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'Zoo' recap: 'This Is What It Sounds Like'

Posted on

Steve Dietl/CBS

Zoo

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
2
performer:
James Wolk, Nonso Anozie, Billy Burke, Nora Arnezeder
broadcaster:
CBS
genre:
Drama, Thriller

Since the day Zoo premiered, you know I’ve been dying to say it. We’ve all been thinking it. And the time has come… Lions. And Tigers. And Bears. Oh my.

The tigers were but a fleeting circus scene in Slovenia and the escaped lions that started it all seem like a distant memory at this point—but still, with the addition of a certain Parisian bear and his elegant palate, we’ve officially scored a Zoo-BINGO. It was a small win, but in a week that was particularly tough on animal-lovers, at least it’s something. I never know exactly who/what I’m supposed to be rooting for on this show, but I couldn’t help the relief I felt to find out that Mr. Bear was just hibernating at the end of the hour.

After last week’s episode was bursting at the seams with plotlines, tonight feels much more manageable, settling into the two main plots we’ve been leading to for weeks—the bats in Brazil, and Evan Lee Hartley and the Mother Cell—and, of course, the episodic bear-on-a-snack-spree storyline. But before we get to the bear, let’s first have a little chat: What the hell is going on with that Mother Cell? Last week, Leo Butler told Jackson and Jamie that it was a vector, a molecule that somehow allows Reiden Global to make their products mega-cheaply, and possibly the common factor in what’s making earth’s animals go all murder-y; this week, we see Even Lee Hartley grinding it into a fine dust and straight rolled-up-dollar-billing it into his eyeball like it’s some sort of cure.

Facts, science, consistency—who needs ‘em? We got bears to deal with!

Okay, the real answer is that we do need a little more assurance here that all of this animal apocalypse (and potential eradication of it) business is rooted in some reality where chemical companies aren’t just grating molecular kryptonite into their products like a waiter waiting for a kid to tell them to “stop” with the parmesan over their spaghetti. But I also know that if Zoo keeps showing majestic animals in unexpected environments doing unpredictable things, then I’ll keep being into it. Yeah… it really does just take a bear in a kitchen trying to get at the BagelBites in the freezer. Give the people what they want.

Maybe that’s why this bat storyline has been a bit of a drag; it’s not nearly as interesting, terrifying, or thrilling seeing these tiny animals trying to take down humanity one shattered iPhone screen at a time. And yet, Chloe and Mitch are still in Brazil, caught by the head of the favela gang, Silva, trying to take his rigged up cell tower. He tells them if they were really just trying to get rid of the bats with it, then they can figure out another way to do it (at gunpoint). Chloe requests a bunch of random electronic stuff to build “what they need” just to stall for time, but luckily, Mitch actually comes up with a plan to use the electronics to create a gadget that emits a high-pitch frequency to rappel the bats out of the city.

Since it totally sounds like it won’t work, it’s a good thing Abe managed to not get caught by the locals and is out there trying to figure out how to rescue Chloe and Mitch before Chloe goes into a permanent funk from Mitch’s bad attitude.

And even though it’s usually much more fun to spend time with Mitch than it is with Jamie, you have to admit that she is a go-getter. She’s bounced back from having Evan Lee Hartley ram a truck into the car she was in, kill the driver, and steal the Mother Cell right from under her, to using some light visualization techniques to not only remember what kind of car ELH was driving, but the first three letters of his license plate number. (How does memory retention work? Who cares!) And she’s not waiting around for Agent Shaffer to track him down, either. No, she posts on various social media outlets that the ELH vehicle hit her golden retriever, and she’s got a lead two minutes flat.

And, boy, do I not want to tell you what Evan Lee is up to. But I must. Because the one thing that ties all of these mutated animals together that I’ve really been able to latch on to narratively—probably because it’s the thing we’ve learned the least scientific “facts” about—is the Dr. Oz-patented defiant pupil. Evan Lee Hartley also understands its significance. That’s why he’s holding a jolly Mobile, Alabama optometrist at gunpoint and telling him to shove a four-inch syringe straight through his drippy pupil. What he does from there is a little, uh vague; so, here’s an appropriately vague explanation of it: The doctor extracts some fluid from his brain (four inches deep seems a little past the eyeball region), ELH shaves of some Mother Cell into a petri dish, mixes in his brain fluids, and then sucks them back up into the syringe, and tells the doc to shove in back in his eye hole.

