The rats are everywhere in this week’s Zoo.
Let’s bitch it out…
If you found yourself squirming during the rat scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, this would be a great episode of Zoo to skip. Swarms of the vermin are invading a scenic resort island in Massachusetts, so the squad is dispatched to investigate the situation and bring back male and female specimens for analysis. In yet another example of lazy Zoo coincidences, Pender Island was one of the only places where Jackson (James Wolk) has happy memories of time with his father. Convenient!
The whole gang’s here, except for Mitch (Billy Burke), who heads to Boston under the guise of meeting a peer at Harvard. His real goal, as we learned in last week’s episode, is to exchange the team’s sample of the Mother Cell with a Rieden Global exec in order to procure life-saving drugs for his daughter.
Meanwhile on the island, Jackson and Chloe (Nora Arnezeder) run into Jackson’s childhood friend, Becky (Scottie Thompson). She comes off as cringey and unlikable, and is used by the writers to force-feed us expository info we need for the story to move forward (The old hotel is under renovations. A perfect place for rats to hang out and make more rats. It’s also where Becky and Jackson used to hang out. Convenient!). There were also shades of Jaws here: a New England island dependent on tourism during the summer months (a shitty time to close your hotel for renovations, no?), with a wildlife problem the authorities (Becky) refuse to acknowledge.
Sure enough the hotel is swarming with rats, and after some general faffing about the squad discovers they’re breeding at a super-accelerated rate (the rats, not the squad), and that the offspring are all males. Eventually they discover the main nest in the hotel basement, and Chloe goes all Ellen Ripley on them with a flamethrower. Rat problem solved!
Back in Boston, Mitch reconnects with Clem (Madison Wolfe), and drops by the Reiden Global offices to make good on his offer. Here’s a great example of where the writers could really inject some moral uncertainty into the story. I’m sad to see that they’ve missed the opportunity to examine the conflict of a dad having to choose between his daughter and the human race. That being said, just before handing over the goods, Mitch spots Delavenne (Carl Lumbly) – Chloe’s boss and the team’s patron – in the Reiden office. Hmmm. Awkward eye contact is made, and a whole slew of questions are just begging to be answered. The rats really are everywhere tonight.
In other conspiratorial overtures, tonight’s vignette follows a couple on their first date who mistakenly accept a Central Park carriage ride pulled by a horse with a deviant pupil. Sure enough, the horse goes crazy and rampages into a (food truck?) festival, but that’s not the interesting part. After the crash, Mr. Charming (Ronnie ‘Dogstick’ Brannigan played by Xander Berkeley – thanks IMDB!), gets a phone call that implies he was in command of “Number 12,” or Agent Schaffer as we know him. He has footage of the team with Schaffer, and is set on tracking them down. Is he working for Reiden, a government agency, or some other third party?
I’m actually finding these small bits of political intrigue more interesting than the animal stuff. Since the show STILL refuses to offer some sort of compelling or exciting element to propel the show forward, I’ll take what I can get. Seriously, does no one read the news in the Zoo universe? Wouldn’t it make sense to have a government scientist analyze all the attacks and announce a doomsday scenario in X weeks or something? Maybe even Mitch could sort that out. Just give me something that adds a little tension; all these isolated incidents are staying too damn isolated. I hope that Ronnie represents the start of a slew of new players getting into the game whose goals and values may run counter to the squad’s.
- Ugh, I really didn’t like Becky. The only good news is that if she’s like any other tertiary cast members, we won’t see her again.
- Seeing Chloe kick ass with the flamethrower was pretty cool. I can’t imagine the smell though…
- A couple of fun Aliens references in this episode: the pest control guy who sticks his head into the ceiling turns around and discovers a rat stampede, and Chloe with the flamethrower.
- What kind of 12 year olds hang out at a hotel? Weird.
- Loved watching that carriage driver get the eff out of there once the horse gets out of control; customers be damned. With survival instincts like that, he’ll be fine in the impending animal apocalypse.
- I can’t say it enough: this show really needs some sort of “ticking clock” element to add some bloody tension to the show. It’s also frustrating that no one in any of the locations they visit seem to know about any of the other animal attacks. Are journalists in this universe that shitty?
- Jamie’s incessant pleading of “Where’s Mitch? Why can’t I talk to Mitch? What’s Mitch up to?” is super annoying.
Jackson: They’re all male.
Abraham: Are you sure?
Jackson: If you want to count rodent penises, be my guest.
Abraham: I’ll take your word for it.
Your turn: are you frustrated by the lack of urgency? Can you believe that no one else has connected the various attacks? Did Becky annoy you? Did Jamie’s need to talk to Mitch annoy you? Are you excited to see the conspiracy bring in new players? Sound off below.
Zoo airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on CBS.