Spoilers ahead for Z Nation's “Frenemies,” because hey … it's a TV Recap.
Z Nation is always better when it doesn't take itself too seriously. Then again, sometimes it completely goes off the rails, as it did with the recent clown episode and with tonight's “Frenemies.” The writers give Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street the Z Nation treatment in what turns out to be the most disgusting episode of the entire series.
“This could be our last sliver of paradise.” - Murphy
“Frenemies” opens with 10K and Sarge trying to make their way through a thick foam storm that surrounds them. They've become separated from the group, as have Doc and Murphy. Unfortunately, the Zs start to find them in the foam and attack. Doc and Murphy manage to find a door and open it. It's a barbershop with Sal the Barber giving a half shave to their old frenemy, Sketchy, while his pal Skeezy looks on.
Sketchy hops out of the chair with half a beard left and makes way for Murphy, who's thrilled at the idea of getting a real shave and haircut. As for Doc, he's sure he knows Sal from somewhere, but can't put his finger on it. Meanwhile, Sketchy and Skeezy, none too subtly, try to warn Doc and the oblivious Murphy that something is wrong.
While the story checks in with 10K and Sarge, and elsewhere with Warren, as they all battle their way through the foam storm outside, most of the action takes place at the barbershop. The foam storm isn't given much explanation, nor is anything else in this crazy episode.
“That really was a close shave.” - Murphy
While Murphy is getting his close shave from the barber, Doc's trying to remember Sal. Sketchy and Skeezy are anxious about something, especially every time Sal gets close to a special lever on the chair he seems to want to pull. But then Murphy's shave is done and it's Doc's turn, as Murphy takes off his pants and heads off to the tanning bed. Unfortunately, the tanning bed is occupied, probably by a Z.
As Doc faces his own close shave, he remembers that Sal is actually Tony Cueball, a fella who robbed him at some point and even took his skivvies. Sketchy and Skeezy leap to help Doc, who's stuck in the chair when Sal pulls the magic lever and Doc is nearly fed to a basement full of Zs through a trapdoor in the floor. While it looks like Doc and the guys might get the better of Sal, Sal's tall mute pal Tiny takes control with a machine gun. Sal admits that it's a robbery.
Up to this point the barbershop action has become a full-on farce. But just when it seemed like this was going to be just one of the lesser episodes, things devolve.
“Robbery? Is that what this is? I totally thought you two were a couple of sadists out for a good time.” - Murphy
Sketchy and Skeezy tell Doc and Murphy they tried to warn them about Sal and Tiny. Just as we're about to find out more about the barber ruse Sal and Tiny were attempting to pull, 10K and Sarge come in coughing and hacking ... and well, skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to know more, because it only gets worse from there. Sarge shoots stuff out of her nose, and 10K throws up. Then everyone starts throwing up in what is the most disgusting scene I've probably ever seen on TV. They all start slipping on the vomit, which goes through the floorboards onto the Zs below. Why the writers wanted to take the episode to this place, I have no idea. It's not funny. At all.
There is more unpleasantness involving a naked tanning bed old lady zombie, but hey, even before old lady Z this was my vote for the worst Z Nation episode ever.
On the Warren front, we check in on her from time to time as she fights through the foam and the Zs. She eventually sees a person in a containment suit, and she starts to follow him until she passes out and goes to visionland.
“Funny how life's most negative moments have the longest-lasting impact.” - Doc
The rest of the barbershop story has Skeezy seeming to get bit and being banished to the foam storm outside. Then two other guys pop in to also rob everyone, which for some reason involves people taking off their clothes, most notably Sal. Why anyone would want to rob someone of clothes in a world where there aren't many people left, but there are lots of clothes, no idea.
But then Sketchy convinces the new bad guys to take them down to the basement, where the bad guys get eaten by the Zs, and then Sal and Tiny take care of the Zs. Just as Sal's about to kill all the humans, Skeezy returns with some sort of big gun that takes out Sal and Tiny. And then everyone lived happily ever after and never threw up again. Just kidding.
Sketchy and Skeezy admit they're ready to retire and think the Curl Up 'N Dye barbershop would be the perfect place to do it. As our gang head out of town they finally find Warren. The person she was following was Teller, the dead scientist guy who got them out of Zona. Before he vanishes, imaginary Teller tells her, “Everything depends on you.”
So in the end there's been absolutely no reason for us to experience this episode. Nothing happened. None of the bad guy actions made sense. The good guys were stupid and should all be dead. No answers were given. There hasn't been any character growth. Why does Sketchy have half a shave and haircut? There weren't any funny lines, at least not ones that were worth the unpleasant trip. Never mind.