Zoo Season Finale Review: Save the Animals, Condemn the World

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No, it’s not the new slogan for a PETA-sponsored, “very special” episode of “Heroes,” it’s the season finale of “Zoo”! Although, I suppose a case could be made for the outcome of the finale being what might happen if a particularly avid animal lover was left unchecked to choose between man and beast. Either way, we’re about to get into spoiler territory, so abandon ship while you can if you’re not up to speed.

We began with our team touching down on the mythical Pangaea, so named after the supercontinent that existed many millions of years ago, eventually separating into what later became North and South America, Africa, India and other better-known continents. This was where the supposedly extinct saber-toothed tiger allegedly still made its home, if rumors were to be believed.

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Jackson (James Wolk), his father Robert (Ken Olin), Abraham (Nonso Anozie), and Daniela (Alyssa Diaz) headed there on the plane, while Jamie (Kristen Connolly) and Mitch (Billy Burke) attempted to intercept General Davies (Peter Outerbridge) and destroy the DNA of “clean” animals that he needed in order to carry out his nefarious plan to kill the animals- and more than a few humans to boot- aka the Noah Objective, and repopulate the earth with “new” animals.

Unfortunately for them, someone else had their sights set on said DNA and it was none other than the heretofore-thought-dead Logan (Josh Salatin), who apparently had a built-in sensor that made his parachute open in spite of his passing out from the tranq dart Jamie shot him with as he fell off the plane, supposedly to his imminent doom.

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On the plus side, Logan was on the same page in wanting to destroy the package in question, so when Davies intercepted them and then Mitch stalled him and his soldiers, Logan was able to rig up a grenade to go off and blow it to smithereens, thus rendering his plan moot. Except that one of his soldiers apparently had other ideas, so after brutally snapping Davies’ neck, he announced to whoever was listening that the Noah Initiative was, in fact, still a go after all.

Mitch and company missed this little exchange, or they might have known what was coming later on, but interestingly, the soldier let them go about their business, telling them it was now on them to find the cure and save the animals. Fortunately for them, while all this was going on, Abe and Daniela were indeed able to track down a saber-tooth tiger and get a sample of its blood, despite it killing their guide in the process.

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Back at the plane, Jackson and his dad continued to work on the cure, but hit a snag when the medicine Robert had Jackson on interfered with the process of making the serum. As such, he needed to stop taking it immediately, but that also meant risking his turning back into his more ferocious animal side in the process. Jackson makes Abe promise he’ll put him down if he goes a little too wild, but they also need to speed up the process, so they start looking for a workaround in the meantime.

Mitch realizes that Robert created the experimental drug that was used to help his daughter with her illness- meaning that he also caused it in the first place. Sure enough, Robert admits as much, which does not go over well with Mitch, for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, Mitch comes up with an idea: if he siphons out some of Robert’s genetic material, with which he shares the “ghost gene” with his son, Mitch can hopefully speed up the process by eliminating the medicine that’s causing the problem.

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It works, but Jackson is getting worse, and has to be given a heavy sedative to keep him under control. What’s worse, it doesn’t make enough of the cure to be useful. Robert volunteers to sacrifice himself to save the human race, which is technically only fair, as he caused a lot of this in the first place. This also works, but of course, Robert dies in the process, just as he and Jackson were starting to make amends, which upsets Jackson.

Thankfully, the process also cures him, so he’s able to keep his emotions in check. The Pangaea team prepares a huge flock of birds on the island, which will serve as the delivery system for the cure all over the world. Mitch is given the task of releasing them, which is only fair, as he was the one who found the cure.

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As all concerned make plans for the future that was unsure up until this point, Jamie calls a contact, who informs her that the airspace is being cleared anyway, to move forward with the Noah Initiative after all, despite the fact that it is doomed to fail and not only kill people and animals, but thanks to them, there won’t even be a way to repopulate the earth with more animals after they die out via the gas. So why do it?

