Recent Z Nation References to The Walking Dead

Murphy, Becker, Warren, Hector, Sun, Addie, Doc - Z Nation

Spoiler warning: I will be discussing recent episodes of Z Nation, so if you are behind in your viewing, you might want to proceed with caution!

With a mere week to go to the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead, it may be possible that I have it on my mind more than other times. The anticipation is sweet and bitter at the same time, and come on, how many of you were entering the Hollywood Forever Sweepstakes every day? Yeah, I thought so! Did any of you win? Me neither.

As the days slowly slip by, I am glad to have Z Nation to help entertain me – yes, you heard me, I love Z Nation! I have previously written about Z Nation in two articles, 5 Reasons You Should Watch Z Nation and Z Nation – They’re Baaaaaaaack!. In the first article, I mentioned the many pop-culture references. In the second article, I pointed out that Z Nation is different from The Walking Dead; a good thing in my opinion.

But, only six episodes into the new season of Z Nation, with actually only the last four set in the most recent times of the program, it seems to me that they have been hitting The Walking Dead references pretty hard. Either because of my hyper-sensitive state as we approach the seventh season premiere of The Walking Dead or the Z Nation writers feeling there was so much to poke fun at that they could not resist the opportunities, the fact remains I see references!

Puppies and Kittens

Warren and Hector - Z Nation

Warren has been using this phrase a lot in the new season it seems. While it was also used previously, for the four most recent episodes, I am pretty sure she used it in three of them. And, the fourth episode was one in which she did not appear, so that may explain the lack of usage!

This is obviously a reference to Rick in the season one episode “Guts,” when he suggested to Glenn that thinking about puppies and kittens might help him get past the horror of their situation when they were smearing walker guts all over themselves in order to blend in and escape the herd.

Slow Walkers

Becker - Z Nation

In the episode “Murphy’s Miracle,” Warren, Addie, Doc, Sun, and Hector encountered a mailman named Becker who had something very interesting to say: “Besides, these walkers are too slow to be any real threat. You’d have to be an idiot to get killed by them.”

Let’s take a closer look at those two sentences. First, he called the Z’s “walkers.” In Z Nation, although Z’s is the preferred term, they have many names for the zombies – each new person they encounter seems to use a different term – but I am fairly sure walkers was not previously used. Walkers is of course how they refer to them in The Walking Dead.

And, let’s also address the issue of their speed. Previous to this episode, one of the big differences between Z Nation and The Walking Dead was that the zombies moved much faster in Z Nation – in fact, sometimes they actually ran! As any fan of The Walking Dead knows, the walkers do not move fast at all. Their main threat comes from surprise and numbers; get enough of them and they can push a fence over and once surrounded you are overwhelmed and cannot escape. Nonetheless, Becker managed to poke fun at The Walking Dead and people being killed by slow walkers!

Hanging Zombies from an Overpass

Warren, Hector, Sun, Addie, Doc - Z Nation

In the episode “Escorpion and the Red Hand,” Warren, Addie, Doc, Sun, and Hector come across four zombies hanging from an overpass. This was done in retribution for a theft. While the motivation may be different, this struck me as being familiar, and then I realized that in the season finale of The Walking Dead, Negan’s followers also hung a man from an overpass just before they blocked the road with a burning heap, preventing Rick and company from taking Maggie for medical help at Hilltop.

Yes, the man the Saviors hung was alive, but he did die from strangulation, so eventually he did become a zombie. And, I am convinced that image from The Walking Dead inspired the Z Nation writers!


Z Nation

Also in “Escorpion and the Red Hand,” after the pitched battle at the toy and novelty factory, as Warren, Addie, Doc, Sun, and Hector were leaving, the camera pans to the wall above the door, and scrawled in large red letters is “FEAR.” For me, this is a blatant reference to Fear the Walking Dead, the spin-off series from The Walking Dead. I will admit that in the next episode, the concept of fear and living without it in a zombie apocalypse did play a pivotal role, so it could also have been foreshadowing.


Murphy - Z Nation

This one may be a bit of a stretch, but in the fourth episode, “Little Red and the Wolfz,” during one of Murphy’s rants to the corpse of Dr. Merch he says in a fit of anger, “Dammit Merch, I’m a savior, not a doctor!” Now, that particular reference may be more of a shout out to Star Trek and Dr. McCoy’s many “Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a [insert occupation].” But, by using the word savior it also could be a reference back to Negan’s group on The Walking Dead who call themselves the Saviors.

Have you noticed any other references to The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead this season on Z Nation? I know I did not mention other TV and movie references, and there are many, some of which I discussed in the first article linked above. Are you a fan of Z Nation? What is your favorite part of the program?