Run: June 30th, 2015-Present
Created By: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Resenberg
Prod. Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg, Michael Katleman, James Mangold, Cathy Konrad, James Patterson, Bill Robinson, Leopoldo Gout, Steve Bowen
Genre: Drama Thriller
Based On: Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Starring: James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, Nonso Anozie, Nora Arnezeder, Billy Burke
Season 1 | Episodes 1-3 | Aired June 30, July 7, July 14
Zoo is a new show that recently premiered on June 30th. It follows Jackson Oz (Wolk) as he investigates strange occurrences of animals around the world attacking and killing people and their connection to a theory his father had. Also investigating these attacks is Jamie Campbell (Connolly), a journalist who works with Mitch Morgan (Burke), a veterinary pathologist to determine why the animals are suddenly turning.
In episode one, “First Blood”, we start off in Africa where we meet Jackson Oz and his best friend Abraham Kenyatta (Anozie) who are working safari guides. However, after a series of lion attacks occur all around the world, including one that seems to leave Abraham dead (though we see at the very end that he’s still alive), Jackson realizes that the crazy ramblings of his late father may not have been all that crazy after all.
His father talked about a “defiant pupil” and how the day would come when animals are no longer afraid of people. Jackson is starting to see that maybe his father wasn’t actually crazy and could potentially be right, especially after seeing a strange look in a lion’s eye, a ‘defiant pupil’.
In Los Angeles, Jamie Campbell has just lost her job as a journalist after her boss discovered her blog where she raged about the injustices of the world. One of the injustices is a company that uses pesticides on their food products which they then sell to companies. Among these companies is a zoo where several lions escaped after attacking their trainer and then mauled several people.
Jamie believes this dramatic change in behaviour is due to their food source suddenly changing and the pesticides in the food. However, Mitch Morgan disagrees and the two suddenly find themselves working together to figure out what is going on.
Episode one was a little confusing, though I think that was more because it was the first episode of the series rather than the show itself. I normally find the first episode of a new series to be the most confusing. However, after watching it for a second time and being able to follow along much easier, I have to say that it was a really good first episode.
Starting a new series can be so difficult and if you don’t make it interesting right off the bat you can pretty much kiss any hope of getting renewed goodbye. However, even being slightly confused didn’t stop me from being intrigued.
When I first saw the commercial it looked really interesting. I’m a big animal person so I was immediately hooked. Another big reason I started watching is because of the cast. I’m a big fan of James Wolk, I saw him in Political Animals and thought he did such an amazing job so I was excited right off the bat when I saw him this. Similarly, I’ve seen a few projects Billy Burke has done and enjoyed them and I just recently discovered Kristen Connolly in The Whispers and it’s actually pretty cool to see her in two completely different shows at the same time.
A great cast combined with mysterious lion attacks, crazy theories, and a tree full of cats makes Zoo an intriguing show that you can’t stop watching.
“Fight or Flight”
Moving on to episode two, “Fight or Flight”. Jackson discovers that Abraham is alive and goes with some other men to rescue his friend from the lions. After getting Abraham back to camp and being assured by Jackson’s mother (Bess Armstrong), the doctor on site, that his friend will be fine, Jackson starts looking more into what his father had to say.
After watching one of his father’s tapes, Jackson realizes that what happened with the lions was a message. They didn’t want to kill Abe, they wanted to let people know that they’re not afraid anymore.
While Jackson’s mother initially resists what her son is saying, she comes to discover he may be right. She finds that the lion’s hunting patterns have changed. The people weren’t killed for food and they weren’t killed in the normal manner. The lions changed the way they kill to make sure the people died slow and painfully. She reveals to Jackson that any information on his father’s research will be in Japan so Jackson and Abraham decide to set off right away.
Chloe Tousignant (Arnezder), the woman Jackson rescued in episode one, heads back to France where she tries to deal with what happened to her. However, it’s hard for her to deal with the lion attack when, as soon as she gets back, she must deal with her sister who slept with her fiancée. At the very end of the episode, Chloe is approached by a man who knows about what happened in Africa and Slovenia and says that she must go with him right away as the fate of the world depends on it.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Jamie is being evicted. As she is talking to the son of her landlord, we see that someone is hacking into her computer and downloading all the information, though Jamie has no idea. With no job and nowhere to live, Jamie now has nothing to lose and continues her investigation into Raiden Global.
We learn the reason Jamie hates Raiden Global so much is because they are responsible for the destruction of her home town. Later, as she and Mitch are running some experiments on a lion cub, they realize something is definitely going on when the cub’s results come back with readings they shouldn’t and when they realize the cub may be communicating with the lions still in the zoo.
