Last night, the Crazy Blender that is Z NATION yielded another flavorful, first-rate concoction. In the early days of the zombie apocalypse, the crumbling government established a crash program in Minneapolis in which researchers were, among other things, growing dangerous plants in zombie mulch in an effort to develop an herbal vaccine for the zombie virus. The results were a deadly greenhouse full of phyto-zombies--plant/zombie hybrids linked to one another root-and-branch--and, if the researchers' incomplete notes are to be believed, "Batch 47," the leaves and seed-pods of which rendered a successful vaccine. For obvious reasons, Murphy is very interested in this facility; he turns up to investigate with our heroes in hot pursuit.
The principal difficulty in harvesting the materials necessary to proceed with any effort to replicate the original work is that, over time, the many batches grown in the greenhouse have become integrated into a single living organism. Its a veritable jungle of dense, interconnected foliage and damaging any part of it harms the whole. At the same time, its phyto-zombies fight back against any effort at invasion from the outside. When Murphy and Cassandra arrive, the site manager is sending random hopefuls into the building one after another, exploiting their desire for a cure and getting them killed in appalling numbers. Murphy's ability to control zombies seems to make him an ideal candidate for carrying out the harvest.
And, indeed, Murphy does manage to make his way through the building to the precious Batch 47, which is both guarded and personified by a creature that strongly resembles DC Comics' Swamp Thing. He acquires a sample, which the site manager then tests on what appear to be the zombified heads of the Three Stooges--he keeps them under glass on his desk. A big dose for Moe makes his head explode. A smaller dose for Larry just puts him to sleep. Splitting the difference in dosage results in Curly enunciating the word "BRAINS!" Success!
Unfortunately, the compound is under the control of the dread Zero Cartel, a powerful criminal empire that uses it to grow z-weed and, as we learn, takes a very dim view of the site manager's efforts to plumb the mysteries of Batch 47. Hector Alvarez, the cartel's "vice-president in charge of sales," turns up, takes out the wayward manager and orders the greenhouse destroyed. Murphy tries to save the Swamp Thing but it doesn't go so well and our heroes are forced to reduce the creature to shredded spinach.
Lots of stuff here: Citizen Z finally manages to reestablish contact with "Operation Bitemark" and relays to Addie the coordinates of the California lab. The now-scarred Dr. Kurien turns up too. After his misadventure in fridge-nuking back in "The Murphy," he's, as Murphy puts it, a nuclear irradiated mad scientist whose ear looks like Elvis. He says Murphy's "kind"--human/zombie hybrids--will inherit the earth, then is hauled off by the Zeroes. Vasquez apparently has some connection with/grudge against the Zeroes or at least some of them. Upon coming across one of their gun thugs, he unmasks the fellow, asks to see the fellow's tattoo--he seems to know about it--then kills the fellow. More grist for future eps. The creators also
manage to work in a story about a dying little girl whose, in effect,
last wish is that she not become a zombie. When Alvarez confiscates the
material related to Batch 47, Doc manages to swipe some of the harvest
and deliver it to her before the end. And as things are winding down, the very pregnant Pie Girl reappears!
This continues to be a great season for ZN. One only hopes it will continue at this level and will lead to many more.