the blood transfer and 10k will be the new zombie human drone for murphy. I can see murphy taking his anger issues on zombie 10k.

    overall I been a fan from the pilot..

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  3. great season so far. I will miss the zombie baby. hope to see lucy in the future episodes. the show could have made a zombie doll and not a cgi if cgi’s are expensive. they have dolls now that look like a real baby. the show creators could have painted a baby doll blue and put some motion robotic parts to make the eyes move and the baby make sounds with an recording. I will miss lucy. hope she comes back later on, maybe have her grow up and be a real child on the show like how they have a real child in the walking dead show. a real child that is in blue like murphy and can control zombies like her dad. I think after murphy took the zombie drug, I don’t think he can control zombies anymore so maybe lucy can take over the zombie population control herself and be handy for the humans when she gets older and be to protect herself from humans, maybe she can control humans too. that would be cool. lucy have psychic powers were she can control zombies humans and zombie animals and living humans.

    love murphy and doc’s humor. the whole cast is awesome. I wasn’t surprised that Cassandra was going to die, but at the end she looked more human then zombie, and her eyes were weird looking. the blood she bled in 10k’s wound might have gave 10k the cure to the zombie infection. a blood on the face is from a open wound. so my best guess is that 10k got some of the zombie cure from Cassandra that she got from murphy.

    and 10k might not be safe from murphy after killing Cassandra. hope 10k’s got protection, because when he is alone, murphy will probably kill him, and then 10k will probably take over Cassandra’s place as murphy’s bodyguard/drone…

    and before I go, how did murphy bite 2 people at once when he was at ma and pa kettle house? they didn’t show it. cant figure out how murphy can jump 2 people and one of them has a shotgun in his hand and be like (okay you can bite me stranger) makes no sense. maybe we will see how Lucy’s new mom and dad was able to get bit by her birth dad murphy. and why didn’t Lucy’s birth mother get the zombie immune from her one night stand with murphy and being pregnant with lucy?

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  4. No kidding! I had some anger management issues, myself, after 10K killed Cassandra. Coulda’ stabbed the leg first, man, just to see if she’d back off.

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  5. That was horrible! If they had just stayed put, like Doc said, there would have been no reason for 10K to fight Cassandra in the first place. Like Murphy said, he had no right to take her life. They seem to forget she was on death’s door when Murphy bit her. She wasn’t exactly the same, but who can say whether the “cure” they manufacture from Murphy couldn’t have improved her, with the right scientists working on it? Cassandra was a scene stealer and I hate that she’s gone.
    Funniest line of the night, was when Doc objected to Murphy’s quip about Lincoln’s big hat being the reason he was shot in the theater, and Murphy replied, “What? Too soon?”
    As for Murphy losing his control, that’s got me wondering. At first I thought maybe the Blasters and the Phyto-Zombies were different because they were mutated. Now with him not having that same control, I wonder if it’s because of baby Lucy having the same kind of control, and between the two the message got diluted and the zombies didn’t obey, sort of like having two bosses giving conflicting directives. Just a thought. I suppose if Murphy regains his control next episode we’ll know.
    Just wondering out loud here….think Lucy will undergo a mega-fast growth spurt? Maybe she’ll pop up as a 6-year-old in a few episodes (kind of like Falling Skies).

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    1. And why not? Re: Lucy growing up magically, soap operas have done that trick for years…LOL “The magic baby” one minute an infant the next in middle school! Yeah Murphy losing his control may well be because of Lucy. Or…as he continues to “evolve” himself, it could well be that it is just naturally draining away…He also appears to have developed some anger management issues…
      Thanks for sharing matey…

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  6. Hi Michael – I think people forgot that last season wasn’t all camp, like when Garnett was killed. Keith Allan does a great job of bringing serious in at the right times. I noticed that the “percentage” of camp was a LOT lower in this episode – and it was quite well written. This show has a lot of hidden depth that isn’t apparent.

    By the way, although his character is no longer with us (RIP Mack) his name is actually Michael Welch. Poor guy – people keep making that mistake.

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    1. Arrrrggggghhhhh! “Damn you Salazar!” (points if you know where that quote comes from) I think is sodding spellcheck (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) On a serious note, thanks mate. I still remember spelling Keith Allan’s name wrong on the first ever review I did on the show last year. He, rather nicely, commented on the article, written for another publication, and told me about it. Sigh, off to re-edit… 🙂

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  7. Nice recap and yes seeing 10k kill Cassandra was a bit of a shock especially with Addy determined to believe she’s not really a “true” zombie. Loved the new and improved zombaby.

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    1. Agreed on both counts. The Addy being convinced that Cassandra would not really hurt them did add considerably to the shock factor! Yup, baby Lucy aka Lulu looked impressive and I still think she looks like a baby Wednesday Addams…

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