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Zoo recap: The Silence of the Cicadas

All of the main characters come together under mysterious leadership just in time for another coordinated animal attack.

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Patti Perret/CBS


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
James Wolk, Nonso Anozie, Billy Burke, Nora Arnezeder
Drama, Thriller

There’s plenty to worry about while watching Zoo — in addition to being concerned that the horses with the carved out eyes might bite a few fingers off of your favorite character at any given time, there’s also the more meta concern that a show about animals slowly plotting to destroy humanity could go off the rails at any moment. You know… more off the rails than cats waterfall-ing out of trees and a bunch of bats taking down an entire plane near an island chock-full of radiation and science shacks.

But the fact that in only its third episode, Zoo has assembled its leads in one room and is attempting to put them all on the same page about the imminent animal takeover, whether it’s a page they want to be on or not — looking at you, Mitch — is oddly comforting. Both on the level of the series moving along at a pace that seems to indicate it has plenty of compelling story to roll out, and for the series’ narrative tone; because about the time the pack of wolves overthrew an entire prison, things were starting to seem a little hopeless in the Zoo world. So, assembling the animal Avengers as its potential saviors was a nice touch. (This analogy holds up… should we talk about how Jackson has total Captain-America-face?)

While establishing a little more of that pesky science that the series so needs to establish in order to ground its premise, this episode introduced a few new locations much more successfully than last week’s slow Slovenia plot. I have no idea what was happening in Biloxi but, boy, was I interested. And the addition of Japan is clearly a hot spot (literally) for figuring out how to — now, how did that Mystery Man in the expensive suit put it? Oh, yeah — save the world.

And that’s where this episode picks up: with Chloe apparently having bought that “the fate of humanity depends solely on your unique set of skills, Chloe, including your proficiency in Microsoft Excel” pitch the mystery Frenchman was putting down in the alley last week. She’s accompanied him to Slovenia to look at the victims of what he calls the “massacre by dogs,” and though she tells him over and over that this isn’t her area of expertise, he insists that what experienced in Botswana makes her the only person who can do… whatever it is that he needs her to do.

The story quickly zooms over to Jackson and Abe who have made it to the address in Tokyo where Oz Sr. last resided only to find that he had a second wife Jackson never knew about; then, it’s immediately over to L.A. where Jamie is still stalking Mitch and telling him that the paper — the one she was fired from weeks ago — wants to fly them to New Orleans to meet with a senator who she knows has a vested interest in taking on Reiden Global’s harmful pesticide practices. The third episode really sets a break-neck pace zipping back and forth through storylines, settings, and timezones; and either the timeline in which these initial animal attacks and the assembling of the core five characters is unimportant, or time travel is about to be added to the list of things to be concerned about while watching Zoo. (Or that Mystery Man is a sorcerer. I’m not ruling out anything on a show about homicidal terriers.) Either way, once it becomes evident that there is one entity working to unite all these disparate storylines, there is a mounting cohesion that makes the constant switching feel a little less like watching Wimbledon.

But we’re also introduced to Biloxi this episode, which has a big ol’ wolf lurking around it, and a big ol’ question mark over its goings-on. You see, in Biloxi, there is a prison, and that prison contains a man who is one day away from being executed; a man who likes to recite verses from Genesis about when God created the beasts of the land; a man… who has a drippy pupil. Or, a defiant pupil, if you’re a science-type. The prisoner is meeting with the warden who tells him that he should give the widow of the man he murdered what she’s asking for before his execution. The man refuses to speak to her for what seems to be not the first time, but as he looks out into the particularly lush prison yard, he spots a wolf staring straight up at him… and abruptly changes his mind: “It’s time to make amends.” H’oh boy.

NEXT: Take it to Tokyo…