Skip to Content

Z Nation, Ep. 1.02, “Fracking Zombies” gives bites of big action

Z Nation, Ep. 1.02, “Fracking Zombies” gives bites of big action

Z NATION --  Episode 102 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- (Photo by: Oliver Irwin/Syfy)Z Nation, Season 1, Episode 2, “Fracking Zombies”
Written by Michael Cassutt, Jennifer Derwingson
Directed by John Hyams
Airs Fridays at 10pm ET on Syfy

When it comes to zombie fiction in the recent couple of years, there has been a tendency for projects to bite off more than they can chew. With so many heavy themes being interwoven, such as morality in a society broken down to its core, the shows or films can become hyper-serious to the point of self parody and lose any sort of palatability. Z Nation still presents serious themes, such as the stress of the scenario making characters consider death as a viable solution, but due to its simultaneous reliance on mindless action, it is an enjoyable piece of mental chewing gum.

“Fracking Zombies” follows the cast of survivors as they attempt to get gas from a refinery that has been overtaken by zombies. As the episode progresses, the viewers learn small snippets of each character’s past, withholding enough that this never becomes overwhelming. The audience learns that Cassandra, the peculiar loner who was picked up in the first episode, has a presumably turbulent past with a rougher group of people who are also making their way through the apocalyptic landscape. This becomes apparent after another seemingly untrustworthy stranger crosses paths with the characters, and later breaks off with her to implore her to return to her ‘family.’ Although Cassandra is arguably the primary focus in this episode, there is a simultaneous plot following Citizen Z (DJ Qualls) that shows him submerged in his loneliness, desperately trying to reach out to anyone who is reachable through the satellite. He also comes across two dogs, one alive and a potential companion, and the other an undead threat.

See also  'Melbourne' Movie Review

There is a slow progression of plot development that will likely remain at this pace for the remainder of the season, which may cause some viewers to lose interest, but it is arguable that an in-depth story is quite simply not the ‘point’ of Z Nation. The series presents some heavier themes in small doses, such as issues of trust and the lengths humans with endure to survive, but with what’s remaining of the episodes being purely action, guts, and explosions, it’s easy to see why people should not be tuning into this show for a complex glimpse into mankind.

The primary draw for Z Nation is its playful mockery of the genre, which appears as though it will be present for the entire series. There is almost nonsensical government jargon in the dialogue, as well as the typical emergence of apocalypse archetypes such as the Leader, the Love-birds, and the Possible Solution, who all succumb to cliched characteristics.  Because everything is amplified to a ridiculous degree, it appears as an amusing parody and sets itself apart from other zombie shows or movies. This show is for fans of blood, guts and smashed skulls; otherwise, viewers should consider returning to zombie soap operas like The Walking Dead.