iZombie: Astroburger Review

A killer third act manages to salvage an otherwise lackluster, unfunny murder-of-the-week episode.

iZombie‘s“Astroburger” was saved from its lackluster murder-of-the-week plot by a twisty, compelling third act — but two acts is a lot of time to waste when the show still has so many balls in the air when it comes to its larger zombie plot.

As great as it was to pretend that Liv’s murder-solving buddy weatherman Johnny Frost was actually Veronica Mars’ Cliff McCormack back in action, the novelty eventually wore off and I was left wondering what happened to the narrative urgency built up from Lowell’s shocking and heartbreaking murder a few episodes ago. With only two episodes left in the season, I have no doubt that iZombie will finish what has been a highly enjoyable inaugural season on a high note. I just wish the season-ending sprint to the finish had already started because iZombie has squandered some serious narrative energy with talking devils and almost-watching Jimmy Stewart films. (And I love almost-watching Jimmy Stewart films.)

Good news? Major finally finds out about zombies in this week’s episode. Bad news? Liv isn’t the one to tell him. Through a combination of Scott E.’s conspiratorial whispers at the end of last week’s episode and his theft of some of Meat Cute’s deliveries, Major puts the pieces together. Ironically, he brings the news to Liv, proving that she is still the person he trusts most of all when Liv herself has not trusted Major with the knowledge of her zombie identity.

How will Major react when he finds out that Liv herself is a zombie? We’re going to have to wait even longer to find out, given that Major followed up his zombie declaration with a vow that he would kill all the zombies. Awkward.

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We have to give Liv some credit. She did tell Major about zombies… in her hallucinations. After eating the brain of murder-of-the-week victim Scott E., Liv starts imagining a lot of things, blurring the lines between reality and not reality. Liv’s delusions seemingly manifest solely in the form of devil illustrations (on chip bags, mugs, that sort of thing). The animated devils are so annoying, not at all witty, and may be a major reason why the murder-of-the-week plot falls flat. It’s all very Wonderfalls, but without the benefit of being written into the narrative structure of the series itself, the Talking Devil Faces distract rather than entertain or propel the story forward. However, Liv’s devil-faced delusions do work incredibly well as a distraction from the fact that Liv is also hallucinating interactions with actual people — i.e. local weatherman Johnny Frost and Major.

I have to admit: I didn’t see this twist coming and iZombie managed to pull the same reveal on me not once, but twice. Better yet? This construct wasn’t a cheap gimmick; it revealed a great deal about Liv’s character, while simultaneously spurring the plot forward. In her interactions with Hallucination Johnny, Liv managed to find Scott E.’s vid of the zombie boat party, including an incriminating shot of Liv gorging on someone’s brains.

This will no doubt play a part in the zombie plot moving forward. (Hopefully, we don’t have to sit through another dull murder-of-the-week to find out how.) In her interactions with Hallucination Major, we realize just how much Liv still loves Major. She imagines them cuddling, kissing, and Major taking the news that she is a zombie incredibly well. Finding out that all of this was a hallucination was heartbreaking to watch, and worked to get me very invested in the Major/Liv romance.

Other big developments this week? Ravi has seemingly made a breakthrough in developing a cure for zombie-ism. This all seems too good to be true. Will the former-zombie rat explode or something when Ravi’s not looking? Will Blaine take Ravi out rather than risk losing his hungry zombie clientele? I really want to find out the answers to these questions. Here’s hoping iZombie doesn’t avoid them with more needless murder plots.


3 out of 5