This iZombie review contains spoilers.
iZombie Season 3, Episode 8
Like its CW sister show Supergirl, iZombie is a little bit more cultually in-the-know than most other network TV shows, using elements of modern youth culture to tell brain-of-the-week stories. In “Eat a Knievel,” iZombie dives into the world of the online prank and stunt shows that attract millions of viewers on platforms like YouTube. One only has to watch five minutes of tonight’s episode to realize how much value iZombie sees in the fad…
“Eat a Knievel” was much darker than your average episode of iZombie, and a lot of that had to do with the murder of the week. Finn Vincible, an online comedy stunt star seems to have zero redeemable qualities. I am not exaggerating. The more you learn about this guy, the more you hate him. At one point, Clive wonders allowed how he is suprised Finn wasn’t murdered sooner (Like most episodes of iZombie, Clive is the relatable straight man here.)
One thing that makes iZombie’s murder-of-the-week plots refreshing amidst a sea of TV police procedurals and dramas that focus on murders is that the show often doesn’t get too sentimental about its victims. Sometimes, it does, of course, but this isn’t a drama interested in manipulating you into crying about a terrible murder. It’s a show about brains and how they are used to solve murders. Sure, sometimes, the show has sympathy for the murder victims. But, more often than not, it’s not the point. Unless we’re talking about a season-long mystery like Wally and his family, sympathy is not the point.
This has never been more true than with the death of Finn, who was killed by his tormented employee Rudy after Rudy realized that Finn has slept with his wife for a stunt, resulting in a child. It’s actually not a very complicated murder. From the beginning, Finn seemed like the likeliest suspect. This wasn’t about the whodunnit so much as about the chance to thoroughly lampoon the idiocy of this subculture. This lampooning was also simplisticly unsympathetic. These aren’t criticisms, just observations. (Though, I will say that Liv on Obnoxious Viral Star Brain was tough to watch.)
The most interesting parts of this episode were happening outside of the murder case. The episode begins with the seeming murder of Vivian Stoll, who was the only Philmore Graves member (Justin excluded) that knew about Major’s human status. I’m not completely convinced that Vivian is dead (though this is the kind of unexpected death Rob Thomas would pull), but it does make for a good excuse to bring in Jason Dohring as Chase Graves, Vivian’s brother and the new leader of the company.
Chase is not a man to be trifled with. Upon his arrival, he berates the mercenary squad for taking the night off for Vivian’s wake and shoots Justin in the belly when he admits to taking six cans of Super Max. (Good thing it wasn’t Major who took them!) If Vivian saw Philmore Graves as a family of sorts, then Chase seems to see it as an army. Which leads us to the question: Who killed Vivian? (If she is dead?) It wasn’t the zombie truthers, who haven’t yet worked out the connection between th zombie population and Philmore Graves. Could it have been an inside job?
Speaking of Philmore Graves, Liv and Justin went on a sweet, stunt-fueled date. They seem to really like each other, but I am so over getting attached to Liv’s boyfriends (who aren’t Major). I always get burned.
Meanwhile, Ravi has infilitrated the zombie truther movement. (That man always gets the toughest jobs!) I would have liked to see more of this in tonight’s episode, which was a little slow-moving at parts, but it was a delight to watch Ravi and Liv undercover as a married couple (and to see Rose McIver with her natural hair!), even if the moment was short-lived.
In the other big development of the night, Blaine strikes back against his father in a rather impressive way, killing his zombie goons, sticking his father down a family well to drown for eternity, and taking over his brain business. This plot was a bit slow-moving for me. I’m not sure if I need two whole acts of Don E being irritated with his lot at The Scratching Post, but the pay off was probably worth it. It’s nice to see Blaine and Don E back together again and, though I am confused about the point of Blaine’s fake amnesia plot, Blaine as Business Villain is something iZombie has proven itself good at.
But, geez, between the remorseless murder of a terrible dude and Blaine’s merciless welling of his terrible father, “Eat a Knievel” got dark.