Zoo S01E13 Recap: "The Great Big Hill of Hope" [Season Finale]
Prior to last night's disappointing "Zoo" finale, if you had asked me about the likelihood of the showing riding off into the sunset on a cliffhanger, I would have said the chances were pretty low. After all, the most recent episode had them flying back to America ready to save the day. Aside from whatever it was that was causing some turbulence mid-flight, there were hardly any concerns remaining. They had the cure. All that was left to do was implement it worldwide.
But as we saw last night, it just wasn't that easy. The plane crashed, just less than 50 passengers died, but conveniently, none of the 5 we actually care about. At least, from what we were able to see. The rest of the gang does not bear witness to the fact that Jamie is whisked away to some secluded island by her bearded, non-English-speaking savior. They're saved, somehow, and we see that months pass as they operate independently from one another and under the impression that their friend has surely perished.
Don't worry; she didn't, as that's made very clear within the first few minutes. The episode clearly wanted her final reveal to be an emotional turning point that brought tears to our eyes and managed to bring all our heroes back together for one final go at the mission in one fell swoop. Maybe it would have worked if we hadn't known this would be the case all along. Maybe the time that was spent depicting Jamie in a peaceful slumber could have been put to better use elsewhere, perhaps to show off some of the raw agony felt as a result of her disappearance. That is, by anyone other than Mitch. But to be fair, it's the first time all series we've seen any character actually sleep. I'm sure she was tired. In fact, I was waiting for some screen text to reveal that she actually slept for over 70 hours her first 3 days back on land. That'd be some impressive sleeping right there.
I've mentioned it before, but the thing that kept "Zoo" from telling the story it wanted to tell was the overreliance on its cast of human characters. They have their quirks, specific calling cards, and maybe even a few hearty and funny lines of dialogue along the way. But really, they're not very interesting at all. It's clear that same sentiment is not felt by the creative team behind the show, as the finale spent about 85% of its running time with a sole focus on the going-on's of Jackson, Mitch, Abe, Chloe, and Jamie, despite the group's collective to-do list consisting largely of speaking in empty platitudes to one another, hunched over at a bar, driving strangers across town to dinner, and of course sleeping.
We wanted so badly for the wild, bloodthirsty animals to be the series' centerpiece. Through 13 episodes, they still weren't. That boggles my mind.
The show's final moments, which follow our heroes as they speed off in a Jeep to some unnamed island to rescue Jamie, but not before they encounter the entirety of the animal kingdom at a four way intersection, was actually kind of cool. Sure, the CGI wasn't great. But I can recognize this is still a summer TV series budget. At least the show had the wherewithal to go out like that, with a shot that did satisfy some of the things they more or less teased might happen from week to week. I just wish we didn't have to wait until hour 13 to have seen it.
Overall, I didn't hate "Zoo" at all. It was fine popcorn entertainment. I just don't know how eager I'll be to tune in next summer for the second season (assuming it even gets renewed in the first place), but I do appreciate the stones it takes for any series to end its first season with a cliffhanger, completely disregarding any concerns that they may not be able to finish it next year.
Some Other Notes:
• Thankfully, we won't ever have to experience it, but I cannot imagine any scenario in which a plan to eliminate the planet's animal population would ever reach majority approval. Far, far too many people would be in favor of keeping the animals alive, regardless of the damage they're doing to humans. (To a certain extent, myself included) I defy anyone to name an activist group more persistent and irate at all times than animal activists. They'd never let this sort of thing happen.
• So, was there no funeral held for Jamie? That sort of detail stands out to me. Because if her new friends really were super broken up about her presumed death, I would think some overtures were made. But they all sort of seem too content just doing their own thing in the aftermath.
• One other facet that did not get enough airtime here in the finale was the whole idea that "hey, if you want to go to the grocery store or to the bank or your job or whatever, make sure you're careful, because any type of animal could kill you in an instant." That's sort of fun. It would have been cool to see just how much this affected the populations day-to-day, because that wasn't really touched on at all.
• On that note, how exactly was the world getting by? Were people still going to work? Like, especially people who worked outside? Were professional sports cancelled? If you were to fill MetLife stadium with 100,000+ fans, players, coaches, and staff for a routine football game, you'd be rolling out the welcome wagon for a mass homicide at the hands of any large animal group that wandered in. Basically, I want to see the extent of these ramifications. The scope of the series still just felt too small at all times.
Line of the Night:
Abraham: "I will have one of your baboon beers"