Z Nation – Episode 11 “Sisters of Mercy”

The face of a man who refuses to be dumped (Photo: Syfy)

The Z Nation gang act like they’re in college when they encounter the Sisters of Mercy, a closed community made up solely of women, during their trek through Utah.


The gang needs help from a closed community, the Sisters of Mercy, in this week’s Z Nation.  Unfortunately, the Sisters of Mercy are not open to admitting men into their girls’ only utopia1.  The gang is at the mercy2 of these ladies until Cage Girl hurries up and recovers from the infected leg wound that’s keeping them there.

Nailed it

Z Nation basically crammed the college experience into this episode. There were too many examples to list, but just hear me out on these three:

  • Warren and Cage Girl discover that the Sisters of Mercy murder their sons on the boys’ 13 birthdays. The boys are given blue backpacks with supplies and told that their fathers are in Salt Lake City down the highway and that they must walk to their fathers now that they are men3. Yet, Warren and Cage Girl still stay at the Sister’s compound after finding this out because Cage Girl needs medical attention.  Warren and Cage Girl’s decision to stay despite what they learn reflects how many college students behave in high stakes moral situations they have not found themselves in before college: in both scenarios, those involved with the moral dilemma ignore what they know to be wrong because they feel they have no choice or because speaking up could be dangerous.
  • Murphy gets lucky thanks to one of the Sisters crawling into his tent to offer him some pie.  Shockingly, that’s not a first draft of a “that’s what she said” joke.  A Sister seduces Murphy with a blueberry pie and the promise of a more forbidden fruit.  When Doc starts packing up camp the next morning, he breaks up Murphy and the groupie’s party. After the Sister leaves, Murphy thanks Doc for getting rid of her like they were both 20 year-old college students waking up on a Sunday morning in their dorm after a Saturday night bender. And, if the end of the episode is to be believed, Murphy put a bun in the Sister’s oven because a woman can tell she’s knocked up roughly two hours after she becomes pregnant.
  • The coup de grâce of the college experience comes at the end of the episode: Generic McPlainwrap has decided to stay with the Sisters. She breaks up with Mack by telling him that she cannot handle living every moment in fear on the road nor can she stand to watch him inevitably die a violent death on the road. Generic parrots what the head Sister told her when she tells Mack that she doesn’t have the strength to give him mercy once he dies and turns into a zombie because everyone on the road will invariably die a terrible death. Mack refuses to accept this and fights to get Generic to change her mind. She doesn’t, and the Sisters shoot Mack when he refuses to leave the gates of their compound. Warren drags Mack back to their car, and the gang speeds away (minus Generic).  Mack demands Doc stop the truck while Warren orders Doc to keep driving.  Without another word, Mack opens the door and rolls out onto the road.  Shot and now torn up, Mack staggers back toward the compound.  Warren catches him and tries to stop him.  He pulls a gun on her and simply states, “I can’t.”  Warren steps aside, and Mack rounds the corner to the compound where shots are fired from offscreen. This entire scene smacks of a college break up: the hyperbolic reaction of the dumpee and the attempt to win back the dumper, the dumper seeking refuge with friends of the same gender for reassurances that this was the right decision, and the dumper’s friends shooting the dumpee when he won’t get off the front lawn4.

So close

Mack and Generic’s fates should have been shown. Was Mack shot dead when he rounded that corner? A little girl is seen playing with Generic’s treasured necklace at the end of the episode, so did she die too? What the eff happened?! I’m all for a little ambiguity when it’s going to come into play later in a series, but this smacked of intentional and manufactured cliffhanger tension5.  Commit to killing off major characters, Z Nation, or go home.

I love you, Syfy

The Sisters throw “evil”6 men they capture into a barn. And what’s in that barn? A zombie bear. I would’ve been more excited about that/laughed harder if Mira Grant hadn’t already used a zombie bear in her Newsflash trilogy.


I show up to the offices of the Z Nation writers over the holidays and sing this song to convince them that they should stop copying things they’ve seen or read in other zombie stories and just be themselves.

  1. think reverse He-Man Woman Haters Club with adults  
  2. pun intended  
  3. The gang passes young teenage-sized zombies on the highway wearing blue backpacks  
  4. That happens everywhere, right? I went to college in Texas so that last item might be regionally specific, but I doubt it.  
  5. except it was just annoying rather than engrossing  
  6. so, by their standards, probably all men  

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About Becca Marshall 36 Articles
Becca has been writing about film and television since convincing her junior high English teacher that comparing and contrasting the film and stage versions of Romero and Juliet was a good idea for a term research paper. After getting her BA in English and film studies, she doubled down on liberal arts and got an MA in television, radio, and film from Syracuse University. Becca is incredibly proud to be an Aggie and entertains her non-Texan friends with Southern colloquialisms. Her hobbies include watching Golden Girls and her interests include all things zombies - she's simple, not basic. Email: becca@whatelseison.tv