If you thought a housecat staring straight into the camera and then crawling in bed with a sleeping kid after returning from a feline gang meeting was creepy, then just wait until you see a crow staring down an infant in a stroller just moments after its crow posse have pecked the baby’s mother to death. Talk about sinister. Did I mention that the crow’s beak is covered in blood? WELL, IT IS.
Zoo has come a long way since its premiere; as the stakes have risen—the Animal Avengers are freely tossing around that it’s up to them to save the world now—the series has simultaneously gotten both scarier and sillier. I make a lot of allowances in the name of the show’s campy but original premise… but a person has to draw the line somewhere, and this person is drawing it at random Boston bars having sixth grade Geography world maps on the wall.
They’ve still got me, even with the icky crows. But consider me more than amped that tonight’s plot suggests bringing big cats back into the picture as Jackson and the gang try to chase down a cure for the animals before two of the most powerful forces in the world track them down. Turning the Animal Avengers into fugitives following the death of Agent Shaffer and subsequent FBI tracking is a lot to take on, but it’s an exciting pivot for the pacing of the show. At this point in the season, I’ve become a little too comfortable with the fact that all of the animals of the world are about to turn against humanity. Because my faith that Mitch can figure this out with nothing but a leopard, a few test tubes, and a killer pair of spectacles is considerably high. The Avengers needed an enemy beyond the animal kingdom, and they found it.
Add Reiden Global as yet another active antagonist, and this narrative is fit to burst. “Murmuration” picks up right where last week’s episode left us hanging: Mitch is about to betray the crew by forking over the Mother Cell to Reiden Global to get the meds that will save his daughter Clementine’s life. But while he still has his surly grip on the Cell, who does he lock eyes with across the Reiden offices, but Delavenne: the boss man who put the Animal Avengers together; the man who has supposedly been funding their mission to take Reiden Global down… the man who, in fact, works at Reiden Global. Mitch slams a chair through the locked glass door and manages to make it out of the building where he then has to…
Go tell his loyal friends that he was about to kamikaze all their hard work to save the world. But it was in order to save his cute, sick daughter so everyone just kind of agrees to keep moving forward because they have a big problem—scratch that—two big problems: The man who funds their project in fact works for the corporation they thought they were working toward taking down; oh, and the FBI agent played by Xander Berkeley—who it must be noted is named “Ronnie ‘Dogstick’ Brannigan” in the IMDb credits—who’s after them has discovered Chloe’s identity and put a warrant out for her arrest as an accessory to Shaffer’s murder.
So there’s only one solution: “Now we’ve got to save our own asses and the world.” Dramatically but aptly stated, Jackson. Jamie calls a friend at a big Boston newspaper to work toward getting the word about Reiden out independently, Mitch and Abe go to deliver Clem’s medicine, and Jackson and Chloe head straight to Delavenne’s house because, frankly, those two are kind of irrational and have a permanent case of crazy-eyes.
Delavenne, who is apparently the Head of Global Security for Reiden and has been instructed to find his renegade team and get the Mother Cell back, finds them as soon as he steps into his mansion. But Jackson and Chloe tell him they have other plans for the Mother Cell. They’re going to find a cure for all the damage that Reiden has cause in the animals, and if he continues to support them, if Reiden helps with the solution to the problem they caused and come clean to the world about the Mother Cell, then maybe the public will go easy on them… for almost accidentally bringing about the animal apocalypse. Delavenne is pretty much like, “Naw, not gonna happen,” and Jackson is all, “You’ll be sorry,” and Chloe defiantly swishes her ponytail.
Basically, everyone, from global corporations to animal detectives to pedestrians, is completely in over their heads; the animal revolt is looming, and no matter who does or doesn’t know about it, everyone is at risk. On their way to Clem’s house with the medicine, Mitch and Abe come across a flock of birds making a cicada-like screeching noise. And then when they get to Clem’s house, neither she nor her mother, Audra, are there. But there are birds—a different species of bird—making the exact same noise.
Audra calls Mitch from the park where the noise is deafening. She and Clem are hiding out under a playground while a huge flock of crows attack all the pedestrians in the park. We—and 10-year-old Clementine—watch as a mother tries to fend off the crows from her baby in its stroller, but there are too many, and she’s left pecked to death on the ground. All but one of the crows fly away, and the aforementioned bloody-beaked stare off commences.
NEXT: How many beers does it take to save the world?