Mt. Weather/The Black Rainbow: Review for Z Nation episodes 412 & 413

Mt. Weather/The Black Rainbow:
Review for Z Nation episodes 412 & 413
By A. Zombie

Remember Mt. Weather? Talk about a callback to the original mission. Mt. Weather went silent back in season one, triggering the move west for Murphy and his escorts. The gang is tasked once again with infiltrating the government stronghold, only this time it’s not to deliver Murphy over to be poked and prodded. They need the president’s thumb and the last place to deliver any official government orders is none other than Operation Bitemark’s original destination.

Things don’t look promising upon arrival. The President’s motorcade sits outside the security gate, doors ajar. Inside the lead car, the President’s husband rots after being eaten by his Secret Service detail. How will they get inside? Hacking things off the dead is old hat for the gang. Doc’s first idea is to scoop out the FGotUS’ mummified eye to get past the retina lock system—Murphy’s first idea is that they’ve all lost their mind at this point, but he’s proven wrong when the gag-inducing plan works.

For a facility claiming to house the entire remaining government, Mt. Weather is a ghost town. Everyone they encounter is dead, lending credit to the notion that everyone really did die back when Citizen Z first lost contact. Roberta leads them within yards of the New Oval Office’s door before they catch sight of anyone with a pulse. Not that Johnson and Johnson are stellar examples of humanity after eight years living in a bunker playing Secret Service to an audience of one. Yes, after all that careful planning on the government’s behalf, not even their most secure base protected them. Within the first weeks, most succumbed to the virus and remain locked in the facility’s lowest level. Luckily, the President lives. At least the current one. Unfortunately Roberta and crew are not the first to ask for her help. The previous visitor ensured no one else could use the loophole in Black Rainbow’s launch procedure, cutting off both of the President’s thumbs. If only he were more patient and listened to the before mutilating her. The thumbprints to operate Black Rainbow actually belong to the sitting PotUS during the outbreak. And he just so happens to be downstairs, somewhere amongst the growling horde.

With all hands on deck, they descend in the lone functioning elevator. Leading the charge, 10k and Sarge ram through the undead clogging the hallway until everyone is forced to duck into an office for cover. Except Roberta. She’s cut off, retreats to the elevator to regroup, and winds up zipping down to the Omega floor, which isn’t listed on the control panel. While the gang and the President systematically check each individual zombie for the former PotUS, Roberta follows music to a broadcasting room for the Press Secretary of the United States where the teleprompter clearly has a speech ready for the PotUS. The man himself sits backstage, apparently duct taped to a chair moments before he turned. This part is far, far too easy. One wants to call bull. Then the other shoe drops

The sitting President is on Zona’s side. In the argument, she talks Sarge into following the oath she took upon entering military service and they take everyone else captive. Is St. Lilley seriously down with genocide? No. No, no, no. Once she realizes the President intends to let Black Rainbow run as Zona intends, Sarge defies her orders and kills her superior. The others sort out Johnson and Johnson, leaving behind three wicked pissed mad-Zs to chase them out of the facility. Roberta uses the adrenaline from re-killing the President to spark her dream for the next set of orders. Though vague, the vision tells her to find the Washington Monument and the underground facility at the edge of its vast shadow.

Much like Mt. Weather, the Strike Facility below Washington D.C. is inhabited by the dead and nothing more. The gang is focused on the task and clearing the zombies in their path, though there’s a quick joke about Murphy being responsible for the Third Strike as they pass the office where it normally would’ve been launched. For the most part the second episode is pretty somber. Not even Doc’s punchlines sell well when balanced with the revelations finally pouring in about how Roberta came to possess so much knowledge about Black Rainbow.

Turns out Roberta woke twice from the coma. The first time, Teller wakes her to ask for her help thwarting Zona’s plan to launch Black Rainbow. He gives her everything she needs via VR simulations—all the codes, hidden keys, and secret locations are run through the simulation over and over in order to burn it in her subconscious. The lynchpin to trigger the instructions, which will repress during her return to the coma, is the vision of her own flesh burning away under a black rainbow. Things take a turn moments before she’s to sleep again. Zona’s founder comes in to thank her for serving The Reset in such a monumental way. At some point, Teller is compromised and never tells Roberta until it’s too late. She’s not delivering an airborne zombie cure as originally promised. She is The Reset. Now either Teller is still legit, lying to The Founder, and the canisters in her possession contain the cure, or they’ve actually been racing to see which Zona faction can release Black Rainbow first for the entire season.

