Z Nation: Doc Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Review)

Z Nation - Season 3

 Z Nation “Doc Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” spotlights Doc who manages to get separated from Warren and the rest when he spends “five minutes to take care of business.”  Knocked out cold by a black Elvis Doc wakes up in an asylum run by Nurse Ratched.

He manages to convince the nurse that he is a psychiatrist and she takes him to diagnose a recent patient; 10K. Ratched want to lobotomize 10K as he has been ranting and going into seizures.  Since he has not had a Murphy booster shot, 10K is also foaming at the mouth.

Doc talks Retched into letting him get some drugs from the pharmacy on the other side of the Z ward.  Elvis gives him a hand.

This is clearly a pastiche of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest  but there is more going on here. The character of Winona is a direct mickey take of two time Oscar nominated actress Winona Ryder.

Ryder was done for shop lifting back in 2001. Winona in the show is a kleptomaniac and looks a bit like the real Ryder. (As she looked back in the Beetlejuice, Heathers days.) She is dressed all in black, with some diagonal white stripes, it is all very evocative of Beetlejuice. The allusion is all too clear.

(What Ms. Ryder may think of all this is not known. The character and the mickey-take is funny though.)

Another thing that has been going on in this season is the “Boy Racer” or manga hairstyling of 10K.  Whether it is based upon a particular character like Boy Racer or Horo Horo, the spiky “do” and the headband is very anime/manga cool.

As season three progresses that manga look is getting ever more pronounced.

Horo Horo
Horo Horo, aka Horohoro, aka 10K?

The feeling of the episode is very tense, despite the humor running throughout.  Doc is overjoyed to find his missing buddy. 10K is suffering withdrawal as Nurse Ratched confiscated the Murphy vaccine that he needs to take regularly.

Doc mixes up a cocktail of various drugs to bring his friend around it works but 10K is not himself and his condition worsens.

The other patients are taking mushrooms for medication, presumably not “magic” ones, and are slightly representative of the “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” characters.

Bob is clearly “The Chief” and Liddy could be seen as the Billy Bibbit in this scenario.

Unlike the film, where Nurse Ratched is attacked by Murphy, Ratched dies by having her neck broken and is then stabbed with the probe used to perform lobotomies. Big Ben does the killing.

Doc was obviously “Murphy” although he was not a willing participant. By the end of the episode, Z’s have broken through the barriers and entered the hospital/asylum.  Ratched is dead and the remainder of the inmates escape.

Winona steals the bus and drives off leaving  Doc and 10K stranded.

Kudos to Russell Hodgkinson and the series writers for taking the stoner character of Doc, who was pretty much a laid-back “Cheech and Chong” type guy in season one, and making him so much more.

This season has focused on 10K, Hector and Doc thus far.  While the overall tone is that bit darker than the previous seasons, Z Nation still reaches the parts that other zombie apocalypse shows will not touch. (Think zombie babies and sudden heart wrenching deaths of beloved characters.)

Z Nation airs Fridays on SyFy. Tune in to the refreshing alternative to AMC’s  The Walking Dead. 


Guest starring Kate Witt as Nurse Ratched, Brandon Marino as Elvis, Hannah Horton as Winona, Austin Hillebrecht as Liddy and Bruce Lawson as Bob.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

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

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