iZombie – Season 3 Episode 11
iZombie deals with the fallout of Major rushing into a romantic connection with Shawna as Liv starts to unravel the truth about D.A. Barracus.
I mentioned last week that it wasn’t immediately clear where that particular episode sits in the overall narrative of the season and I definitely stand by that. The previous episode starts to look a lot clearer now that things have been developed in a way that furthers the various plots that have been set up.
The show does still have a problem with Major. He has become distanced from the other characters in this show and doesn’t quite feel like he’s part of any of the plots in a big way. Back when he was a Zombie it appeared that he would be a significant contributor to the Filmore Graves plot but outside of occasionally going on missions he seems like more of a bystander than anything else.
His recent relationship with Shawna feels especially disconnected as he’s the only one who interacts with her outside of a quick exchange with Liv last week and Ravi this week. It was previously unclear what her purpose was but this episode suggests that her aim was to profit out of Major’s reputation as the Chaos Killer. I didn’t twig it at the time but I like the idea of her using social media to capitalise on Major’s notoriety as Seattle’s Celebrity Serial Killer. Seeing her taking photographs and videos seemed innocent enough at the time but became more sinister once we saw what she was doing with them.
The show definitely misses a trick to create complexity in this story. She tells Major that all she wanted to do was help him. In theory showing that Major is a nice guy using social media is the ideal way to rehabilitate his public image and show people that they are wrong about him. Major’s reaction to that is to end the relationship which makes a lot of sense given that she did all of this without his permission and he sees it as a betrayal. This is all fine and creates a very adult problem with opposing points of view that both have merit. The subsequent reveal that T-Shirts are being sold featuring those images and the “Killer Abs” slogan removes a lot of the complexity. It suggests that Shawna is a liar and is only trying to get Major on side so she can exploit him. For now leaving that ambiguous would have been much better. Of course it’s always possible that someone else is selling the T-Shirts which means that Shawna is innocent and at if that comes to pass then I will happily eat my words.
Major being disconnected from the rest of the cast is an issue as it’s difficult to know where he fits in the show at this point. Everyone else weaves in an out of the ongoing narratives but Major is left largely on his own. It does seem to be deliberate as he points out that he’s afraid to go out in public because of the way people react to him but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. As before it’s possible that this will all build to something great and I’ll eat my words but for now Major’s scenes don’t feel relevant. They are still very entertaining and Robert Buckley remains as watchable as ever but the lack of meaningful interaction with the rest of the cast or input into larger plots makes the show feel like it’s missing something.
Over the past couple of weeks attention has been drawn to Rachel (Ella Cannon), a Zombie Truther who makes eyes at Ravi. I haven’t mentioned her before as her input hasn’t been all that significant but I like what was done with her in this episode. Her reaction to the proven existence of Zombies and Ravi’s involvement with them as well as his association with the Chaos Killer comes across as believable. She doesn’t accept it and appears terrified of Ravi at first until she processes how she feels and is able to think about it rationally. There’s a romantic edge to the interactions between Ravi and Rachel but she suffers from the same problem Shawna does as in her purpose in the show remains unclear.
There are a few ways this character could have gone. She could have presented the complex side of the Truthers and presented the point of view of someone who is scared by the prospect of Zombies living among them, she could have been a simple yet bland love interest for Ravi or she could have been undercover for Filmore Graves to assess the threat the Truthers represent. That isn’t an exhaustive list and it doesn’t even cover the option that the writers went with but it helps illustrate how minor characters in particular stories could go in pretty much any direction.
The reveal that she’s a journalist looking to break the story that Zombies are real was handled well but didn’t quite have the desired impact. Rachel hasn’t been around for long and her screen time has been very limited so the shock value attached to the reveal is very low. She shared a couple of scenes with Ravi where she seemed to be a terrified onlooker but I always felt that she could have a hidden agenda so the reveal doesn’t come as a surprise. The way it was framed suggests that it was supposed to be unexpected but it didn’t quite work.
Despite that, her contribution moves things along in a really big way. Zombies are now a huge news story on the front page of a publication and the image associated is Liv in Full on Zombie Mode. This could potentially be very damning or it could be covered up by Filmore Graves like the internet stream of Don E was. Either way it presents an effective cliffhanger to take us into next week and definitely raises the stakes significantly. It also shows that Ravi should really be careful what pretty girls he decides to trust.
The Zombie Truther plot has potential to become far more complex now that Harley Johns is a Zombie. The main question is how his ideals will hold up now that he has become everything he has ever hated. Will he hide the truth or kill himself out of severe self loathing? I’d like to see him become a hypocrite though there are many different ways this can go.
This episode completely abandons the case of the week structure in favour of using Liv’s visions to further one of the ongoing plots. There was a slight twist to this by having Blaine, Don E and Liv on the same brain which led to a hilarious shared vision where all three actors zoned out in unison. it was a perfectly times moment and was really funny to see.
Liv on conspiracy theorist brain was a lot of fun as well and it was enhanced by her having Blaine and Don E to bounce her wacky theories of. Everyone else saw her as being ridiculous but Blaine and Don E were exactly on her wavelength and the results were excellent.
When not being indulged by like minded Zombies, Liv’s paranoia created lots of amusement. Ravi’s reaction was particularly memorable and I like how Clive repeatedly decides to remove himself from the situation rather than get sucked into her shifts in personality.
There’s an element of truth to Liv’s paranoia as is starting to be proven by the slowly revealed connection D.A. Barracus has to the murdered Dominatrix. If he is guilty and has been elected to a position of power then it could be very difficult to prove. It’s hard to say what the final two episodes will focus on as there are a lot of plot plates spinning at this point.
One thing the episode did really well as the opening action sequence. It was exciting, chaotic and as visceral as these things can get on a CW show. We don’t get to see full on Zombie action often in this show but it feels significant when the show delivers and it’s good to see the strength, ferocity and near invulnerability exploited now and again. It felt like a terrifying sequence if you happened to be on the receiving end of it and for that reason among others it’s noteworthy.
A solid episode that furthers many of the plots of the season while providing some entertainment. The weak link in the show at the moment is Major. He feels completely disconnected from the rest of the cast and the stories they play a part in. I like that this is deliberate as he is currently afraid to go outside because of his reputation as the Chaos Killer and Robert Buckley is as entertaining as ever but limiting his interactions with the rest of the cast robs us of some of the stronger moments that come with that. His relationship with Shawna is missing the complexity it could have had by confirming that she is trying to exploit him rather than having his best interests at heart. It’s possible that she isn’t guilty of selling the T-Shirts but for now it appears that Major was misguided to trust Shawna.
Rachel’s input is a lot more significant this week though the reveal that she is a journalist looking to expose the Zombies to the world lacks the necessary impact because she hasn’t been around long enough to establish that as unexpected behaviour. Liv’s conspiracy theorist brain was a lot of fun to watch especially with Blaine and Don E indulging her paranoid delusions. We also get the other side of it when her friends refuse to entertain her flights of fancy. The episode also delivers on the action front which is really good to see.
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