Z Nation “Escorpion and the Red Hand” forces Hector to look closely at his past and 10K makes a break for freedom. In this episode, Addy has a toothache and Warren almost meets her maker. The Red Hand gang trap Warren and her rag-tag group of survivors. They then learn the attackers are run by Escorpion, Hector’s old handle.
This other Escorpion also has a tattoo of a young boy on his forearm. Who is this “pretender?” It is possible that we may never find out but these Red Handers may show up again.
Z Nation this week focusses on Hector’s past haunting him through this other Escorpion. It also follows Dr. Merch and 10K’s bid to escape Murphy’s control.
A subplot has Addy almost dying from an infected tooth. Despite the fact that the woman looks like warmed over death, she manages to fight off attempts to pull the molar that is killing her.
Doc and Sun Mei both have their work cut out for them as they try to save Addy. But the red-head is tough, she even headbutts Sun Mei while being held down by her two friends.
Parts of this episode can be seen as another homage to Occurrence at Owl Creek by French auteur Robert Enrico. 10K’s dash for freedom is all muted sound and heavy breathing as he runs through the wooded area. There is a bridge, running water and a desperate leap off the structure.
This all very reminiscent of the Enrico short film and it may be an indication that 10K is lost. The protagonist in that film certainly does not survive…
(The first homage to Enrico’s film was last season’s The White Light. That was the episode where Mack dies and it was a tear jerker.)
“Escorpion and the Red Hands,” like the rest of season three, is a bit of a downer. There is very little humor here. Although there are sly twists; the climatic battle in the novelty toy warehouse for instance. Murphy’s “I can feel myself slipping away” was amusing as was his half-hearted “I’m sorry for your loss” speech to Wesson. (“She can be part of the Z guard” was actually chuckle worthy.)
Addy’s predicament was blackly amusing but any attempts at humor were done via sight gags; like Murphy reading Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince before Merch kills herself in the Z moat.
Another ever so slight comic touch was the “clapping monkey” visual at the novelty warehouse explosion sequence. The toy had been spotted earlier in the episode foreshadowing its importance for the explosive Red Hand attack.
There were a lot of close calls in this episode of Z Nation. Hector almost gets killed by three Z’s who catch him off guard as he tries to rouse Lt. Warren. The fearless leader herself almost dies in one heart-stopping moment when the Z-bomb explodes practically in her face.
(Nothing keeps Warren down for long however. Even dazed and confused she squeezes off rounds at the Z’s attacking Hector and kills two. If viewers want strong female characters they need look no further than Z Nation’s Addy and Roberta Warren.)
Over at the Murphy camp, or castle, 10K finally learns from Merch that he is a Murphy “Blend.” The scientist has developed a vaccine that will counteract Murphy’s control. Unfortunately Murphy figures out the plan and re-infects Merch. He goes to do the same to 10K who escapes by leaping through a second story window.
At the town, where the Red Hand’s are killing everyone for theft, Hector goes through some serious soul searching. Warren finally convinces the former Zero gang member that they need him. She stresses that his skill at killing makes him invaluable.
As Hector/Escorpion admitted in an earlier episode, “I have always been my own apocalypse.”
The episode ends with 10K leaping in the water, Merch killing herself in the Z moat, Murphy screaming “no” and Warren convincing Hector that he needs to stick around. Addy also has one less tooth. The camera zooms in on the word “FEAR” written over a hole in the warehouse wall.
The big question has to do with 10K and that long jump. Will he survive the fall? It is possible as the character seems to have a “nine lives” thing going on. Although, 10K has lost his rifle and that does not bode well at all if he does manage to survive the leap.
Kudos to all the players this week: Kellita Smith continues to rock it as Lt. Warren. Keith Allen takes Murphy to brilliant heights in this episode and Emilio Rivera rules in this episode. He completely sold Hector’s angst and inner turmoil about the other Escorpion and his bloody past.
Z Nation airs Fridays on SyFy. Tune in and follow this alternative to TWD. It may be less tongue-in-cheek this year but it is still one hell of a ride.