Zoo is nuts. I think that’s the best place for us to start. The CBS summer series is based on a James Patterson book about the world’s animal population rising up to destroy the human race, with our only hope being a team made up of mismatched parts including, but not limited to, an alcoholic veterinarian, a spy from France, and Bob Benson from Mad Men. Season one was a delight. Here are a few things that happened, and I swear to God this is all true, and you can go watch it on Netflix right now if you don’t believe me: a Jack Russell terrier led a man into a Slovenian dog ambush, kamikaze bats killed two Brit pop-loving lesbian scientists in Antarctica, the team pulled off a midnight zebra heist while wearing what appeared to be masks from the orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut, and a pack of wolves orchestrated a jailbreak to free a man from prison. This is a GIF of the last one. It’s much funnier if you pretend the button the guard smashes at the end is labeled “WOLVES.”
The show is now in its second season and, somehow, by the grace of God in heaven, despite being the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen on television, was recently picked up for a third. It is better than ever. (“Better.”) The team has figured out, kind of, what caused the animals to go berserk, so now instead of everyone just running for their lives every week, we are solving mysteries. Also, everyone is still running for their lives every week. It’s all quite incredible. And so, as someone who has watched every episode (albeit with the focus of someone half-watching a sporting event in a crowded bar, which is really the only way to watch Zoo), I feel like it’s my duty to try to explain to you where we all are. So let’s do that. Try to stay with me.
First I have to tell you about the goddamn science plane
Remember the kamikaze bats I just told you about? Well, at one point last season they tried to take down the team’s small plane by hurtling themselves face first into the engines (happens), so this season the team is traveling the world in what I have chosen to refer to as “the science plane.” Here are some fun facts about the science plane:
– It is a multimillion-dollar technological marvel, stocked with every sort of medical device and equipment you could ever want, as well as suites for each crew member and basically a small parking garage filled with Hummers and Range Rovers.
– It has a full bar that everyone is always making drinks at, like they’re passengers on a luxury air cruise and not society’s last hope against an animal uprising. This bar, as well as everything else on the plane, somehow remains fully stocked despite the pilot being the only crew member, which means that they must be making booze runs while searching the globe for animals that hold the cure.
– It is owned (or at least controlled) by the ex-stepmother of one of the team members, who was briefly married to his world famous cryptozoologist father (“cryptozoologist” = guy who searches the globe for the Loch Ness Monster, which he believes is real), and is also his ex-girlfriend, and also the Deputy Secretary of Defense. It is not clear if the plane is owned by her or the government, but if it is owned by her, she somehow managed to afford it with funds derived from her family’s small orchard, which the team visited at one point because it is infested with demon snakes.
– When they went to the farm, a snake killed a man by bursting up through his throat and out his mouth, and when the team tried to figure out how the snake got into the house the best answer they had was, “Through the toilet,” which seems to imply their best guess for how a 6-foot-long snake got inside a man and slithered out his mouth was that the snake entered his body through his rectum while he was using the bathroom, and he didn’t notice.
That last one has nothing to do with the plane, really. Just wanted you to know.
Bob Benson from Mad Men is slowly turning into a genetically mutated hellbeast
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Jackson Oz, an animal expert played by James Wolk, who played ambitious closeted potential grifter Bob Benson on Mad Men, was secretly injected with something called “the ghost gene” by his mad scientist father as a child. Now, as the virus is causing animals around the world to mutate into bloodthirsty monsters who exist solely to destroy the human race, it’s also doing the same to Wolk. Which is bad, because he’s the leader of the team and is on the science plane. But it’s also good, because it gave us that line of dialogue up there. The blond lady who delivered it — SPOILERS, if you care about Zoo spoilers, you weirdo — actually got killed off a few weeks ago in an attempted sloth liberation, which was heartbreaking for me because she was truly a legend in the field of GIFs.
Rest in peace, French Blond Spy Whose Name I Just Learned Was Chloe.
I don’t know how to title this section, but if you stick with me for a second I promise I will tell you about the time a blogger had to use electrocharged demon ants to restart an evil four-star general’s heart because the plane’s defibrillator was ruined in a sloth-related incident
Okay, so everything I told you so far is true, but also no one cares, because the whole point of Zoo is to string together just enough plot to get from one insane animal attack thing to another. Please note all the ones I listed in the intro and the thing I mentioned about the murderous butt snake, and then please note that we are so far past all that now that there was a coordinated multi-animal attack on a nuclear power plant this season and the entire thing was explained to the audience in a three-second snippet of a cable news broadcast playing in the background on the science plane.
Here are some things that have happened so far on this season of Zoo:
– Grave-robbing vultures started eating corpses and puking them up in the clouds, causing acidic blood rain, causing crops to die, causing mass death from starvation.
– Bob Benson from Mad Men slapped an evil four-star general and demanded to know the location of a sloth that is capable of causing earthquakes with its shrieks. (See above.)
– Millions of electrocharged ants tried to work together to blow up Switzerland by short-circuiting a large particle accelerator.
– Uh, this, which happened during the hunt for something called an immortal jellyfish…
But anyway, the sloth and the ants: The evil four-star general — who has his own plan to save the world, which is called the Noah Objective and involves releasing a gas that kills off all the infected animals, and actually seems kind of reasonable if you think about it, because, like, look at the list of things the animals have done — storms the science plane and starts detaining everyone. But the earthquake sloth gets free and shrieks and everything goes to hell. Then two members of the team corner the general and start digging for information, which they do by injecting him with venom and shouting at him. But they give him the anti-venom too late and his heart stops, so a former reporter/blogger — who I still want to call Caitlyn even though that’s not her name, and who recently had to chop off her toe with an axe due to frostbite — ran and grabbed the electocharged ants that tried to blow up Switzerland, put them in cups, and slammed them onto his chest to restart his heart, because the defibrillator got soaked during the sloth earthquake when a freezer holding a giant lizard tipped over.
Oh, it is Jurassic Park now, too, apparently
At the end of one week’s episode, the team figured out that one of the animals they need for the cure is a sabertooth cat. This is a problem because sabertooth cats have been extinct for a thousand years. But the skeleton they found is only 100 years old. Hmm. How interesting. I wonder how…
Yupppp there’s a small island in the middle of the ocean that some lunatic populated with animals that science thought were extinct. That’s Jurassic Park! That’s the plot of Jurassic Park! They just up and started doing Jurassic Park like I wouldn’t notice! But I did! And no one on the show brought it up, either, which means… does Jurassic Park exist in the Zoo universe? Does Jeff Goldblum? Imagine living in a world where Satanic vultures cause blood rain with vomit and you can’t even escape it for two hours by watching a movie from the ’90s where a scientist played by Jeff Goldblum saves the day? Why even go on, right?
Anyway, watch Zoo.