Z Nation ‘Doctor of the Dead’ Recap

by on 12/06/2014

They said they couldn’t do it. And they also said they shouldn’t do it. But Syfy and The Asylum, the creators of the Sharknado series, went ahead and made their own low-budget zombie series anyway. And here it is at the end of its first season with a second season on the way.

The season finale begins with a flashback to before the zombie apocalypse, in New York City, shortly after Hurricane Sandy. A creepy guy with a doctor’s bag meets a man on the street.  The man takes the doctor to a rundown apartment, where a very sick man, Bill, lies in sickness and squalor. Bill can’t kick, “the krok,” which seems to be a reference to the dangerous flesh-eating street drug krokodil. The doctor gives the man who led him there a small package and he leaves.

Bill is in a bad way, his skin is eaten up with sores and lesions. The doctor asks him a bunch of questions, but he has no interest in helping Bill.

“Actually, you are going to help me,” he says.

The doctor gives Bill and injection that makes him seize up. then he jams a bigger needle up Bill’s nose into his brain, killing him, and draws out blood and fluid.

As the doctor leaves he walks past the corpse of the man who led him there lying in the hallway. He has a syringe in his arm, his gift from the doctor and his final high.

Back to the present and somewhere west of the Rockies. Our group’s mission to find the facility at Fort Collins, Colorado that was the last known location of Dr. Merch, the doctor who injected Murphy with the anti-zombie antibodies that might save the world, is not going well. They’re only 150 miles away, but Cassandra is sick and Murphy is acting weird.

On the radio, Citizen Z tries to encourage Warren to press on to Fort Collins anyway. He tells them to forget about the medical facility they were originally headed for in California, which has gone dark.

“Colorado is the new California,” Citizen Z says.

Cassandra is sick in the road as 10K tries to help. Murphy watches from the group’s van, which is filled with drugs from last episode’s heist of Mesa Pharmaceuticals. His scalp is bothering him and looks for a mirror to check it, and finds a key to the van behind one of the sunvisors.  He gets behind the wheel to take off but Warren stops him and tells him about the new orders and Dr. Merch.

“I’ve got a bone to pick with that bitch,” Murphy says.

Warren says she’s the reason he’s still alive.

“Define alive?” Murphy asks.

As they drive toward the facility Doc tells Murphy he’ll actually miss him, that they’ve started to feel like a family.

Murphy returns the affection, in a way.

“I almost consider you a friend,” Murphy says.

Doc then starts talking about how much poking and prodding Murphy is in for, which makes him nervous.

Doc asks 10K what his plans are after they drop Murphy off. 10K says he has 6,998 Zs to kill to make his goal, but he might take a break somewhere cold where the Zs don’t go. Warren says she might go to California. Doc says he’ll buy a boat and sail around the world and find an island without Zs.

They get to the facility, which just looks like a small shed with some Zs out front. Warren asks Murphy if she can see his hands and then handcuffs him. She says it’s so no one mistakes him as a zombie, but he doesn’t believe her.

Murphy walks into the crowd of Zs and the Zs rush to attack the group. It’s possible Murphy used his new mind control powers to guide them. The rest of the group gets in the van for safety, but the Zs are attacking it pretty hard and they’re mostly out of ammo.

Warren screams to Murphy to stop the attack. He just opens the door of the van and tells the group to hug him. They hold on and he leads them through them to the door with the Zs snarling.

Inside, Murphy says something is attracting the Zs to the facility like a magnet and he can feel it.

They find a bunch of scientists inside, dead, at a table set up for a birthday party. The cake’s fresh enough for Murphy to eat some of the icing and says Happy Birthday to a “Dr. Kur…” with the rest missing because pieces have been eaten.  A noise alerts them to some “puppies and kittens” nearby.

We get a flashback to a U.N. Ebola camp in Liberia before the ZA. The doctor is there, too, and takes a sample from an Ebola patient in his customarily cruel and fatal way.

Back in the present, Warren agrees to take Murphy’s cuffs off. But he’s already broken them himself, joking “Pilates” when she asks how.

The Zs attack and they fight them off. After running out of ammo 10K and Doc take out one by first hitting it in the face with the cake and then hitting it with a crowbar, which could be a little reference to the zombie pie fight scene in the original Dawn of the Dead.

Fight over, the group hears a cell phone ringing. They track it to a corpse at desk that has a female scientist lying across his back, and check the text messages.

Doc reads them, they tell the story of an infection outbreak at the lab that seems to get progressively worse. We get a flashback to the guy distracted by texting and getting bitten by the zombified female scientist.

Citizen Z sends a new message on the phone pointing them to some files on something called “Red Death.”It’s a reference to the famous plague story “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe, a highbrow reference for a show with such obvious fart jokes and literal dead baby comedy.

