On Tuesday night’s Zoo finale, the Animal Avengers finally accomplished what they’ve been working toward for two seasons: they saved the animals by infusing Jackson with an artisanal cocktail of genomic fossils. If only they had known that at the same time they were trying to save the animals, another group of slightly-more-bonkers animal lovers were out there ready to drop a gas that sterilizes humans just as the animal cure was dispersed.
Season 2 of Zoo didn’t so much end on a cliffhanger, as it threw itself over the cliff, landed at the end of the world, and then opened one big ol’ plot door by revealing Mitch “Solver of All Problems” Morgan wasn’t dead at all, but alive and maybe even ready to save the doomed world one more time with feeling.
Jackson turned up in the finale’s “10 years later” epilogue, too, by way of gifting his nephew with the claw of a Pangaea-bred razorback hybrid for his elementary school graduation — the last graduating class in the world, by the way. James Wolk hopped on the phone with EW (coincidentally while he was walking his dog, which he says, “does not have the triple helix, but is acting like she does right now”) to talk about Jackson’s father, the end of humanity, and what to expect in season 3.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tuesday’s finale brought so many things back from season 1: Clementine’s illness, Reiden Global, the mother cell. How tough is it to keep up with the science in a show that moves as fast as Zoo?
JAMES WOLK: There are a lot of conversations that happen on the phone with the writers. We want to understand and there’s a lot going on. [Laughs.] We’re shooting 15-hour days, sometimes episodes are back to back with little sleep, but we’re the vehicle for the audience to understand this world…so we have to make sure we do.
What did you find most shocking about the world the writers had created in the two-hour finale?
I was blown away when Davies was killed. All the sudden the guy who was the threat, he was just a pawn as well. There’s always a bigger picture and that blew my mind.
Halfway through the finale, it seemed like all the problems had been solved. And then…the Shepherds rolled out the destruction of humanity. Why do you think Robert Oz was willing to sacrifice himself for Jackson even though he was ultimately ending the world as Jackson knows it?
I think Dr. Oz was going out on the idea that he loves his family, he loves his son, and he never meant to hurt them. He didn’t want to kill his son, but overall he thought he was the savior of the animals, and that’s what it came down to for him. Not a murderer, but maybe a martyr is what he wanted to be.
And after Jackson found out about his father’s plan with the Shepherds, do you think he could understand that ambition?
Oh no, I think [Jackson] thinks his dad is completely out of his mind. It’s reassuring to him that his father didn’t mean to harm him or his mother, but I think it’s completely alarming that he meant to sterilize the human race. It just reinforces what a nut he was in Jackson’s mind.
And thanks to that totally insane plan, we catch up with Abe and Dariela 10 years later when the human race is well on its way to extinction, and it seems like the team isn’t exactly fighting against that future.
What has Jackson been up to in the last 10 years that he’s now someone who sends razorback claws to his nephew?
What it tells me — and I’m going off the same clues you have because I know some things, but not a ton — is that he’s obviously someone who’s in the mix. I mean, those aren’t easy things to get. That’s a dangerous world that someone would have to live in, almost like a hunter or a hunted world. I think that he’s at the forefront of civilization… or rather the outskirts of civilization, if I had to guess.
And if he is on the forefront of something…what is that? Now that grown-up Clementine has revealed Mitch is still alive, what’s next for the Animal Avengers?
I think they need to save humanity, and there’s clearly also a threat with these razorback hybrid animals. The audience is really going to be seeing a really interesting world in season 3, and I’m so thrilled we got picked up for a season 3. That happened after we read this final episode, and when I saw the world that the writers and creators had set up, I was so excited that this world now gets to come alive. It’s going to be unlike anything else on TV.