Z Nation’s Murphy is a bit morally, let’s say, complex.
He started off on his journey across the U.S. as a lazy coward. Along the way as he becomes more and more zombielike he’s grown more likely to help his friends and their cause, but not necessarily in ways they would approve of. Most memorably, Murphy helped his starving friends by stealing food from a mother and her child, letting a zombie into their building to munch on them for good measure.
There’s also the fact that Murphy is starting to become so sympathetic to zombies you’re hardly sure what side he’s on any more.
But the anti-zombie virus antibodies in his blood might be humanity’s only hope, so the gang is going to continue to try to get him to the lab in California, and probably continue to die trying.
Tonight’s leg of that journey starts with the group driving near South Park, Colorado. They’re discussing Mack and Addie, who they left behind at the Sisters of Mercy compound. Warren says she doesn’t think they’ll see them again.
“I was kinda hoping they’d make it with us to the promised land,” Doc says.
In the back seat, Murphy notices that his skin is peeling off.
The group comes to a vehicle blocking the road and drives on a golf course to go around. There’s a Z pathetically stuck in a golf cart.
They come to a small bridge and cross it on foot to test it before driving their truck across.
Citizen Z calls on the radio. Murphy grabs it and chews him out. He wants him to find the lab and find Dr. Merch, the “quack” that injected him with the zombie anti-virus in the first episode.
Our gang is attacked by golf course zombies. Out of ammo, they grab golf clubs and fight them off. They run to the club house where 10K improvises with golf balls and a slingshot, but they have to run in the bathroom to survive. They hear some gunshots and voices and cautiously open the door, coming outside to see other survivors.
Those new survivors are shocked to see Murphy, wearing a golf jacket, getting in a little time on the driving range.
The leader of the new group is appalled by Murphy’s casual attitude. He introduces himself as Brett Zimmerman, with his companions Henry and Janice.
Murphy shrugs off his worries that his tee time was too risky.
“You’re just jealous because they like me more than you,” Murphy says.
At Northern Light Arctic NSA listening station Citizen Z is wearing a Santa hat. He’s got his dog in reindeer antlers. He’s talking to himself as he searches for Dr. Merch, but he’s worked it into a rhyming take on “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Yeah, he gets bored.
Janice offers Murphy some water. She’s disgusted to find out he’s “another ex-con.” She was a junior high English teacher herself. Henry was a drug smuggler.
As they grill some food for both groups, Henry and Zimmerman have a secret convo about how Murphy’s talent can come in handy.
The two groups have a meal and drinks together. Warren toasts to “absent friends.”
Zimmerman gets Murphy talking loudly and gregariously about how he survived his eight zombie bites because of his experimental vaccine, how they can make more in California and save the world, and how the Zs think he’s one of them.
Zimmerman offers help taking Murphy to California and Warren cautiously agrees. They do another toast. Even 10K drinks.
Henry goes out to take a drink to Doc who’s standing guard.
Everybody in our group but Murphy starts to get drowsy. They all pass out and Zimmerman holds a gun on Murphy.
Our group wakes up on the floor of the clubhouse, they’re handcuffed to each other. And worse, Cassandra is handcuffed to a Z.
Murphy is now the hostage of Zimmerman’s group, and they’re driving away.
Our group fumbles for something sharp enough to kill the Z. They finally get an umbrella off the bar, a full-sized one, not the kind you put in drinks, and Cassandra pikes it.
Warren puts a tee in her mouth and starts to pick the lock on her handcuffs, but first she turns to Doc.
“If you say anything golf-related, I’ll poke you with it,” she says.
Murphy demands to know where he’s going. His kidnappers tell him that he’s better off because they have food and fuel and ammo, but Murphy isn’t impressed and shows that he’s handcuffed.
“Look, I get it. You heard me talking about my deal and decided to horn in,” he says, but says that even if there’s something in it for them to get him to California they’re going the wrong way.
They’re not going to California, of course. Murphy starts to realize they did something to the others and gets upset. Zimmerman says they left them for the Z’s and “Darwin will take care of the rest.”
Warren’s group is worried about and Murphy even though they aren’t completely sure he wasn’t in on the plan to drug them. The battery on the truck is dead so they go hunting for a new one. Warren says they’ll get Murphy to California or die trying.
The group finds a white stretch limo with a battery they can use in the golf course parking lot. Cassandra finds a phone inside and they use it to call Citizen Z and tell him they lost Murphy.
He gets on his satellites and quickly finds video of the truck going east, but the signal cuts out before they can get more.
Zimmerman’s group stops and Murphy goes to pee. He says he can’t pee with them watching because he has a bashful bladder, but they aren’t going to let him out of their sight. Murphy notices a camera on top of a construction sign, the kind that display messages, and intentionally pees in front of it in the hopes Citizen Z will see him on it. It works.
“There you are Murphy. Classy as ever,” Citizen Z says. He can see that Murphy was kidnapped.
Zimmerman’s group continues on. Murphy tries to get under Brett’s skin by asking him what he did before the apocalypse. Zimmernan just vaguely says he worked security.
“Military, special ops, Navy Seal?” Murphy asks sarcastically, angering him.
Our group stops by the sign. Citizen Z takes control of it of it and talks to them by typing messages onto it. He puts an arrow on it to tell the group with direction to go.
Zimmerman finally explains his plan to Murphy, which is basically just to recover a bunch of Oxycontin from a pharmaceutical facility overrun with Zs. Some of the Zs are high on speed. They tell Murphy if he gets the drugs for them they’ll set him free.
“Well why didn’t you just say so earlier, I love Oxycontin,” Murphy says.
They leave their truck, setting a booby trap to keep it from being tampered with. While they’re doing that Murphy spits in Janice’s canteen.