Conveniently, there’s a computer at the desk where the dead guy and scientist were arranged. Murphy sweeps the pair away and gets on the computer.

He finds some videos of animal testing on monkeys, then some files about Dr. Merch. He also finds a video of Dr. Merch interrogating a lab tech, Brendan, who seems to be in quarantine, asking him if he somehow punctured his contamination suit. The guy tries to say it’s a false alarm, but Dr. Merch gives him a sad look.

After watching this scary stuff, Doc wants to leave, but Murphy insists they find Dr. Merch and Warren agrees.

“She’s still our only chance at a vaccine,” Warren says.

“I just thought we might wanna, you know, live,” Doc says sarcastically.

“Well quit your dreamin’ and let’s go,” Murphy says.

Another flashback to before the ZA. The doctor, whose Hippocratic Oath I’m starting to strongly doubt, shows up at an abandoned bio-weapons lab in Kazakhstan.  The doctor and a guide put on gas masks, then the guide shows him a dead looter inside.

The fact that looter is no longer living is really disappointing to the doctor. He tricks his guide into helping turn the corpse over and rips the guide’s gas mask off. He breaks a vial that was near the looter’s corpse and gas oozes out. The guide begs to know what the doctor is doing.

“Science,” the doctor says coldly as the man starts to choke and spit blood. The doctor quickly collects his sample.

In the present Doc takes a call from Citizen Z on the phone and asks “what fresh hell awaits us.”

Citizen Z says they need to go through decontamination. And they have to make sure to decontaminate on the way out, or it will trigger a tactical nuclear failsafe that will incinerate the lab. Oh, and they have to decontaminate naked.

Murphy, not shy, is the first to take his clothes off. The rest reluctantly disrobe and awkwardly wait for decontamination. Cassandra is getting sick. They can also see that Murphy’s scars are spreading.

When they get done with decontamination Cassandra gives up, says she can’t go any further. But 10K says he’ll carry her and does.

They get to a dark lab. Doc is nervous about going in but Murphy reminds him they’re all infected anyway.

The lab has human test subjects in various cells. One seems to be alive, a woman who is being swarmed by thousands of flies. Another one seems to be a Z with a Saw-like contraption holding its mouth open.

They find a couple of open cells and then notice they’re being stalked by the former occupants. Murphy tries to talk to them through his new zombie telepathy, but he quickly figures out these aren’t regular zombies, but some kind of “mutant thing.”

“I don’t think they like me!” he yells and they attack him.

The mutant things are fast and strong but, suddenly, so is Murphy. He decapitates them both with his bare hands and says “Let’s go find Merch.”

Another flashback to before the ZA, this time to Haiti. The doctor is investigating a man who shows all the classic symptoms of being a Vo0doo zombie, including having no will of his own and responding to commands. The doctor takes another sample.

Even with 10K carrying her, Cassandra can’t go on. She calls him by his real name, Tommy, and he sets her down. She promises not to tell anyone his real name and passes out.

The take Cassandra and put her in a storage room on a hospital bed. She wakes up. Doc tells her they’ll find her some antibiotics, but Warren gives her a gun with one bullet in it. 10K gives her a hug.

“Thank you Tommy,” she says as they leave.

In the hall Murphy asks if Cassandra will make it. Warren says he might want to say his goodbyes so he enters the room. Murphy goes inside and strokes her hair and gives her a kind smile. She seems to expire.

Murphy leaves and shows the group a trail of gore that leads to a bio-containment room. Inside are a lot of metal coffins and, it’s not a Z, some kind of weird creature that’s been cut in half. Murphy identifies it as Brendan, the contaminated lab tech in the video they watched earlier.

There’s intelligence in Brendan’s eyes and Murphy says he wants them to watch something. Brendan is lying near a computer keyboard and pushes a button on it, starting a video.

The video shows Dr. Merch forcibly making Brendan the first human trial of the anti-zombie vaccine. He ha a seizure and another scientists enters and turns off the camera.

Murphy is horrified at what the vaccine did to Brendan. No, he didn’t turn into a zombie, but now he’s a wet pile of flesh that can’t die. Murphy gets close to Brendan, who wants to say something. It’s just “Kill me,” over and over, of course.

Citizen Z takes over the computer, says Dr. Merch and two soldiers are heading their way. Three figures enter, two big soldiers in gas masks and someone in full containment gear.

The lead figure takes his containment hood off. It’s the doctor from the flashbacks. He says Dr. Merch didn’t make it, he’s her boss Dr. Kurtz.

“I’m here to help you save mankind,” he says.

At Northern Light NSA Arctic listening station, Citizen Z is looking up info about Dr. Kurtz. He finds a distinguished scientists with an impressive list of vaccine work, but the picture does not match the guy who’s talking to our group right now.

