Zoo barreled toward its Sept. 15 finale with a two-hour event last night — the promo for which promised that, “the time of man is over.” Translation: It’s time to tune back in! Here are five of the moments that made us happy we did.
1. Ray’s death. Of all the October Road alums the loyal Zoo producers have brought on to kill off (including Geoff Stults as Agent Shaffer, Jay Paulson as Leo Butler, and now Warren Christie as Ray), Christie got the best demise. Cocky enough to venture into the woods alone with a tranquilizer gun after the team arrived in Zambia to search for a leopard whose stem cells could be combined with the “mother cell” to make an antidote, Ray returned to deliver the immortal line, “Nothing there. Looks like we live to die another day” — just as a leopard pounced on him. It wasn’t as great as Samuel L. Jackson’s death in Deep Blue Sea, but we’ll take it.
Also, props to James Wolk’s Jackson for thinking to open a glow stick on one of the leopards so they could track its route at night.
2. The cubnapping. It’s a good thing they stumbled on to the leopards’ den right as the female who’d stayed behind to watch a cub ventured out for a walk. No way Jackson was going to fit a full-size leopard in that bag of his. Also, that adorable cub stole the show, at least until…
3. Jackson wakes up in post-op with his shirt open. He and one of his many Henleys (RIP) had been hit by a bullet when Billy Burke’s Mitch thought to gently jab the cub with a needle so that its pain would attract the leopards and cause a diversion, giving the team a chance to escape the men who’d captured them (think “Africa’s Hell’s Angels,” we were told).
It worked. But Jackson was wounded in the gut and had to be taken to a hospital in Harare, which was being evacuated because it was under attack by leopards and other animals.
Anyway, a doctor agreed to do the surgery on Jackson and was kind enough to put a shirt halfway on him before running to catch the last ambulance out. As Jackson came to in the recovery room, he talked to Nora Arnezeder's Chloe at his bedside. I knew it was a dream the second she started buttoning up his shirt.
P.S. Do you think Jackson’s battle with a curtain as he was searching for the brother of one of the children he’d saved after a leopard decided to kill their nurse was scripted or just Wolk having a tough time that producers decided to use?
4. This dog giving a stranger kisses. Mitch successfully manufactured an antidote using stem cells from the cub’s tooth. They needed to test it on a domesticated animal. This dog is the best, especially if it’s willing to give kisses to a stranger who has chained it up in a strange place, poked it with a needle, and then force-fed it something. But look at that sweet face and remember it will all be okay the next time you see a large group of birds flying together in real life and start freaking out.
5. The Mitch-Jamie romance. Last week, we got the Jackson-Chloe kiss. This week, we got chivalrous Mitch agreeing to hold the tranquilizer gun while Kristen Connolly’s Jamie tried to pee in the woods (see the video above), Mitch telling Jamie she saved him, Mitch and Jamie holding hands when it seemed as though the leopards would finally get them (cue Chloe’s new D.C. friends sending soldiers in just in time), and Mitch and Jamie having a Mindy Project-esque plane moment. How great is Burke that he can go from dryly cracking the joke, “I was just pilfering some of these adorable little bottles that haven’t grown up yet” to making the kiss Jamie sprung on him hot enough to have us sad that the pilot interrupted it. He announced the flight was being diverted because of “unusual migratory behavior.” Then the plane shook and people, including Jamie and Mitch, went flying around the cabin.
So, do fear the birds again. And get ready for one final battle because when that plane does down, the cure is lost.
The Zoo season finale airs Sept. 15 at 9 p.m. on CBS.