“A new low,” he says.
Janice hears him and comes over and takes a drink. Murphy shakes his head when she asks if he said something.
As they walk to the pharmaceutical facility Murphy asks Janice about her wedding ring. She says her husband, Jason, who was a cop, is “among the lost.” The Z’s got him the last time they tried the same run on the pharmaceutical facility.
Zimmerman shuts her up. He goes to scout ahead and Murphy starts using Jason to turn her against Zimmerman saying it must be tough that Jason is dead while “a wannabe like Zimmerman lives.” By the way, Brett Zimmerman is quite clearly a stand in for and commentary on George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch guy that touched off a huge controversy by shooting unarmed Trayvon Martin in 2012.
“Your husband gets to walk among the dead and Zimmerman gets you,” Murphy says. That clearly gets to her and she tells him to shut up.
And now Murphy realizes that he can control Janice’s actions, like a puppet, after infecting her with his saliva. He points his hand and that makes her point her gun up. He almostt makes her pull the trigger. It’s similar to how the Z followed his hand movements in the last episode.
After that test, though, he seems to be able to control her just by using his mind. She struggles but he’s able to make her fire a shot.
Our gang hears the shot and heads that way.
Murphy tries to gently take the gun away from a stunned Janice, but Henry fights him. In the struggle Murphy scratches Henry’s hand.
Zimmerman hears the commotion and comes running back. Janice lies to Zimmerman about what happened, saying she was reloading when the gun went off. Zimmerman makes them head to the plant, but Murphy leaves his jacket behind as a sign.
Our group checks out Zimmerman’s truck. Opening the door sets off the booby trap, a car alarm which draws a bunch of Zs and alerts Zimmerman’s group. While Warren and the others fight Zimmerman’s group keeps moving.
At Northern Light Citizen Z get the results on Dr. Merch. She was last seen in Colorado three months ago, and Citizen Z begins to dig deeper.
Warren and the group find Murphy’s jacket and are hot on his trail. Zimmerman’s group stops at a ridge near the target. Murphy realizes he can also control Henry now. He makes Henry offer him his water against his will.
They leave Henry to guard the permieter and head down to the plant. And we see what zombies on Ritalin look like. They’re running around super-fast like sped up film. Zimmerman says the Zs “love the stuff.” Murphy says they’re like the Usain Bolt of zombies.
Murphy refuses to run the gauntlet and Zimmerman pins him to a tree.
“I don’t care about you or the rest of humanity,” he says. Murphy bites him. Zimmerman gets angry, of course, and puts a gun to Murphy’s head.
At that moment Janice sees Jason walking among the zombies. This makes her angry at Zimmerman for getting him killed.
Murphy agrees to go.
“Let’s do this. I’ve got someplace to be,” he says.
Our group comes close enough to check out the plant. Doc figures out it’s a pharmaceutical plant and then notices something funny. He passes his binoculars around to Warren, Cassandra and 10K who all check it out in turn.
“Some of them are on speed, but it looks like more than a few of them got into the Viagra,” Doc says.
As Zimmerman’s group starts to enter the compound, Murphy notices the Viagra zombies too.
“Zimmerman, looks like some of these Z’s are happy to see you,” Murphy says.
Zimmerman’s plan is to have Murphy turn on the main generator and set off the alarm so they can draw the Zs out and get inside, then take one of the plant’s vans, load it with drugs and leave. He’s interrupted once by Janice seeing Jason and screaming his name.
“Jason’s gone,” Zimmerman says curtly.
Murphy again takes the opportunity to play on Janice’s emotions and play with her mind. She starts to pull her gun but he stops her with a “not just yet.”
Murphy heads inside the plant gate. The drugged zombies run up to him but they don’t attack.
At Northern Light Citizen Z is looking up all he can about Dr. Merch. She was a brilliant gene-splicing scientists who disappeared years before the apocalypse and didn’t resurface until three years after it started at the Portsmouth Emergency Infection lab, where she injected Murphy with the vaccine.
Our group watches as Murphy begins to enter the building.¬† They realize the Zs think Murphy is one of them.
Inside Murphy completes his mission. The Zs not only don’t get in the way, they seem to help. When he wonders aloud which switch is the main power a Z pounds on one. And it’s the right one.
He find the office and successfully turns on the alarm. As the Zs run to it he uses a computer with a webcam to contact Citizen Z and yell at him about Dr. Merch. Citizen Z tells him that the last contact was in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“Just find her,” Murphy says.
Zimmerman’s happy to see all the Oxycontin. He tells Murphy to bring the keys to a van so they can get out.
Murphy grabs the keys. But he also shuts off the alarm. The Zs start running toward Zimmerman’s group.
When Murphy won’t help Zimmerman load the van, Zimmerman prepares to shoot him. Warren and her group come to the rescue and there’s a standoff.
Which is interrupted by the Zs catching up with them and eating Henry. Warren and the other survivors, including Janice, shoot several of them. But Janice turns around and sees Jacob. She doesn’t even try to shoot him, just lets him bite her.
A big zombie battle follows and our group wins. But at the end Zimmerman has a gun to Murphy’s head.
“Now that that’s over with we’re right back where we started,” Zimmerman says.
But Murphy makes Zimmerman put a gun to his own head.
“The apocalypse is better off without you,” he says.
When Warren asks Murphy he’s doing he says “Me? Nothing?”
As Murphy walks away Zimmerman shoots himself in the head.
The group quickly grants mercy to the three newly dead, although Murphy cryptically says he’s “not sure that was necessary,” referring to an earlier episode where he noticed that a man he bit didn’t turn after dying.
The group takes the van and drives away. We see one last shot of Murphy in the passenger seat, his weird zombie eyes are getting even more obvious. End of episode.
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