If you know of The Asylum, the production company behind Z Nation, you probably know them from their schlocky, low budget, intentionally bad movies for the Syfy Channel. And the ne plus ultra of those are the Sharknado films. The Asylum has so far made two movies that found a way to get sharks inside tornadoes and have them attack people.
So, when I saw the promos for tonight’s episode of Z Nation featured tornadoes, I wondered if they would really be audacious enough to repeat that formula here? Let’s find out together.
This episode starts in Southern Illinois. The gang has commandeered a nice suburban house. Mack and Addy are messing around in the yard, Warren and Garnett are drinking coffee in the kitchen, and Murphy is beating Doc at poker (with drugs for poker chips).
Citizen Z is talking to the survivors over the radio. He mentions that there could be tornadoes coming. Addy and Mack come in and Addy gives her own weather report, saying it’s “cloudy with a chance of zombie” outside.
Garnett and Warren head into the yard and talk about how nice the house is. Garnett says he’s starting to feel at home and thinking about “putting a barbecue right here.” The camera plans to show that the group has electrified the fence and a Z is frying on it. Warren jokes it “needs to be flipped,” and pikes its head with a sharpened broom handle.
Mack and Addy head upstairs to fool around. The first room they try is full of the corpses of the home owners, it looks like they committed suicide a long time ago.
The second room is much nicer, and Addy is excited to have sex on a bed again. They even decide to do it naked.
Downstairs Cassandra is sleeping on the couch. Her blanket slips and 10K tries to fix it, but she pulls a knife and stabs at his hand.
“Scared of that one,” Murphy says, and suggests if they could breed 10K and Cassandra it would be all over for the zombies.
Outside, Warren and Garnett continue their conversation, pausing to pike another zombie that wanders into the fence. The conversation comes to Antoine, Warren’s husband. She says she tries not to think of him, but she never knew if he survived or not.
Garnett said he used to think about his wife Amy and their kids every day, seeing their end every time he closed his eyes, but eventually he just gave up and didn’t care if he lived or died. But he didn’t die, and as he continued surviving it got harder to remember the past.
Garnett suggests swinging by Warren’s home town to look for Antoine, but she rejects the idea. Garnett says “you can’t start forgetting what you don’t know,” and another Z fries itself on a fence.
Upstairs Addy and Mack’s romantic moment is interrupted by her having a freaky flashback that involves a man, some weird jewelry, and some Zs. It’s revealed she’s wearing the jewelry around her neck. They didn’t have time anyway, because a lightning strike shuts off the electric fence and everyone has to split from the house with a zombie horde at their backs.
At the Northern Light Arctic NSA Command Center Citizen Z is searching unsuccessfully for a weather satellite connection and getting drunk with his dog. He pours a drink of whiskey for the dog in a dog dish, but being a dog it doesn’t take it so he picks the dog dish up and drinks it himself.
When he gets a signal Citizen Z can see a big tornado front coming through and calls the survivors to warn them. He does this in-character as an over the top southern weather man. We actually see lots of different pockets of survivors picking up the warning. He says the storm is huge and they need to seek shelter immediately.
The survivors are on the road, refueling their truck by siphoning fuel from a wreck, when they get the message. Warren wants to try to outrun the storm, which no one else thinks is a good idea, especially Murphy. Mack tries to get Addy to talk about the flashback but she won’t.
They come to a sign a t-intersection that says Castle Point, Warren’s home town, is two miles away and St. Louis is 62 miles. Warren, who is driving, still tries to head for St. Louis, but when the road is blocked by a gathering tornado she reluctantly turns around and heads to Castle Point. A huge amount of Zs are wandering about in a field as the storm gathers.
Castle Point is a quintessential small Midwestern, town, or at least the closest match The Asylum could find in Washington State where this show is shot. Warren stops at a bulletin board with messages and memorials from survivors and finds a picture of Antoine, a fireman, with a message to her, “Still holding down the fort for you!”
