Oh, how I’ve missed this show — so ridiculous; so confusing; so many elephants charging (and keeping pace with) luxury aircrafts.
That’s right, Zoo’s back for the summer, but save a few lingering memories of rosé-guzzling bears and all the lingering leopard stuff, it’s almost like season 1 never happened. Mentions of the mother cell? Minimal. Droopy pupils? Not one. That guy who ran with wolves? Long forgotten, thanks to some new, freakier dude who gnawed his own arm off and turned into a real-life Ser Robert Strong.
No, those are all discoveries of the past now, but they were still a part of creating the situation we find in the two-hour premiere of season 2: The animal apocalypse has descended upon D.C. and in order to save the world, the Animal Avengers have to get to Jamie in Canada (where she was revealed to have slept for three-ish months in the season 1 finale), because (to quote Abraham with a line you’re just really not going to hear anywhere else on television) “Our only option is the leopards.”
And you have to hand it to Zoo. They showrunners are more than willing to barrel through some plot. I recap The Blacklist for EW — also a fun show, but it likes to draw out its serialized world-building, so we’ve been waiting to see if Red is really Lizzie’s father for, like, two years while searching for clues. But over on Zoo, from one season’s premiere to the next, we’ve gone from slightly creepy housecats to homicidal animal hordes with sociopathic tendencies swarming the streets of every major urban city in the world. On Zoo, there are no clues or hidden meanings; there is general science talk…and science talk leads to cures…and cures lead to not being killed by an evil pat of flamingos or whatever. Because Zoo… Zoo is a summer show. And in the summer there’s no time to explain why the savior leopard has become as obsolete as your iPhone 4 charger; vultures are abducting human bodies — and they can fly! (Also, it’s raining blood.)
Animal Avengers: ASSEMBLE!
The season 2 premiere of Zoo picks up right where season 1 left off; in fact, it does a little overlapping. Jamie is in New Brunswick, Canada — with the leopard that holds the key to curing the animal mutations that are causing Jack Russel terriers to form gangs and kill their human-dads — while Jackson, Abe, Chloe, and Mitch have all reassembled in Washington, D.C., three months after surviving a plane crash. Now that they know Jamie is alive and waiting with the Jesus leopard at the home of a kind indigenous man, Chloe’s pals over at the International Animal Defense Group (IADG) have secured a ship (no air travel on account of murder-bats) to take them to the leopard and recreate the cure they tested out last season.
Quick problem: As Abe rounds the corner toward the harbor, they come Hummer-to-snout with a veritable zoo-load of animals and a bona fide nightmare for the Zoo’s CGI team; for us, it’s the first glorious animal shot of this season. Abe — former guerilla Uber driver — kicks it into reverse as the animals start charging. Unfortunately, they get T-boned by a rhino, the car crashes, and gas starts spilling everywhere. No problem: Jackson says he’s making a firewall, tells Abe to light him up, hops in the car, and starts leaking gas (in a circle around the animal gang) that Abe lights from the starting point. After he’s covered most of D.C. in fire, Jackson floors the car toward a building and tucks-and-rolls onto the street. And this is where things get interesting…
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When Jackson opens his eyes post pavement-dive, he finds one big-ass tiger prowling toward him. The tiger gives him a little sniffy-sniff, licks his arm a little, and moves on. Not the homicidal mutant, feline-style, we came to know last season. But we don’t see this happen immediately; we see it in flashback as Jackson meets back up with Chloe at the IADG headquarters and tells her absolutely nothing of note happened after he built his firewall. He just brushed his corduroys and came straight over after a job well done. Because, you see, Jackson has a dog bite on his arm that’s starting to look real nasty — it’s also the spot the tiger took a liking to before moving on. And after a doctor takes a blood sample to make sure he doesn’t have any internal injuries, Chloe takes a peek at the results and finds Jackson’s blood type has somehow changed. But we’ve been assured over and over that the virus — it’s not a virus! —can’t spread to humans. Definitely not.
NEXT: Save the leopard, save the world