iZombie: ‘Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother’ Review
Written By: Mathew “JJ” Simoes
So, this is a first for Talkies Network, as we have never done any episode reviews before. I’ll be doing week by week, episode by episode reviews of iZombie, which has just entered its third season. Now this, isn’t the beginning of us reviewing every show on TV (seeing as I’m not paid to do this and there are a lot of shows). There will be some more of this type of reviewing at some point in the future (a distant future), but for now I’m writing these reviews because I am a huge fan of this show (and it just started a new season so…convenience!). This review comes a few days late of airing and I do not apologize for this (I thought of reviewing the show after it had aired), but I promise in the future to have my reviews out the day following an episode airing. Now that all the intro bullshit is done…. on to the review!
iZombie debuted their third season with a solid premier episode, which builds on previously established plot threads to set up an intriguing new season arc. As this is a spoiler heavy review I’m going to assume none of you readers need a recap of the previous season’s finale. If you do…maybe don’t read this quite yet. Building upon last season’s reveal of a paramilitary zombie organization, the premiere added more details about our new mystery players. They exist to defend zombies from the inevitable clash with humanity. This episode actually brings the existence of zombies to light, albeit only to nutty conspiracy theorists. However, humanity is coming ever so close to the truth about the growing undead population (Ravi’s CDC friend), and that adds an excellent sense of tension to the show. In previous seasons, it was Liv hiding it from those around her, but now the larger world is closing in. It’s great to see the show move outside the bubble of its main characters as start acknowledging how difficult hiding the presence of zombies is.
The show is also setting up zombies to be the misunderstood and oft discriminated against other for their story. While I never saw iZombie going this root, it is an intriguing place to take the show. After all, the zombies on this show are still intelligent and not a threat as long as they have a steady food supply. It seems that humans on this show will focus more on the brain eating bit, and assume all zombies are out to kill them. This new take on the zombie/human relationship adds another level to Ravi’s work on a cure for being a zombie, ‘Is it all that bad?’ Originally Liv was alone and wanted to get back to her life, but now others around her are zombies and a whole community has developed around zombies. Most of the zombies connected to Stoll’s organization seem to like being zombies, so it’ll be interesting how she reacts to the cure. Clive put it best when he asks, ‘Who decides who gets it?’ This not only comments on the ethics of the cure, but also foreshadows it possibly being used as a weapon, but by who remains to be seen.
In terms of personal character arcs, this episode went a long way with most of them. Liv’s use of the military brain to avoid thinking about her dead boyfriend was hard to watch, especially when those emotions crept back in as the brain faded. While I was never attached to Drake from last season, his effect on Liv’s arc is compelling and heartfelt. Clive also had a neat personal arc as he met a boy he knew in the past who now lives as a zombie. While in plot terms it was mainly used to get Clive more on team Z than he already was, not to mention how brief the whole scene felt as well, having Clyde gain perspective from what is essentially a hate crime was inspired. It would have been better to drag this out another episode or two for some true depth, but I believe it served its role well. The Ravi/Payten/Blaine love triangle… I mean this show will probably do something good with that. While I hate love triangles because they tend to be used in predictable ways, I trust this show. For now, Blayten (God I hope that doesn’t become a thing) seem contrived and strays pretty far from the main arc of the season. For a show that usually blends its subplots into a cohesive whole, this is somewhat concerning. Speaking of Blaine, I’m very interested to see if he has got his memory back. He seemed very suave in this episode, the most since losing his memory and it makes me wonder how much is truth and how much Blaine’s faking. iZombie uses continuity well, and to great effect. This episode showcased that well with the ‘resurrection’ of Blaine’s father and the reveal of who killed Stoll’s husband. These will make for interesting conflicts in the episodes to come. Stoll herself is definitely going to become an antagonist this season for Liv, but the premiere humanized her enough that she will hopefully become a deeply complex antagonist.
Over-all this was an excellent, solid introduction to a new season, one that promises escalation on previously established plot lines and a whole new status quo for the show going forward.
JJ’s Rating – 8.6/10
*A quick side note, this is my first formal review done for the site and as such my structuring of it is a work in progress. Hopefully they will become more cohesive and well-thought out as a write more of them.