“This mission of ours has just become a whole lot less amusing.” –Abe, when faced with technology-hating bats
Five episodes in and Zoo has its hands (paws?) chock-full of plotlines; but for as many plates as it has spinning, it is managing to keep them all moving. Evan Lee Hartley, Reiden Global, defiant pupils, the Mother Cell… it all seems like it can tie together somehow, the question is, will we understand it when they do?
Tonight’s episode had some great shocks—mostly involving sneaky bats, but also a framed picture or two—but with the folding in of Reiden Global out from the fringes and into the main plot, we might be nudging up on the maximum amount of complex theorizing that can be juggled at once in a series that started off worrying over shifty house cats. I’m still enjoying the ride… I’m just keeping an extra notebook to log each new crazy-eyed man I think I might need to know by name. For the record: Professor Robert Oz, Evan Lee Hartley, and Leo Butler, in that order.
Speaking of eccentric gentlemen, Mitch is doing a little research: The crew has made their way from the prison in Mississippi to a high school in Alabama so Mitch can use the lab gear to study the infected killer-wolf blood (no coffee pot necessary this time). He finds a bacteria present in the blood that looks to be similar to a bacteria that’s used in the cleanup of oil spills. Its chemical signature tells him that it’s man-made, and his pal at M.I.T. tells him that the signature was created by a man who used to work at… Reiden Global. Cue Jamie gasps. The chemist’s name? Leo Butler. Cue Jackson’s doe-eyes, because Leo Butler is the name he’s been seeing scribbled all over Evan Lee Hartley’s bible.
Chloe instructs Jackson and Jamie to stay in the States and track down Butler while she, Mitch, and Abe head to Rio de Janeiro where bats—more bats? Same bats from Antarctica just trying to warm up? I have no idea—have infested the city. But when they arrive, it’s worse than they thought… less of an infestation, and teetering on the edge of a plague of biblical proportions. They meet up with a friend of Chloe’s from the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, who tells them that the good news is that it’s not rabies; the bad news is rabies is the only possible explanation for the nocturnal animals swarming in the daytime. So, the Brazilian government is planning on dropping an extremely toxic pesticide that stands to harm every living person in Rio the next morning—Chloe, Mitch, and Abe are going to try to figure out this batty situation before that.
Back in Alabama, Jamie has been dabbling in some light hacking of FBI files which earns her a visit from Agent Shaffer, who we met last week. I’m still not sure what role he’s serving (other than a welcome bit of comic relief), but luckily he’s totally cool with bringing on some civilian apprentices in their collective hunt for Leo Butler. That involves traveling to Mobile and getting on a swamp boat to find the address that Jamie located by figuring out that Butler has been blackmailing Reiden Global and moving the money through shell corporations to give to charity, presumably, in penance for his Reiden-related sins.
When they arrive, they find a man with a crazy look in his eye… it could be because Jackson punched him in the face to keep him from running, but it’s probably because he’s been living alone in the middle of a swamp thinking of all the bad he helped Reiden Global do in his time there. You see, the bacteria he created that brought them to him isn’t what could cause this kind of behavior in animals. That’s the other thing: Reiden Global has been able to stomp all of their competition and gain so much power because a long time ago they discovered something that no one else had and only a few in the company even know the source of to this day: a DNA molecule that can manipulate cellular material on a genetic level. In normal people words, “It means they have a molecule that allows them to be faster, better, cheaper.”
Butler tells them that it’s called the Mother Cell—“well, that doesn’t sound ominous”—and it’s in everything Reiden produces; it’s all over the world and it can’t be stopped. But it can be found. Butler has the Mother Cell—or at least some portion of it—hidden close by, but after a rough go of things with Jackson and Shaffer, he’s only willing to let Jamie go with him to find it. This should go well.
NEXT: Meet a very sweet little girl and her sweet dog who has not yet turned evil…