Even worse, it turns out that the Pangaea people are involved with it as well. Despite letting them launch the cure, which would seem to be at odds with their nefarious plans, they nonetheless give their people the go-ahead to launch the deadly gas. Naturally, Mitch and the team strenuously object and plan to try and stop it, so the Pangaea people lock them up in a cave, where they find Logan waiting for them, having been interred there when their team ejected him for being so untrustworthy.

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Logan informs them that there are some hybrid creatures on the loose, and it’s dinner time. After exploring their environment and escaping the cave, they realize that they’re behind the electrified fence of Section K, where “failed” animal experiments are kept under lock and key. Abe uses a pole he found to short-circuit the fence and they escape Section K as well, but no sooner are they out than the island security shows up and tries to stop them. Unfortunately for him, the hybrid animals have seen an out and attack him, mauling him to death as the rest run for their lives.

The team makes it back to the plane, only to find that the Pangaea team has raided it, taking the cure with them, along with the Triple Helix animals. Mitch refuses to leave without the cure, as he needs it to save his daughter from her disease, and a call to Portland doesn’t help matters, as he discovers that his ex-wife and her husband are both dead and his daughter has been moved to an shelter with the other children after a particularly nasty animal attack.

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Not taking no for an answer, Mitch returns to the island, with Jamie and Jackson in tow and they see that the hybrid creatures (which they dub “razorback wolves”) have already taken out a lot of the workers there. They frantically search for the cure, with Mitch noting that the Noah Initiative seems to have failed, as the animals are still very much alive, and what’s worse, still seem antagonistic.

Logan is allowed to contact a source he knows to track down Clementine, Mitch’s daughter, and finds out where she is being held, which earns him some points with the others. Jamie and Mitch find the original X-rays from the scientist who initially discovered the Triple-Helix animals, as well as his notes, which indicate that he tried to stop the animal issue by sterilizing them, until the Mother Cell revived the dormant “ghost” gene.

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Jackson returns with the serum he found in another room, and they go to the control room, where Mitch spots the animals closing in on them. Knowing that he has to make sure the electrified fences go back online to ensure that the others escape, he advises the others to go on ahead while he takes care of that. Jamie also finds plans of Robert’s that seem to indicate that he was targeting the humans and not the animals with the gas, which is perplexing to them.

Mitch locks the doors and barricades himself inside the control room as he continues to wait out the fences going back online. He knows his time is fleeting, so he calls Abe and tells him they have 9 hours to get to his daughter, and he makes him promise to look after her in his absence, and to tell Jamie thanks for everything, knowing that he’s doomed. Sure enough, just as the fences go back online, the wolf creatures break into the room and seemingly kill Mitch, as Abe shouts out for him. Cursed season finales!

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Jamie freaks out when she realizes they’re leaving without Mitch, but Jackson has figured out what he was really up to and calms her down, comforting her. Honestly, has anyone been through it worse than Jamie? Yes, Jackson was nearly turned into a monster, but still, that was relatively recent and Jamie has had a mighty tough go of things all around, am I right? Geez, give a girl a break, “Zoo.”

The team heads to Portland, Maine, where Clementine is located and track her down just in the nick of time to give her a dose of the cure and save her life, though she’s upset that he didn’t save the animals, which are still acting up. Abe sees that the birds have arrived, and decides to test out whether their cure worked on the animals after all. Sure enough, it has, and the dogs are just fine, despite being a little on edge. Clem is reunited with her beloved dog Henry, and is finally happy again, and sees that her dad kept his promise to save the animals in the end.

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Unfortunately, the team then has to break the poor girls’ heart and inform her that she’s a full-on orphan now, as her dad didn’t make it, even though he died essentially saving the world. Jamie fills Clem in on her dad’s likes which include chocolate milk, coffee, pickles, puzzles and Soundgarden– yes, they still exist, Jamie: you better recognize! Jamie also shows her around the plane, so she can see where her father worked.

