A Zoo Community
CBS (ended 2017)
Poor Max is dead. Poor Max Morgan is dead.

Yes, Robin Thomas won't be appearing on Zoo anymore. Kalabar has gone on to his great reward, and now if they ever do a new Halloweentown movie, Mr. Thomas will have an open schedule.

But let's recap "Cradles and Graves". Clem wanders around the plane and finds the dying Zoo Crew. She lets Sam out, and then pumps her dying friends up with 50/50 tank liquid mix. Which more or less super-heals them, although Mitch and Abe have a few issues. Max, Jamie, and Jackson, not so much. However, then Clem's water breaks. Ruh-roh!

Meanwhile, the spore cloud has hit the airfield and surrounded the plane. The Korean paramedics that come in response to Clem's call explode like ugly bags of mostly blood. Thanks, IADG, for warning them when you knew the spores had been released. #KoreanLivesMatter, I guess.

Clem has to shut down the power for some reason, but the plane won't stay pressurized without the power. So the team is dealing with Clem's pregnancy, and the spores that will soon be coming in through the air filters before the IADG team arrives with the neutralizing agent. Mitch and Abe are still suffering a bit from those fatal wounds, but they're manly men so they'll pretty much shrug it off.

Jackson then locks up Jamie because he doesn't trust her. Is locking up the owner of the jet, who has the thing rigged with voice command, really going to work? I guess so. Jamie realizes that Jackson is trying to save Abigail but he walks out.

Mitch and Max argue a lot, while Sam and Clem try to build a shielding agent for the exhaust vents to keep the spores out. Eventually Mitch gets the idea of using a substance like the oil on duck wings that repels water, to repel the spores off the blades. Clem then delivers her baby, but she has a clot that could kill her. Fortunately, the clot passes and everyone coos over the baby. Except for Max, who has gone to install the spore-repellant filter. Not surprisingly, he gets exposed to the spores.

Since Robin Thomas is a big-name actor (at least by Zoo standards), he doesn't explode in a burst of blood. Instead Mitch gets him up to see his new great grandson, and Max dies quietly lying back in a wheeled chair. Displaying a remarkable sense of balance for a corpse.

What else? Mitch is PO'd at Jamie for keeping him in Duncan mode. But he gets over it once his grandson is born. Jackson is really depressed that Abigail escaped him (again), but Tessa gets from Salt Lake City to the IADG base in a matter of onscreen minutes and gives him a pep talk. Except it's a really cruddy pep talk, because it inspires Jackson to tell them to cut the power to the beacon in Tokyo. Not only is the beacon protected by a sonic screen (read: force field), but cutting the power apparently blows up Tokyo. I'm not sure how that works, and we're never told.

It does seem to cheer Jackson up a bit, though.

At the end, Mitch tells Jamie that he's sorry and that everyone is fine. I'm not clear if she realizes that Max is dead or not. And the bump foreheads through the bars of the cell Jamie is locked in.

I've got to say, that's the least dramatic resolution to a series of near-fatal shootings ever. Heck, Clem heals the team before they cut to the first batch of credits. So if you were worried that someone on the Zoo Crew might be anything more than mildly inconvenienced... psych!

We do get some of the old Mitch Morgan Macgyverisms. He patches up Abe with a credit card and a staple gun. He comes up with the duck oil idea. And if you're Billy Burke, I suppose you like this season of Zoo. Mitch gets to be really serious and deal with tragedy and play a robotic bad guy. It's not a breakout role because... well, it's Zoo. Actors don't break out on the show, as much as try to break out of the show. Really, when was the last time you saw Joanne Kelly? Don't you think she'd be at all interested in learning that Max is dead? Betcha we won't see her and she'll barely get a mention if at all.

"Cradles" is pretty much a stereotypical "The team is plunged into despair, but then new life gives them hope" episode. Things look grim for the Zoo Crew. They can't stop the beacons, they're trapped by the spores, Clem is facing a potentially fatal delivery. And then Max bites it because they don't have air filter masks or hazmat suits onboard. Not that a hazmat suit saved some schmuck IADG guy last week: how does that work, exactly? Maybe if they had sprayed a suit with some of Mitch's duck oil repellent...

But then Clem gives birth and everyone is all happy. Everyone coos over the baby, and the team seems willing to forgive Sam for betraying them. Presumably he's convinced that the team is now good guys, since they spent so much time and effort trying to save Clem. Admittedly, Sam apparently lied to Clem about his background. But again, she seems willing to forgive him for that. Because, you know, new life into the world and all that. Same reason Mitch apparently decides to forgive Jamie for betraying him and using his body and an artificially constructed personality to kill someone.

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't that make Jamie a bit of a hypocrite? If she wanted Abigail dead... well, shoot her in the head before anyone can stop her. Yeah, her teammates wouldn't have been happy with her. But they were inevitably going to find out that Jamie used Duncan to kill Abigail. Because this is Zoo. The one thing that is more sure than that they'll let the bad guy live and it will screw them, is that whatever secret any of them try to keep will eventually get out in the most inconvenient way possible.

Instead, Jamie uses Mitch's body and his bio-drive personality to murder someone. Because that's what you do with people you love. At least on Zoo you do.

Overall, "Cradles" was a relative calm before the storm episode. Yeah, Max bought the big one and Clem gave birth. But it's not exactly save-the-world danger and intrigue, is it? Yes, Clem's baby (bets on whether they name it "Max" in honor of his great-grandfather?) will save the world from sterility. But it's not like it's going to swing through a window on a line and shoot up the bad guys with Uzis, is it?

We have another McGuffin: the dead man's switch data that the team really has to get to IADG HQ in 30 minute or less. And of course, judging from the previews, Abigail and her hybrids are waiting for them.

So two more episodes to go, with action set in the CGI'ed forests of "Colorado". Sam is on the team now, I guess, and Max is dead so I suppose Mitch has more of a reason to want sweet sweet revenge on Abigail.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Comments (2)
Sep 08, 2017
Still crying. That episode pulled all the heart strings. Billy was amazing! He's so believable in this crazy show which helps pull it off. Max sacrificing his life just like his son was a good touch. I'm with you the baby will be named Max.
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