It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 20082009 (a bad year), 201020112012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013201420152016, 2017, and 2018.

After three straight low-dialogue episodes, Black Summer slows down a little to let us catch up with everybody and finally brings the whole gang together before rolling into its endgame. We begin by checking in with William (Sal Velez, Jr.) and Sun (Christine Lee), who were holed up in an abandoned diner with the shady survivors of their car crash, Carmen (Erika Hau), Manny (Edsson Morales), and Phil (Stafford Perry). Meanwhile, outside, a reanimated Barbara (Gwynyth Walsh) and Marvin (Christian Fraser), the driver of the truck that was chasing them, try desperately to get inside and eat them.

This is a much more traditional episode, with a build-up of tension and paranoia as everybody tries to figure out a way to escape the monsters outside. It also establishes the zombies as remarkably more resilient than say, those of The Walking Dead, when an attempt to simply bludgeon them to re-death goes wrong and our heroes find themselves back inside, barely having escaped being infected.

It does allow for an opportunity to flesh out William and Sun in a more direct way than previous episodes have dealt with character. There’s still not a lot of introspective talk or moralizing beyond the simple and effective “We’ve got each other’s backs” approach.

But back to the plot. Carmen and Manny know the location of a military outpost nearby where they could get weapons, if they could only get past the zombies outside. While they’re shady, nobody is as shady as Phil, who argues that they should sacrifice Sun in order to escape. Then, as tensions come to a head, Sun convinces everyone that the scratch on Phil’s arm is a hidden bite. Given how quickly the turns occur in Black Summer, I’m pretty sure it’s not a bite, but the paranoia that’s already built up leads to a gruesome end for Phil.

And good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.

Over with Rose (Jaime King), Spears (Justin Chu Cary), and their new acquaintance Earl (Nyren B. Evelyn), everyone is on the verge of collapse. Rose is hallucinating, Spears just want to rest, and Earl, um… he just keeps silently walking.

But they arrive at the Diner and proceed to use the last two bullets in Spears’ gun. Not that they’re used effectively, but it allows the Diner crew to rush out and kill the monsters. It’s tense and violent in a way that seems a little more brutal than some of what we’ve seen so far. Which then leads us to a dreamlike end sequence as the new group prepares to go out and hit the weapons stash. It’s done in a stylized silence that hints at a new confidence for everybody involved.

The next episode will be all about their “Heist” but then the final two episodes are only twenty and twenty-five minutes long, which when combined comes out to about the length of a regular episode. Not sure what’s up with that, but we should be able to get through all three in the next day or so. So, stay tuned to find out if Black Summer holds up to the very end.

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