Just when you think you know what direction Netflix’s Reality Z is going, it takes a hard left turn into a very different show. While yes, you’re still watching a series about zombies, and a series about a group of people trying to survive the zombie outbreak, it quickly shifts into a faux reality show while commenting on the state of humanity and the choices we make to survive. It’s not actually as confusing as you might think, but turn after turn it does get a little jarring. But then again, would you expect an ending any less from a series inspired by a Charlie Brooker's show Dead Set?
For the first few episodes of Reality Z it’s clear that the survivors — mostly spearheaded by Nina and T.K., a crew member on the fake reality show Olympus and one of the contestants — are going to lead everyone else to safety. Then both of them are bitten by zombies and succumb to the zombie outbreak. In the background of the first few episodes we’ve been watching Leo and his mother Ana slowly make their way towards the Olympus studio, believing it to be a safe refuge. By the time they arrive, everyone else is already a zombie and you’re like oh great, now this mother-son duo is going to save the day.
Wrong. Zombie Nina actually bites Ana, and though she hides her injuries from everyone for a while it’s revealed she’s going to turn eventually. In an effort to draw zombies away from the Olympus compound she sacrifices herself and dies. At this point, we’re following none of the original cast members — from the show or crew of Olympus — and you’re like, okay great, we’re going to watch Leo save the day to make his recently-departed mother proud!
Wrong again. The new survivors, including Leo, a corrupt congressman Levy and his aid Cristina, a cop named Robson, and their detainee Teresa are dealing with a broadcast Ana put out for other survivors detailing instructions on how to reach the studio. Three people show up, including a woman who is absolutely obsessed with the reality show Olympus and believes that now she’s on it (even though the zombies rage on in the background). More people show up after that, and fearing that their resources won’t last with everyone forever, Levy and Co. decide to treat this as an elimination round on a reality show and one of the new survivors must be voted out.
So now you think you’re about to watch a group of new people decide who should live and who should die, but once again, wrong! This plan doesn’t stick for long as Robson goes beserk, wrangles a zombie himself, and unleashes it on the houseguests and all hell breaks loose. Eventually, the chaos is contained, but in the scuffle, Leo is apparently lost to the zombies. Then more survivors show up and Leo is taken hostage by a bunch of corrupt police officers. Congressman Levy decides to negotiate with them and this goes horribly wrong so fast, as everyone quickly turns on one another. Did you not learn the names of any of these new characters? That’s fine because everyone is either quickly killed or turns into a zombie!
Keep in mind, this all happens in the span of about three episodes, and going into the finale it’s hard to imagine what might even happen next. For anyone who guessed “the survivors start killing one another and Teresa decides to end it all and unleash the zombies” you are correct. Teresa realises that this group of people is horribly corrupt and there’s no way they’ll be able to live and survive the outbreak together, let alone trying to work together. After she’s injured, she makes Leo take her outside and she records a message on her phone explaining what happened at the Olympus studio. She hopes that any other survivors out there fare much better than this group, warning them not to repeat past mistakes. She then hides her phone away in a hidden section of the wall. Leo opens the gate to outside, letting the zombies in.
For those who haven’t already been killed or injured, the zombies take care of the rest turning everyone into the undead. There are no survivors. But are there survivors elsewhere in the world? That’s a big question mark because after Teresa has hidden her phone away she gets a call from an unknown number. Someone else is out there, but it’s already too late for everyone at Olympus.