Zoo S01E07 Recap: "Sleuths"
In a series that's been filled to the brim with bloody animal-on-human violence, who would have thought it's not until one of our main characters is involved in a shady homicide for things to get really interesting? That's where we find ourselves this week, with Jamie assuming a new identity (and collecting a really nice-looking counterfeit passport) in order to evade authorities as they scramble to find the fallen FBI agents' body. (There's no way it hasn't been found yet, but the episode conveniently does away with any further talk about it, lest it interfere with their own little bear affair. Because even if Schaeffer was indeed a dirty agent, there'd certainly be a cause for alarm once his body is discovered in a hotel stairway—one that countless employees surely use multiple times throughout the day.) Still, our heroes manage to jet off once again to another location without much hassle at all. This time it's Paris, and in a nice little touch, the group gets to stay in Chloe's own home rather than some boring hotel. At the very least, it's a huge upgrade over sleeping accommodations in Rio.
All in all, this episode moved along at a nice pace, and was even able to include a somewhat suspenseful trek through the dingy, dark ruins of yesteryear in search of three missing bears—which may just be the most nerve-wracking sequence the series has put together to date. Also included in the runtime was a tidy little subplot that featured Mitch possibly(?) selling out to Reiden in an effort to secure medicine that could help heal his dying daughter. I don't get the impression that he'd ditch the group altogether to get this done. While he's generally aloof to human sensibilities and a bit of a loner, I don't think he'd be so quick to sabotage all the progress he and his group of new friends have made. After all, it's not like a weekend lemonade stand or some mindless group project for school, this widespread epidemic could lead to the demise of humankind if they don't continue to keep plugging away. And by the looks of it, no one else on the planet is even remotely as aware of the situation as our main cast is at the moment.
One thing that was missing from this episode was the short, weekly vignette which would typically transport viewers to another part of the globe to see the damage the animals were causing. In most cases, this would also involve the death of one or two random and innocent people. That was nowhere to be found this week (which I'm not saying is a bad thing—for once, the main storyline had too much going on to get sidetracked with anything truly as inconsequential as the other minor stories often prove to be), but ultimately, I think that sort of hampers the effectiveness of the large, overarching conflict. Clearly this is a global issue, as each week our rag-tag group of heroes fly off to a new city, but it's begun to feel like this issue is rather isolated. With the most recent installment here, we didn't get to see how this is affecting anyone other than Jamie, Jackson, Abraham, Chloe, and Mitch.
As far as we can tell, it's almost business as usual for the rest of the world, just with the inconvenient little problem of "oh, yeah, bats can fly as high as planes and animals are killing people now." I know it's hard to broaden the scope without getting too far away from the characters that you need to rely on to carry the show for another 6 episodes, but lately the series just seems to be lacking something. It's like we traveled down a few notches on the "intensity meter" in an effort to prolong the story. That won't really get you too far when it comes to summer programming, as it's very easy for unentertained viewers to ultimately tune out.
Still, I still like the way the series has progressed, and remain confident it'll reach an enjoyable conclusion once the time arrives. Although I do start to wonder if Zoo's creative team feels super compelled to wrap this whole thing up in one season, or if we'll be left with a few cliffhangers on the hope and prayer that the series will be renewed for a second season. I can't imagine CBS has better material to air next summer, but if "Extant" can get renewed, why not this? To be fair, I haven't seen one second of "Extant." But the commercials don't give me much reason to check it out. What happened to Halle Berry? (Besides "Catwoman" of course)
Some Other Notes:
• If any character is truly worth latching onto, it's Abraham. The dude's pretty awesome, and it was nice to see him get that emotional scene. Better yet, it was perfectly acted. Hard to imagine anyone else pulling that off without plopping layers of schmaltz and false emotion on top of it.
• This week, we learned what a pack of bears is called (a "sleuth"). Two weeks ago, the show compelled me to look up what a pack of bats is called (a "cloud"). If "Zoo" were to devolve into nothing more than just teaching viewers what certain groups of animals were called each week, that'd be okay with me.
• Speaking of sleuths, nice little dual use of the title there to not only refer to the bears, but the sneaky subplot of our characters themselves which detailed their attempts to break into Reiden's internal financial database. Gotta say, both Jackson and Abraham looked really out of place wearing a full piece suit. It was almost sort of comical. But I imagine the director tried to play up the cheesy aspect of it all there a little bit. Translated to some good fun.
Line of the Night:
Chloe: "When we lived together, I killed the bugs."