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SYFY WIRE Day of the Dead

So, who won the zombie apocalypse? 'Day of the Dead' Power Rankings Ep. 10: 'Choke On 'Em!'

After a thrilling, zombie-filled season, who's still standing?

By John Albinson
Day of the Dead 110 PRESS

Well, we finally made it, guys. Season 1 of SYFY's Day of the Dead came to a thrilling conclusion last week and, to put it bluntly, it did not disappoint. Our surviving protagonists — Mayor Bowman, Luke, Cam, Lauren, Blackwood, and Amy — stopped Cleargenix, got revenge on Rhodes, and most importantly, prevented Mawinhawken from becoming the zombie capital of the United States.

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...or did they?

In a surprising turn of events, Cam was reunited with his zombified father, who seemed to possess enough mental cognition to recognize his own son. Although he was still very much a zombie, he was much more human than any other member of the undead we've seen thus far.

We were also reunited with the enigmatic Dr. Logan in a Pittsburgh hospital, where we saw her inject her dying daughter with the mysterious medicine she had been creating in her lab that was supposed to "reverse death." While the medicine did not work at first, the last shot of the season finale was of her dead daughter awakening as a zombie. So, you know, this whole "zombie apocalypse" thing probably isn't over just yet.

It's been a crazy season, to say the least. With that being said, we still have one more Power Rankings to go — and because this is the final installment for Season 1, we're also going to list each character's "MVP Moment" of Season 1, alongside our usual breakdown of them. It's time to rank!

1. Sarah Blackwood

The most consistent character throughout all of Season 1, Blackwood brought it every single week. An incredible fighter with a keen sense of intuition, it seemed like every single episode she was beating the pulp out of some bad guy and/or rescuing her friends. In the season finale, she put her life on the line by luring all of the town's remaining zombies deep into the mines and placing the explosives inside; and, in true action movie fashion, jumped out of the hole right as it dramatically exploded. You couldn't have asked for a better person to fight zombies with. Blackwood is, justifyingly, the No. 1 character on our Power Rankings to end the season.

MVP Moment: See above. How could it not be luring the zombies into the mine? Without that heroic action, Mawinhawken would still be more zombie than human.

2. Mayor Paula Bowman

Paula Bowman started off the series as a self-centered, one-dimensional politician who cared more about her career than her family. She ended it as a selfless leader who is surprisingly insanely good with a handgun. All jokes aside, Mayor Bowman's character arc took a real 180: by the season finale, she no longer cared about simply having the title of Mayor, but rather, she cared more about actually being the Mayor of Mawinhawken and actually looking out and protecting her fellow townspeople. Most importantly, she fixed her rocky relationship with her son, Luke, and finally showed him the support he needed after he came out as gay. With all of that being said, I'm fairly confident Mayor Bowman will get re-elected (It also doesn't hurt that her rival, Pops Parker, turned into a zombie and was promptly destroyed via chainsaw).

MVP Moment: Making the call to leave the safety shelter of Paymart to go out into a zombie-infested Mawinhawken and save Luke and Cam – full well knowing that she would not be able to return to the store.

3. Jai Fisher

Although he died in Episode 9, Jai's presence and the effects of his actions could clearly be felt in the season finale. Jai was a selfless doctor who cared way too much about everyone else (a great trait to have) and would, and did, do everything he could to keep his friends alive – so much so that it cost him his own life. If not for Jai braving the fumes and taking out the noxious gas that was seeping into our main characters' locked room, everyone would have died and Mawinhawken would be a rundown, zombie-filled mess. Instead, he died a hero and saved his town in the process. They don't make 'em like Jai anymore.

MVP Moment: Saving everyone's lives while sacrificing his own.

4. Lauren Howell

Guess that zombie bite didn't slow her down, huh? After a rocky start to Season 1 for Lauren that saw her viciously attacked by a member of the undead, she stayed relatively calm and collected for the rest of the season. She discovered that she has a knack for surgical procedures, acting as Dr. Jai's second-in-command, while also falling in love with Cam, her fellow zombie-fighter. Not bad, considering she was deeply entrenched in an undead invasion during all of that. Although it ended on a semi-melancholy note for her, as Cam was ripped apart from her right after they had finally kissed, there is no denying that Lauren was an integral part of Mawinhawken's rescue.

