Rats rats rats raaaats! Furry ones ... and human ones too! There was all kinds of squealing on this week’s excellently creepy-crawly episode of Zoo, the network television show that’s actually a B-movie from the 1970s in disguise.
Since we missed last week’s recap, here’s a summary of episode seven, “Sleuths,” in photo form:
Basically this episode was a lot of chasing/being chased by bears in Parisian tunnels, where it’s revealed that Chloe’s impeccably-coiffed cheatin’ ex is a giant scaredy-cat in the face of danger. That works on multiple levels, because his last name is “Lion.” (Fun fact: a pack of bears is called a “sleuth.”)
Also, Abe shared the unexpectedly dark tale of his child-soldier past; Jamie used her mad journalism skills to hack into Reiden Global’s accounting records, hoping to prove the FBI agent (or “FBI agent,” if you like) she popped was secretly on their payroll; and Mitch, who figured out that the Mother Cell is hastening mutations that would happen naturally anyway (look out for those armored bears in a few generations, then), went behind everyone’s backs and offered to return the cell to Reiden if they’d supply him with enough medicine to cure his sick daughter who he never sees. WHAT MITCH WHY?
Which brings us to “The Cheese Stands Alone,” which begins as the team heads back to the States, dispatched by Delavane to investigate an apparent population explosion of rats on a resort island off Massachusetts. It happens to be the same island where Jackson once vacationed with his father, before Dr. Oz went off the rails. (Fun fact: once they’ve had a taste of human blood, rats begin to crave it.) The team takes to the sea, but without Mitch, who side-missions to Boston, ostensibly to talk accelerated evolution with his Harvard chums. Conveniently, Boston is where Reiden is headquartered ... and is where his daughter lives.
While Mitch pays an awkward visit to young Clementine, Jackson and Chloe have an awkward moment with the island community’s sheriff. Sheriff Becky was Jackson’s first love, but that doesn’t stop her from acting like the mayor in Jaws when he suggests she evacuate the island during the tourist season. Rats? What rats? Who said anything about rats?
Certainly the proprietor of this snappily-named business (since when do exterminators carry flame-throwers? Perhaps this will become significant later ...) isn’t prepared for what awaits him in the vacant hotel that’s apparently become Rat Central Station. And neither is the Zoo team, who enter to investigate and, hopefully, snag a male and female living specimen for study. They’re greeted by the sound of thousands of rats sharpening their teeth, because THESE ARE RATS THAT LUST AFTER HUMAN BLOOD.
Anybody else catch that utterly obvious/utterly delightful Shining homage? Oh, everyone did? Thought so. Nice one, Zoo.
After they flee Rat Redrum, Abe, Jackson, and Jamie notice the rat they’ve snagged, believing it to be male, has somehow reproduced. And all the squirmy babies are male, too, which according to Jackson is “statistically impossible.” What if these mutations aren’t about the survival of a species, he theorizes, but about the destruction of another? Specifically ... us? Yep, we’re doomed. And there’s another question, which is how are these male rats nursing their babies? Are we talking ... gigantic rat queens?
Meanwhile, this week’s Random Animal Encounter By Characters You’ve Never Met Before is foisted upon a middle-aged couple on their first, internet-arranged date, who regret their decision to take a post-dinner carriage ride. Runaway horse = not very romantic. But Zoo fools us, because the spooked horse isn’t the purpose of introducing this pair. The man admits to the woman that he’s concerned about a missing colleague, and takes a mysterious phone call from someone named “Murph” who calls him “Boss,” letting him know that “Number 12” was just found dead in a hotel stairwell. Ben Shafer! And there’s footage of Shafer talking to Jamie and Jackson, which the boss views before vowing to track them down, and really, that can’t be good.
Plus, rat queens do indeed exist, heebie-jeebies all around, but their minions can and will be killed by a flame thrower-toting Chloe. Good thing that was just lying around next to the corpse of Total Annihilation’s least-fortunate employee!
And what about Mitch? Funny you should ask. Just when he’s about to hand over the Mother Cell to his shady Reiden contact, he catches sight of a familiar face in another office at Reiden HQ: it’s the team’s mysterious boss, Delavane.
Because ... dun dun dun ... THE TEAM HAS BEEN WORKING FOR REIDEN THIS ENTIRE TIME! Ok, we’d all pretty much guessed that was coming, but it was nice to finally see it out in the open. Now, how’s Mitch gonna explain how he came across this juicy bit of information to the rest of the Zoo crew? That’s a question for next week, which will also feature a flock of killer birds, according to the episode nine preview. Hooray!