Syfy’s Z Nation Mid-season review
“Welcome to the FU-Bar”
Season 1, Ep. 08 – ‘Welcome to the FU-Bar’ | Aired Nov 08, 2014
by TS Alan
“Welcome to the FU-Bar” marked the mid-season point of Syfy’s new zombie episodic Z Nation.
In last week’s episode “Z Resurrection,” we lost the survivor group’s leader, National Guard Sgt. Charles Garnett (Tom Everett Scott). The sergeant took a bullet to save fellow survivor Murphy (Keith Allan), who holds the antibodies to the ZN1 virus in his blood. The group’s mission is to make it to a CDC facility in California — guided by Pfc. Simon Cruller aka Citizen Z (DJ Qualls), who uses high-tech equipment from an arctic outpost to assist the westward-bound group in its journey — in order for an antiviral to be made from Murphy’s blood.
“Welcome to the FU-Bar” picks up moments after Warren (Kellita Smith) gave Garnett “mercy”; mercy being death to those who have turned. Giving mercy to Garnett was especially traumatic to Warren, since she and Garnett were lovers. Devastated by the loss, Warren finds solace in a bottle of corn whiskey at the FU-Bar in a Kansas survivor town.
While Warren deals with her grief, most of the rest of the group are supporting 10K (Nat Zang), who has entered into a long-range shooting match in hopes of winning a .50 sniper rifle, which the group hopes to trade for a new vehicle since theirs is on its last legs. Meanwhile, Murphy has his own plans on finding transportation — stealing it. Of course not only does Murphy’s actions cause consequences for all, but what’s a zombie apocalypse without a Zunami — a large herd of zombies sweeping across Kansas. This will also by the title and main theme of next week’s Halloween episode.
The death of Garnett was a great loss of a likable character and will have a large impact on the dynamic of the show, and how things will play out going forward. Though “Welcome to the FU-Bar” did not reveal what those dynamics might be, it did establish Warren as the group’s new leader and we did get some interesting character development of Murphy and 10K. I’d also like to mention Christy Choi who portrayed Brittany, 10K’s sniper rival and his infatuation connection subplot. The dynamic between Choi’s character and Zang’s worked well and I hope she makes a re-appearance. It was also the first time Nat Zang’s character smiled.
Overall, “Welcome to the FU-Bar” was a less dramatic episode that let viewers and characters reflect on the unexpected loss of Sgt. Garnett. It was a bold move from the writers and the production company to kill off a lead so early in a fledgling show. Even the Walking Dead didn’t kill off a major character until the end of season two, with Jeffrey Demunn’s character Dale Horvath being ripped apart in a pasture.
The elimination of actor Tom Everett Scott solidifies how vastly different Z Nation is from The Walking Dead. This is definitely a show that isn’t afraid to kill off cast members, but the show also differs in its approach to the dramatic element. Whereas, TWD is rife with melodrama about the human condition, group dynamics and the human threat, Z Nation does nearly the opposite. Though the show does not lack in drama and group dynamics, it takes a much lighter approach with its campy factor and dark humor, and a lot of zombies put into the mix in every episode. Z Nation is also trying to outdo TWD and itself in inventing unique ways to kill zombies every week, and there’s been some crazy fun in the show’s ingenuity on giving mercy to the undead.
In the premiere episode review, Z Nation: Puppies and Kittens, I gave the show a “B” rating. I’m upgrading the show rating because it continues to be entertaining and inventive. And now that Z Nation has been renewed for a second season, I look forward to what the writers, producers and production staff can come up with for the future.
I will do one final Z Nation season one review on the season finale, “Doctor of the Dead.”
Z Nations airs 10 pm ET/PT on Syfy.