Z Nation's "The Vanishing"

Z Nation welcomes you back to the apocalypse

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Mar 26, 2021, 7:00 AM EDT (Updated)

Spoilers ahead for Z Nation's “The Vanishing,” because hey … it's a TV recap.

With Zona history, Z Nation gets back to basics as the group is mostly reunited, and a couple of mysteries loom large. It also looks like we'll get a new mission via Warren's visions, which is a bit of a mystery as well.

“Death by Apocalypse.” -- Lt. Mueller

“The Vanishing” opens with Murphy and Warren, disguised as guards, getting off the helicopter from Zona and heading for the woods. We do get a glimpse of pasty-mad-scientist-guy (aka Mr. Sunshine) with the rest of the guards getting into vehicles. So apparently none of them got the vaccine, and Mr. Sunshine is heading somewhere important.

We get jumps from scene to scene as 10K is looking pretty freaked during his search for Red, Doc and the soldiers are at the camp with Lt. Mueller wanting to leave to get to Newmerica, and a kidnapped Lucy is trapped in the back seat of a car that's being driven by one of her kidnappers. There's no sign of Addy.


Lucy gets that I've-got-a-weird-feeling look, and a bullet hits the driver in the head, taking him out. She plugs in her seat belt just as the car crashes. She's okay, but braces for a fight. But it's Warren and Murphy, who she instantly recognizes as “Dad!” While she's relieved to see Warren, she's angry with Murphy.

It's funny seeing Murphy try to figure out how to react to his mostly grown-up daughter, who seems to be filled with teen “whatever” angst. “Have I done something to disappoint you?” Murphy asks her. He claims he didn't do anything wrong, and reminds her that she's grown up pretty fast ... literally. Characters who act like annoyed teens are annoying to watch. It seems like the writers are trying to make Lucy an unlikable character.

Lucy tells them that “everyone's headed to Newmerica,” and they all head off in that direction, in a car Murphy and Warren somehow magically found. Like a lot of Z Nation, the action takes place on a lonely highway surrounded by woods. No houses, or businesses, or much of anything denoting civilization -- not even any signs that there was once civilization around.

“Apocalyptic Blonde.” -- Warren

At the camp, Lt. Mueller insists that they need to head North to Newmerica, but Doc wants to wait for 10K, who's still looking for Red and the other people missing from the camp. But then Murphy, Warren, and Lucy drive up. Doc's thrilled to see Warren and notices her “apocalyptic blonde” hair, and is even glad to see Murphy. Lucy keeps her sullen act going and heads for one of the tents. “Well, you reap what you spawn, brother,” Doc tells the former Blue One.

The new group is filled in on the vanishings as well as the “unkillable Zs,” who can't be brought down by a gunshot to the head. With the new group at the camp, Lt. Mueller is ready to leave, despite the missing 10K and Addy (not that anyone mentions waiting for Addy). But Warren insists that they should wait until morning.


Murphy tells Doc that Zona was like two full years at Club Med, and discovers that Newmerica is in Canada, which he complains is “far and cold.” Lt. Mueller tells him he doesn't have much of a choice. “Welcome back to the Apocalypse,” Murphy replies.

As for Warren, she stares off into the woods looking like she's somewhere else. And she is. Warren is having another fiery apocalyptic wasteland vision that tells her to “Go East. Always East.”

In the meantime, Lt. Mueller decides that he and Sgt. Lily will go out and look for 10K and the missing refugees.

Don't go in the woods!

10K stalks through the woods hearing strange noises and sees a vision of Red for a moment, but she's not there. He tries to amplify the sounds, but gets attacked by a Z.

Elsewhere, Lt. Mueller and Sgt. Lily do their own stalking through the woods, until Lily vanishes and Mueller presses on by himself. Just like 10K, Mueller hears strange noises that seem to be coming from everywhere.

Lt. Mueller is suddenly attacked by a zombified Sgt. Czarnecki, who died last week, the Z that wouldn't die. Mueller shoots him square in the head, and then a couple more for good measure as Czarnecki drops. Mueller gives him a salute with some mercy, and as he turns to continue on, the unkillable Z rises and attacks him again.

“One Long Root Canal.” -- Doc

In the medical tent, Warren wakes with a start. Doc tells her she passed out and asks her if it's really worth it. Surviving and trying to save the world, that is. “The last two years were like one long root canal,” Doc tells her. But Warren promises him it is worth it, and that's what he needed to hear.

Then Warren realizes something's going on in a cabinet. She opens it and out pops Burgess, one of the refugees. But poor Burgess is nearly catatonic and can't tell them much. After getting a couple questions answered by Burgess, who blinks his answers, Murphy, Warren, and Doc head out to discuss, and not so shockingly, when they go back into the tent, Burgess has vanished too.

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Then they see something coming in the distance, but it's 10K. They're relieved, and 10K is happy to see Warren. But their reunion is interrupted by Lt. Mueller, who's gone totally “Mad Z.” He bursts through the gates and attacks pretty much everyone. And bad luck for them, he's one of the Unkillables. However, right behind him is Sgt. Lily, who pumps bullet after bullet into her former boss, and finally takes off part of his head. Still it takes a couple more of her mega bullets to finally take him down.

A little later, Sgt. Lily stands at the end of Lt. Mueller's grave. Then she gets in a jeep and it's time to head north to Newmerica. No one mentions the missing Addy, or even leaves her a note. As they all start to head to the car, Warren heads down a different road, east. She stops to pick up a Route 66 sign, and she holds it like a shield. As she starts to walk east, first Lucy, and then Doc and 10K follow. Murphy's not ready to go east, considering Newmerica is north. But then Sgt. Lily drives the car up next to Warren on the road heading east, and they all get in, even Warren. A reluctant Murphy follows.

They're Back!

It's good to have the group back together (mostly), although the writers either need to make Lucy more fun to spend time with or get rid of her. The team may not have saved the world, even though they completed their mission and got Murphy to the scientists, but the group is much more fun together than they are apart.

Z Nation lost its way last season with Murphy turning evil instead of him just being a jerk, and with too many complications like Red Hand. But it feels like the show just might be back, even though the team is a little more worn and battle-weary. It looks like Warren and gang have a new mysterious mission that's going to take them east away from Newmerica, but toward the Reset, the Vanishing, the Unkillables, and Warren's visions. And when Warren, especially Apocalyptic Blonde Warren, and the gang are on a mission, we can expect a fun ride.