Why Z Nation’s Murphy turned blue

One of Z Nation’s most memorable characters was Alvin Murphy, who was played by Keith Allan, for the five seasons of the show.

SyFy’s Z Nation captured the imagination of Sci-Fi viewers for five years. The show’s introduction on the SyFy channel was in line with the then resurgence of post-apocalyptic narratives growing in viewer popularity during the 2010s, the first of which to make a television debut was The Walking Dead in 2010. Unlike The Walking Dead, Z Nation had a comedic element to its storyline, which infused some humour to the show.

The premise of Z Nation, as shared by IMDb, is, “Three years after the zombie virus has gutted the United States of America a team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood.”

Z Nation, which premiered back in 2014, would enjoy a five-season run until 2018 when it was announced that it was not renewed for a sixth season. The show’s five seasons were impactful by providing some of the most memorable television characters. One such character was Alvin Bernard Murphy, who stood out for his blue skin tone and his possession of superpowers in the story.

Who was Alvin Murphy?

Alvin Bernard Murphy was a character portrayed by Keith Allan. The character was one of the main protagonists of the story. Moreover, he was fashioned as one of the stories’ first antagonists, which only aided in later seasons when the character was humanised by showcasing his emotional vulnerability. Murphy went by the nicknames The Murphy or The Package.

His characterisation was of a complex character with multiple layers. Murphy has a tough exterior, which is believed to have been associated with him having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), following his experience while being incarcerated for the fraud. This PTSD is attributed as the reason for his apathy, which continued to resurface despite some moments when the show shared his more humane aspects, like his affection for his former lover, Serena. Moreover, the care he had for his daughter, Lucy, who is named after his mother, Lucinda.

The reason for his blue skin tone

The ZN1 virus broke out while Murphy was in prison. Due to the fears of the public and the growing demand for a vaccine, the prison was turned into the site for experimentation for a possible vaccine which could reverse the effects of the virus. Therefore, the prison authorities used the inmates to test the vaccines.

Murphy was one of three of the first people that were given the experimental vaccine. The two other prisoners who were injected with the experimental vaccine died in front of Murphy. Thereafter, the prison was invaded by the zombies who infected or killed everyone that they came in contact with. Murphy, during this time, was strapped to the gurney and had no means of escaping.

As a result, he was bitten eight times by the zombie. It is believed that this is the reason why he suffered from PTSD throughout the series. Moreover, the PTSD could have been compounded by survivor’s guilt, as he was the only known human to have survived the prison invasion. Whatever the case maybe, the vaccine is also the reason for his blue-ish skin tone.

Superpowers from the vaccine

Moreover, due to this experimental vaccine, Murphy gained superpowers. He specifically gained three superpowers, namely telepathy, superhuman strength, and immunity to the vaccine. The telepathy was in reference to the zombies that he could control through the use of his mind. It was never clarified whether this worked after he bit the zombies or could work even without him needing to bite them.

It is this superpower that enforced his strive to have a blended community of both humans and zombies living as one. His superhuman strength is explicable. While the matter of his immunity to the virus was not. It was believed that Murphy could reverse the effects of the virus through biting and sharing his antibodies with a recent victim. The consequence of being bitten by Murphy was that he too gained the power to control your mind and actions, as a result of the bite.