Z Nation: Everybody Dies in the End – Fully Loaded and Shocking (Review)

Z Nation - Season 3

Z Nation always manages to pull off season finales that leave the viewers sitting stunned with jaws moving to the floor.  “Everybody Dies in the End” was no exception. Watching the final moments left no doubt that things in the Z Nation verse were going to be changed forever.

After being convinced that Roberta Warren was going to meet her maker at the hands of The Man, only to see her “mortally” wounded by him after Murphy interceded on her behalf was a complete and total “wow” moment.

As Warren herself says, before heading into the mountain to save Lucy from The Man and Zona (or as the hovering craft reads on its side “Zone A”), about going in “fully loaded” the ending was a fully shocking conclusion to this season.

This finale kept to the main theme of grimly comic and the last moments of Doc, Murphy, Warren, Sun Mei, Red and Tomas were pretty damned dire.  Addy, who climbs to the top of the mountain in the nick of time, takes The Man over the edge of the cliff with her. Lucy screams Addy’s name and jumps after the pair and 5K, only recently returned from the dead, leaps after all of them with his feathered arms outstretched.

Duel” was always going to be a hard episode to follow.  But “Everybody Dies in the End” manages to meet the challenge spectacularly.  A lot is inferred and in some ways Murphy’s line of “This could all be a dream [sic]” may be spot on.

Or not…

In season two it appeared that Murphy and Warren were heading toward a sort of grudging mutual respect. It actually got to a point where Roberta seemed to be warming to the awkward savior of humanity.  The final season three throwdown between Murphy, The Man and Roberta Warren ended with Lucy’s father and the lieutenant sharing more than a bullet; Roberta is now infected with Murphy’s blood.

The two have, at last, become a sort of couple. A mother and father for Lucy, now played by Kelly Washington, to replace her all too brief childhood imaginings of storybook parents.  Another startling revelation had to do with Murphy actually being dead throughout the entire three season’s of Z Nation.

Z Nation - Season 3
Sun Mei, 10K, Red

This information was used to bring back 10K, who was dying of a nasty infection. Murphy offers to bite him again but Sun Mei, after telling Murphy that he has been dead all along, explains that they must kill 10K, bite him and then inject him with the original virus.

After a nail biting amount of time, the dead 10K returns, but only after everyone in the audience wail and gnash their teeth.  The sniper with the dual identity (Tomas) comes back and proves that even with two names he has more lives than a cat.

Addy continued her legendary bad-arsery by climbing to the top of the mountain and after a slow motion start takes out her opponent from the previous episode. Sure, the bald baddy may survive the fall, but there is no doubt that Addison Carver will survive it “better.”

Doc continued his awesome character arc in this final episode as well. Only he could double team with a Z (Grandpa) to take out a Zona troop with ease.

(Sidenote: Question for Z fans and fans of Doug Jones: Does anyone else think that the Grandpa zombie was in fact Jones?  He is not listed and despite the actor who played him having dialogue (“Lucy!”) he cannot be found on any sites. Answers on a postcard or failing that, in the comment section below.)

While not everyone dies, not on camera at least as the mounted machine gun on the aircraft only starts firing at the end, it is clear that if Warren does die she will return as a sort of Murphy blend.  There cannot be many who did not scream out “no” when that slo-mo “Matrix” bullet ploughed through Murphy to land in Warren’s abdomen.  Her shocked face easily matched at least one viewer’s countenance during this unforgettable scene.

Z Nation - Season 3
Holden Goyette as 5K

By the end of the episode, Warren and Murphy are down.  Doc, 10K, Sun Mei and Red are in the line of fire.  Addy, Lucy, The Man and 5K have gone off the side of the mountain and it does indeed look like “Everybody Dies in the End.”

The highlight of this episode, for at least one serio-comic moment was the reuniting of Lucy and her father.  His rejoinder to her accusations of abandonment, “You were only a month old a year ago,” as they then hug and make up was all too brief.  We have been waiting all season to see these two come together and while the sequence was short it was oddly satisfying.

Kudos to all the youngsters playing Lucy “through the ages.” Kelly Washington managed to take over the latest version with an admirable ease. Well done.

Z Nation - Season 3
Lucy and Murphy together at last…

This was a splendid end to the season. Mad props to Keith Allen with his brilliant character arc, making Murphy almost noble in the end.  Kellita Smith making her character so much more than the sum of all her parts. Anastasia Baranova continuing her role of “Super Addy” and Russell Hodgkinson keeping Doc’s journey as the most changed character in the show on track.

Kaya’s plaintive cry to the missing Simon was also a nice touch. Writer and director Abram Cox has pulled out all the stops to make this one memorable end for our heroes.

Not since the first season’s nuclear end has Z Nation managed to so thoroughly doom its main characters. While we believe wholeheartedly that Warren and Murphy will survive, albeit much changed, it will be a long wait to see who lives to fight another day.

Well done Z Nation, well done.


Z Nation: Day One – It’s a Z World After All (Review)

A lot of things are made clear in Z Nation Day One and after the end credits roll, it seems that it is a Z world after all. With beaucoup backstory everything about DJ Qualls’ character “Citizen Z” becomes abundantly clear.

Z Nation - Season 2

A lot of things are made clear in Z Nation Day One and after the end credits roll, it seems that it is a Z world after all.  With beaucoup backstory everything about DJ Qualls’ character “Citizen Z” becomes abundantly clear.  Not just the Z man either, although with Mack and Addy’s backstory we finally learn how they met and became a “couple.” (Addy’s backstory was dealt with more fully in season one.)

