Fear the sloth
Credit: Shane Harvey/CBS
S2 E4
Show MoreAbout Zoo
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The Animal Avengers can’t die. That’s not how this works! Sure, the rest of the Zoo world is going to mutant hell in an animal handbasket, but that doesn’t affect our five favorite world-saving “scientists.” When they get in trouble, they just chop a toe off and move on; they walk through storms of wasps to save babies, unfazed; sometimes, they die and then electric-chair each other back to life, for goodness’ sake!

So at least for now, I can’t believe we’ve lost Chloe. Not mere minutes after she told Jackson she’s in love with him. As must be stated anywhere from one to seven times per recap, Zoo is a summer show. Give us our mole earthquakes and our tunnel alligators, and leave the emotional devastation to fair JoJo over on The Bachelorette… In other words, just give us Chloe back!

While I reject any emotional advancement on this show that doesn’t have to do with a silently screaming sloth, I must also acknowledge that Tuesday’s Zoo reconnected with its main characters in a way it hasn’t since season 1. Jamie is still off in Canada head-butting ruffians, yes, but the others were really working together toward a viable lead on the cure for what felt like the first time this season. I still don’t care much for Dariela — there’s simply no place for so much negativity during an animal apocalypse — but her pain over watching Chloe’s demise right in front of her felt real. That Chloe’s last words were an effort to save Jamie was a nice reminder of what these wannabe heroes really mean to each other.

Even Mitch and Jackson’s frank conversation about Jackson’s furry little problem had an unexpected weight to it. Despite a precious daughter and her adorably kick-ass dog, Mitch has steadfastly remained a begrudging member of this world-saving Breakfast Club. He’s never seemed to care much about saving the world, but he does care about saving his friends. And Mitch talking about DNA light switches as his Love Language is exactly the maximum amount of character growth I need around here. Bring on the moles…

This episode opens in Costa Rica, on a sloth that mostly seemed to be minding its own business getting tranq-gunned out of a tree. But before we get to him, we have to check in on Jackson, who told Mitch last week that his nasty dog bite seems to have infected him with some kind of mutation. After a little testing, Mitch confirms: Jackson’s DNA has the same triple-helix mutation that Kovacs, the blood-rain vultures, and the electric ants all had. As in, his O.G. DNA has developed a whole other strand of new DNA with brand-spankin’-new genes. So that’s…bad.

The good news? Mitch says those new genes are like switches, and right now they’re still off; however, once they switch on…Jackson will turn into a mutant man, presumably. Mitch thinks they can find a way to fix him — and by proxy, all of the other animals, as they’re less complex than humans — before the switches flip. And that’s where the sloth comes in.

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Chloe has acquired some new hacking skills and discovered that Evil General Davies has abducted a precious sloth from Costa Rica, because apparently that precious sloth occasionally lets out a low-frequency sound powerful enough to generate an earthquake all on its own. Mitch is certain the sloth will have the same triple helix that could be the key to finding the cure, and as Davies is taking the little guy to Vancouver in a soundproof box, the Animal Avengers follow suit on their fancy private plane.

NEXT: Moley, moley, moley…

It seems our heroes weren’t the only earthquake-sloth groupies following him to Vancouver, though. When Davies goes to check on the sloth, the scientist assures him the animal is in a soundproof box that would prevent any frequencies from starting an earthquake… And yet the room begins to shake, and within minutes, the entire building has been leveled to its foundation. As for the surrounding buildings, they’re totally fine, because this was no earthquake.

When the Avengers arrive and observe the destruction, Mitch disappears for a moment, and then naturally pops out of a sewer to announce, “Yeah… We got moles.” He hypothesizes the moles were drawn to the sloth’s low-frequency vibration, and because of their mutant status, they came together to do some major damage to the foundation of the sloth’s temporary prison building. So to find the sloth, they’ve gotta follow those moles.

So that’s how we find Mitch, Jackson, and Dariela crawling through giant underground mole tunnels in search of an earthquake sloth. Before they find any very special sloths, they unfortunately meet what Mitch calls “a dead end — literally.” As in, they find all the moles dead in a pile. It’s disgusting, but you won’t have to be grossed out for long because THERE’S AN ALLIGATOR IN THE TUNNEL!

Oh, you guys, I gasped so hard. Consistency may never be Zoo‘s strength, but I can always count on the show to bring out the one animal I was least expecting, at least once an episode, to totally scare the crap out of me. So yeah, Mitch suddenly coming nose-to-snout with a giant, snapping alligator with glowing yellow eyes in the middle of a rather small mole’s hole was nice and shocking. Subsequently, hearing him yell, “Go back, go back, go back” and watching all three of these adults try to slither backwards out of a tunnel to get away from a mutant alligator was hilarious. Of course, being asked to believe that three adult humans could propel themselves back faster than an alligator could run forward — even in a narrow tunnel — was ludicrous. But we all know what we’re watching here.

Luckily, Chloe has been tracking her team and finds an alternate exit, so all Jackson has to do is punch straight through a brick wall — no problem. Jackson and Dariela make it out just as the tunnel collapses on Mitch and the alligator, but they’re able to pull Mitch out of the rubble. Do we ever get an explanation as to why the alligator was creeping around down there by himself? Absolutely not.

