You know that movie Behind Enemy Lines? Owen Wilson plays a fighter pilot shot down in a war zone, trying to survive while his commanding officer, played by Gene Hackman, tries to mount a rescue operation. I bring it up because it roughly echoes the plot of “West Side Story,” this penultimate episode of Zoo’s third season: Abigail Westbrook, using a dang bazooka, brings down Zoo Force One on the wrong side of the IADG barrier, stranding our heroes in a field surrounded by hybrid razorbacks. The movie is also relevant to Zoo in that I find Owen Wilson in a military thriller hilarious, in much the same way this motley crew of zoologists, vets, and a writer is a hysterically funny crew of superheroes. I hope Owen Wilson joins season four.
But first, the Zoo Crew has to survive season three, and that’s looking very fraught. Because Abigail’s bazooka brought them down with an EMP charge, the jeep is also out of commission, and even with their considerable arsenal, there’s no way they can take on all the razorbacks surrounding the plane. Instead, they have to rely on a rescue mission that IADG sends out, headed up by Tessa and Dariela. With two and a half hours left on the clock, Logan sends their tactical team to Zoo Force One to rescue them from the razorbacks, only to hear them completely and utterly creamed over the radio. (And I do mean over the radio: We do not see a frame of this because Zoo probably doesn’t have enough cash for a full-scale razorback massacre.)
Luckily, Dariela and Tessa survive and make it back to Zoo Force One on an ATV, lacking the backup and transportation to safely bring the Zoo Crew to IADG HQ intact with the dead man’s switch found in Abigail Westbrook’s neck — you know, the one with all the Beacon data — and Clem’s still-unnamed baby. Speaking of, she’s thinking about Cadmus, which is an awful name, but also leads me to suspect that Clem is either a low-key DC Comics fan or a huge Greek mythology nut. The former would make more sense in this universe, to be honest. Mitch suggests Chris Cornell, and I’m gonna suggest Mitch get back in that tank.
Anyway, the Zoo Crew’s new plan for getting back is cooked up by Sam Parker: Let’s use a pheromone diffuser to lure the hybrids away! It is, effectively, a jug with hybrid guts squeezed inside and holes in it so the razorbacks smell the stuff, strapped to the ATV and driven out far away while the rest of the Zoo Crew hoofs it over the wall. It’s a solid plan, but also a potentially suicidal one for whoever takes the diffuser out. Jackson, being the Rogue Zoologist With Nothing to Lose, volunteers, but Sam won’t let him go alone — he explains that the birth of his and Clem’s son helped him get over the Park Chan-Wook–style revenge fantasy he’s had for Jackson for ten years, and that he’s gonna help him save his new family.
Except that when Jackson leaves him alone for a minute, Sam gets on the radio with ABIGAIL FREAKING WESTBROOK TO TELL HER EVERYTHING’S GOING ACCORDING TO PLAN. I never liked that Sam Parker. He’s bad for you, Clem.
So, Sam and Jackson take the diffuser out far from the plane … and the plan works! The razorbacks follow them and the Zoo Crew is able to make their way to the barrier. Then things get bad: After Jackson and Sam make it far enough away to ditch the diffuser, Sam hands Jackson over to Abigail Freaking Westbrook. Turns out he isn’t actually over his parents’ death and still very much blames Jackson for it. This kid is a freaking roller coaster. Anyway, Jackson and Sam fight but Oz gets the upper hand and grabs a rifle, pointing it at his sister — only Sam puts himself in between them. And then Zoo, which has been weirdly straightforward this week, does something hilarious.
Standing between the Oz children, Sam gives Jackson the ol’ “you’re gonna have to go through me” routine, and Jackson responds by shooting him in the leg and kicking him into a ditch. But wait, that’s not even the best part. The best part is that Abigail responds by monologuing, and then Jackson shoots her, too, before she even gets started. Compared to everything else that’s happened on Zoo — a show that never met a trope it didn’t love — this is some straight-up postmodern story shit happening here.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Abigail actually had valuable information worthy of a monologue. Remember when she had her brother captured and tortured him with the knowledge of his dead son a few episodes ago? Well, there was more to it than just plain cruelty. Abigail’s plan isn’t just the long game of hybrids ruling the world; she wants to use something far more personal to crush her brother. She wants him to lose his son again. Connor Oz, it turns out, isn’t dead. He’s been raised by Abigail for the last ten years, groomed to hate his father unknowingly … because Connor is Sam Parker. And he’s about to be mauled by razorbacks in that ditch Jackson kicked him into.
And so the Rolling Stones’ “Hand of Fate” starts playing as Jackson rushes down to save his son, the Zoo Crew arrives at the IADG HQ, and less than an hour remains on the doomsday clock. There’s just one week to go: Will the hybrid apocalypse be upon us? Will our heroes save the day? Or will things get even bleaker, as Agent Grissom is forced to authorize a global missile strike on all the beacons and hybrid nests, ending the threat but also wiping out countless lives? We’ve got some real-ass stakes here, guys. See you at the big finish.