In this episode, we learn what the surviving members of the “Murphy” gang were doing on “Day One.”  As it typical with this series, episodes change pace, delivery and even genre (to a degree) throughout the season.  From an hour long homage to French auteur Robert Enrico (Z Nation White Light) to Mad Max: Fury Road ( Z Nation Zombie Road), this series vacillates between fullout comedy, tongue in cheek humor and a poignancy that requires the liberal use of tissues. 

As the backstories are revealed this week, there are moments of that tongue in cheek delivery, but with a bittersweet twist. After learning that they are standing amongst the ruins of Disneyland (and amazingly the matterhorn ride is still standing) Addy points out that “It’s a Small World” would have been right over “there.”

Doc (As the group move on): “It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears…”

There are other “present day moments” that mark who is what in the “here and now.   One thing that is clarified is Lt. Warren’s present role. Apart from being the strong positive role model, Roberta is also the mother of the group.

She is the one who tells the truth;  it is going to hurt and there is nothing anyone can do about it. In her exchange with Murphy, where he confesses that he can no longer dream, Warren lays it on the line, like the mommy of the group that she has become, at least in this instance, her information  is not sugar coated.

Murphy: “They’re gonna hurt me. You know that, right?”

Roberta: “I won’t let that happen.”

Murphy: “You can’t stop it if you’re not there.”

Roberta: “Murphy, this is the apocalypse. Look, I can’t tell you it’s not gonna hurt. The truth is eventually we’re all gonna get hurt. There isn’t a happy ending for any of us. But you… You are the one person that can change that. You got to do it alone. Even if it hurts.” 

This is some pretty poignant stuff here. Hearing Warren tell Murphy the truth switches the sympathy vote from the reluctant hero to the woman who is in charge of getting the saviors of humanity to California. Roberta says, basically, that every single one of them is going to be hurt and that this is all going to end in tears, yet she continues her mission.

The logic of the damned.

These are the moments in Z Nation that make it hard to believe that The Asylum produce this . (this star studio produces Sharknado ad nauseam) Amazing as this is, they have made a show that includes scenes that rise the series looks sideways  at the zombie apocalypse. The how approaches the post apocalyptic world  with wit, humor and a certain amount of sarcasm.  Apart from being an alternative to AMC  with their zombie offering of The Walking Dead, which began life as a Robert Kirkman comic book, Z Nation  focusses on almost pure entertainment from a skewed prospective. Funny, irreverent with the odd sucker punch (i.e. Mack’s surprising death.)

The backstories in this episode  reveal much. Such as just how the weedy Citizen Z becomes the eye in the sky, how he got into the “military” and why he is such a lousy shot.  We learn that Addy has always been bloodthirsty (check out her reactions at the hockey game where she and Mack (Michael Welch) meet, not cute, but…brute, if you will.

Doc, the proverbial “stoner” was actually  a five years clean drug counsellor, who held internal dialogues with himself. As well as getting excited when he does something neat, for example, when throwing the Z off his “patient” he asks the prone man:

“Hang on! Did you see that?”

Z Nation - Season 2
Doc…Five years clean….

Murphy, we learn, was in prison for postal fraud and when Day One occurred and, not surprisingly,  he looked out for number one first. Albeit in a sort of horrified, “this is not really happening” way.

10K is shown as a younger boy in short pants and carrying a couple of fish back from the river. The Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn allegory is all too clear. Nat Zang is also allowed a tiny comic moment where he runs into a tree escaping from the Z infested woods.

The pinnacle of the flashback sequences; the one that sticks in the mind long after watching it, is Vasquez’s.

Like the rest, it explains  much about the former DEA agent turned mercenary and gives another “nod and wink” to an iconic genre film, Ringu, aka The Ring.  As  Vasquez stands, weeping, in front of his dead family in their respective caskets, he hears sounds. After shouting to the funeral staff about rats, another man in the facility attacks him.

The attacker is a Z. Vasquez kills the creature and then watches in horror as his dead wife and daughter clamber out of their coffins and crawl towards him as newly created zombies.  As the man screams and screams, his wife crawls toward him, hair down in her face like Sadako from the well…

A wonderful touch.

While the flashbacks play out and the team head closer to their rendezvous, Citizen Z learns that his system has been hacked and he spends the entire episode tracking down the hacker. Once he finds the source of the hack he also learns they have been keeping an eye on Murphy’s whereabouts through Z”s network. He destroys his system.

Z Nation ends with a nod to The Walking Dead, with an allusion or two to other classic films as they approach the California GPS location.  Roberta takes Vasquez toward what appears to be “greasy spoon.” Inside sits “Auntie” a smiling woman who offers them tea while holding a derringer under the counter.

(Auntie is played by character actress Jayne Taini, who more recently has been playing Harriet Greenberg on Ray Donovan.)

The similarity to the “barbecue” lady in TWD (who is in season four where Rick’s group finally reach Terminus) is clear and as unnerving as it is funny.  Z Nation has one more episode left;  Day One being the penultimate of season two, and with the added twist of Murphy being tracked (from Hawaii) and the odd “restaurant” where the lady behind the counter has a silenced machine gun,  the finale should  go out with a bang.

Kudos to Kellita Smith who touched the heart with her speech to Murphy.  On a sidenote, it was nice to see Michael Welch again, minus the scruff and apparently a few pounds lighter in the “Addy meets Mack” flashback sequence.

Z Nation - Season 2
Mack and Addy, cute meets brute…

The season finale airs December 18 on SyFy. Tune in and see what these latest plot twists will bring.


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