The team sees on the news that they’re saying that the gas was, in fact, tweaked to cure animals, not kill them as planned, which they attribute to IADG, much to the team’s chagrin. Logan tells Jamie his real name is Edward Collins, and he changed it in tribute to, appropriately enough, the comic book character Wolverine, as he always idolized him as a bullied kid. He also apologizes for everything he did, which Jamie seems to accept, especially as not everything was a lie, including his feelings for her.

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Jackson hacks into his father’s email, using his mother’s name as the password after several missed guesses, where he finds his dad’s formula, realizing that it was him who changed the formula, not the military. Of course, they assumed it was their cure that fixed the animals, which it likely did, but Robert also tweaked the formula he gave the military so that it affected humans, not animals. Taking as inspiration the original scientist that got rid of the first outbreak of crazy animals, he made the gas sterilize humans, instead of the animals this time.

What that means, of course, is that Robert placed a higher value on animals than man, which must have gone over like gangbusters with the pro-animal crowd. Not that I don’t love animals myself, mind you, but what Robert did was basically give humans a death sentence by ensuring that no one would be able to conceive moving forward. Of course, Abe and Daniela’s baby, along with all the others currently cooking in the ovens of mothers all over the world would be fine, but once those babies were born, that was that.

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After that, we get a time jump. Abe and Daniela’s kid, Isaac, is graduating to middle school, and with his class, the final year of elementary-level students will be done, and all such schools closed worldwide. (I guess no one failed a grade!) We see that Jamie has become a best-selling author, and that the current crop of kids are referred to as “The Lost Generation.”

The hybrid animals are still around, and starting to proliferate and become more and more of a threat, though normal animals are still fine. We find out that Jackson is diligently working on it, and that the threat is only in specific places, having not gotten out of control as of yet. Abe notices a sullen teen has been following him around and approaches her.

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It turns out to be an older Clementine, who informs him that her father is said to still be alive, and needs his help to get to him in Pangaea. She tells him the hybrids are getting worse, and that they can only defeat them if they work together to stop them. Abe is skeptical, but seems relatively game- not that he has a huge choice in the matter, given the circumstances. That is where we leave things for the season, as we fade to black on a world with a decidedly dubious future.

Thankfully, CBS just announced the show’s renewal, so we won’t be ending on such a down note, though I am glad that they at least threw us a bone by letting us know that Mitch might still be with us after all. Hey, they did it with Robert, so why not? Hopefully, Mitch’s survival will reap better results than Robert’s, obviously, unless Mitch has become a hybrid himself, much like Jackson almost became. We shall see next season, I guess.

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All in all, this was a fun, action-packed season, and if Chloe’s death was really sad, at least they gave Mitch a last-minute reprieve, as I was pretty upset when he seemingly got taken out as well. I have mixed feelings about Logan/Edward’s survival, though, especially if they mean to couple him off with Jamie, but what can you do? With Mitch’s fate being what it was, who can blame a girl for moving on eventually? Hopefully, it’s with someone else, but I doubt it.

It will be interesting to see what a hybrid-animal-heavy season looks like, to be sure. Yes, the “razorback wolves” were very obviously CGI, which I realize is almost silly to point out, as so are most of the animals, but as these are fictional animals, that means we’re going to lose a lot of the realism that we got with having the animals largely be real ones. It’s a lot easier to suspend one’s disbelief when what you’re looking at is a real thing that exists, as opposed to a fake one in the truest sense of the word.

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Still, with “The Jungle Book” in particular taking CGI-driven animals to new heights, maybe it won’t be so bad by the time next season rolls around. One can hope, at least. Regardless, even if it’s silly, it should be fun, much as the show always has been, really. I, for one, can’t wait to see what “Zoo” has in store for us next- bring on the hybrids!

What did you think of the overall season? How about the finale in particular? Did you see the big twist coming? Are you looking forward to seeing what hybrid animals they come up with? Do you think Jamie and Logan are an item? What is Clem up to, besides trying to track down her father? Will Daniela be game for heading back into potential danger again, now that she’s a mom? Make your predictions down below and let me know what you thought about the season on the whole as well!