The season two finale of Z Nation felt like a lot of things and, like other episodes in this season was a brilliant mix of genres and themes. At the end, rather than the last man standing, it is Murphy who stands alone, not deserted, but on his own with some newly created Cassandra-type minions.
Warren, Addy, Doc and new “hanger-on” Escorpion (Emilio Rivera) stand at the beach and look on as “The Murphy” heads to shore from the sinking submarine with a boat full of his newest slaves.
Disturbingly, 10K is missing, although when last seen the wounded sniper looked to be getting away from the sub. Things have come full circle, La Reina (Gina Gershon) arrives with the remnants of the Zeros and demands Murphy after which a prolonged firefight takes place which has Roberta’s group against the wall.
Escorpion saves the day, by his timely return after escaping all those Zs he fell into earlier. Death almost comes to several of our heroes, Addy (Anastasia Baranova), Doc, Roberta (Kellita Smith) and 10K. 10K takes a large caliber bullet to the torso and when the CDC arrive, in the form of a naval sub commander, the ship’s doctor and the female scientist that Murphy threatened to bite all the way back in the season one pilot, they take Murphy and 10k to the vessel.
DJ Qualls’ character Citizen Z leaves the NORAD facility with his canine pal and heads across the frozen wasteland. Towards the end of the finale he stands waiting, looking almost like a Z as another figure approaches him.
Like other episodes, this one had plenty of humor, as well as a number of pop culture references. The whole “Murphy” in a dress gag ended with a shot of Doc and he standing together with Doc holding a crowbar. This obvious reference to the “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood is funny. (Granted it is a crowbar and the two are standing on the wrong sides, but reference it has to be, this is Z Nation after all…)
Later on, after the dust has settled and Murphy is out in the submarine, Addy and Roberta seem to be doing a little “Zombieland” schtick when Escorpion offers them a ride in his black SUV. The two women hesitate and Addy tells Warren that they can always kill him and take his vehicle later.
One last bit of “homage” material (although I could be reading way too much into it) appears to be a nod and wink to the Japanese survival horror video game Siren Blood Curse. After Vasquez decides not to kill Escorpion, he stays behind in the diner/cafe. Taking his cherished family photo and putting it in a bandana, he then fashions the clothe into a headband.
After tying the band off, he comes out of the eatery and starts attacking the Zero Zs. The bandanna headband is very reminiscent of the teenage hero’s headgear from Siren who attacks Shibito at the end of the survival horror game in a “bonus” round.
Heading back to the finale, we find that Murphy’s dress disappears and he re-emerges in his “Michael Jackson” outfit from last week, sans hat. It is obvious that the dress was just there to set up the Grant Wood reference.
The final fight between Roberta Warren and La Reina. This was brilliantly choreographed, right up to the saving of the Lieutenant by Rivera’s character.
Addy’s fight with the masked minion, the crotch shot (with her broken bat) and Roberta’s killing of the Zero.
Murphy approaching the scientist, whom he recognizes, and her lack of recognition which prompts him to scream out what he told the doctor in the season one pilot, “I will hunt you down and eat your brains.”
Dr. Kurian being turned into the Z Nation version of Topo Gigio, although his head never does get to say, “Close the door it’s cold!”
Murphy in the submarine finding himself surrounded by more blue-eyed men than if he were at a Frank Sinatra look-a-like contest.
The boat ride with Murphy’s newest “Cassandra’s” complete with big bite marks on their faces.
It is not clear whether Emilio Rivera will be joining as a member of Team Warren or not. As it stands so far, the finale does not have the ominous overtones of last season’s. Not everyone looks to be one step from death. Possible casualties include 10K, Vasquez and Citizen Z.
While not as much of a cliff-hanger as last year, there are still many things to consider. As of now, it seems that Murphy may be intent on building an army and that the next victim of the show, when it returns next year will be a toss up between “Z” and 10K.
Another constant, in the second season has been Zona, first encountered on the RoZwell episode with Missi Pyle and Doug Jones. The mysterious organization is mentioned again and again. In the finale it is revealed that Zona is funding the “Murphy cure.”
The score on this season finale was full of an almost menacing ambiance, reminiscent to the Ennio Morricone score used on John Carpenter’s The Thing. Citizen Z’s message to the group that the CDC facility had been compromised means that the west coast is no longer a viable location for making vaccine.
Director John Hyams takes the series out on a higher note than the season one finale. Things look very doubtful for 10K, Citizen Z and Vasquez. Murphy may still be standing at the end of the episode (steering the small craft with his newly created minions) but Doc, Roberta and Addy have a new pal and look ready to rock and roll in the zombie apocalypse.
Kudos to Kellita Smith, Anastasia Baranova, Russell Hodgkinson, Nat Kang, Matt Cedeño, Keith Allan, DJ Qualls and Emilio Rivera (who may or may not return next season). Z Nation will be missed until season three. Until then, thank goodness for “on-demand.”