We are well into the last third of Zoo, and it’s not getting any smarter.
Let’s bitch it out…
Last week’s Zoo left us with a real cliffhanger as Mitch (Billy Burke) prepared to turn in the only sample of the Mother Cell in exchange for a cure for his daughter’s terminal illness. So did Zoo deliver on the inherent possibilities of having a character battle with personal demons in the face of the greater good? You bet it didn’t! I think we all knew Mitch wasn’t going to turn over the Mother Cell, but it was still disappointing that the writers take the easy road again. And don’t get me started on how convenient it is that Reiden just happens to have the only known cure for Clem’s (Madison Wolfe) fictional disease.
Mitch does a smash ‘n’ grab with his daughter’s meds, and flees Reiden Global’s headquarters by navigating an elaborate security system including a locked door, a number of stairwells, and a fire exit. Mission: Impossible this is not.
After revealing to the rest of the team what he had planned to do, and that he spotted Delavenne (Carl Lumbly) in the Reiden office, Mitch and Abe (Nonso Anozie) head to deliver the meds to Clem. The Zoo crew is understandably upset for a good 5 minutes or so, but only Abe seems to harbour any lasting resentment, which Mitch offers to negate by allowing Abe to “take a swing at him.” I see the writers are combing schoolyards at recess for ideas. It’s all for naught anyways, by the end of the episode all of Mitch’s transgressions are forgotten; like so many developments on this show, there are no lasting consequences.
Meanwhile Chloe (Nora Arnezeder) and Jackson (James Wolk) track Delavenne and learn that he works for Reiden itself as global Head of Security. Delavenne, in the spirit of Bond villains everywhere, reveals that Reiden plans to use the team as a scapegoat for the emerging crisis. This is a biggest “aha!” moment in the series so far, but it just seems so… stupid. If Reiden wants the team to fail at finding the true cause of the animal attacks, why did the company hire (arguably) competent people? Why not just hire a bunch of idiots? Or why hire anyone at all?
Jamie (Kristen Connolly) arranges for the team to meet with a reporter-colleague to whom they can spill the beans and crack open the entire conspiracy. Unfortunately, they are ambushed by Brannigan (Xander Berkeley), the FBI muckity-muck who apparently likes to do all the dirty work himself, and loved Agent Schaffer “like a son.” He’s made it his personal mission to track down Jamie and Chloe, and is enraged by their claims that Schaffer was a dirty cop. Gritty stuff.
Of course the team manages to evade Brannigan and meet up with Mitch and Abe at Mitch’s ex’s house. They decide they need to head to Africa to find a sample leopard with which they can synthesize a cure for the animal’s…infection? Virus? Bacteria? Mutation? Ah screw it, who cares anymore? I won’t get into why they need a leopard to do it. It’s stupid, trust me. Anyways, their jaunt to Africa is perfectly timed as they’re narrowly avoid a SWAT team lead by Brannigan.
To finish this review, I should mention the cheesy bird attacks. All I’ve gotta say is that Hitchcock would be rolling in his grave; at one point, a flock of birds attacks a woman with a stroller (of course she has a stroller and baby!) and I actually laughed out loud. Maybe I’m a monster, but the whole thing is just goofy.
I will give ‘Murmuration’ some credit for introducing a bit of tension, an element noticeably absent up until now. Delavenne and Evil Kennedy (Steven Culp) at Reiden are siccing all kinds of bad dudes on the team to silence them for good; we finally having an evil element chasing the team. Yes, obviously this undo’s all the work the bad guys were trying to accomplish in the first place, but we’re through the looking glass here, people. As we get deeper and deeper into this show’s storyline, the internal logic is making less and less sense. Another case in point: Mitch mentions there are about 300 billion birds in the world; how on earth do you cure 300 billion birds? Maybe we’ll find out next week.
- Reiden must have hired all the out of work prison guards from episode 3 to be their security detail because Mitch’s escape is hilariously easy. For Reiden’s sake, I hope they have better hitmen than security guards.
- Why in the name of god would the entire Zoo team hide out at Mitch’s ex’s house when earlier in the episode they repeatedly mention how unsafe it is? Oh yeah, easy action for the writers…
- Abe uses a firehose to save Clem and her mom from the bird attack. I love the idea of Abe just asking a team of firemen to borrow their hose and they’re cool with it.
- Speaking of Abe, I’ve noticed a trend. Whenever there is a “crimey” element to be committed, Abe does it. Lockpick? Abe. Hotwire a car? Abe. Swap licence plates? Abe. Buy burner phones? Abe. Hmmm, is there some racial profiling going on here…
Usually the location work for Zoo is pretty good, but this episode Boston looks an awful lot like New Orleans. Palm trees everywhere!
- Seriously, how do they intend to cure every animal on the planet? I’m calling right now that it will have something to do with hyper gamma waves. Remember them?
Your turn: what does everyone else think of the big Delavenne-working-for-Reiden twist? Surprising? Stupid? Also, am I being too harsh on the bird attacks, or do you agree that this episode’s director could have learned a thing or two from Mr. Hitchcock? What do you think is going to be the plot device that explains how they will cure all the animals? Telekinesis? GMOs?
Zoo airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on CBS.