Zoo S01E10 Recap: "Emotional Contagion"

The most concerning thing about last night's "Zoo" is not the lack of plot (there's plenty more to explore with this concept) but an undeniable lack of storytelling creativity. The episode begins in media res, as our heroes are, in true slasher horror fashion, parading around an empty zoo wearing frightening animal masks. It's kind of like "The Strangers" combined with "You're Next," two films I haven't seen because I'm terrified of silent killers wearing disturbing headwear, except this time the culprits are not killing living things, they're freeing them…despite overwhelming evidence that once these creatures are free, they may very well kill the ones responsible for their escape. If intentional, the somewhat snarky take on today's activists was enjoyable, in the sense that those so invested in their inexplicable cause are blind to the consequences of their "noble" acts.

The problem with it though, was that we started things out the exact same way just a few weeks ago while the group was bear-hunting in Paris. To be fair, it's not the most clichéd way to begin a narrative, but I felt like that opening scene just left a bad taste in my mouth. It seems the creative team behind this series believes that they'll need to really catch your attention at the episode's start with some wild and weird predicament, because a more natural, albeit slow roll that aims to catch the audience up on some of the more tedious subplots would certainly lead more viewers to wander over to other channels. That may have some truth to it, but that's all on the writers and directors to find the confidence with their material to portray it in an engaging fashion. I'd still argue they have, but there's some work to be done.

Furthermore, this wild little scene we're thrown into doesn't even seem that unrealistic for our main characters to find themselves doing. It's dangerous and a little ill-advised, but so are 95% of the other things they've done to date. Personally, I'd be more surprised to find the five enjoying a nice dinner out on the town or like, sleeping for once. Because I'm pretty sure they'd be averaging about 3 hours a night amidst all the air travel and prolonged time spent literally running from authorities.

Anyway, introducing a new wildcard to the mix, i.e. a character who can be counted on to do something completely unprovoked at any time in order to lurch the narrative forward, makes sense, especially since we've just sort of forgotten already about the time Mitch almost very nearly gave away the Mother Cell. Maybe his cohorts in crime here haven't forgotten so easily, but you wouldn't think otherwise based on their current interactions. Nothing can change, nor have the characters changed all that much over the course of 10 full episodes. Mitch is still the sarcastic, grating know-it-all, and the rest of the group still seems to hold him in a higher regard because of his intelligence.

I think I just may be growing tired of his shtick. As I've said before, he seems destined to be the one responsible for saving the world in just a few short weeks here. I just hope it doesn't do too much to inflate his ego.

Some Other Notes:

• A Chloe and Jackson romance was inevitable, I'm just glad they got the first part of it out of the way here, rather than building some grand finale around it when it was all too predictable in the first place. Plus, I doubt many other couples today get to say that their first kiss was in the back of a truck full of escaped zoo animals, many of which are more than capable of breaking free of their cages. It's probably hard work to stay attractive in that setting, only because I cannot help but imagine the smell.

• I'd really be curious about how the animals in this series are brought to life, in terms of just how much is CGI vs. how many are the real deals walking around on the set. If many are in fact flanked by animal trainers are a daily basis all for the sake of this silly show, that's pretty impressive.

• I'd also like to take a moment to appreciate the fact that for a show titled "Zoo," the story finally took place in a zoo. Yes, when everything else is the mess that it is, I enjoy the little moments like this.

Line of the Night:

Quote:

Abraham: "He's not my friend."