iZombie – Season 5 Episode 5

Jun 17, 2019 | Posted by in TV

“Death Moves Pretty Fast”

iZombie re-teams Liv and Ravi to investigate the murder of an independently wealthy teen as the skeletons in Blaine’s closet start to come to light.

Immediately there’s a shift in the approach to the standard investigation as Clive is barely involved. It’s likely that this is a result of Malcolm Goodwin needing time off to concentrate on directing the following episode; whatever the reason this is an opportunity to lean into the delightful Ravi and Liv dynamic without the common sense oversight of Clive.


Blaine tries to be himself

Harris (Philip Bolden) is briefly characterised before his death as a carefree rich teenager who runs a pirate radio station and likes to have lavish parties. As luck would have it he happens to be the next door neighbour for Blaine which allows for a connection to his story that I’ll get into later in the review. In general the standard investigation formula is followed with Harris being killed under mysterious circumstances, a procession of characters who have viable motives and the systematic elimination of the innocent throughout the episode, There are a few alterations such as Harris’ brain marking a fairly subtle shift in Liv’s personality outside of some key scenes. I suspect this is because she’s needed to be supportive and as close to her default personality as possible in certain moments but it doesn’t feel like a stunt as we’ve seen brains affect her to varying degrees before.

The whole setup references Ferris Bueller’s Day Off pretty heavily so the subtly carefree persona suits that perfectly and justifies some of the more outlandish moments in the episode such as her zany scheme designed to catch the real killer by using Vampire Steve as bait. In general the best comedy in the episode is mined from Liv and Ravi being really bad cops on their own. The interrogation scene is a notable highlight with them asking the wrong sorts of questions and focusing more on the fun they’re having taking on this role without Clive tempering it with actual competence. Liv has an excuse as she is being altered by Harris’ brain but Ravi can’t claim the same so this basically makes him an enabler. Any time spent focusing on the friendship that exists between Ravi and Liv is definitely well spent.

Their friendship has more depth to it than them simply being an effective wacky duo. Ravi’s reaction to the information about brains infected with Freylich syndrome acting as a natural Zombie cure being revealed to the public is played perfectly by Rahul Kohli. It’s genuinely heartbreaking to watch Ravi contemplate the implications of this information going public. He holds himself responsible because he didn’t think to tell Isobel’s mother to keep the information about the cure to herself. This is a very Human failing that makes a lot of sense as oversights go as his focus would be on emotional support rather than considering the logistics. It’s something he should have considered but characters having flaws and making mistakes is what makes good drama. It’s good to see that there are significant consequences to these flaws that allow plot development that also connects to the characters on a personal level. This sets up a arc whereby Ravi will have to find some way to atone for this mistake or, at the very least, find a way to live with himself after unwittingly endangering those afflicted with the disease.


Up to no good

The depth to the Ravi/Liv friendship is highlighted by her instant transition into being supportive of him and doing what she can to console him duing this moment of vulnerability. This episode gives us the full spectrum of Ravi and Liv’s friendship from the goofy to the thoughtful and it’s a testament to how well developed this connection is that both can be featured in an episode so naturally. Notably Liv’s support also isn’t in any way shallow while not attempting to provide answers because sometimes those don’t exist.

Al continues to be a formidable foil for Blaine to deal with. He’s somewhat blinded by the belief that he can woo her with his charm and charisma when she’s actually the one playing him. She positions herself so that she can gain information and further explore the more interesting allegations. Blaine being the initial suspect in Harris’ murder is the beginning of this. Ravi and Liv show up at his house to question him about the murder and he makes light of it being a regular thing for them while feeling smug knowing that such accusations have never come to anything over the years. Mention of the kids he once killed is enough to spark Al’s interest and she’s able to figure a lot out based on context clues such as Liv’s less than convincing excuses about why he has never actually been found guilty of the procession of crimes and murders he has been accused of. Even though the evidence is circumstantial it’s also regular and fairly obvious when putting the pieces together.

Her investigation also includes a conversation with Don E who is more than happy to wax lyrical about Blaine’s connection to Peyton blissfully unaware of how damning this will end up being. Al consuming a piece of Harris’ brain also helps her put some of the pieces together as she has the same vision Liv does featuring a disguised Don E delivering a stolen Zombie cure which more or less confirms that Blaine was the one to kill the Mayor otherwise he wouldn’t have access to them. The most striking thing about the reveal that Al is a Zombie is how casually it comes about. This wasn’t clear in the previous episode and the handling of it here indicates that it should be a well known fact.


Vulnerability doesn’t look good on Blaine

I suspect this is a big reason behind the more subtle effect on Liv’s personality as there isn’t enough known about Al to determine if her personality has been altered in any way. She behaves pretty much as she did in the previous episode so the brain clearly doesn’t impact her heavily. If Liv’s personality had undergone a more significant shift then it would invite questions as to why Al wasn’t acting like Harris as well. Then again this show has never been all that consistent about what the triggers are for an alternate personality not to overwhelm the default personality so it could be that Al is more focused on her goals where Liv wants to lean into it in order to trigger visions.

