"So we're going after a crazy, drug-addled venom dealer in the middle of a hurricane." You betcha!

By Jodi Walker
July 27, 2016 at 05:01 AM EDT
Shane Harvey /CBS
S2 E6
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Chloe may be gone on Zoo, but the rest of the gang is back together again and making huge strides toward finding a cure. As to whether those strides make perfect sense — well, hey, I’ve never been in an animal apocalypse. How do I know if you can figure out exactly when an immortal jellyfish’s genes mutated after stealing one from an anti-venom dealer with the help of a few killer spiders?

As for that apocalypse-fighting gang, despite losing its fearless French leader, it’s actually a lot bigger than we last left it. For one, Dariela is now officially in The Breakfast Club opening sequence as an “Army Ranger.” Allison Shaw seems to have also stuck around, roaming around the plane while staring seriously at various Apple products. She’s named Mitch the official new leader (“I can’t be here to Charlie you Angels all the time”), but she’s still making the big decisions, like if returning Avenger Jamie and her new pal Logan are fit to stick with the group.

And you might be surprised at which one ends up being more of a question mark. Jamie, for one, seems unreasonably angry at everyone who just rescued her from hungry Canadian polar bears. Her main beef is that Dariela sorta-kinda killed her best friend (or at least got her killed), and her main way of dealing with it is by attempting to fight Dariela — a noted Army Ranger and the “toughest team member” — in the middle of a bout of turbulence. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well.

But after getting a glimpse of that toe — or lack thereof, I mean — I guess Jamie can be as moody as she wants. And that’s where Tuesday’s episode picks up, with Jamie in the shower, having sepia-toned flashbacks of all the hell she’s been through since those house cats first congregated in that tree above an elementary school. I get where they’re going with this — Jamie has changed, you guys — and the “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” was a nice touch, but that was one long memory montage, topped off by one unsettling look at a toeless foot courtesy of an axe-wielding pilot. Anyway, it all culminates in Mitch telling Jamie about the Noah objective and how Chloe’s death-by-gas went down, followed by The Girl with the Genie Tattoo attempting to beat up an Army Ranger.

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Jackson has gotten past the Dariela business, though, and it’s on to the intel Allison promised for saving her orchard: What exactly is the “courier” and why was it Chloe’s dying word? At first Allison’s all, hold up, I’m watching CNN, but Jackson’s like, nooo, my girlfriend just died, so why don’t you tell me NOW?! So Allison dramatically pulls out a newspaper called The Worldwide Courier that features headlines like “Blood Rain Decimates Crops,” “Ants Create Lightning,” and “Earthquakes Caused by Sloths.” Sound familiar? Well, the date on this particular copy is May 23, 1895. Huh?

NEXT: Animal Apocalypse, Part Deux?

The newspaper means this has all happened before. Well, sort of. The Worldwide Courier was viewed as a tabloid, so most people disregarded the headlines, but Allison has verified that the triple-helix animals did cause the same environmental changes back in 1895. This means they can use other headlines to show them what animals to seek out for the missing genomic fossil animals. First up: jellyfish that cause hurricanes. They haven’t heard of anything like that yet, but Abe finds a storm in Portugal that’s been completely stationary — odd storm behavior — and Mitch gets one of those crazy/always-correct notions of his. The turritopsis dohrnii is a species of immortal jellyfish (basically, it regenerates when harmed) that lives in Portugal and could have feasibly been around as an “eyewitness” to both triple-helix developments. And if they can figure out how it happened the first time, they can figure out how to stop it this time.

Now all the Animal Avengers have to do is track down a rare jellyfish in the middle of a stationary hurricane somewhere off the coast of Portugal. But don’t worry, Allison knows a guy. Apparently there’s a fella named Duncan Santos who fashions himself the local anti-venom dealer in Lisbon, and he just so happens to have one of these immortal jellyfish on hand. Allison won’t let Jamie and Logan go on the recon mission — she first needs to question them about their jaunt through the Canadian woods — but they should probably count themselves lucky, considering that once the others meet up with Santos, they get bags put over their heads, taken to his creepy venom lair, and given a task. In order for Santos to give them the jellyfish, they have to track down the world’s most lethal spider for him. He’s nearly out of anti-venom and his own Wandering Spider just died. He’d have his men do it but, well… the last ones he sent didn’t come back.