In Slovenia, Tara Bradshaw (Valerie Boucvalt), her husband Nicholas (Billy Slaughter), and their recently adopted son, Andraz (Easton Wayne Fenter) attend a tiger show. After the show is over, Andraz wanders off to get a closer look at the tigers, but these are the animals we need to fear yet.
After Andraz’s toy tiger is carried off by a dog, Nicholas goes after it to get it back. Unfortunately, he’s walked directly into a trap and is suddenly surrounded by dead bodies and vicious dogs. Needless to say, things don’t end well.
This episode was so good! So much happened! I love the way this show goes back and forth between the different places and the way the storylines converge. I thought for sure (and was freaking out about it) that the little boy was going to be eaten by tigers. No way could I have predicted the dog mauling! It especially freaked me out to have my dog sitting next to me as I was watching this.
It actually made me kind of sad because I really liked these new characters. I have a feeling this show will introduce you to a lot of new people, have you get invested in them in under half an hour, and then slaughter them in some really creepy way.
Zoo somehow manages to make their episodes interesting and intriguing from the very beginning all the way to the last second. What better way to get someone to watch next week than to end with a new character who talks about the fate of the world? I know that would get me to watch episode three. And you know what? It did.
“The Silence of the Cicadas”
Chloe is shown the many bodies that were mauled by the dogs in Slovenia. The man, Gaspard Alves (Henry Lubatti), has also been looking into the strange behaviour of the animals and wants to recruit Chloe as he believes she is one of the perfect candidates to figure this all out.
Jackson and Abraham arrive in Tokyo and find Robert Oz’s old residence. There, they meet Minako (Tamlyn Tomita), Robert’s second wife who Jackson knew nothing about. She takes them to the island where his father was working, but before they get there their helicopter crashes after it is hit by hundreds of bats flying way too high in the sky and way too early in the day. Jackson and Abraham walk away from the crash, but Minako dies (just before she can tell them something important).
Jackson and Abraham make their way towards Robert’s work station and on the way there they see horses who have had their eyes removed. They discover Robert was there because of the radiation on the island. The radiation sped up the changes occurring in the animals so he was able to run his experiments.
Jackson and Abraham are rescued from the island by Gaspard who takes them back to Tokyo where the others he has recruited are waiting.
Jamie convinces Mitch to go to Louisiana with her to talk to the senator about their findings on Raiden Global. They arrive and Jamie reveals the trip has nothing to do with her work like she’d originally said as she has been fired, but manages to convince Mitch to still go to the meeting.
Jamie reveals to Mitch that when she was eleven her mother got sick – Cancer – and that she was just one of twenty-six people in the community. Jamie tells him that they had tried to make a case against Raiden, but the company was too big and they didn’t stand a chance. That has apparently not changed as the senator refuses to do anything, despite the evidence Jamie and Mitch present to him.
“Senator? I did my grad school thesis on the inverse proportionality of taxidermy wall mounts to their owner’s penis size. My condolences to your wife.”
– Mitch talking to the senator about his moose head wall mount
While Jamie is ready to give up, Gaspard arrives to recruit Mitch. He agrees to help, but only if Jamie can come too.
A death row prison inmate, Evan Lee Hartley (Marcus Hester) is meeting with the woman whose husband he is accused of killings. As he admits to his crimes, he says all the answers can be found in the bible, but he says something I find particularly interesting. He talks about hunting parties which, if this were an episode of Criminal Minds, could mean something totally different. But in this show it makes me think he knows a lot more about the animals than anyone else.
This idea is strengthened when wolves attack the prison Evan is being held at and attack inmates and guards alike. However, Evan is left alive. One of the wolves stares at him, but does make any attempt to attack. Evan is left standing as the prison behind him burns.
I feel like this episode was really revealing for the characters pasts and families. Jackson shows he feels guilty about he and his mother treated his father; Jamie is angry about what happened to her mother; Chloe is still dealing with the fallout with her sister; Mitch reveals he doesn’t talk to his family much; and Abraham mentions about how he doesn’t tell people about his past. We’re definitely getting into the deep stuff here.
While the crazy animal behaviour was obviously still a major part of the episode, I really liked that we kind of took a step back and focused more on the humans in the show and their relationships with the people around them and, now, with each other.
I’m excited to see what is going to happen in tomorrow night’s episode now that all five of them are together and where Evan Lee Hartley stands in all of this.
I knew as soon as I saw the commercial for Zoo that I wanted to review it. Unfortunately when it came on I was in the middle of my writing funk where I pretty much fell behind on everything. But that’s done now and I’m excited to get back to it! So I decided to review/recap all three of the first episodes in one go and then, starting tomorrow, I can post a weekly review.
Have you seen Zoo? What did you think of the first episodes?
Anybody else suddenly freaked out every time an animal stares at them now?
Check out the preview for tomorrow night’s episode!