The doctor gives them a nice speech about how the country owes them a lot and how they’ll take Murphy on to the California lab to find a cure.

At Northern Light Citizen Z is watching from the computer’s web cam. He runs a facial scan on the doctor and finds he’s actually a Dr. Kurian.

Dr. Kurian tells Murphy if he won’t go he’ll end up just like Brendan, and suggests someone give the “poor creature” mercy. Murphy says he’ll do it and Warren hands him a knife.

Murphy heads to Brendan and tells him he’s “sorry about all of it.” Brendan whispers “Don’t trust him.” Murphy gives Brendan mercy and then says he wont’ go. This is the start of a standoff between Murphy’s group and Dr. Kurian and the soldiers.

At Northern Light Citizen Z finds out who Dr. Kurian actually is. He’s not so nice as Dr. Kurtz, an international criminal who sells bioweapons tech to nasty folks like North Korea and was working on battlefield hypnotics.

Citizen Z tries to warn them on the computer by holding up a sign that says “Kill the doctor!” 10K sees it.

There’s some knocking at the door. Dr. Kurian says it’s just a zombie and tells the soldiers to give it mercy so it won’t attract more.

“Zombies can’t open doors, can they?” one of the soldiers ask.

Not usually, except in a weird scene in the first episode of this show, which this seems to be self-deprecating reference to. And also when it’s Cassandra, who seems to have also become a zombie hybrid like Murphy. She has a bite mark on her cheek, presumably from Murphy biting her.

She can talk, too. She says she’s not dead when Kurian suggest mercying her. Murphy orders her to “kill him” and she attacks with superhuman speed, taking out the soldiers as Dr. Kurian fires with a machine gun. She takes a couple of shots and goes down. Both Murphy Dr. Kurian use the confusion to make their escape.

But Doc gets caught in hail of bullets.

Murphy runs, trying to make his escape. Citizen Z calls him on a PA when he gets to the decontamination area. Murphy is angry, he says Citizen Z set him up. Citizen Z says he didn’t know, and tries to get Murphy to calm down, because if he goes through the doors without decontamination he’ll set off the failsafe and nuke everything.

“Why should I care?” Murphy asks. He screams he’s lost everything, including himself.

Citizen tells him if he goes up he’ll kill everyone, including Doc and the others.

Murphy sees Dr. Kurian, also trying to make his escape, catch up with him. In a panic, Murphy rips the door open and goes through without decontaminating, launching the nuke. Seven minutes to detonation. Citizen Z watches in horror.

Warren tries to do CPR on doc. The soldiers rise as Zs.

Murphy gets to an elevator and starts to ride it up. He grasps at his scalp again like he did earlier.

It looks like the Z soldiers are going to kill Warren and 10K, but Cassandra gets up and attacks them, screaming at her friends to get out there now.

Doc finally wakes up and Warren and 10K help lead him to safety as Cassandra buys them time.

Around the world, Citizen Z watches more nukes being launched.

“Oh my God, they must be third strike weapons on a dead man switch,” he says. Translation, by setting off the nuke Murphy has kicked in failsafes in other countries and started an automated World War III.

“What is wrong with us?” Citizen Z asks in anguish, as his computer tracks several nukes moving in neat lines toward the U.S. on his screen.

With four minutes to go, Murphy walks out of the compound. We just see him in silhouette, but he’s obviously nude.

Citizen Z notices a nuke going north.

“Where you headed?” he asks aloud.

“Oh,” he says, and starts running.

10K, Warren and Murphy make it to the elevator with three minutes to go.

In the elevator, 10K finds a pile of weird skin. It’s Murphy’s, he’s shed his skin.

“Keep it, we can make some awesome boots out of that,” Doc jokes, coughing from his wounds.

Murphy takes the van and peels out. When Warren and the others get to the surface they find a SUV, but they’re so late they can actually see the nuke in the sky before they try to drive away.

Oh, hey, there’s a quick flash to Mack and Addy. Addy is presumably at the Sisters of Mercy camp and wearing a weird culty shirt. Mack’s is somewhere else, at least not dead. Well, not for a minute or two. He and Addy see nukes fly overhead.

The SUV was apparently Dr. Kurian’s. Without a ride he seems to run for shelter at the facility.

And Citizen Z gets to the door of his bunker and looks up. Northern Light was obviously a high value target, he can see a sky full of nukes bearing down on him.

“God I hate the apocalypse,” he says, then allows himself a little laugh. End of episode.

Well, World War III and nuclear annihilation are a hell of a cliffhanger. We’ll see who survives, and in what form, when the show returns in 2015. Until then, you can discuss Z Nation and other zombie shows on our forum.

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