Inside the Strike Facility, Roberta pretty much checks out as her ingrained directive surfaces. She leads everyone to the control panel where the former President’s thumbprint will start the launch. Before that, she must install the canisters on the drone. Alone. That’s if she can beat Zona’s Mr. Sunshine to the punch. Which of course she does, but not before the red canisters get mixed up. Roberta installs what she thinks are the correct canisters in the drone and is hit with the end of her memories, the moment when Teller and The Founder explain about The Reset before returning her to the coma to finish healing. It spurs her to swap canisters. But before she gets to them, Murphy rushes to save her from an ambush by Mr. Sunshine and is exposed to whatever is in the red canister Teller had Roberta retrieve. In the rush to change humanity’s fate, Roberta winds up locked in the drone after swapping red canisters.

The gang can’t save her this time. Launching without problem, the drone takes her high above D.C. and dumps thousands of mini drones into the air. Her drone, having done the job, crashes in the mountains. Roberta’s last words are “Have mercy!” Are we to believe she mercied herself? Doubtful, but that’d be one hell of a way to wrap up the season. Roberta’s not the only one in danger. The others watch helplessly from the launch bay as the drones spread whatever chemicals made it aboard. Murphy is scarlet from the gas exposure. Doc’s happy-go-lucky nature takes a hike. In a fun last-minute twist, the underlying thing between Sarge and 10k is finally addressed. She opts to spend her final moments kissing the guy whose prowess with weapons kept her titillated since they met.

Like always, the writing team soundly wrote themselves into a corner to round out things for the season. Unlike last season, we’re back to massive-scale global destruction as The Thing To Overcome going forward instead of the fans simply having to worry if a handful of lead characters make it. It’s going to take fancy footwork to make it through alluding to the lead character’s death and maybe poisoning the entire world. I’ve got faith. While this show has an issue keeping the pace, it has no problems making weird, improbable things make sense in the end. Good news is there will be a season five. Syfy renewed Z Nation just before the holidays, making it one heck of a gift for the show’s fans.

Fracking Zombies

Z Nation Syfy

A. Zombie Reviews . . . Z Nation
S1E2 – “Fracking Zombies”
By A. Zombie

We’re back with the ragtag group of survivors from SyFy’s Z Nation. At the end of the last episode, a bunch of folks who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time were tasked with bringing the oh-so-charming Murphy to California so they can make more of the zombie vaccine floating in his veins. Pretty straight forward. If the plot got too complicated, viewers might think they tuned into the wrong channel. Can’t have that from the masters of cheesy late-night movies.

ZNationThey need to find something to do with Citizen Z. His character essentially sits around twiddling his thumbs until it’s time to drag the plot along to the next step. He’s all alone. Has enough supplies to last at least ten years. And he’s losing his marbles. Somehow poor writing and direction turned what could’ve been a rather interesting look at isolation in the apocalypse turned into a wild dog chase. Or rather, a wild zombie dog chase. Citizen Z’s fellow NSA personnel didn’t stay dead—of course. At least one made it to his back door, along with a stray dog. Apparently the zombie dog materializes out of thin air around this time. The graphics for the dead dog weren’t bad. But once the “action” started, they’d ruined the effect. The dogs never really engage each other while fighting. There’s no real danger for Citizen Z as he sits perched atop a shipping crate. During the climax of the fight, it cuts out and comes back later to a blacked-out Citizen Z next to a mutilated zombie dog, denying viewers even a taste of action from the character. You know, the one who sits around doing nothing all day. Talk about compelling television.

murphyanddocThe rest of the characters aren’t doing much better. Garnett, Warren, and the rest escorting Murphy run out of gas. There just so happens to be a guy they pick up who knows where to fill up their vehicles. Lucky them. Of course, the place is overrun by undead. And they can’t use guns because of the gas. And there’s a mysterious noise drawing zombies closer. Oh and don’t forget, the helpful new guy has this weird thing with Cassandra. See where this is going? Massive failure all around. The characters are too dumb to work out a plan to distract the zombies. They almost get blown up in the process, losing not only the gas they’d come for, but one of their vehicles as well. It’s like watching three-year-olds trying to put together a three-thousand piece puzzle. Eventually they end up mashing the pieces together, even though they don’t fit, and call it a masterpiece.

There was one interesting zombie gag. Early in the episode, the group must cross a zombie-infested bridge. In the process, one of the undead end up stuck in the wheel well of their truck. It’s one of the most detailed scenes in the show so far and one of the few practical effects not completely ruined by added computer-generated gore. The makeup for the frozen zombie was another highlight. Maybe I’ll watch episode three on mute and see if that makes me like it more.

I won’t hold my breath. Wait, I don’t breathe.