For the record, last week when I complained there were too many couples to ship on CBS’ second season of Zoo, I didn’t mean they should kill someone off. You’ve gotta believe me, you guys — I would have been content with your garden variety messy breakup drama.
Before we talk about which ship was severed in the most final way, though, consider this your spoiler alert. We are about to dive into this week’s intense episode of Zoo and major plot points will be discussed (read: lamented over) at length.
I think it’s best if we take the whole just-rip-the-Band-Aid-off-approach, don’t you? So, Chloe’s dead. There, I said it. Go ahead and boo me… I boo me too right now. Not only did I not want to see Chloe die, but I was also wholly unprepared for it.
Sure, we saw her collapse in a cloud of poison gas last week. And, yes, the teaser trailer for this week implied she could be in danger still, despite showing her alive at least momentarily. But, to be honest, I could not believe CBS actually went through with her death.
I’m not alone, either. I think it goes without saying that Chloe is one of the most popular characters on the show and central to the plot of the entire series. Fans, myself included, are not impressed with the decision to off her.
— wendie 💋 (@shoegal1010) July 20, 2016
— ∞ taylor (@t_mccorm) July 20, 2016
— Chewbocka (@Becka_723) July 20, 2016
— Hassan (@deadlykesha) July 20, 2016
Chloe's death really upsets me. What is this show going to be like now? #ZooCBS
— 🐄Natalie 🐄 (@AboveNorthern) July 20, 2016
Repeat after me : Chloe lives Chloe lives Chloe lives Chloe lives Chloe Lives. Accept nothing else. #ZooCBS
— dani ︽✵︽ (@LtMenalippe) July 19, 2016
Some fans are sad. Some are angry. Some are in downright denial. But the general consensus is the same: Zoo should have spared Chloe’s life. The show simply won’t feel the same without her — the series could have just tanked its own dynamic.
Why would they risk such a ratings loss so early in the second season?
Well, I have two theories about that. The first is that the show is on a downward trajectory where viewers are concerned and they’re jumping the shark in a desperate attempt to hold onto viewers through shock value alone.
The data seems to support this. This season so far, the series is only capturing .80 of the coveted 18 to 49 demographic, a 24.53 percent drop from last season. It is averaging only 4.947 million viewers, representing a 22.70 percent decrease in viewership from last season.
Having said that, though, it certainly isn’t the lowest performing show on TV right now either. Other more critically acclaimed shows are pulling in fewer viewers, so you can’t necessarily base everything off these figures. Which brings us to my second theory…
They didn’t take the risk. Yes, this is a theory shared by many fans — Chloe isn’t actually dead. Did she look pretty darn dead on that gurney? You betcha. Did she show any signs of life for, like, the duration of this week’s episode? Nope.
But, real talk, this is Zoo, people. Weird shit happens all the time. Tonight alone, Jackson cried oily black tears because he’s turning into a mutant. And, oh, did I forget to mention that a poison-glass-shard-shedding snake popped out of a man’s throat?
— Dalene Rovenstine (@RealDaleneR) July 20, 2016
Nothing is outside of the realm of possibility on this show and there are all kinds of fantastical ways they could explain away Chloe’s seeming death.
A little sleuthing on IMDb (which, admittedly, rarely gives away too much these days) shows that Nora Arnezeder, the actress who plays Chloe, appears to be booked for every episode this season. Of course, this could be the show’s attempt to throw us off the scent of her character’s arc.
So it remains to be seen, but this much is certain: If Chloe is really dead, CBS might have a mutiny on their hands.
Well, done with #ZooCBS No Chloe = no me.
— Stephanie🐾 (@09StephE) July 20, 2016
— Travis (@LFordTravis) July 20, 2016
Well, if Chloe is dead I'm done with #ZooCBS Was nice while it lasted. I'll just keeping reading the books, you know, WHERE SHES ALIVE.
— Stephanie🐾 (@09StephE) July 20, 2016
— Heather Hatala (@HeatherHatala) July 20, 2016