Major spoilers below for the most recent Zoo episode, "The Moon and the Star."
Just because it isn't the fall season doesn't mean TV can't upend viewers' expectations with a shocking death or two, and CBS' bonkers drama Zoo took advantage of the pre-Comic-Con mania to drop some jaws with the exit of a major character. Despite surviving through the week after being trapped in that chamber with the poisonous gas, Nora Arnezeder's French intelligence investigator Chloe Tousignant will not make it to the sixth episode of Season 2, cutting our central team down by a major asset. Why in the mutated hell would Zoo's creative team decide to make such a shocking left turn? To keep things moving. According to co-showrunner Josh Appelbaum:
In many ways, on a sort of procedural level for our team, she was the glue. Chloe was at the center of so many stories, so to do it this way allows us to shift the entire dynamic of the show, and to go a level deeper with all of these characters.
That makes enough sense for fans to not just scream at him for being a crazy person, since these characters' backgrounds are diverse enough to make Chloe's death reverberate in a big way for the team's goals and chances of getting clear of danger. But it's still a pisser, since that's just how her death will give (poor) Jackson and the others trouble in the coming weeks; audiences will have to go without the awesome Arnezeder running thangs, so woe for everyone on this side of the screen as well.
But if Appelbaum (and other showrunners André Nemec, Jeff Pinker and Scott Rosenberg) can really take Zoo into a legitimately deeper and more realized avenue as these characters try to figure out how to overcome the mutation threat taking over the planet, then Chloe's death may be forgiven. But not a second earlier.
Appelbaum went on a little further to EW about how Chloe's death will affect things.
To lose Chloe felt like it would be this incredibly profound loss --- that it would put such a huge hole in our team just as they're starting to understand the next phase of the mutation, with them sort of scrambling to figure out how to keep their mission going and how to stay on track. . . . [Chloe's death] sort of doubles down on the commitment of our team to go solve the problem, because now they need to finish the work that Chloe, in many ways, started.
I like that kind of motivation, even if this show seemed like more of an offbeat romp when it started, having one possibly thinking that shocking mid-season lead character deaths would be left off the table. (And that table is currently being eaten by termites with X-ray vision.) Stakes are stakes, no matter what's happening around you, excluding sharknadoes.
And at least Chloe's dying moments were spent hooking the team back up with Jamie, and Appelbaum says that they will soon have to figure out who the core person in the group is moving forward. Everybody needs a leader, even Scooby-Doo. And for what it's worth, that gang would have figured out in the middle of the first episode that the pandemic was really just the crotchety old man that ran the town carnival.
Zoo will return for the rest of its Chloe-less Season 2 next Tuesday night on CBS, which will almost certainly pepper its fall season shows with surprising deaths. Until then, here's hoping we'll get to see more of Nora Arnezeder as Anna Maria in Season 3 of Amazon's critically acclaimed drama Mozart in the Jungle.