WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Zombieland: Double Tap, in theaters now.
When Zombieland hit theaters a decade ago, as much as fans loved Columbus' (Jesse Eisenberg) romantic interactions with Wichita (Emma Stone), ultimately his zombie-killing relationship with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) stood as the high point of the film. Always at odds, their antagonistic dynamic even held nods to Shaun of the Dead and reminded us how besties ought to stick together during the apocalypse.
As much as director Ruben Fleischer expands on their bond -- which is a lot more personal now but still as obscene as ever -- it's not this Dynamic Duo who manage to steal the show in the sequel. That honor surprisingly goes to Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch), who prove to be a better version of the tag team partners.
When Columbus' crew heads to Graceland to track down a runaway Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), they end up at an Elvis museum where Nevada (Rosario Dawson) is living. After a hostile reception, everyone becomes acquainted, only for Albuquerque and Flagstaff to crash the party, the former livid because he doesn't like Tallahassee cozying up to his ex in Nevada. But the romantic rivalry aside, everything about these new killers on the block smacks of a much more improved version of Tallahassee and Columbus.
Wichita even points this out, making it known there's an uncanny resemblance, not just in looks (namely between Columbus and Flagstaff) but also in personality. The thing is, Albuquerque actually is a better alpha than Tallahassee -- tempering down his redneck blood to become a responsible leader in the end times. He's less obnoxious, actually likes meeting people and is skilled at pumping zombies full of lead. In fact, he also has a better sense of humor, demonstrated when Tallahassee drops his annoyingly overused catchphrase: "It's time to nut up or shut up!" only for Albuquerque to make it known it's a cheesy '90s joke he needs to stop.
Wichita again agrees, hinting Albuquerque is the mature leader she thinks their camp needs. We can even forgive him parking his monster truck, "Big Fat Death" on Tallahassee's "Beast" because, hey, all's fair in love and war, and honestly, it's nice seeing Tallahassee being the one getting bullied for a change.
As for Flagstaff, he's the mirror image of Columbus, but he has commandments instead of rules: His set is more thorough yet still a lot more fun, to the point Columbus gets jealous, especially as he forgot "teamwork" as one of his. They soon get into a contest to see who has the better rules and Flagstaff wins, which is why he and Albuquerque have survived for so long -- longer than Team Zombieland, even. It's once more a summation of who the better team is.
The icing on the cake comes with how Albuquerque and Flagstaff treat each other with love and respect. They look out for each other, as seen when they hunt the T-800s or Bolt zombies which attack the monster truck parked outside Nevada's establishment. The duo switch around shotguns and then use fists and a variety of other moves to prove they're the more skilful team, leaving Wichita wondering why she couldn't have ended up with this better-oiled unit.
She sees their harmonious relationship outside of the battlefield; is in awe how well they work together in the war-zone and more so, she adores that they're brothers looking out for each other.
To top it all, they're also super-welcoming and mix nicely with others, which is something the antisocial Tallahassee and the introverted Columbus don't do well. Taking all this into consideration, it's a shame they eventually got infected cleaning up a T-800 horde. What makes it worse is Tallahassee could have helped out but he made it a pissing contest, not doing anything when they get swarmed. Sadly, this new duo pay the ultimate price, leaving Wichita with what she thinks might well be the B-team in these desperate times.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and David Callaham, Zombieland: Double Tap stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin. The film is in theaters now.