Season three of iZombie may have finally hit the point where there is officially too much going on to track. There are only three episodes until the end of the season, but instead of things feeling like they are wrapping up more story beats are being introduced every week. With all of these plots both new and old it’s getting harder and harder to tell what is happening, let alone how they all fit together.
The key story making this season feel more and more complicated throughout the past few episodes is the James Weckler story and what exactly happened to him and the dominatrix he killed. Instead of having a traditional case of the week, this episode featured Liv eating the blue juice-soaked brains of Weckler in an attempt to help Peyton figure out why her case against him kept coming out wonky at every turn. What Liv and Clive uncover is that while James did kill the dominatrix earlier in the season, there is far more behind this murder than there officially seemed during that episode. What gets confusing is that every layer the show adds to the story only makes the plot—and its inevitable connection to anything else happening in this season—more confounding, not less. For example, this week we learn that James did commit the murder, but it was likely on behest of someone else, and that someone is well connected enough to have Weckler killed and then cover up the whole thing. The biggest wrinkle, however? Weckler’s daughter is a zombie, living with zombies, and those zombies likely have ties to Fillmore Graves since they were eating the mushed up brain tubes.
Frankly, this plot in general is making my own brain hurt, and not in a good way. When the dominatrix murder carried on beyond its showcase episode, it was a welcome way to involve Peyton in a larger plot and to build the world of the show by having a case of the week hang around in the background. But tying Peyton into the case definitely isn’t enough to keep it interesting on a week-to-week basis; there needs to be something that draws the viewer in and makes us want to learn more. Yes, the idea that Weckler’s daughter is a zombie and is hiding something is interesting, but since we don’t know anything about him personally and didn’t really care much about him before he was gone, what is the thing that’s drawing us in? This plot needs to tie into something else we’re already invested in, and quickly, considering the season is almost over.
One interesting choice the show made this week was to bring back Liv’s voiceover, right when we had a case where we didn’t actually see any of her visions. Instead, we saw the vision of Liv’s dead boyfriend Drake. The idea of having Liv finally get closure with Drake by having this visions is clever, but something about the placement of this in the season—so far removed from any of Liv’s actual, tangible remorse about Drake—is off, both narratively and from a character perspective. The only things salvaging it were that it was nice for Liv to get an actual emotional story again, and that Drake’s visions were generally pretty funny. Otherwise, it was an awkward fit.
The parts of the episode that worked fairly unreservedly were both Ravi and Blaine’s stories, as both were dealing with different aspects of the big zombie reveal. Blaine’s was particularly fun, as he turned the tables on Mr. Boss and used his scary zombie ways to force Mr. Boss to start working for him in the brain business. I don’t quite buy that Mr. Boss would so easily go along with everything, but Blaine explaining to him that he is a zombie (and Mr. Boss not believing him) is one of the funniest scenes of the season, so a few plot shenanigans can be forgiven in service of such amusement. Now that Blaine is fully evil again, it’s really hard to remember that sad, lonely time when Blaine was pretending to be a good guy. Let’s never experience that again, because David Anders is having way too much fun being bad.
Ravi, on the other hand, is in far more dire straits in his exploits with the zombie truthers. After they captured Don E last week, Ravi finds himself being essentially held hostage as the resident zombie doctor as they prepare to stream Don E’s transformation for the world to see. It’s a great showcase for Rahul Kohli, who hasn’t had as much to do this season now that Clive is in on the zombie secret. Ravi here gets to be in hero mode—all while being surrounded by perhaps the dumbest band of kidnappers in existence—and his simultaneous frustration and fear is very well done. Less successful is the execution of the end of the episode, where Ravi tries to stop the truthers from goading Don E into turning into a full-on zombie and gets a gun to his head for his efforts. It’s framed as a classic cliffhanger, but showing Liv and Blaine right outside waiting to storm in undercuts the cliffhanger enough to completely dampen its effect. Liv and Blaine’s rescue mission next week promises to be much more successful.
Of all of the things in this episode, the thing that felt most out of place were the frequent check-ins with Major and his new lady friend Shauna. It was another thing that felt like it was stuck in without really knowing why, and when you add this story into the equally unmoored James Weckler case, it just felt like a lot of screen time for things we don’t necessarily have any connection to yet. Who is Shauna? Why is she there? And, this late in the season, why are we spending so much time with a Major disconnected from the rest of the cast, and this brand new person? Unless she’s the evil mastermind tying all of these loose-end stories together, what is the point?
This is what iZombie does: It builds and builds and builds, until suddenly all the plot is clicking together and everything comes tumbling down in a glorious mess of plot dominoes. The show did this extremely well in both seasons one and two. The problem with this method is that sometimes, smack dab in the middle, all you see is the mess and not the glory. This episode was a mess; let’s hope the show is simply getting us ready for the glory.
- The cold open with Mr. Boss sneaking into his house while his wife complained about him over the phone was fairly genius. It definitely started the episode off on a good note.
- Peyton playing as Liv’s dominatrix in order to trigger a vision was pandering of the highest order. I approve.
- The “outsider” perspective of Liv’s visions was an interesting thing to see, but the transitions into and out of them were a little clunky.
- I do love the show’s consistency in bringing back old characters. The witness in James Weckler’s murder was AJ from the kung fu episode, which feels like it was a million years ago.
- Ravi not remembering anyone’s phone number is the most relatable thing ever.
- “Oh, watching my zombie roommate talk to a ghost? That’s just what I call a Tuesday.”
- “Nice work, Dr. Shockyourbooty.” How is this the first shock your booty joke?