fantasy

[TV Review] Z Nation Season 4 (2017) ★★★☆☆

Sarge, Warren, Murphy, Doc and 10K in Z Nation season 4

Z Nation delivers a mixed bag of fun and serious business but frustrates by unexplained mysteries. 


The fourth season of Z Nation is quite different than the previous three seasons. It’s all about the new mission that Roberta Warren is set upon, that she pursues as a mad woman. This season is full of humor, but also specked with heavy emotionally charged situations and deaths. There is a lot of mystery going on and the Black Rainbow mystery is the biggest of all being the big story arc this season.

This season isn’t as well-balanced out as the previous seasons and has some highs and lows, mostly due to elusive mysteries. Sadly, we get stuck with a lot of unanswered questions and unexplained mysteries.

This fourth season consists of 13 episodes each with a duration of 43 minutes. It’s a road trip series full of zombies, but evolves in much bigger storylines that are starting to get to an end, to complete the final mission.


Plot

It has been two years since the confrontation with The Man on Mount Casey. Lucy was taken by the man, Addy jumped off a cliff and Roberta and Murphy were shot. Now Roberta wakes up from a coma and finds herself in Zona and to her surprise Murphy is there too. In Zona all the rich people are living in Stepford Wives-like peace and everyone was injected with a vaccine based on Murphy’s blood. And so is Roberta. Not only has she now blond white hair but she also has visions about a Black Rainbow that is going to be a new threat and she knows she has to stop it. Together with Murphy she escapes and goes looking for the others. 

In the real world 10K and Red are living together and Doc visits them to tell them all about Newmerica, a zombie free zone. They meet up with Sun Mei in an encampment where the military is going to bring them to Newmerica, but something goes wrong. 

Addy and an all grown-up Lucy have survived their big fall, and to save Addy, Lucy has bitten her and now they can communicate telepathically. But although they make a great team, Addy is captured by an unknown adversary, but Lucy is found by Murphy.

When the group is together again, without Addy, but with new friends, Lt. Mueller and St. Lilley (Sarge) they decide to follow Warren on her new mission to stop the Black Rainbow.


Why you should watch it

This fourth season is a very different one than the previous three seasons. While there is a clear bigger story arc about the Black Rainbow going on, there are also some strong episodes with fun hilarious zombie monsters, emotionally charged events and friction between the members of Operation Bitemark. Although this sounds very good on paper, the execution is a bit wonky sometimes. 

The season starts off great with the absurd Zona and the zombie break-out and Warren’s and Murphy’s escape plan and Warren’s mysterious visions of a Black Rainbow. When they get back to the real world and finally are reunited with their friends it’s time for some zombie fun and serious grave times. Everything is great so far. But the problem is that nothing that happens this season is fully explained. 

This season is full of mysteries. The biggest of them all is Warren’s vision of the Black Rainbow. Although she doesn’t know what it is or why she has these visions, she knows it is important. While the group follows her, they start to doubt her and it causes some friction. And with a new mission comes new hair, new outfits and new weapons. 

While the mystery about Zona is fully unraveled and we know what Zona is, new mysteries surface. Like who took Addy? And how did Sun Mei disappear? And worst of all, we don’t get to see them anymore this season nor is there any explanation given in the next and final season. 

A sudden death, although functional for the story, causes a lot of heartbreak, and is a great loss to the group but also to the series and comes totally as a surprise, and could have maybe been avoided. Although it causes more friction in the group and things are being seen in a new light, for the better and for the worse. 

But luckily there are quite a few good and fun things this season. The dynamics within the groups is changed due to new alley Sarge who hangs out a lot with 10K, so Doc and Murphy are forming a new pair that is very fun and works really well. Murphy and Warren get along but have very different opinions of what is the right thing to do. 

The zombie-of-the-week episodes are a mixed bag. Some are great but some aren’t that successful. Of course this season is full of humor and action, but isn’t as balanced-out as we are used to. The episode in the bunker and the one with the carnival aren’t fun or functional. 

The best episodes refer to Warren’s mission, or they star Citizen Z and Kaya or are creative and bring in the fun. The Frankenstein monster zombie is fun and the zombie nuns and the Canadian hockey team and zombie Mounties are great, as is the flashback news station episode. 


My favorite part

Murphy, now turned color human is more human than ever. He even gets along with Warren and finds a new friend in Doc that results in a fun new team. The shift in dynamics freshens up the series, resulting in more friction, but also more fun. The episodes where Murphy and Doc get stuck in a crisis of faith is a fun episode that also hides a small life lesson. Murphy really has gone through some big changes, not only his appearance but mostly his character has changed him into a bigger man. 

The flashback episode that follows a news station when the zombie outbreak begins is well-done and is a nice intermezzo. 

Although the whole mystery of the Black Rainbow and Zona is intriguing and the bigger picture is explained, some things stay rather unclear. But it certainly does deliver some great tension and action and a big twist.

But maybe the best of all is Citizen Z’s and Kaya’s baby JZ. They are the sweetest and they are a fun and smart couple and their baby is proof that life goes on and gives hope for the future that all ends well in the fifth and final season.


Ratings

Rating:★★★☆☆

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Gore factor: ★★★☆☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


Read more about Z Nation:


Cast and crew

Z Nation is created by Karl Schaefer and Craig Engler. It stars Kellita Smith (Roberta Warren), Russell Hodgkinson (Doc), Keith Allan (Murphy), Nat Zang (10K), Anastasia Baranova (Addy), DJ Qualls (Citizen Z), Ramona Young (Kaya), Sydney Viengluang (Sun Mei), Natalie Jongjaroenlarp (Red), Tara Holt (Lucy),  and Gracie Gillam (Sarge).

Music: Jason Gallagher. Cinematography: Alexander Yellen Frederico Verardi. Production companies: The Asylum, Go2 Digital Media. Original network: Syfy.


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