Episode 1, “Human Flow”, offers nothing new in the zombie genre, but it’s still a credible start to the Netflix series.
This recap of Black Summer Episode 1, “Human Flow” contains spoilers. You can read the review of season 1 by clicking these words.
Before I begin my hopefully pleasant journey of covering each episode of Black Summer, it’s worth pointing out that I haven’t watched Z Nation, but I’ve been led to believe that although this a spin-off earlier in the timeline, there is no character crossover, so I think I am safe. This is the first time I’ve been exposed to this zombie universe. Episode 1, “Human Flow”, feels familiar; if you’ve watched other zombie materials, then nothing witnessed here will be a shock.
Still, watching a Netflix Original zombie series does not sound like a bad idea; Black Summer Episode 1, “Human Flow”, splits up the first chapter by breaking down each character. The audience is introduced to Rose (Jaime King), who is the main lead in the story. When the sirens stop ringing, she rushes her daughter and husband out of the house to go to a checkpoint. Her daughter gets on the truck, but her husband is sweating profusely, triggering suspicion.
Like all zombie stories, someone is always trying to hide an infection, and the truck drives off with Rose’s daughter. Eventually, her husband turns into a zombie, chasing her out of a house, and someone who seems to be a soldier shoots him down. Rose embraces him, asking for help.
The second character, Ryan, appears to be dazed by the events of the apocalypse. Noises keep zoning in and out, and when he tries to tend to a woman on the floor, an Asian woman grabs him speaking in her language but seems to be begging him to run away. Ryan is flagrantly traumatized and lost by the events unfolding.
The third character, Barbara, is ready to drive towards her destination but is then stopped by a man, who convinces her that he is a good person and that he would like to join her on the way to the stadium; as a viewer, you can tell this man was playing a manipulative role. As soon as he gets into the driving seat, he aggressively asks her to leave the vehicle, threatening to punch her, but another random person throws him out of the car.
The fourth character, Lance, is with who I assume to be his girlfriend, and as they are talking a truck randomly runs her over. He starts trying to help her as she coughs up blood. He barely takes a second to make a decision and runs off, leaving her to die on the ground. This is the same woman left on the ground who Ryan tried to help. She quickly turns into a zombie, and “Human Flow” gives us an idea of what type of infection we are dealing with
The fifth and final character, Spears, is under house arrest with a couple of soldiers. He starts teasing one of them on guard duty and then convinces him that he needs the toilet. In the bathroom he viciously assaults the soldiers, smashing his head against the sink. He steals the soldiers uniform, and you realize that this is the same man that helped Rose at the start of Episode 1 and his real name is not Spears.
Episode 1 “Human Flow”, finishes with all characters running through the checkpoint together to embark on their new journey of survival. This is not a bad opening episode of Black Summer, but we’ve seen it all before.
You can read the recap of episode 2 by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.