That’s about the time that Jamie, Jackson, and Agent Schaffer arrive, just as ELH is starting to seize up from having Mother Cell injected directly into his brain. Jackson—still freaked out that ELH had a photo of his dad in his bible—starts yelling at him, “Why do you think this will cure you? Did my father think this would cure the animals?” But there’s not a lot of time for syringe talk. Evan Lee only has time to say, “Your father did this to me” right before he dies. Jamie grabs the Mother Cell and Schaffer tells them to get out of there, he has to call this in.

NEXT: Fake FBI agents are the new escaped zoo lion…[pagebreak]

I’m not sure if a dead ELH is a win or a loss for the Jackson/Jamie team, but the rest of the crew is finally having some luck in Rio. Abe uses one of Silva’s underlings to track him down and gets the upper hand with the help of a gun, leading to Mitch and Chloe’s release. But they actually kind of earned it on their own merit: Mitch’s frequency contraption finally starts emitting the pitch he was hoping for, all the dogs in the city start howling, and the bats fly away.

So, that’s one Evan Lee Hartley and one rogue animal group conquered—Agent Shaffer shows up at Jamie’s hotel room asking why they’re not celebrating, and as Jamie is already in her celebratory birthday suit after getting out of the shower, she invites Shaffer in for some celebratory making out. And, right then, you just know; that needling feeling that this guy is too likable, letting Jamie and Jackson get away with too much stuff, and altogether too good to be true… well, it’s all accurate. While Jamie goes in the bathroom to finish freshening up, he starts rummaging through her things. Down in the lobby, Jackson sees a news story that reports a possible murder/suicide at an optometrists’ office, leaving the optometrist and another man dead.

Jackson arrives on their floor just in time to see Shaffer running out of the room with the Mother Cell. They tumble down a staircase but Jackson, who’s been a little unhinged all episode, gets a good tackle on Shaffer and makes him drop his gun. As they’re brutally beating each other, Jamie makes it to the staircase and grabs the gun: “Get off him, you son of a bitch.” And that’s the moment that Shaffer’s signature smirk turns the corner from charming to the-last-straw, it seems. Because, without warning, Jamie the Journalist fires off four bullets straight into the “FBI agent.” Jackson and I share a similarly slack-jawed expression at the turn of events. Shaffer is dead, they get the Mother Cell back, and Jamie is, uh… a murderer?

As we know, the murdering on this show is usually done by animals, so back to that bear in Paris I talked about so long ago: You know what I liked about him? That I didn’t have to learn a lot of backstory about the woman he was terrorizing to understand that it’s super nuts to have a bear in your kitchen. Instead, it was all about the bear: What kind of wine does he like (rosé); what’s his favorite aisle in the grocery store (refrigerated); and what’s his favorite part of his new friend’s home (expanse of floor by the dishwasher). Watching the woman sit in terrorized fetal position while a bear ransacked her kitchen all came down to one thing: After he was done eating her organic yogurts, according to the animal control people who showed up, he just went into hibernation… right there on her floor, in the middle of summer. I might call that—[dramatic music here]—unusual animal behavior.

Lingering thoughts and questions:

– I didn’t address all the heart-to-hearts Chloe and Mitch had while they made their sound machine: She keeps getting frustrated with him about how he’s never able to be vulnerable, so she tells him she knows about his sick daughter. He opens up to her about being a “secret dad,” and later, when the gang all comes back together in the DC airport, he calls Clem (Henry is close by in his adorable cast!) and tells her he’d like to see her soon.

– I liked the juxtaposition of Abe choosing not to shoot so many people throughout the episode only to have Jamie unexpectedly finish off a magazine in Agent Shaffer. This show knows how to make the last 10 minutes count.

– So… did Evan Lee Hartley really die from his self-directed surgery? Agent Shaffer checked his pulse. Is it possible that whatever pupil/Mother Cell recipe he was working on there really could be the cure?

– Are we to presume that Shaffer worked for Reiden Global?

– Why would Jackson’s father deliberately give Evan Lee Hartley the defiant pupil? Any guesses on which species’ pupils will be leaking next week? Sound off in the comments!

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