Spoilers ahead for Z Nation's “Escape From Zona,” because hey … it's a TV Recap.
It looks like something's wrong in Zona, besides the fact that they want to kill all the zombies and unvaccinated humans left in the world with The Reset. In “Escape From Zona” we discover there's an issue with those Zona vaccinations and in non-Zona action, we get a set up for vanishing groups of people, which may actually have something to do with The Reset, or not.
“Escape From Zona” was a fun episode with Warren's Jessica Rabbit get up (unexplained blonde hair and tight short dress) and I've-Been-Drinking-The-Kool-Aide-A-Little-Too-Long Murphy following an insistent Dr. Teller who tells them they must escape now. Meanwhile, the convoy the camp has been waiting for is overdue.
“I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm kind of a big deal around here.” - Murphy
The episode opens with the several Stepford-esque people of Zona walking along the street looking like they're headed to the golf course or tennis court. All of them are so darn happy. Then a car mows down a man crossing the street. The driver seems unconcerned. Everyone gathers to stare at the dead guy in the street and then they bend down to eat him. Something is definitely off in Zona.
Meanwhile, Murphy and Warren are following Dr. Teller who wants to get Murphy out of Zona. There's a helicopter that's leaving and he thinks it will be the last ride off Zona. He tells them, “Things are changing,” and that Murphy's no longer safe there along with other cryptic things like, “Everything will make sense in time.”
Teller ushers them past other Zonaites with a fussed Murphy proclaiming, “Do you know how many people I'm disappointing by missing this lawn bowling tournament? It's the back half of the season, you know.” There's some fun banter with Warren getting in a shot at Murphy's expense. “I liked you better when you were blue,” she tells him.
“I just don't understand why everything has to go straight to shit.” - Murphy
Murphy is still trying to reason with a driven Teller. “Let's just all take a moment to consider what you're proposing so we can all be crystal clear. We need to leave this life of martinis and fine dining and limbo parties for a swift return to the zombie infested nightmare because of a few changes?”
All this running through different areas of Zona takes too long for too little payoff, although it does give Murphy some prime dialogue. After several tries to get Teller to let them know what's going on he finally admits that everyone who was given the vaccine is suffering from degenerative brain function, or as he explains, “They're going bat-shit crazy.” Apparently something in Murphy's blood that they “couldn't account for” has caused the vaccine to fail. Murphy starts hyperventilating until he they run across one of the Zona residents who's beaten another resident to death with a golf club. Suddenly Murphy is a believer.
“They found the vehicles. They were abandoned.” - Red
In the outside world, Lucy and Addy, tied up with bags over their heads, are forced from a car into a cabin by the three bad guys who kidnapped them.
At the camp, Lt. Mueller informs the camp residents that the convoy is overdue. He asks for two volunteers to join a search party to help them find the convoy which is ten miles away. Of course, 10K and Doc volunteer, with 10K promising Red they'll be back. What could possibly go wrong?
They get to the convoy which has been abandoned. The vehicles and supplies are there, but there's no sign of human life. One of the soldiers sees something in the distance and then is shot. The soldiers and 10K see the cabin that Addy and Lucy were taken into. It's all coming together even though there's never any explanation why Lucy and Addy were taken to a cabin in the middle of nowhere.
The soldiers, 10K and Doc are held down by the bad guys shooting from the cabin. The injured soldier is in bad shape but they can't get to him.
“Is this really the best time to think about fashion?” - Murphy
In Zona, as Teller, Warren and Murphy rush through the hallways of some facility (why didn't he just steal the ambulance he got Warren and Murphy out of?), Teller claims they need uniforms to get on the helicopter. On their way to the helicopter they begin to run across more people who've descended “into complete predatory madness.”
Along the way they open a door to a walk-in freezer. Murphy realizes it's filled with his Bblends, who've been frozen. It's hard to tell why this detail is included, but it must mean something.
As they continue along, the trio attack two soldiers for their uniforms. Then Warren has one of her visions and she's back in the fiery wasteland watching as the soldier burns in front of her. Then she snaps back and knocks out the soldier. Teller tells them to put on the uniforms. For some reason Warren doesn't figure out that there isn't a uniform for Teller.