But we do find out that Davies and his men escaped with the earthquake sloth to the safety of none other than…Reiden Global. He also seems to be responsible for killing all the sloths, in what Mitch calls “a mass mole execution” via some kind of gas the good doctor has never seen before. The whole gang heads to Vancouver’s Reiden Global headquarters, where they quickly find out the door they need to access to get to the sloth requires — wait for it — a heartprint. Apparently, every person has a unique heartbeat, and they need Davies’s or the scientist’s in charge to get inside. Luckily, a bit more Chloe hacking reveals Davies has gathered all of IADG leaders for some kind of cocktail party, which is both the perfect location to grab said heartbeat and the perfect distraction to keep Davies off their backs.

Also perfect is the fact that the whole crew seems to have cocktail attire — complete with hair straighteners and eyeliner — lying around nearby for occasions such as this. (Hey, I guess you never known when you might need to infiltrate a secret government party.) No one even mentions the idea of being recognized, even though they’ve been working with the IADG for months and are, I believe, pretty notorious “cure” fanatics. But no matter, their plan is to slip something in the scientist’s drink to knock him out, hijack his heartbeat, use it to grab the sloth, and go. Needless to say, all does not go according to plan…

NEXT: It must have been love, but it’s over now…

But first: Jamie! Homegirl is still hanging on, but she’s also not doing a lot. It’s revealed via her stumbling around the woods that Logan did, in fact, hack her big gangrene toe off, but no further damage was done and she seems to be coping pretty well with just the nine-pack. She doesn’t love, however, how Logan has been lying to her the entire time they’ve known each other. He swears he’s told her everything now… that is, until they spot headlights. It seems the handsome pilot was indeed hired by some men to fly them to the leopard, but when the plane went down, he made off with more than just the down payment they promised him (a.k.a., that bag of cash he’s been toting around, a.k.a., that bag of cash Jamie recently convinced him to burn to keep them from freezing to death). The men find the pair and threaten them with guns, but wolves attack, giving Jamie a window to escape.

Back over to the party crashers: While Jackson and Chloe wait for their signal to drug the scientist, leaning attractively against a wall, Jackson tells Chloe he knows she’s mad he told Mitch about his furry secret. Chloe says that’s not true — her only concern is saving him, just like he saved her at the very beginning of the series. “I need to find a balance between being the leader of this team and being in love with you,” she confesses. WHAAAT?!

Oh, it is sweet. They kiss and get 10 seconds of being in love before everything goes to shit. Davies gets up on stage and announces the means with which to execute the Noah Objective are ready: TX-14, a two-part gas, is both a neutralizer and a fast-acting elimination agent that combines to target only the mutation, while keeping humans safe. Humans without the mutation, that is. Chloe assumes that means the 2.2 million people they saw dying in the TX-14 simulation last week, which makes it even more imperative for the Avengers to find the sloth and, by extension, the cure. So Dariela — okay, this part may have changed my mind about her contribution to the team — takes Davies at gunpoint, marches him through the heartbeat door, and tells him to tell them where that damn sloth is.

He does, but Chloe notes that he gave it up too easily, meaning there must be something on the other end of the hallway he doesn’t want them to see. Jackson and Mitch leave to collect the sloth, Chloe and Dariela go find the TX-14 poison that Davies plans to demonstrate to the IADG leaders the next day, and Abe is left to guard a four-star general by himself. Naturally, Davies throat-punches him and sounds the alarm, sending everyone scrambling to get on the right side of the doors that are about to go on lockdown. The guys are able to grab the sloth, but Dariela and Chloe end up in a shootout that punctures one of the TX-14 cans. They have to outrun the fumes, or they could die (I’ll be honest, I don’t totally understand how this gas works on humans, but that’s what Chloe said).

Dariela makes it to the other side of the door, but she doesn’t see Chloe — she only sees the poison billowing towards her and the rest of the team — so she’s forced to make a tough decision. She locks the door with Chloe still on the other side. Of course, Chloe immediately slams into the glass, but she’s not upset; she just starts trying to tell Dariela she received a satellite picture on her phone and she knows where Jamie is. She whispers Caraquet over and over again, until she collapses on the floor with Dariela looking on in horror.

A few loose ends:

  • NOOOOO! That last scene really was surprisingly heart-wrenching for a show that just prominently featured a mole earthquake.
  • Jamie and Logan end up reuniting and finding the keys to his former employers’ truck — onward to Caraquet! (We still trusting this guy???)
  • Most absurd line: “So, I’m like a phone and I need to be restored to my factory settings?”
  • Jackson, still not giving up on this analogy: “We’re trying to restore back to factory settings and this sicko just wants to buy a new phone?!”
  • That whole conversation between Dariela and Abe, where she’s all, “Davies is a general, generals have armies — what do you have?” is pretty absurd given they’re standing in the middle of a private plane outfitted just for their needs. Also absurd: When Abe says they’re all alone in this now, when I know someone is paying that pilot and refueling that jet.

What did you think of this episode of Zoo? Are you already mourning Chloe, or does she still have a chance at a nice life with her soon-to-be-mutated love? Sound off in the comments!

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