Zoo S01E04 Recap: "Pack Mentality"

With 4 episodes in the bank, there's definitely a pattern among the "Zoo" installments to date. We continue to waver back and forth between episodes that offer little action but a lot of talking followed by an episode with a pleasing amount of mayhem. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung back to the former as last night's entry, "Pack Mentality," failed to offer much payoff for the seemingly endless talk-y scenes which dominate for long stretches of time.

Fresh off the wolf attack that apparently killed everyone at the prison (which, again, is ridiculous. Because there's no way the entire contingency of guards were unable to gain access to any of their weapons), our heroes are forced to travel to the scene of the crime to gather all the details that remain. However, the FBI is already there, and in typical fictional FBI fashion, they've already managed to muck everything up. This sets the stage for, of course, butting heads and failed pick-up attempts at the hotel bar afterwards. It's not that this series goes out of its way to nail every cliché in the book, but when it reaches them it certainly brings everything to a screeching halt. To add insult to injury, wherever the setting and whatever the time of day, very few items of importance are discussed between the two sides.

Stepping in to break up that main story a little was the harrowing vignette concerning a pair of lovers stranded in Antarctica. "Stranded" being the key term here, because of course they're stuck for the time being given that the continent is so remote, but they're not necessarily ill-equipped for the job at hand. That is, until a colony of bats work together to cloak the facility's solar panels, thereby removing the scientists from the quiet comfort of heat and electricity. Without it, they're doomed, plain and simple—the weather is far too harsh to withstand for any extended period of time, and yet they almost seem to take it in stride. Still, it was rather shocking to see them one last time towards the episode's end hand-in-hand but frozen from head to toe. For one brief moment, bats were more capable at killing than their human counterparts. Which is awfully unsettling, but you'd have to think though the right tone the show wants to set.

Perhaps my biggest frustration with "Zoo" is, again, that dialogue, but regarding something other than the unnecessary nature of it all. It's all so painfully literal. There is absolutely nothing left for the viewer to glean on their own, nor for characters to explain in anything other than words. The exposition is simply being doled out on silver platters for each of the main characters to respond to in appropriate intervals. The freshest example on my mind came seconds before the credits began to roll when Jamie hands Jackson the recently discovered photograph of the dangerous escaped criminal and the wolves' apparent new alpha. She hands it over and without missing a beat wonders aloud, "what, do you know the other person in this picture?" Obviously, he does and obviously that's the recurring link to all this inexplicable madness. And we, as an audience, can't have a cliffhanger that actually makes us think (or perhaps even recall what Mr. Oz looked like), but instead must be force fed the plot in an effort to keep everyone on the same page.

Summer TV has a tendency to be a little more, well…stupid than regular fall or spring programming. But my goodness, it doesn't have to be this stupidly infuriating.

Some Other Notes:

• Much is made of the fact that "the French government is paying for everything!" notion, but holy cow would I love to see an expense report when everything is said and done—if only for airfare alone. The pace at which our main characters jet off to Tokyo, Mississippi, and everywhere in between is almost breathtaking.

• It's worth repeating that the Antarctica story was by far the most haunting segment of the series so far. Not sure why exactly, besides the imminent death associated with the freezing temperatures and just general loneliness of the whole situation; but that's certainly not a very happy memory to keep tucked in the back of your noggin today.

Line of the Night:

Quote:

Jamie: "Wolf poop is called scat?"
Jackson: "It is."