“Turn that cabin into swiss cheese kid.” - Doc
In the cabin after 10K shoots the bad guy in the window, Bad Guy #2 tells Addy to pick up the gun and start shooting. Reluctantly she does. Although it doesn't make a lot of sense to have Addy pick up a gun since she could turn it against the bad guy (which she does not), what follows is the best moment of the episode. Addy shooting at 10K and 10K is shooting at her and neither knowing who they're shooting at. At one point they each shoot and the two bullets strike each other dead in the center between them. It's pretty cool slo-mo.
With the injured soldier dying and unreachable, Lt. Mueller tells his group, “We've got to show him some mercy.” They shoot the injured soldier in the head, who seems to die initially. But then he gets up and goes full zombie and the head shot doesn't take him down. In fact, the soldier goes after them until a shot spins him around and the heads toward the cabin. Each shot sends the zombified soldier spinning around heading in one direction and then another. It's pure Z Nation. The Z soldier doesn't die, and the other soldiers, 10K and Doc take off in the trucks.
At the camp, Mei and Red are holding down the fort. Red is trying to get 10K on the radio and then sees something in the distance that shocks her. Later Mei wakes up from a nap. She gets up groggy and looks around, but everyone's gone. Then Mei sees something off in the distance that shocks her.
“These are problematic times.” - Dr. Teller
Teller, Warren and Murphy head to the Founder's residence to get to the helicopter and enter, passing another crazy who's chowing down on a dead person. Why a helicopter pad on an island would involve going through a mansion, and there would only be one path right by the Founder's sitting room, doesn't make a lot of sense. But hey, we get some more crazy from The Founder.
The Founder and two women are in a sitting room and things are just as weird as the last time we saw him. When he starts to take things to an even weirder place, if that's possible, and it looks like he's going to call the guards on Teller. But Murphy pulls off his head gear and suddenly the Founder is thrilled to see him. “I have big plans for you, my boy. And I want you by my side at all times. And I mean at all times,” the Founder tells him. He promises glorious things are ahead, “but first The Reset.”
On the elevator to the helicopter pad, Dr. Teller isn't looking too good. He asks Warren about her visions and tells her something may be triggering them. It's common with people who wake up from a coma to have visions and she's should not ignore them because, “the subconscious is a very powerful thing,” he says. Teller's obviously in distress and neither Murphy or Warren seem to notice for some reason.
Teller admits to a shocked Murphy that Lucy is alive. Warren and Murphy learn that there is a small group of survivors still alive lead by military personnel. He gives them the GPS directions and tells them he's not going with them. Then a crazed Teller goes nuts and attacks Warren and she has another vision. Murphy shoots him dead and they get on the helicopter just as it takes off.
“Where the hell is everyone?” - Doc
In the cabin, Addy's been injured with a shot to her cheek. She tells Lucy to go, but one of the bad guys grabs Lucy and throws her in a car and takes off. Inside the cabin, Addy fights with the last bad guy and kills him. She mentally tells Lucy to find the others and get to Newmerica, but Lucy's trapped in the car and certainly not headed toward the others. A bleeding Addy stumbles out of the cabin picking up her discarded Z-wacker along the way.
At the camp, the soldiers, 10K and Doc arrive but everyone has vanished. 10K runs out looking for Red.
While other shows might have had several episodes in Zona digging out secret after secret, Zona apparently was just a quick stop for Z Nation. And really that seems right for a series that feels like a western more than anything else. This season sets us up with some mysteries which may last or not. It seems pretty obvious that Murphy and Warren will reunite with their people, but what is The Reset? Why were the Blends in the freezer? Why didn't the vaccine work? What else has Zona got cooked up for the unvaccinated? What's up with Warren's visions? Why are people vanishing and where are they vanishing to? Where is The Man? It does seem likely he'll pop back up. Will Murphy's blood entering Warren through that bullet have any impact on her? And what will the group find when they get to Newmerica?
In the end, "Escape From Zona" was less about action and more about exposition to set up the season's mission. Now that we've got this season's direction it has the potential to be a fun ride.