iZombie – Season 3 Episode 13
“Looking for Mr. Goodbrain Part 2”
iZombie closes off season 3 in a game changing way when Discovery Day becomes a reality in Seattle.
This was a very busy episode to cap off a very busy season. The episode picks up right where the previous one left off with the explosion and the associated uncertainty. Major and Justin are the only survivors which makes Justin a lot luckier than any of Liv’s previous post zombie boyfriends.
As situations go it’s really bleak as a lot of Zombie soldiers have lost their lives in the attack. Robert Buckley plays the sense of shock wonderfully as Major struggles to process what has happened. The biggest failing the episode has is that it never takes the time process this event or any other in a way that works for the characters. It’s addressed then the episode swiftly moves on because it has far too much plot to burn through. This is also illustrated when Liv tells Justin the truth about sleeping with Chase. It’s a well acted moment by Rose McIver and Tongayi Chirisa but as with everything in this episode it is addressed and quickly dropped.
Justin’s lack of acceptance of Liv’s excuse when because apparently brains can be resisted if someone really wants to is an interesting idea though. Up until this point we’ve seen Liv overwhelmed by whatever brain she has consumed so the fact that it can be resisted hasn’t been dealt with in detail up until this point. It could be something for the show to address next season but for the moment it seems like Liv and Justin are over.
The fallout from the explosion is handled reasonably well when Major goes to Chase and askks to be turned into a Zombie so that he can be of some use and avenge those who were lost in the explosion. This makes sense for Major who has been distinctly lacking in purpose since being cured. This has translated into him feeling like an outsider to the different plots but his request to be turned back into a Zombie is the best way foor his character to be heavily involved going into next season.
One misstep the episode makes with Major is barely dealing with Natalie’s death. It’s clear that he wants to be a Zombie again to avenge the death of his former squad as well as Natalie but the episode heavily leans on the squad aspect when the true emotional connection was to be mined from his relationship with Natalie. We have seen that relationship develop more than the apparent cameraderie with his former squad so focusing on the loss of Natalie would have been more powerful. Especially since Major was all set to leave Seattle behind and start a new life with her. It’s really strange to go to the trouble of reintroducing her in the previous episode only for her to be killed off and have that barely register.
The reveal that Carey Gold (Anjali Jay) is behind everything that has gone wrong this season both works and doesn’t. Some great work was done establishing Chase as well as the rest of Filmore Graves in an ambiguous light. Jason Dohring in particular excels at playing characters who come across as both trustworthy and duplicitous at the same time. Constantly playing with audience expectations on which way he would land and hinting at a hidden agenda for Filmore Graves was a great idea because it was done so well. Eventually answering that by having their intentions be genuine is one of two ways it could have gone and I don’t have an issue with that.
Using a background character who has been there the whole time is also a good idea in theory since it allows for someone to pull strings under the noses of the main characters. If handled well it’s very clever and unexpected. Bizarrely the reveal that Carey was the culprit actually comes across as too subtle. She may have been present a lot of the time but she was far from prominent. She blended so far into the background that this is the first time she actually registered on my radar. No points for insight on my part considering the episode makes a point of her being noticeable.
Another problem with having her as the mastermind is that it makes everything feel too neat. This show has always been good at bringing a load of messy plots together to make something that feels cohesive. iZombie always have lots of plates spinning so having them most of the plots coming from a single source feels like a bit of a letdown. It doesn’t feel organic that all of this could have been caused by one small group of people and it’s a lot to put on a character we know almost nothing about. The reveal is robbed of a lot of its power for that reason.
The idea that there is a mutinous faction within Filmore Graves is a good one as it has the potential to give the organisation a layer of depth that has been lacking. Hearing about this for the first time at this point does the idea no favours as there has been no hint of it before this point but I do like the idea that there is more going on beneath the surface.
Sabotaging the flu vaccinations so that everyone injected becomes a Zombie was a reveal that worked really well. It increases the Seattle Zombie population incredibly quickly and makes the issue something that can no longer be covered up, It’s a very real public problem and ties into the fear of “Discovery Day” that has been looming all season.
