Z Nation: Heart of Darkness – Escorpion Reborn (Review)

 Z Nation - Season 3

This episode of Z Nation “Heart of Darkness” was aptly titled.  This season has been darker than the previous two and as correctly forecast by our review of Welcome to Murphytown Roberta Warren does indeed enlist the help of the Red Hand to take on Murphy. Overall, despite the surrealistic end where Addy and Doc find Lucy, this was an incredibly dark episode where the old Escorpion meets the new “reborn” one.

The episode starts with Citizen Z and his new partner Kaya, getting back on the airwaves. Simon and his girl are hoping to contact Warren and her team. Warren infiltrates Murphytown and almost gets caught.  Murphy interrogates 10K.

Murphy asks what Warren plans to do and 10K answers, “She plans to spank your a** real good.” 10K is then put on Z moat clean up.

Warren, Hector and Sun Mei run into Hopper, the drug dealer for the Red Hand. He takes them to meet Escorpion.

(Hopper must be a homage to the late great Dennis Hopper. If it is not, we will stand corrected but we believe this was the intent.)

Citizen Z tracks down Murphy in Spokane and calls him. Murphy tells Z that Operation  Bitemark has been terminated.  Murphy tells him not to call again and rips the phone cord out of the wall.

Kaya looks at Simon and says, “That went well.”

Warren finally meets the new Escorpion. It is the former mercenary Vasquez.  He has undergone a change and does not recognize Roberta. She tries to get through to him but Vasquez is gone.

Escorpion challenges Hector and the former Zeros enforcer shows him the tattoo. Vasquez  has the same one on his forearm. Warren tries to make Escorpion remember their time together. For a moment it looks like she is getting through but he orders his  men to lock her up.

Hector and Warren are locked up together and Sun Mei gets her own cell.  Warren tells Hector that if they cannot get Vasquez to remember who he really is she will kill him.

Hector takes the initiative and chokes Roberta out. When she comes to, he is gone and a dead Red Hand is in the cell. Hopper asks Warren where Hector is and she replies she does not know.

Roberta and Sun Mei are taken back to see Escorpion (Vasquez) and Hopper has to tell his boss that Hector escaped.  Warren explains again about their previous mission; getting Murphy to California and Hector shows back up fighting Red Hand gang members.

Hector reminds the new Escorpion of their history together. He rimed Vasquez that he killed  his wife and daughter.  Vasquez does not believe him.

The two Escorpion’s fight and Vasquez stabs Hector repeatedly with a short knife. Warren then shoves her long knife into Vasquez who recognizes her as he begins to die. He asks her to mercy him.

Roberta decapitates Vasquez.

Sun Mei tries to save Hector by giving him her experimental vaccine and it  stops him from turning but that is, apparently, all it has accomplished.

The Red Hand’s take on Roberta Warren as their new alpha leader since she killed Vasquez and she now has her army. Warren and the Red Hand army head out to Murphytown.

Z Nation - Season 3
Lucy’s tea party.

Meanwhile Doc and Addy find Lucy. Murphy’s daughter has certain gotten big in a hurry. Back at the now deserted Red Hand headquarters, Hector’s eyes open and his eyes have changed.

This season has had its clever moments, for example the “Election Day” episode had so many that it was hard to catch them all. This episode was clearly a homage to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness that was also turned into film in 1993 with John Malkovich and Tim Roth.

Unlike the previous seasons, The Asylum and series creators Craig Engler and Karl Schaefer have shied away from the warped humor attached to the show and gone for a darker vision.  Z Nation has always been, to a certain extent, a bargain basement alternative to The Walking Dead.

As the show has gone on, the humor always been more or less present but there were moments where the series reached heights of almost cinematic genius. Die Zombie Die… Again was a perfect example of the sublime and it marked a defining moment in the show.

This season, which could almost be a sort of Apocalypse Now homage with Murphy as Kurtz, is more grim than earlier seasons and the humor is used sparingly when it is used at all.

Murphy’s face is beginning to take on a camouflaged appearance, once again bringing to mind a military motif, and his move to take over has removed his comedic moments altogether.

Z Nation has shifted into a higher, or possibly lower, gear.  The series has left behind its more schlocky moments and while it is not “high drama” it is certainly more ready to be taken seriously.

There is still some humor, it will never evolve into the grim setting associated with the AMC zombie fest, and one hopes that it never loses sight of its original vision.

Z Nation - Season 3

Z Nation airs Fridays on SyFy. Tune in and see what Lucy has been up to while daddy has been raising his own army.


Guest starring Dylan Vox as Hopper and Matt Cedeño as Vasquez 

Author: Mike's Film Talk

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

3 thoughts on “Z Nation: Heart of Darkness – Escorpion Reborn (Review)”

  1. This was an unusual episode. Dark, but well scripted, acted and executed. The dark tone and creepy, spartan sets were amazing.
    This review was quite intelligent and well done also.


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