The Blaine/Al dynamic is still a lot of fun to watch. There’s a palpable sense of ease in David Anders’ performance when he is with her. It’s as if Blaine wants to impress her but wants to impress her because of who he really is rather than the external image he projects. He seems genuinely hurt when she stands him up for the romantic meal he sets up for them and instantly reverts to the callous womaniser persona that he owes a lot of his success to. Blaine showing vulnerability is rare and having this taken advantage of by someone looking to expose him is an interesting reversal on the norm.

Al’s article looks to be all that’s needed for the tenuous bubble of the functional Seattle to burst. Blaine is discredited meaning no ore brain shipments which in turn means thousands of hungry Zombies with no food source. It’s well established that it won’t take much for Seattle to become a bloodbath once the Zombies become hungry enough to transition to the Romero stage. At that point nobody is safe and this is arguably Al’s fault though the best thing about this issue is the moral grey area it inhabits. On one hand Al exposes a conspiracy that goes right to the top of government in Seattle where the defaqto Mayor is covering up the crimes of a mass murderer but on the other it’s a necessary conspiracy in order to maintain the relatively peaceful situation that currently exists. Blaine definitely deserves to answer for all the terrible thing he has done but at the same time he’s instrumental to maintaining the current situation. This could be a case of deserved comeuppance at the wrong time.

In the background Dolly has hatched a nefarious scheme to introduce Alzheimers/Dimentia brains into the brain tube stock in order to sabotage Fillmore Graves to some degree. Major ends up being one of the victims and it proves to be costly for him as it allows Enzo to take advantage of his mental state to wrestle some control from him and engineer scenarios that paint them in less than favourable lights. It just goes to show what a dose of sabotage can do to upset the delicate balance that currently exists. This is all in service of calling Major’s leadership into question by way of honouring Chase Graves. Major’s authority is secured and he’s able to make an example of Enzo by having him hauled off but by this point significant reputational damage is done and it may contribute to rapidly escalating tensions if word gets out that Major isn’t as effective as he needs to be. There is also the Romero Zombies waiting to be deployed at an opportune time which makes for another significant concern.


Liv supports her friend


A strong episode that celebrates the wonderfully complex Liv/Ravi friendship while continuing to show Al as the perfect foil for Blaine. Incapacitating Clive for much of the episode created a great opportunity for Liv and Ravi to work together without having the oversight that Clive provides. As such they’re free to hatch hair brained schemes that almost certainly won’t work. Liv being on wealthy teenager brain justifies this thought process at least where Liv is concerned. Ravi comes across as something of an enabler in this scenario though that has happened before. There are definite comparisons to be made to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off which is no bad thing in this case. It’s also notable that Liv’s personality is largely subtly altered by this brain which helps show the depth to Liv and Ravi’s friendship. Rahul Kohli’s performance when Ravi finds out that the Freylich Syndrome information has leaked is note perfect and Liv acting as the supportive friend with no visible alterations to her personality compliments this wonderfully.

Al continues to be a great foil for Blaine. The reveal that she’s a Zombie is really understated but the way she manages to manipulate both him and the situation to her own ends is really well done. Blaine acts differently around her as if he wants to impress her for who he is rather than what he outwardly projects. It’s rare to see Blaine in a vulnerable position like this and it shows just how good Al is at what she does. When she stands him up he reverts back to. Al’s article is an interesting problem as it does expose a conspiracy that goes right to the highest level of government in Seattle and holds Blaine accountable for the crimes he has committed. This is something he absolutely deserves but the problem is timing as Blaine being exposed means there are no further brain shipments into Seattle which causes thousands of Zombies to go hungry. He is the very definition of a necessary evil and the consequences of this could be catastrophic. Dolly’s plan to dose the brain tubes with Alzheimers/Dimentia brains creates additional complications from Major when he ends up affected and is tricked by Enzo who uses the opportunity to further discredit his leadership. Major is able to remove him but there’s a sense that the damage is already done and the tenuous hold Major has on Fillmore Graves. The Romero Zombies waiting to be deployed is another concern to consider.

  • 8.5/10
    Death Moves Pretty Fast - 8.5/10


Kneel Before…

  • celebrating the Ravi/Liv friendship by focusing on them as a fun double act as well as being emotionally supportive
  • Rahul Kohli’s performance when Ravi finds out the Freylich information has leaked
  • Al continuing to act as a great foil for Blaine
  • Blaine acting more himself around Al and reverting to old habits when she stands him up
  • the complexity associated with Blaine being exposed
  • Major’s leadership being further chipped away


Rise Against…

  • the casual reveal that Al is a Zombie


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