Of course, that’s because these spiders hole up by the thousands in dilapidated malls, have super-mutant speed, and don’t seem to want to give the Animal Avengers a break — even when Abe and Dariela take a brief pause to have a heart-to-heart in the middle of thousands of webs. Also, if our heroes are bitten and don’t use the anti-venom within 60 seconds, they’ll die. So here’s a question: Why exactly wouldn’t they let Jackson, whose only current mutation symptom is that other mutated animals leave him alone, go get the spiders by himself? Well, I guess because then we wouldn’t have these dramatic moments:

  • Jackson collecting 20 spiders off Mitch’s legs;
  • Abe dropping his anti-venom after being bitten; and
  • Dariela having to anti-venom herself in order to get to Abe’s anti-venom and anti-venom him.
  • In the end, all four make it out, and with plenty of spidies for Santos. Unfortunately, when they arrive back to his lab, they see that General Davies has sent his regards in the form of a bunch of thugs to abduct Jackson — who quickly releases the spiders knowing the arachnids will have exactly no discretion about who they bite in that room. Luckily, they only bite Davies’ men. While Abe and Jackson fend off the others, Mitch steals a bunch of the anti-venom and puts the immortal jellyfish — who is very cute, itty-bitty, and doesn’t look like he would be starting hurricanes to end humanity, by the way — in a portable jar, and Jackson… well, he beats the ever-loving hell out of some guy. He doesn’t seem to be able to stop hitting him, our first real sign that Jackson is on his way to becoming the “rage monster” Dariela keeps referring to.

    NEXT: Meet Moe…

    But Jackson does stop, and the group heads back to the plane where Allison has finished questioning Logan and Jamie. As it turns out, Logan seems like a swell guy with a slightly checkered past looking to do some good in the world, and Jamie seems like she might start tasing people in their sleep soon. But for now, they’re both staying — Logan because he sweetly asked Begrudging Leader Mitch, and Jamie because she found dirt on Allison. A few months ago, homegirl sent an internal memo to the President supporting the addition of Reiden Global to the Noah Objective. It was before she knew the damage they’d cause, but still…that doesn’t change the earthquake sloths or the Chloe-killing gas of it all, does it?

    For now, though, it’s all about finding a cure before Reiden Global and General Davies unleash the animal-culling fury. And thanks to Moe the Immortal Jellyfish, Mitch is well on his way. What does Moe tell them? Well, there’s a ton of radiation in his cell sample, and Mitch can pinpoint the exact year Moe was exposed to that radiation: 1895. Can you believe it? Mitch says the radiation exposure mutated one of his genes, causing Moe to sprout the triple helix we’ve all been hearing so much about. Mitch can’t yet pinpoint that specific trigger gene, though, so he’s calling it the ghost gene for now. He figures the ghost gene must be what the Noah Objective’s gas targets in order to kill the mutated animals. But Jackson has a good question: How could Davies create a gas that targets a gene even Mitch can’t find?

    They could only do that with someone smarter than Mitch and more adept with abnormal animal behavior, which seems unlikely…until we see Davies enter a jail cell to demand an unknown prisoner stop sabotaging his own work. When said prisoner finally turns around, we’re face-to-face with one Dr. Robert Oz (a.k.a. Jackson’s father) and he tells Davies he’s not giving him anything until he sees his son.

    A few loose ends:

    • Jackson’s dad is decidedly not dead. To which I say: How? Why? When? Where? By whom?
    • I know they’re going with the whole “The Worldwide Courier was considered a tabloid” bit, but I think some scientists might have jotted down a few notes if ants were causing lightning in 1895. Also, might the whole debacle have had some lasting effects?
    • Most absurd line: “So we’re going after a crazy, drug-addled venom dealer in the middle of a hurricane?” “Yes, because that is what we do.” Indeed, it is.
    • Runner-up: “Who’s Portuguese Steven Seagal?”
    • Other than a couple of speedy spiders, there were no major animal scares this episode — I’m thinking sewer gator — and, frankly, I’m feeling pretty unfulfilled.
    • We don’t dwell on it for long, but when Davies’ goons come for Jackson, they tell the Animal Avengers to “check your backyard” for how Davies was able to find their location.
    • So who can’t we trust now? Sound off in the comments with your best theories — and please advise on what I’m supposed to think of this new, angry Jamie.

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