“Diaspora” feels like the second half of a two-part season premiere. It answers questions cleverly obscured in last week’s episode, it explains the new status quo following Zoo’s big ten-year time jump, and it swiftly and relentlessly resolves almost every major plot set up in “No Place Like Home.”
The action is mostly divided between four places: Portland, Oregon, where Jackson Oz and Tessa are trying to find the bombing perpetrator; Jamie’s super-spy plane, where she and Clem are hunting for Mitch; Siberia, where Mitch is being held with another woman claiming to be Clem; and Abraham and Dariela’s home, where the blood sample from the new rhino hybrid has grown into a fetus. Let’s take them on one at a time, shall we?
In Portland, we find out that Oz is not, in fact, Oz — at least to his fellow rangers and his partner/girlfriend Tessa. To them, he is Darryl Green. To them (and probably the world), Jackson Oz is the guy responsible for every ecological disaster of the last decade. We aren’t told why Oz took the fall for all that’s gone wrong with the world and how he disappeared, but his past life collides with his new one when the bomber calls him, using his real name and promising to enact revenge for ruining her life. She doesn’t tell him any more, but leaves a disk for him to find, the nature of which we don’t find out.
Further complicating Oz’s new life, Logan arrives in Portland from New York after his government facility was bombed simultaneously with a similar explosive bearing the same exact symbol. Logan doesn’t blow up Oz’s spot, but advises he come clean to Tessa. (Jackson responds by being like, “LOL how are you a cop,” and he’s got a point.) After finding out what Oz knows about the bombing, Logan tells him that there is probably a good reason for the bomber’s feud being personal: Her name is Abigail Westbrook and DNA evidence suggests she’s his sister.
In Jamie’s spy-plane that I still can’t believe she has, Clem and Jamie have found out where Mitch is being held: Siberia! Meanwhile, in a tense bit of cross-cutting, Mitch is talking to Other Clem, and finds out the IADG wants to know everything he knows about something called Blue Diaspora. (I truly love the silly names this show comes up with for things.) Why? Because the IADG are now about stopping hybrids, not killing animals, and Blue Diaspora might help them do that. Unfortunately, Mitch doesn’t remember anything.
Turns out Other Clem is not Clem at all, and the IADG agents were in fact Shepherds and no one can explain why Mitch was in a tank for ten years, but it’s okay, because Mitch is eventually reunited with Jamie and Actual Clem, and all he had to do was shoot Clem to do it. Okay, he had to do a little bit more than that, and it was All Very Tense, but they all escaped and Clem is fine.
With these three story lines, the Zoo Crew is slowly being drawn back together, with each of their vague personal missions conceivably leading them on intersecting paths very soon. That just leaves Abraham and Dariela, and their story is a doozy. Those two are horrified to discover their home is under attack by razorbacks, and the reason why is incredible. Remember that hybrid blood sample Abe got, the one that was growing? It’s a fetus now, and it’s calling to the razorbacks — a problem Abe solves by building an honest-to-God Faraday cage for it.
Hilariously, this works and the razorbacks stalk off … EXCEPT FOR ONE THAT’S INSIDE THE HOUSE AND DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO ABE’S SON. (I’M TYPING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE I ACTUALLY YELPED WHEN I SAW THAT RAZORBACK BASTARD IN ABE’S HOUSE.) Thankfully, Abe and his family are safe in the end. The razorback is just looking for the hybrid fetus/egg and runs off when he snatches it from Abe — which is still a huge problem because Abe thinks that it might actually hold the key to solving mankind’s sterility problem.
Abe’s problems are just beginning, as government forces arrive at his house the next morning. They claim they want to talk to him about some emergency government protocol, but they’re really abducting his son for a government-sanctioned experiment that’s conducted by a company named Raden Global. It’s an experiment that Raden CEO Leanne Ducovny says could solve the fertility crisis — but we know that Ducovny is fudging her science. Mix it all together and things aren’t looking so hot.
But that’s why the episode is so weirdly effective: Zoo has a tremendous talent for spinning a bizarre and nonsensical mythology that you can only deal with by getting totally invested in the emotional well-being of its characters. Two episodes into the season, I’m already losing track of who wants what and why, but how dare they mess with Abe’s son.
A lot can happen in ten years to break a crew as tight as the Zoo Crew. That’s just natural, you know? People drift apart, loved ones move to new cities, friends get placed in suspended animation, shit happens. But if threats as crazy as child experimentation and techno-lingual feral hogs don’t bring the Zoo Crew back together, I don’t know what will.