Zoo’s ragtag group of humans has been assembled into a super team to investigate the worldwide animal attacks, so the episode title, “Pack Mentality,” does double duty here. Some key discoveries are made, alliances are forged, and OBVIOUSLY some angry-ass animals swoop in and steal every scene.
In the Tokyo airport, Jackson admits to Abraham that he’s still mind-blown that his father (a “notorious crackpot,” per Mitch) might have been onto something with his “defiant pupil” theory. Abe suggests getting another scientist to look over Dr. Oz’s research, but Jackson’s not so sure, since he’s no fan of Mitch (“I wouldn’t even ask that guy for directions to the men’s room,” he snarks). But these two are going to have to work together, the more even-tempered Abe reminds him. And besides, Mitch is just as confused as Jackson is, even as Jamie insists Reiden Global (“the one-stop shop for the animal apocalypse!”) has got to be the bad guy in all of this.
Just as the dudes are starting to mend fences, Chloe bursts in. Instead of a planned journey to Beijing, they’ll be heading to Mississippi instead, to check out the prison that burned to the ground after being attacked by wolves. (There were no survivors, she says, but I think we all know ol’ Evan Lee, defender of animals and murderer of men, is still out there doing his thing.) She also reveals that since the secretive Delavane is funding their operations, they’re strictly off the books from this point forward. The plan, Chloe barks, is that she, Jamie, and Jackson will investigate the prison, pretending to be representatives from the French embassy inquiring after a French national that was killed in the fire. And Mitch and Abe? Well, they’re are goin’ on a wolf hunt, to bring back a living specimen for study.
Mitch is a little taken aback, but Abe is warming to her leadership, calling Chloe “peppery.” (Mitch: “Yeah, I was never a big fan of ‘peppery.’”) Shopping for supplies, they’re both surprised to see so many hunters grabbing ammo and whatnot; seems a “wolf cull” is in effect, which Mitch explains to the befuddled Botswanan is when men swarm the woods armed with high-powered rifles and beer. Meanwhile, a good ol’ boy in the store wearing a flannel shirt with ripped-off sleeves starts giving lip: “You wanna catch and not kill? What you gonna do with a rabid wolf? You gonna take it to dinner and a movie?” Fortunately, Abe’s there to diffuse the tension and lead Mitch (who was acting, it must be said, a little peppery in response to that guy) away.
Back at the prison, we learn three things: one, wolf poop is called “scat.” Two, it’s incredibly easy to bluff one’s way inside Biloxi’s jail under false pretenses. And three, the FBI has taken an interest in the situation, in the form of square-jawed Agent Ben Shaffer, who sees through Chloe’s “French embassy” ruse despite being, in her assessment, an idiot. But Jackson makes an important discovery on some security footage shot the day of the fire: Evan “If Charles Manson Were Dr. Doolittle” Lee, working his spooky mojo as the apparent leader of the wolf pack.
Here’s a twist, though, dug up by our resident journalist, Jamie: Evan Lee wasn’t always like that. In fact, until 2008, he was an upstanding citizen, working in a university biology lab. Something happened, though, and he snapped, stabbing an entire hunting party to death in the woods.
Then: new characters! We’re suddenly in Antarctica, with bickering couple Wendy and Margaret, who’re living there as part of a two-year plan designed to save their marriage. (It’s not working, judging from their snappish conversation.) They may be two souls at the end of the Earth, but they’re not immune from animal wrath; a swarm of bats swoops in and covers the solar panels that power their bunker/home. Ruh roh.
In Mississippi, Chloe and Agent Shaffer have a chance meeting in the hotel bar. Seems he’s not quite the idiot she made him out to be, and he asks her point-blank who she really is, and why she’s there. “I believe that’s what you’d call classified,” she replies, though she does reveal she works for the French intelligence agency. He suggests they both might benefit from inter-agency cooperation, which would be a smart idea if Chloe and co. weren’t actually working off the books. He also hits on her, or at least tries to kinda flirt with her. Nope nope nope.
The episode’s other odd couple, Abe and Mitch, head out armed with a net, into a forest where the rednecks-with-guns threat is nearly equal to the wolf/escaped murderer threat. Yep, as suspected, Evan Lee’s out there; Jackson discovers evidence at the prison that the wolves helped him break out by tunneling under the fence ... and then covered their tracks. We get a couple of character-building moments in this sequence, as Jackson regales Jamie with a tale of growing up with his unhinged-genius father, and we learn in passing that not only does the prickly Mitch have an ex, he also has a daughter.
But back to the KRAYZEE ANIMAL ACTION. In Antarctica, Wendy and Margaret chase off the bat brigade and rig up their secondary power source. But when one bat infiltrates and kamikazes a space heater ... blowing the couple’s backup power ... they look outside, and the swarm has returned. How do bats know that freezing to death is a slow and dreadful way to go? They just do, OK? In crisis, the women soften toward each other, playing a mix CD from their first road trip together (it’s Oasis, so ... the mid-1990s?), and Wendy wonders if perhaps the bats are acting out so they’ll free the birds they keep caged inside their home/lab.
While Abe and Mitch are on wolf patrol, and Chloe and Jackson look for the missing Evan Lee, Jamie visits the widow of Evan Lee’s hunting-party murder victim, who was the last person to leave the prison before the fire and wolf attack. (Her house is filled with eerie taxidermy.) While the bereaved woman recounts Evan Lee’s strange claims of wanting to find a cure for his illness, and remembers his weird insistence that all the answers could be found in the Bible, the muck-and-blood-covered man himself pins down Abe in the woods. As Mitch runs up, the wolf pack forms a circle around them. RUH ROH. But Evan Lee and his furry posse let them be when they hear gunshots nearby, and the duo soon meets Chloe and Jackson in the woods.
A wounded wolf is found to serve as test subject, and it’s smuggled back to the hotel, where Agent Shaffer spots Chloe in the elevator and thanks her for letting the FBI know about the fugitive Evan Lee sighting. But she’s not about to explain what’s going on in her hotel room, which has become Mitch’s makeshift animal laboratory; equipment includes a car battery, a coffeemaker, and a pair of coconuts. The wolf’s blood, Jackson and Mitch discover, is infected with bacteria, and the test they run proves ... explosively ... that its brain was “agitated.”
While Jamie is tossing Evan Lee’s cell, and discovering his Bible with meaningful passages highlighted and a photo tucked between its pages, Shaffer finds a body in the woods dressed in prison blues. It’s the guy who was close-talking Mitch in the hunting store, and we cut to Evan Lee, wearing that same sleeveless flannel, driving away at top speed. Where’s HE going? And at the hotel, Shaffer lets Chloe know that the local deputy is on his way over to have a word with her about Jamie’s prison visit; he’s suspected (correctly) that she’s removed evidence from his cell. The gang hustles to a meeting point, and Jamie whips out the photo: it’s Evan Lee ... and Jackson’s father, Dr. Oz. Zomg.
Most haunting image in the entire episode, though: the sight of the birdcages open and empty in Wendy and Margaret’s house. Then, the sight of bats flying away from the solar panels en masse. And the final knife twist: despite the birds being freed, the bats still lingered long enough for the women to die. Their frozen, eyes-wide-open bodies let us know that the animal war is about to get even more cunning, and exponentially more cruel.