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Z Nation - S3E6 - Doc Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Previously on Z Nation, “Little Red and the WolfZ

Z Nation - S3E6 - Doc Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest | | Kellita Smith, Keith Allan, Anastasia Baranova, Nat Zang, Russell Hodgkinson, DJ Qualls, Emilio Rivera, Sydney Viengluang | Writer: Tye Lombardi | Director: Dan Merchant

Photos: Daniel Sawyer Schaefer/Go2 Z/Syfy


Doc is kidnapped and taken to a ramshackle asylum by its resident nurse, who hopes he could assist her in bettering the lives of the patients. Discovering that 10K is among them, Doc patches together a plan to escape the nurse’s tyrannical rule and save a few lives in the process.


In this episode we had a smorgasbord of undead lurking about and ready to take a chunk out of Doc’s new friends. While the horde of biters continued to grow outside, the institution had a ‘Z Ward’ that was overrun by shocker zombies, former inmates that turned while enduring shock therapy.

Dealing with shockers and zombies in straitjackets with syringes sticking out of them like a porcupine is one thing. Doc also had to contend with a particularly gnarly Z in a wheelchair. Naturally, Doc got a little creative and it resulted in an uh, explosive solution. As usual, Synapse FX worked their magic and designed some awfully grody walkers. Be sure to give your props to Corinne!


“Cuckoo’s Nest” introduced a handful of colorful characters, beginning with “Elvis” (Brandon Marino) who more than handled himself among the Zs (as long as he had a guitar in hand). Soon after Doc’s arrival we’re acquainted with the paranoid Liddy (Austin Hillebrecht), Winona the klepto (Hannah Horton), obsessive-compulsive Re-Pete (Ron Ford) and a towering guy known only as Bob (Bruce Lawson). Supervising their every need is Nurse Ratched (Kate Witt), an overbearing, overworked battle-axe that believes everything outside the walls of the Serenity Falls Institute for the Criminally Insane is a delusion and can be cured with a few excisions to one’s frontal lobe. Oh yeah, that sounds completely rational!

Witt as Ratched provided the right kind of oddball humor Z Nation’s survivors are known for; the nurse strongly denied the ZA is right on her doorstep, perhaps subconsciously knowing there was nothing else to live for but Serenity Falls and the good its staff accomplished in its storied history. Sadly, like most folks the group encounters, the more isolated they are, the more twisted their perspective becomes. Only in this circumstance Ratched’s companions already had a few frayed wires before humanity’s downfall, so her lapses in sanity were never questioned. Unlike the tightly wound nurse, the former residents of Serenity Falls will probably be seen again. Perhaps. Maybe. Who knows, seeing how Winona is not the best driver…


Everything about “Cuckoo’s Nest” felt a tad surreal and detached from the overall arc of the third season, which isn’t a bad thing. If a story like this was going to be written, who better to be front and center than Doc, a dude who still isn’t entirely sure if what’s occurred in the last three seasons is nothing more than a really long acid trip. The episode starts off simple enough: Doc gets clocked by a svelte 70s era Elvis and taken for his own good to a loony bin institution to restore order among a dwindling band of patients directed by the world’s worst (possibly only) nurse. Seriously, lobotomies are basically her answer for everything. Symptoms of delusional disorder? Lobotomy. Quick to anger? Lobotomy. Have a really bad cough? Lobotomy.

As expected, Ratched threatened to tune up Doc’s brain if he didn’t prove to live up to his moniker. Our resident amateur pharmacologist may be a bit rusty, but as we’ve seen in flashbacks, Doc is more than capable of diagnosing a few patients. However, the prospect of being responsible for a band of unstable folks in the middle of the zombie apocalypse didn’t sit well with Doc. Once he discovered 10K was under Ratched’s observation, Doc had all the motivation needed to whip up a tale about ‘10K Fever’ and load our boy up on a dubious mixture of pharmaceuticals. There are moments when Nat Zang plays a pretty good straight man to everyone else’s jokes but in “Cuckoo’s Nest”, his performance will make you wonder why he isn’t on drugs more often.

The rapport between Zang and Hodgkinson was entertaining throughout, although the pair hit a real emotional high note when Doc discovered 10K was bitten by Murphy. Fearing Warren and the others wouldn’t treat him the same, Tommy pleaded with Doc to not tell him about this violation. 10K repeatedly asked Doc to promise him, but his best friend couldn’t find the words to ensure 10K’s secret was safe. It’s another painful dynamic added among the survivors that can only result in more friction within the group and a greater need for retribution against Murphy.

Forget the drugs, where does 10K find product for his hair?


  • Why were Nurse Ratched and Elvis outside to begin with? And what distracted Warren and the others to straight up abandon Doc???
  • Who made the granola placebos anyhow? Guess they could have been found during a supply run/search for new admissions. One thing’s for certain: Re-Pete didn’t make them!
  • After months (or years) of being Nurse Ratched’s favorite pincushion, one has to wonder if Bob is immune to being attacked by Zs on account of his… zombie-ness. We never see him interact with them directly yet he sure didn’t attract their attention either. In any case, that mountain of a man is more than capable of defending himself and his pals.
  • Remember kids, say no to drugs. Unless it’s a haphazard concoction made to counteract a bite from an ultra zombie bent on world domination. Then by all means, have at it!
Z Nation S3E6 = 9.4/10
  • 9.5/10
    Plot - 9.5/10
  • 9/10
    Zombies - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10
  • 10/10
    WTF-ness - 10/10
User Review
5 (3 votes)
About Rexlor Graymond (493 Articles)
Rex Graymond is 24.6kg tripolymer composite, 11.8kg beryllium-nickel-titanium alloy. Constructed in Northern California. Loves comics and films almost as much as pancakes. ALMOST.
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