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SYFY WIRE Day of the Dead

Who's Winning the Zombie Apocalypse? Day of the Dead Power Rankings, Ep. 9, 'Death Comes to Paymart'

With only one episode left, who in the name of Mawinhawken is going to survive?

By John Albinson
Day of the Dead 109 PRESS

With only one episode left in SYFY’s Day of the Dead, it’s now or never for the hapless residents of Mawinhawken and their zombie-infested town. Episode 9, “Death Comes to Paymart,” was a drama-filled installment that saw major players die and significant secrets exposed. Not only was it finally revealed to us that Cleargenix is to blame for the zombie apocalypse (don’t drink the Mawinhawken tap water), but we also learned that the crooked company’s plan to clean up its mess is to murder all of the town’s surviving citizens and stop the spread of “the plague.” Well, only one problem: as we saw in this episode, it’s a lot harder to kill them than you think.

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Like always, the weekly Power Rankings look to answer these questions: Who is in the best position to survive this zombie apocalypse? Who has the most momentum? Who is most likely to end up as a forklift-impaled zombie like Herb?

Time’s ticking on Day of the Dead, so let’s get to ranking!

1. Jai Fisher

Pour one out for our medical king, Dr. Jai Fisher, who died a hero. After Cleargenix locked him and his comrades in a room together and tried to kill them by seeping poisonous gas into it, Jai valiantly climbed into the facility’s air ducts and destroyed the vent with the gas. Unfortunately, his exposure to the noxious substance proved to be fatal. But how could Jai not be No. 1 in our rankings this week? He saved his friends’ lives, which will effectively also save the lives of everyone at Paymart once Paula & Co. hopefully foil Cleargenix’s plans. Throughout his time on the show, Jai was someone who was always trying to do the right thing: whether it was saving a patient, risking his life to find Luke and Cam, or trying to fix his relationship with Amy, he was constantly looking out for others. RIP to a good one.

2. Sarah Blackwood

If “Being a Hero in Day of the Dead Episode 9” was an Olympic event, Jai would get the Gold medal but Blackwood would definitely nab the Silver. After avoiding capture from the Cleargenix van at the end of Episode 8, Blackwood got her revenge on the sinister company by breaking into its facility once again and helping our captive residents escape the vaulted room they were trapped in. As she has demonstrated all season, Blackwood is someone who is immeasurably valuable during a crisis; her fighting prowess mixed with her street-smart intuition has saved many a life in the past nine episodes. But can she get the ultimate revenge on Cleargenix in the season finale? The answer is unknown, but I like her chances.

3. Mayor Paula Bowman

The Mayor Bowman Redemption Tour continued in Episode 9, with Mawinhawken’s leader finally showing her son the support he needs and vowing that their relationship will only get stronger from here on out. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a season for Mayor Bowman, but she seems to have shed the political selfishness that had plagued her earlier in the show and is now fully committed to her family and her town – in that order. Also, can we talk about her incredible shooting accuracy? Like, why is she so naturally good at using a handgun? Is that a thing that all mayors are trained in just in case their town gets overrun with zombies?

4. Amy

Give it up for Amy, everyone! In the span of one day, she’s gotten married, verbally destroyed her domineering father, and then kicked his zombie butt with an impeccable display of Krav Maga. If that’s not efficient then I don’t know what is. Amy started off the day as someone who seemed unsure of herself – she let her father control her life to the point where she barely had a voice in her own relationship. But since that fateful zombie attack at her own wedding, she’s fully taken control of her own life and has seemingly become more confident and comfortable with herself. Quietly, she’s become one of the most dependable characters on the show, and one you would absolutely trust in an undead invasion.

5. Luke Bowman

Talk about another character who’s become more comfortable in their own skin. Luke was finally reunited with his old pal Trent (you know, the one who LOVES partying in the middle of the woods) and was immediately lambasted by him for “ditching” him. Well, Luke didn’t like that, and stood up for himself. Most importantly, he confidently told Trent that he was gay. Like most of the characters in this series, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions since Episode 1 – but Luke has handled sorting out familial drama and personal revelations amidst a zombie apocalypse exceptionally well. 

6. Cam McDermott

I feel like I say the same stuff about Cam every week, but just because it’s been repeated doesn’t mean it’s not true. Cam is a steady presence in this group whose major attribute is staying alive. He doesn’t have the fighting skills like Blackwood or the leadership qualities of Mayor Bowman, but he can adapt to any given situation and find a way to help himself and others. He’s like a “glue guy” in basketball – he doesn’t put up big stats, but he helps keep the team together and chugging along. And in a zombie invasion, that’s essential. Could he work on his flirting with Lauren? Yeah, probably (definitely). But I have a feeling that come the season finale, Luke’s still going to be standing.

7. Rhodes and Cleargenix

Hey, remember Rhodes? Yeah, well, he still can’t do anything right. He literally locked all of our beloved main characters in a sealed room and sprayed it with poisonous gas and they still managed to stay alive. And the Cleargenix soldiers who work for him? They definitely seemed skeptical of him and his plans to wipe out the townspeople and stop the spread of the zombie plague. The only reason they’re not last on this last is because of their resources. They have armored trucks and weapons and a fleet of soldiers, which has to count for something in the depleted wasteland that is Mawinhawken. But trust me – I wouldn’t trust Rhodes to grab my mail for me, let alone contain a deadly zombie outbreak. It’s only a matter of time until something catastrophically bad happens to him.

8. Lauren Howell

I hate to do this to Lauren, but after how her body acted, how could you not? Her zombie bite is seriously affecting her; she involuntarily choked Trent and almost killed him after he unsuccessfully tried to seduce her (to be fair, his aggressive flirting definitely warranted it). Needless to say, after seeing what happened to Herb after his zombie wound – aka, his transformation into a member of the undead – Lauren’s prognosis is looking bleaker each episode. She’s a resilient person who in no way deserves what’s happening to her, but unless she can be saved by Dr. Logan’s mysterious anti-zombie vaccine, she might be doomed. Here’s to hoping that I’m dead wrong.


Each week, we will pay homage to our fearless characters who are no longer with us.

Jai Fisher

I know he was already on the Power Rankings list, but man, this was the hardest death to process so far. The Mawinhawken medical community will never be the same.


Ding-dong, the controlling and manipulative doctor/father is dead. Will he be missed? Probably not. Will I miss making fun of him in these articles? Most certainly.

Pops Parker

Mawinhawken’s mayoral runner-up, Pops Parker, tragically fell victim to Herb’s ravenous zombified appetite. Is this a set up for America’s first human vs. zombie mayoral race? Human Paula Bowman vs. Zombie Pops Parker in 2022? Please?