Murphy comes up and is nasty about the idea of searching for “dead hubby,” and Warren says they need to leave and find shelter.
The storm that’s gathering is Biblical in scope, with multiple tornadoes forming. The group heads into Warren’s old house. Mack tries to break down the door but of course Warren knows where they hide the key. The run through the house weapons drawn, on the lookout for Z’d Antoine.
Murphy sits down in a chair and snarks “Home Sweet Zombie,” which infuriates Warren. She tells him to get out of her husband’s favorite chair and rips him out.
They hear a coughing noise in the house and follow it. It’s a woman taking care of her husband, who is badly hurt and lying in a pool of blood. She tells Antoine “the fireman” said they’d be safe here, which gives Warren hope Antoine is still alive.
At Northern Light Citizen Z is monitoring the storm, which he says went from a “category three to the Seventh Circle of Hell.”
Doc, being a druggie and not an actual doctor, can’t help the woman much with her injured husband. But he does warn her not to let him fall asleep because he has a bad concussion. The woman can’t confirm that the fireman who brought them there was Antoine, because he was wearing a helmet.
The group decides to gather supplies and shelter in the basement. 10K and Cassandra are sent to scout the neighborhood. There’s a debate about what to do with the woman’s husband, because he might turn in the basement if he dies. Warren suggests making a run to the fire station to get supplies, the fact that she also wants to look for Antoine goes unsaid. Warren and Garnett go to the firehouse. Addy, Mack, Doc, Murphy and the couple are sent to lock down the basement.
On the way Addy has another quick flashback to her traumatic incident. Murphy checks himself out in the mirror and realizes he’s taking on more and more zombie characteristics, like weird gray skin around his wounds. His teeth are turning black and his hair is falling out.
At the firehouse Warren tells a story about how she had her first kiss, with Antoine, there. Since Zs are attacking at the time this the conversation is shouted between her and Warren while they have a big zombie battle. Garnett says its the first personal story she ever told him.
Inside the firehouse looks deserted, but they find a first aid kit. There’s morphine in it, which they agree to hide from Doc. Warren checks Antoine’s locker and finds a picture of herself and Antoine she sent him after “The Battle of New Jersey” two years ago. She says she deployed while Antoine was on duty and should have waited for him to get home.
Garnett tries to reassure her, but she says “that life is gone.”
A horde of Zs surround the firehouse so the pair decide they have to shelter inside it, but when they open a door they are attacked by several Zs in full fireman uniforms.
Both zombie fighters quickly run out of ammo, so they have to fight hand to hand. It gets brutal, but fireman leave lots of axes and hammers lying around so they handle it with some teamwork. Right before Garnett brings a fire-axe down on the last Z’s skull, Warren thinks she recognizes it as Antoine. But it turns out to be just his best friend.
The situation with taking the injured guy into the basement is a direct visual reference to the girl in the basement in Night of the Living Dead. They prepare a table and put him on it. He’s raving. Doc says they need to relieve the pressure on his brain by draining the blood with something sharp and pointy, although his only reference for that is an old episode of ER.
Murphy enters and freaks everyone out. He’s fully bald now, pale and wrinkly. Doc asks him to get something sharp enough to penetrate the injured man’s skull and Murphy says “bout time we piked him.” He finds a power drill.
Mack notices Addy is gone and runs off to look for her. She’s sitting on the stairs, having the flashback again. He asks here “What is this?” and she just says “I dunno.”
Doc starts to do his power drill brain surgery on the man, with Mack holding him down. The drillbit breaks off so Doc hammers it in with the butt of a gun. Blood spurts everywhere. Murphy asks if it’s going to work.
“I dunno. I didn’t see the end of the episode,” Doc says.
At the firehouse Garnett and Warren have a little ceremony for the dead firefighters. Warren recites their names and says “I give you mercy, may God give you peace.” Then they had back out, ready to fight their way back to the house, but see the Z horde is gone.
