Z Nation: Duel – The Long Day of Addison Carver (Review) [Update]

Addy vs The Man in Duel

[Update] IMDb lists Dan Merchant as the director and writer for this episode. Twitter begs to differ as it lists Jennifer Derwingson, aka @Jenider (Who actually resembles Anastasia Baranova a bit…hmmm.) Mike’s Film Talk would like to apologize for any confusion caused by IMDb getting their facts wrong.

Z Nation‘s penultimate episode was edge of the seat viewing. “Duel” pitted Addison Carver against The Man as they both battled for control of Lucy. Once again the show manages to show just how tough its female warriors really are and even The Man could not make Addy stop.

“Duel” was a real mixed bag with the main focus being the battle between Baranova’s Addy and Gatt’s The Man.  There were some comic moments that had nothing to do with either character. Doc seeing himself and 10K, aka Thomas, arriving in a DeLorean a’la “Back to the Future” was just priceless.

The Man proved once again that he may be the toughest errand boy around but he is not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to dealing with Lucy. The kid rapidly grows up a number of years to become a chocolate craving teen who starts her menses at the wrong time.

Zona’s errand boy still has not made the connection of stress equalling change in Murphy’s offspring.

“Duel” is a real “mano a mano” fight right to the bitter end. Addy, like a Timex, takes a kicking and keeps on ticking. Even going so far as to slam her dislocated shoulder into a tree to pop it back into place.  Going full-on Martin Riggs is impressive, as is the woman’s single minded determination to save Lucy from Zona.

Addy Carver’s longest day begins at the shipyard where the 10 year old Lucy is throwing flaming matches at pools of petrol. She is surrounded by her Z friends and The Man is nowhere to be seen. This quickly changes and the two adults do battle over the child.

Lucy runs off and the Z’s take after both combatants. Addy ends up trapped on a burning boat and The Man winds up with Lucy. This cycle is repeated, although at one time it is Addy who retains temporary custody of Murphy’s daughter.

The title of this episode has a double meaning.  It is not just the battle between The Man and Addy, but it also refers to the fight between Lucy, both ages, and her temporary “keepers.” There is less straightforward comedy in this segment.

Dan Merchant who wrote and directed this episode allows Doc to have the full on comic moment while allowing the situation of a steadily adapting Lucy take on the less obvious amusing moments.

10 year old Lucy storming out of the clothes shop when Addy’s version of events concerning her mother angers the little blue girl and later The Man trying to awkwardly explain that Lucy is not dying despite all that blue blood ends badly for him. (Another sly gag written in here, Lucy is, after all royalty therefore her blood would be blue…)

There can be little doubt that as The Man continues to stress Lucy out, she will soon leave teen-dom and enter adulthood.  This penultimate episode seems to be headed that way. With a season finale titled “Everybody Dies in the End” it sounds like very few people will be standing when the Z dust settles.

A running theme through this bloody and painful battle of wills and people is the revelation that the Z’s think.   Addy believes, mistakenly, that Lucy is making up names and giving the Z’s a backstory.

While Addy does not observe it, Lucy gets advice from a Z while trying to steal The Man’s wheels. Clearly the zombies do have thoughts and can communicate with the special girl.  Like her father, Lucy can control the Z’s.

Unlike Murphy, however, she can read their minds. Murphy can communicate a bit with the zombies but not nearly as well as his daughter can.

“Duel” follows Addy, who follows The Man and Lucy, and Doc follows them both. At the end of the episode, after Carver takes the woman’s car, She meets up with Doc.  The Man has headed east and as Doc was biking west the two were bound to meet up.

Anastasia Baranova totally kicks arse in this episode. The actress proves that she is not afraid to “ugly-up” for her art and by the end of this segment, Addy looks like 10 miles of bad road.  The Man has not pulled his punches and neither has Baranova’s character.

Despite her resolve and innate toughness however, Addy is scarred. She is not beaten despite her wounds and now that she and Doc have reunited, they may well rescue Lucy from The Man.

“Duel” was a brilliant episode. There were elements of Cool Hand Luke in the battle between The Man and Addy but the cleverest bit of the episode had to be Lucy biting the Z arm and “turning” it. The limb shows both Addy and Doc which direction to follow.

The other clever bit has The Man being “run down” by Lucy only to emerge from beneath the vehicle when she stops for Addy.

For Addy and Doc, it all boils down to Delta-X-Ray-Delta and completing the mission.  The season finale may find the band back together again for the last battle between Murphy, Zona and Warren’s team.

Z Nation airs Fridays on SyFy.  Tune in and get ready for the season three finale, which will premiere 15 December.

CAST:

Guest starring Caitlin Carmichael as 14 year old Lucy and  Beatrice Corley as 10 year old Lucy.