Z Nation Ep. 1.03: “Philly Feast” keeps up the fast and fun pace

Z Nation
Z Nation
, Season 1, Episode 3, “Philly Feast”
Written by Jennifer Derwingson
Directed by Luis Prieto
Airs Fridays at 10pm EST on Syfy

The art of satire is sometimes difficult to accomplish successfully. Taking an element in pop culture that has become clichéd and subtly mocking it can unfortunately often be misunderstood by a large portion of its audience. Z Nation, with its consistent biting, farcical episodes, is so boisterous and bad-for-the-sake-of-bad that it is understandable why its wit may be difficult to read as purposeful. But due to some hilariously asinine scenes, viewers of the show can continue to rejoice in the ridiculous, which strengthens the spoof, rather than criticize what might weaken a standard drama.

Z Nation continues to present plot clichés from the zombie genre. In this episode, it introduces a group who have pushed their moral compasses too far out of reach and become a threat to anyone with ethics from a pre-apocalyptic world. Although these ‘chestnuts’ are in play, the fast pacing in the script makes it forgivable. With the introduction of the dark cult that Cassandra used to be a part of, the rise and fall of the story runs its course throughout the span of an episode, instead of the span of two seasons or more, such as The Walking Dead‘s malevolent Governor arc. With the added flamboyance of non-stop action and carnage, the show continues to drastically differ itself from its predecessors.

Although the main characters do succumb to some of standard traits (such as Tom Everett Scott’s honorable leader), it is the amplified nature to the entire show that sets it apart. Even with some tired arcs in the background, every character on this show is an unapologetic force to be reckoned with, without the inevitable weaker links common in the show’s antecedents. Having each main character in the group be so profoundly tough for the majority of each episode adds to the over-the-top nature of the entire show and makes it so enjoyable. Although Z Nation continues to promise basically no depth or complexity, it is on a consistent path forward in the world of satire.

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