It is hard to believe that Z Nation is the work of The Asylum after seeing the opening scene of No Mercy. The two hour season three premiere “Flashback Movie” starts with Kellita Smith’s character narrating as a young woman in red runs across a sepia background.
Beauty, contrast and Roberta Warren waxing wisely on apocalyptic America. All this and Pisay Pao returning as Cassandra makes this an episode to remember.
It all goes to show that despite “Sharknado” being The Asylum’s weapon of choice, that they can knock it out of the park when they want to.
Written by Carl and Daniel Shaefer, the episode gives added meaning to the series’ theme song “Have Mercy” and gives the audience a tad more “backstory.”
Some old faces are back and the new ones are nowhere to be seen. Lucy, who appears to have gotten smaller, is back as is Cassandra. Still missing is Mack and it seems that Addy has recovered from his death. Vasquez is also not along for the ride.
The time setting seems to be sort of a “sidestep” in the storyline. Somewhere in-between episodes two and six of season two which means that both Lucy’s appearance and Cassandra’s is temporary at best.
“No Mercy” begins at a mansion where swimsuit wearing women serve drinks beside a pool while others take in the sun. An emaciated and heavily veined hand shakily grabs a phone and calls “The Man” who is sitting out in a field drinking what looks like a mojito.
The Man is to collect a doctor from the Mercy corporation. He attempts to but settles on a semi-feral lad to start. The kid escapes and literally runs into 10K.
As noted in the preview of “No Mercy” part of this episode looks like a loving homage to Mad Max 2. The kid who runs into and later emulates, 10K looks like a refugee from the second film in the apocalyptic Australian franchise. All that is missing is the deadly boomerang and that steel mitt.
The boy is Red’s little brother, she adopted him, after he was raised by a murder of crows. While the youngster can talk, he also expresses himself by cawing.
“What did he say?”
“I don’t know, he lost me at ‘caw.'”
The group reluctantly decide to help Red and Dr. Teller’s group. The survivors are corralled behind a tall fence a’la The Walking Dead season at the prison.
Once Warren and the rest of the group arrive, they learn more about the man and what Teller was doing when the apocalypse hit.
The Man has a serious Agent 47 thing going on except he has no barcode on the back of his shaven head and he wears flip-flops. He is one tough customer, footwear notwithstanding, and he could well cause a lot of problems for the group after this episode.
He gives the fenced survivors 24 hours to turn over the doctor but returns early. Roberta Warren starts a Spartacus roll where everyone claims to be the doctor. The Man is not amused, although he does admit that Spartacus is his favorite film.
Murphy, who leaves Lucy in the care of Cassandra, “look after the poo machine,” hears voices and goes to investigate. He finds nothing at first. .
Later, after the confrontation with The Man, Murphy leaves Lucy with Cassandra again and tells her to feed the baby if she gets hungry.
Warren questions Teller about why The Man wants him and the doctor does not really know. Z Nation then heads into High Plains Drifter territory with Roberta giving the survivors shooting lessons. Doc then catches the drift (pun intended) and they paint the building’s red.
Murphy discovers the doctor’s secret. There are several bacteria infected people inside the laboratory and they ask Murphy to kill them. One of these infected people is Teller’s wife.
Meanwhile 10K and Red connect, while “5K” her brother has dressed himself up to emulate his hero. (Another homage moment, that is clearly a nod to Pitch Black and “Jack.”) It looks like the young sniper has found love again.
Murphy talks to the doctor and relays what his wife Sarah is saying. (This feels a bit like a “Ghost Whisperer” homage.) Teller then reveals what happened to his wife and the other workers in the lab. Zombies invaded the facility and the fungus infected everyone except Teller.
There are crows everywhere in this episode, a nod to Resident Evil: Extinction, and 10K teaches 5K to shoot a wrist rocket. The comic highlight of the episode belongs to Cassandra who breast feeds Lucy.
“It’s the apocalypse baby, roll with it.”
Warren goes after The Man but it is a trap. She gets caught but later escapes with a little help.
There is a Magnificent Seven type climatic fight where the baddies, led by The Man overrun the compound. Things go badly when the villains “release the Kracken,” a group of chained and huge zombies who have been mercy-proofed.
(How can you not love a series that includes the phrase “release the kracken?”)
On a sidenote, the music, as the group set up their defenses, is very Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Warren returns after 5K finds where she is being held and releases her. Before she arrives to help the group, Doc leads the fighting survivors and does a pretty impressive job.
The zombie kracken forces them into the lab and Teller’s wife and the lab techs help to defeat The Man’s invaders, but at a terrible cost.
10K and 5K are trapped surrounded by Z’s and the kid dies. Red is overcome with grief and runs to attack a group of zombies. 10K tries to stop her but, ironically, Cassandra stops him from committing Z suicide.
Teller and the rest of the names on The Man’s list are taken to the house with the pool and all the Mercy survivors are dead.
Z Nation season three shot out of the gate with the speed of a runaway train. The premiere had a great storyline and a shoot out that would make the chaps at Rourke’s Drift proud.
This “out of time” premiere may not have followed the storyline, but it did show why this series is so much fun to watch. Kudos to whomever decided to bring back Cassandra and Lucy.
Z Nation will, presumably, go back to its linear storyline next week. The series airs Fridays on SyFy.