MVP Moment: Taking the reins in Paymart's makeshift infirmary and stitching up wounded residents – even, to her chagrin, Herb.

5. Luke Bowman

Remember in the very first episode when Luke's only concerns were planning a kegger in the woods and chasing Cam through a graveyard? Since then, he's become a much more real version of himself. He came out as gay, but besides that, he realized that he's a much more compassionate and thoughtful person than the series premiere might have indicated. He learned how to work through his emotions and the complicated relationship he had with his parents; he spoke up for when he felt he was being mistreated, whether it was by his friends or his own mother. As I've written before, Luke was not the best fighter or schematic planner, but it is not easy to go through all of those emotions while zombies are overrunning your hometown. Major props to Luke on an impressive season.

MVP Moment: Confidently coming out to his mom and telling her exactly how she had been making him feel and what he expected from her.

6. Cam McDermott

Was Cam the best zombie killer? No. Did he have a sharp sense of what to do in battle? No. Was he a doctor? Very much no. Did he ever change out of those infamous cargo shorts? Unfortunately, also no. But was he a team player who knew how to stay alive? A resounding yes. Cam is an underrated character simply based on the fact that he didn't offer a tangible skill like so many others did. Rather, his most valuable asset was his resilience. I wrote last week that he's what the NBA would call a "glue guy," and I stick by that comparison: whatever the plan was, he was always down to do whatever was asked of him and what would most help out the team. He might not have been the flashiest member of the group, but he was invaluable.

MVP Moment: Accepting that he might not have been the most supportive friend to Luke before the zombie invasion, even though he thought he was; this personal revelation helped him become a better friend and ally afterwards.

7. Amy

Amy absolutely crushed it in the last two episodes, as she single-handedly defended herself in Paymart with the help of her Krav Maga skills and emotional baggage against her zombified father. She capped off Season 1 by joining Blackwood and Lauren in saving the town by luring all of the zombies into the mine and narrowly escaping. For someone who started off the series as a bridezilla who may or may not have been emotionally cheating on her fiancé, she ultimately ended up patching things up with him and getting married (RIP Jai), while also becoming a badass zombie killer in the process. Massive W for Amy this season.

MVP Moment: Graphically murdering her zombie father in the middle of Paymart. Now that's some therapy you don't have to pay for.

8. Zombie McDermott

Ah, the timeless bond between a zombie father and his human son. A tale as old as time! While McDermott spent most of this season as a, you know, zombie, he was definitely different from the rest of his brain-eating contemporaries. Clearly, he still has enough "human" inside of him that he recognized his own son and spared his life. Will he ever turn back into Mawinhawken's favorite cop? Who knows. But at the very least, he and Cam can at least have some father-son time (as long as it doesn't involve anything that has to do with speaking English or walking at a brisk pace).

MVP Moment: Saving Cam from his fellow zombies and having a weird heart-to-heart with him in the middle of the woods. It's like a Hallmark movie, except with way more guts.

9. Dr. Logan

She ain't no Meredith Grey. Dr. Logan spent this season holding secret clinical trials in her high-security laboratory that involved zombies (red flag) and creating an anti-death vaccine (major red flag). She also might have single-handedly created a nationwide zombie outbreak by giving said vaccine to her dead daughter, who promptly turned into a waking member of the undead after receiving it. Oh, and she was kidnapped by a mysterious organization at the end of the season finale. Dr. Logan held a lot of promise but, alas, did not deliver on her life-saving elixir. Maybe her kidnappers are taking her back to med school.

MVP Moment: I mean, I guess her intentions were good? I'll give her credit for trying to save humanity, but in reality, she might have doomed them.

10. Rhodes

Brutal season for Rhodes, the Cleargenix foreman. There was not a single moment throughout the entire first season where I thought, "You know, this guy might actually know what he's doing." And, neither did the characters, because every person he came in contact with instantly one-upped him in smarts and strategy. Whether it was Blackwood escaping him time and time again or Jai foiling his plan to gas them all to death, he just straight up was not successful with anything he did. Rhodes was a bumbling yet sinister man who would do anything to save his own skin – and in the end, that very same skin was sloppily eaten by a horde of hungry zombies.

MVP Moment: Let's call this an "LVP Moment" and go with the time he got outsmarted by a literal zombie (McDermott) and then was almost out-run by that same zombie (who, for the record, was not running, because zombies cannot physically run).