The speech that Chase gives at the end of the episode where he outlines the situation precisely in a calm and measured way was great. Jason Dohring’s delivery of this is wonderful with lots of authority and compassion in his voice. He makes a lot of rational points as well such as assuring the public that Zombies are people as well and that people have to decide what effect this will have in their lives. For those who have Zombie loved ones a decision will need to be made over whether the affliction will be shared or not. It’s a personal decision to be made between “consenting adults”. As for the need for a brain supply, this isn’t something that Chase is concerned about either. He points out that they will be looking for donors to consent to having their brains used for food when they die. Enough people die in the United States every day to sustain the Zombie population so it’s a manageable situation. Peppering this montage with appropriate music and people making choices about how to accept their new reality is great touch that helps ground the situation with the people involved.
Basically, the undercurrent of Chase’s speech is that there is nothing to be afraid of and people shouldn’t be persecuted for being Zombies as it is mechanically no different to any other disease in terms of the way it should be regarded. We start to get a hint of how this will be seen by the public when it is mentioned that people are leaving Seattle out of fear and intolerence. What will be the case for those that stay?
There are wide reaching implications to the secret being out. Dale’s return goes some way towards illustrating this. The air is finally cleared between her and Clive when Clive lets her in on the truth and outlines to her that the secret was better kept which explains why he didn’t turn Major in. If he had then the Discovery Day would probably have come much sooner and that is definitely something dangerous. I really liked the scenes between Clive and Dale. The scene where Dale came to terms with what she found out was especially well done but I wish the episode had let this linger for a while before turning Dale into a Zombie. This does leave a question mark over what Clive will do but my money is on him wanting to remain human. After all the show will need to keep some human characters around.
Ravi’s vaccine is another thread that could prove interesting next season. The first question is over whether it works or not. If not then that means Ravi becomes a Zombie which is probably the least interesting outcome since there are so many Zombies in the show already. I very much doubt the vaccine will kill him so that leaves side effects in some form to provide something unique. What those side effects will be I have no idea but Ravi could end up becoming something else entirely and I’m intrigued by that prospect.
The scene where Liv scratched him was nicely does as well as it underpins the strong relationship between these two characters that has developed since the first episode. Liv telling Ravi that she loves him was a really sweet moment with great delivery from Rose McIver. There aren’t enough moments like that in this episode which is a shame considering it’s a season finale.
Other characters could have been removed from this episode as the contributions they make aren’t strong enough. I’m talking about Blaine and Peyton who are essentially maneuvered into the positions they will occupy next season. Blaine finds that his business isn’t as lucrative as he hoped thanks to a ban from Chase and Peyton is going to be Mayor Barracus’ Chief of Staff. None of that really goes anywhere and just comes across as place setting for next season.
What exactly happens to the show next season? Now that the Zombie secret is out will the U.S. Government get involved in the situation? I would say they have to considering the possibility of a Zombie outbreak across the entire country. Will the format of the show change in any way? I imagine people will still get murdered as normal so will Liv go back to solving murders with Clive and the help of her visions? In theory Dale could take on that role now that she’s a Zombie. If that’s the case then what would Liv move onto? I could see her role transition into some kind of leadership role in helping people come to terms with their new reality. The problem there is the opportunity for Rose McIver to play different personalities is lost if Liv’s role in the show changes and I don’t think the writers will jettison the hook of the show completely. Next season will change significantly in some way but it’s difficult to figure out how.
An uneven season finale that changes the show in big ways but forgets to focus on the strongest asset the show has with its characters. All of the events depicted here are big. The explosion, Zombie outbreak and the truth coming out are all huge deals and from a plot perspective they are treated as such but the character element doesn’t come across well. Major for instances seems more concerned about the death of his squad with Natalie’s death being barely addressed despite the fact that their relationship was better established. His decision to become a Zombie again happens so quickly as well. Similarly, Liv telling the truth to Justin about sleeping with Chase is quickly brushed aside after being brought up.
Revealing that the mastermind against almost everything this season is a character who has been present but in the background is a good idea in theory as it allowed the focus to be on Chase Graves as a potential antagonist especially with Jason Dohring perfectly hinting either way. It doesn’t quite work as the culprit is too far in the background to the point that I hadn’t noticed her before this point. Her plan to infect more of Seattle worked really well as it increases the Zombie population massively and changes the show in significant ways. There are plenty of threads to work on next season such as Ravi’s vaccine and the effects it will have, how Seattle and the United States will handle the public outing of Zombies, what Liv’s role will be in this new world and so many others. Next season will have to change but I’m unsure how.
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