The man in the basement actually seems to be improving, although he still has a drillbit stuck in his head.
Warren and Garnett take a fire truck and get back to the house just as a huge tornado hits. The tornado is filled with, and is hurling Zs.
“Is that what I think?” Garnett says.
“They ain’t sharks!” Warren says. C’mon, you knew they’d have to work a reference in there somewhere.
“Really God? Really?” Warren yells, as the Zs fall out of the Z-Nado and press their attack. Warren and Garnett run inside, Garnett heads to the basement but Warren shuts the door and stays upstairs.
There’s a quick scene where a Z blows out of the tornado and through a basement window. This scene uses the exact same bad CGI shot of the Z blowing out of a tornado that was used two minutes ago. Murphy is sent to pike it, but he seems to suddenly have a burst of sympathy for it.
10K and Cassandra have found no supplies and are running around outside, about to be killed. They take shelter in an abandoned car.
Warren takes her husband’s favorite chair and pushes it up against the door. She gets out her wedding album, puts on her engagement ring and seems to be determined to die in the storm as she looks at the album. Garnett bangs on the door and begs her “please don’t do this!”
The storm is ripping the house apart, but Roberta is looking at her pictures and ignoring Garnett.
In the basement Doc finds the morphine in the first aid kit and pockets it, then he and Mack move the injured man under the table.
Murphy is looking at, and feeling the skin of the zombie. Its eyes open, and it seems like they have some kind of telepathic connection. Or at least a soulful moment.
Upstairs Warren tearfully tells Garnett through the door “I have to wait for him this time Charlie. I owe him that much. It’s like you said, I can’t start forgetting until I know.”
As Doc finally removes the drill bit from the guy’s head with a spurt of blood, Garnett comes downstairs and tells the others that Warren is not coming. Mack, exasperated, notices Murphy with the zombie and chides him for “screwing around with this thing” as he abruptly pikes it. Murphy’s eyes get sad as the zombie dies, and he says “mercy” in a slightly sorrowful tone.
10K and Cassandra’s decision to shelter in the car goes about as poorly as possible, although 10K does get to quickly cop a feel of Cassandra’s leg as he reaches out in panic. The tornado takes the car and flips it like a flapjack.
Warren is smiling as the mega storm destroys the top floors of the house. In the basement Mack grabs Addy, and Murphy actually shelters under the zombie.
Just as it looks like Warren is going to die, a figure wades through the debris in full firefighter gear.
“I waited for you,” Warren says, and the firefighter shields her with his body.
The storm clears. Cassandra and 10K are alive an unhurt, as are the people in the basement. Murphy sheepishly pushes his zombie blanket off.
Garnett heads up to check on Warren. He finds her under the chair, still alive. Antoine is not around. It’s most likely his appearance was just a hallucination.
Warren is happy to be alive. She says, “I tried to go home, but I’m still here,” a callback to Garnett’s speech earlier in the episode about how he chose to live when he didn’t die.
Everyone’s okay, even the guy who got the budget brain surgery. 10K and Cassandra regroup with the others and they take the fire truck as an extra vehicle.
The woman asks if Doc has anything “for the pain” for her injured husband. Doc almost says no, but he has a change of heart and hands over some of the morphine. The woman says she and her husband will continue to look for his family.
In the cab of the fire truck Warren tells Garnett that he was right and that she did need to come back. She’s said her goodbye.
“I know I’m okay with being here now. With you,” Warren says.
“I’m good with that, too,” Garnett says.
Garnett pulls the cable to blow the fire truck’s horn and says he “always wanted to do that” and then the survivors pull out.
We get another closing voiceover with Citizen Z, calling the survivors the “baddest of the badasses.” The final shot is a Z, dressed in full firefighting gear, stumbling up a small hill. It looks a lot like Antoine. End of episode.
Enjoying Z Nation? Discuss it on our forum.