iZombie – Season 3 Episode 10
“Return of the Dead Guy”
iZombie deals with Liv’s guilt over the death of Drake as Mr. Boss goes after Blaine for reasons of revenge.
Drake’s death happened at the end of last season and the show hasn’t really dealt with it. There were some passing references earlier in the season but on the whole it is something that remains unresolved. It’s somewhat strange to bring it up 10 episodes into the season as it would be better dealt with earlier.
The mechanics of this were good though. Liv consuming the brain of a man who had guilt driven hallucinations of his dead wife is a good way to facilitate her own guilt driven hallucinations of Drake. The episode even attempts to explain why this hasn’t been addressed before this point and it almost works. I do like the idea that Liv has essentially thrown herself into her work to distract herself from the fact that she feels guilty about putting a bullet through Drake’s brain. It’s a standard and relatable coping mechanism that is easy to translate into this show’s premise.
I also enjoyed the hallucinations of Drake as they were played with the iZombie trademark light touch. The hallucination of Drake didn’t lay it on too thick as there are other ways to bring out Liv’s feelings. Having the hallucination essentially mock her into facing her feelings was a clever idea and fits in with Liv’s personality as well as the way she remembers Drake. By the end of the episode she is able to reach a point where she can resolve her feelings and actually believe that killing the “Romero” Drake was an act of mercy. The hallucination responds by agreeing with her and Liv is allowed to move on.
Naturally these hallucinations come at the point where Liv and Justin are starting to become more serious so there’s an element of manufactured tension to it but thankfully the show doesn’t make a big deal out of it. Liv is honest with Justin right away and he understands where she’s coming from since he is a Zombie and knows the effect brains can have. He seems more amused by the whole scenario than anything else which is definitely the right way to play it. Justin seems to be content to weather the weirdness that comes with Liv’s constant shift in personality.
As good as all of this is there’s something about it that doesn’t quite work. I do like that Liv has an emotional story that allows Rose McIver to play something a little more meaty but as I said above dealing with Drake’s death does come a little too late in the season to feel like a natural character beat for Liv.
Liv’s brain ties into the ongoing thread of Peyton’s investigation of the murder of the Dominatrix. It’s still unclear to me where this story is going but the plot is definitely thickening with the reveal that the killer’s family are Zombies who have access to the Filmore Graves brain tubes. There are definitely more pieces to be revealed in later episodes but for now it’s all very confusing.
Watching Liv and Clive interview people in relation to the apparent murder of the Dominatrix murderer wasn’t all that interesting.. Nothing about it really stood out as being especially entertaining other than Clive offering to explain “Dark Side of the Moon” to Liv and ending up explaining it to Peyton instead.
Major and Shauna is another thread that has me scratching my head. They spend the entire episode sleeping together and somewhat getting to know each other but the whole thing seems odd. At this point Major seems to exist in a different show to the other characters which feels a bit jarring since he is so disconnected from the other stories but it’s worth remembering that iZombie is the kind of show that introduces elements that don’t appear to be relevant and then expertly ties everything together. I sully expect Shauna to turn out to be significant in terms of the other stories at some point or maybe she’s a relative of a Chaos Killer victim looking for some kind of slow burn revenge. It’s also entirely possible that she is a human love interest for Major but I don’t see much value to that if she has no other purpose.
The return of Mr. Boss last week seemed to suggest big trouble for Blaine but the opposite happened here. Blaine let Mr. Boss know about the existence of Zombies which created a really entertaining exchange between them. Mr. Boss’ disbelieving reaction feels natural enough despite having seen Blaine survive some pretty severe gunshot wounds. As with everything this is taken with a light touch as Mr. Boss plays it all off as something of a joke before eventually accepting the truth. Blaine uses this to turn the tables on Mr. Boss and secure himself at the top of Seattle’s crime ladder. At the moment Blaine is using fear to exert his control but I doubt this will last forever and Mr. Boss will try to overthrow him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a Zombie himself to fight fire with fire.
Ravi finds himself in a lot of trouble when trying to infiltrate the Zombie Truthers. They don’t trust him but want to use him for his knowledge which proves to be very problematic since it effectively means that Ravi is kidnapped. The tension in these scenes is really well built as Ravi struggles to help Don E without being discovered as a Zombie sympathiser.
I mentioned last week that the Zombie Truthers could be really complex antagonists as their point of view can be understood to a degree. They could be seen as people who live in fear and allow that to motivate them. This episode counters that by showing them to be bad people who see no problem with kidnapping and torturing to get their way. I was disappointed by the loss of potential depth by going down this route but at the same time I can see why the writers would do it this way. The Truthers are clearly a small part of the large ongoing story that involves Filmore Graves and Blaine’s business so they are only needed to be simple antagonists. It’s a pity because there was real scope to expand on the views held by the Truthers but we are where we are.
The final scene could have been a lot more effective than it was. On the surface seeing Ravi stand up to the Truthers because he believes that Don E is a person and still has rights is a really tense scenario as they are pointing guns at him but since it was immediately preceded by Liv and Blaine forcing each other into Full on Zombie Mode tells us that Ravi is in no real danger. As fun as it was seeing Liv and Blaine hurting each other to inspire the change it would have been better to keep the mystery. Next week should begin with an awesome Zombie fuelled action sequence so that’s something to look forward to.
A solid if flawed episode that remains unclear on how things will tie together. Liv dealing with Drake’s death is long overdue and handled fairly well but doesn’t quite feel right at this late stage in the season. It is absolutely something that needed to be dealt with but should have been addressed much earlier than 10 episodes into the season. It was good to see Liv given an emotional story and the hallucination aspect was well handled but it didn’t quite work. This ties into the ongoing thread of Peyton’s investigation and that plot is thickening with the reveal that there is some link to Filmore Graves. Liv and Clive interviewing people in conjunction with this case wasn’t especially interesting though Clive trying to explain “Dark Side of the Moon” to a disinterested Liv was entertaining.
Major and Shauna is a thread that doesn’t seem at all connected to anything else that’s going on. It’s a very bizarre story as Major barely knows her and it feels like there should be more to her than a love interest for Major who currently feels like he exists on a different show. Mr. Boss’ return was handled well and I like how Blaine turned the tables on him by revealing his secret. The lack of belief on Mr Boss’ part felt real enough as well and his reaction to learning the truth was really amusing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Boss becomes a Zombie himself to get the upper hand on Blaine. The Zombie Truther plot is reasonably well handled with a lot of tension created by Ravi’s kidnapping at the hands of them. Sadly the Truthers have lost a lot of their potential depth but it’s clear that they’re supposed to be a simple antagonist tied to the rest of the plots.
- Liv at the centre of an emotional story and getting closure on Drake
- lots of tension as Ravi is held hostage
- entertaining moments throughout
- Drake’s death being dealt with far too late
- Major’s plot feeling completely unconnected
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