‘Z Nation’ Season Four: Follow the Black Rainbow

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Welcome back to that post-apocalyptic world of Z Nation still on-going with brand new and even revitalized former ways to screw up what’s left of the world! Spoilers will eat your flesh!

When we last left our dubious heroes, well never-mind that, the point is, Roberta Warren (Kellita Smith) just woke in a stark laboratory-like setup, to learn she’s been out for damn near two years, and it comes with costs. I actually like the white-blonde hair Warren sports throughout the entirety of Season Four, it makes her seem more affected by the end of the world.

So while Warren’s been cooling her heels in stasis, Murphy’s (Keith Allen) been hanging like a King in a Stepford Wives-like community called ZONA. While ZONA might seem idyllic, or at least be Murphy’s version of what he thinks is perfect, Dr. Teller (Frank Boyd) and the all-important Founder (Michael Berryman) of ZONA himself are hatching plans for the ultimate end-game, that giant action they call the Reset, which is exactly what it sounds like.

After figuring out that, y’know, perhaps ZONA isn’t actually a place they want to hang around, Warren takes her vision-besotted self and a reluctant Murphy, off to find the rest of the scattered team and figure out what the hell to do now! Some of the gang want to head to Numerica, that’s where Addie’s purported to be, along with perchance others who want to find out why and how ZONA’s forces are hunting them down, and a few want to follow Warren’s devastating visions of the black rainbow and the flesh eating rain, hopefully to try and stop it.

Meanwhile elsewhere, Kaya in the Sky-a (Ramona Young) has already had Citizen Z’s (DJ Qualls) son and of course named him JZ, cuz he’s Junior Z after all, and is trying to fight off ZONA stealth forces come to raid the base of Northern Light. What could evil world-changing ZONA want from Northern Light that is so important and pivotal to the Reset? It would have to be something vital, that was gathered before the apocalypse and managed to survive the zom-pocalypse too.

It’s from these worrisome thoughts and Warren’s scary visions, we get the brand new tone of Z Nation season four, all washed out and faded, raging fire forever in the distance but always edging closer, a very real sense that, holy shit, not only did the world already actually end when the dead rose, but that someone is now trying to Reset the world, once again. The very different light filters and faded colors when Z Nation had been known for exactly the opposite beforehand, is a bold risk but it actually seems to have paid off. Most of the season rather reminded me of the excellent zombie Horror flick 28 Days Later,  and that film is a damn legend at this point. (If you haven’t seen 28 Days Later already, do.)

The world of two-years-later and ZONA ascendant is a much more somber and quiet thing, here in Z Nation, and the tension mounts in every episode. Even the cheesy SyFy special effects used for Warren’s visions – it was so well acted on Warren’s part, we believed right along with her. That’s something Z Nation has surprisingly managed to do, across three seasons of goofy nonsense zombie trope wacky-world ‘Merica funnery, is make us believe, right along with the characters. It’s usually believing in Murphy, that beleaguered half-zombie half-hero Luthor wannabe, so Warren taking a turn at messiah-hood in Season Four is cool beans, man.

I did enjoy the addition of Henry Rollins as Lieutenant Mueller for several episodes, and of course he got a badass death at the hands of his overly-trained sergeant called inevitably Sarge, and y’know, also his daughter named Lilley (Gracie Gillam). The inevitable death of Lucy, Murphy’s blue zombie daughter, was at least set to a good purpose this season, and will likely serve as a goad for Murphy to pull off some other grand scheme in Season Five. Everyone’s favorite stoner Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) and 10K (Nat Zang) were rather overshadowed this season, though no-one is really surprised by this and 10K did get his own little storyline with a missing Red and 5K showing up to aid him in crisis time.

Z Nation is, of course, already approved for season five, and we can’t wait! What about the Man with the Plan, and why did his canister turn Murphy freaking red? By the way, this means Murphy has literally been red, white, and blue over the course of the show! Is it truly the reset-ted end of the world? Will the Black Rainbow and the delivery drones dispense death, or life, or both in some stupefying combination that only the wacky writers at ‘Z Nation’ could come up with! What will Warren, the ultimate soldier whose mission was perverted at the hands of ZONA, do now that she’s at least partially foiled their plans? Gird your loins, grab your modified highway-sign-turned-zombie-shield, have some of that z-weed, follow the signs to Numerica and keep score of zombie kills along the way, because we’re all in Z Nation now!

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