"I will destroy each and every one of you!" - Zack to his fellow team mates
King of the Nerds
Zack is one of the competitors on Season 2 of King of the Nerds. Highly intelligent, but also arrogant and often very rude, he is captain of team Midas Touch Attack. Zack is prominently featured throughout the season. Early on in the show he is portrayed entirely as a villain, but through his season-long arc he gradually develops into a kind of anti-hero.
Despite later developments, he could still be considered the main antagonist of the season. Zack starts off extremely positive, actively helping the team. In the first episode, he makes an alliance with Nicole, with an agreement to not tell other competitors that she is a chemist, as she does not want to make herself a target and wants to appear weaker. In episode two, a chemistry challenge, he begins to show his villainous side by exposing Nicole's history as a chemist, against her wishes. This may also be because Nicole is still hiding her chemistry background from her team despite chemistry now being the challenge, but he does not consult Nicole and simply tells the group. He meditates while work was is being done on the project, a technique he says helps him focus and prepare for the challenge, as well as make him feel more rested. However, his team doesn't appreciate this. Midas Touch Attack loses the challenge when a key component is not added to the volcano by Jack and there is no lava. Zack is told by Nicole that she is not voting against him, but is blind-sided and sent into the Nerd-Off. When he is voted in, he says he did most of the work on the project and was the leader. He becomes angry and states that he is "done" and that he will eliminate whoever he faces in the Nerd-Off, and that he will vote himself into the next Nerd-Off to eliminate another member of his team. When Josh is voted into the Nerd-Off with him, he is both rude and manipulative towards Josh, saying he is superior, more knowledgeable and generally being extremely brazen and prideful. However, hints of later developments can be seen, as he is crying in one of his confessional interviews simply when saying that he is excited about the challenge. Zack eliminates Josh, and Midas Touch Attack is sent into a frenzy trying to figure out how to move forward with a teammate who no longer wishes to aid them.
In the following episode, Midas Touch Attack again loses the LARP challenge. During brainstorming for the challenge, Zack seems to get angry with no intended manipulation behind it. He tells his team that if they push him away he will not be a part of the team and will actively try to destroy them. Nicole, still friends with Zack despite lying to him and voting him into the last Nerd-Off, goes and talks with him and he works on writing for the LARP. Zack is actually quite happy with how the team does even though they lose, and says he's very proud of the work put into the challenge. At this point, Zack has realized that Titans of Rigel want to send someone into the Nerd-Off they believe he can beat, as they want Zack to stay so that Midas Touch Attack continues to have low morale and loses. Without any power or chips in the social game to use, in another act of manipulation, Zack explodes at Mary Kate (MK), saying he is superior to her and that by wanting to vote him into the Nerd-Off again, she is on a lower dimension of thought that he is. He challenges the rocket scientist to explain gravity "in three seconds," and laughs manically when she cannot. MK is emotionally distraught by his manipulation. Zack seems to have genuine regret for his actions, and stays true to his word and vote himself into the Nerd-Off. MK, now seen as weaker by the Titans of Rigel, is voted into the Nerd-Off against Zack. MK says that Zack is a disease and that she will get rid of it, while Zack claims that similar insults have been said towards him since episode 2. The Nerd-Off requires an "advisor" to aid the competing nerds, and without one, Zack cannot compete. His character begins to make a turn when he realizes no one wants him in the house. He gives an incredibly emotional speech saying that "we're all nerds, and at one point in our lives, we've all felt like there is no one that wants us". He apologizes and admits that what he said was wrong, then says that "Nerds are the greatest people in society at the same time as being the people in society who basically no one wants. You can want one of us to win and one of us to lose, but we have to at least want each other." Everyone claps and he selects Chris as his advisor, then goes on to win the Nerd-Off.
From this point, his character slowly trends towards that of an anti-hero. Midas Touch Attack loses yet another challenge, and Zack is sent into a Nerd-Off against Nicole, which he again wins. Zack says that although their alliance fell-through, Nicole and he were friends and that he does not want to send her home. During the Nerd-Off, Nicole is continually being suspiciously positive and encouraging to Zack, which seems to be getting under his skin. Towards the end of the Nerd-Off, which is extremely close, Zack screams at Nicole that she's no longer his friend because of her mind-gaming him during the challenge--comments from Nicole post season have confirmed both that she was intentionally trying to "troll" Zack, and that she was not offended by his words. The two hug when the Nerd-Off is over.
By episode 6, the only original member of Midas Touch Attack besides Zack is Jack. Katie was sent over from the Titans of Rigel in episode 4, as they did not have enough team members to compete. Jack is extremely humble, while Zack is very brazen. The two develop an unexpected friendship. Midas Touch Attack loses the "Star Wars vs. Star Trek" challenge when Jack reveals that he has never seen Star Wars. Titans of Rigel, wanting to keep their prior team member Katie in the game and worrying she cannot beat Zack, attempt to make Jack vote for Zack, as the two want to vote Katie into the Nerd-Off. Titans of Rigel do this by telling Jack that he will be voted into the Nerd-Off by them, and that he can either have their entire team's help studying and preparing to beat Zack in the Nerd-Off, or can only have Zack's help against Katie. Jack also does not want to go against Zack, and wants to stay true to their new friendship. Although Zack is frustrated that they lost the challenge, he helps Jack study for the Nerd-Off, which turns out to be a spelling bee, teaching him about Star Wars and drilling him on spelling. During their preparation, Zack manages to guess a critical word that would be in the spelling bee, "kashyyyk," and Jack spells it correctly having been drilled the word by Zack. Jack wins the Nerd-Off. At this point, although still extremely brazen and arrogant, Zack appears to have become more of an anti-hero than a villain.
In the following episode, Zack and Jack, now a team of two, win the first Nerd-Off for Midas Touch Attack, a teamwork-based blind maze, with Zack directing a blindfolded Jack through lasers. During the preparation for the challenge, Chris tries to emotionally manipulate Zack, and Jack to a lesser extent, to fight against each other, but this ultimately works against him by strengthening their resolve to win. They vote Chris into the Nerd-Off. Chris loses in the Nerd-Off, and whispers into Brian's ear to make sure that Zack doesn't win.
Zack finally loses when the challenge of the week is a go-kart race. He does not have a licence and has never driven a car. He is sent into the Nerd-Off against Jack by Kayla, who won the go-kart race, and is given a second vote when there is a tie vote between Brian and Zack. Zack loses the Nerd-Off, and leaves honorably, wishing his competitors well, saying he will always consider them his friends, telling them "DFTBA," and giving a few slashes with the sword he brought with him to the Nerd-Off. In his walk-out speech, his transition into an anti-hero is highlighted. He says that every group must have an outcast, and that he became that for this game, but that "it doesn't matter what other people think, because I was always happy being myself--And I must say, that I think my 'self' is pretty awesome, I think I'm a pretty good self!" Thus, he remains confident--and even brazen--but is portrayed more positively at the end of his character arc.
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