This iZombie review contains spoilers for the Season 3 premiere…
iZombie Season 3 Episode 1
“Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother” picks up where the violent, climactic Season 2 finale left off: with Liv, Major, and Clive trying to sort things out with Fillmore Graves’ Vivian Stone post-Max Rager massacre, and Blaine, Peyton, and Ravi trying to explain the Boss shootout/their awkward love triangle to a Don Lamb-type cop. In other words, most of this episode was some much-needed fallout/wrap-up from that killer Season 2 finale.
Most importantly, the iZombieSeason 3 premiere does something the show has never done before: it makes sure all of its main characters are on the same page, and boy does it feel good. Who knows how long Team No Big Secrets From One Another will last, but, for now, it marks this season as something new. Liv, Major, Clive, Ravi, and Peyton all gather at Liv’s apartment to put all of their cards on the table (and, conveniently, to catch the viewers up after a year-long hiatus). Team No Big Secrets From One Another has been left with a choice: join or die.
Well, it does’t seem quite as dire as that, but, at this point, Liv & co. know very little about Philmore Graves’ motives and plan. A quick visit to the corporate headquarters clears some of their confusion up. Phillmore Graves is preparing for “D” Day — or Discovery Day — the day that humankind finds out about zombiekind. They have a private army, the Supermax formula, and their own island and everything. Phillmore Graves doesn’t seem particularly evil so much as pragmatic and prepared. Will there be a difference when the zombie chip falls? Maybe not… Something tells me we will find out in the iZombieSeason 3 finale. (Because this show isn’t known for its fast-paced plotting when it comes to its larger zombie arc.)
Understandably, Clive is the hardest to convince. Not only was he just let in on the zombie secret (actually, he’s handling it pretty well, considering), but he is the only non-zombie on the tour. The decision is helped along when Clive sees a young zombie boy, Wally, he used to live next to. The two are obviously close and Clive feels protective of the kid. We’ll learn more about their relationship in next week’s episode, but, for now, it’s obvious that the two are close. Clive’s decision is made. For now, he will help keep Team Zombie’s secret, even if he obviously has some reservations and floats alternative plans to Liv during the course of the episode.
One of the best parts of this premiere comes in the form of that Clive/Liv relationship. I mentioned in my iZombie Season 2 finale review last year that I was excited to see how Liv and Clive’s relationship would grow now that he’s in on the secret. The reveal is already paying dividends. When Liv’s stoic soldier zombie brain begins to wear off and she starts to feel despair over the murder of boyfriend Drake, it’s Clive she breaks down to. And it’s Clive who tells her “he was already dead” and wh takes her out drinking, and who asks her to remember: if you hadn’t done what you did, I would be dead. iZombiedoes friendships — in particular, male-female friendships — better than most shows on television, and it’s nice to see Liv and Clive’s move forward in this way… especially because Clive is going to need a friend.
Fuel is thrown on the fire of the brewing izombie/human war in the form of an alt-right-ish radio show that is intent on exposing the secret of zombies. In the midst of this underground anti-zombie sentiment, Wally and his family end up dead, seemingly murdered as a message to other zombies: your kind is not welcome here. It obviously devestates Clive, who vows that someone will pay for this, while simultaneously being pulled deeper into the zombie cause. In many ways, this episode belonged to Clive. Perhaps this season will, as well, in the same way that Season 2 belonged to Major and his Chaos Killer plot.
Speaking of Major, he has his own fallout from the Chaos Killer plotline. Though he has been cleared off all charges legally, popular opinion has decidely not cleared him. He and Ravi come home to the words “Chaos Killer” scrawled in red across their house. When he orders an Americano, rather than his name, “Chaos Killer” is printed in black Sharpie on the cup. It’s a sad little subplot for a character who has always tried to help others. (His latest mission? Finding zombie Natasha, who is missing amongst the Chaos Killer victims.) It also drives Major to take a job with Fillmore Graves’ private army, as the likelihood of finding a job elsewhere seems small.
Meanwhile, over in Blaine’s part of the world, the former(?) villain is still playing the amnesia card, even when Don E. tries to get him to admit he has been faking it all along. I have to admit: though I continue to suspect Blaine is playing everyone here, if he is, he is doing a very good job. More than that, the show is playing the long, long con in a way TV shows don’t even try to do. Don E. quits the biz and demands he get money from all the business he’s done. When Blaine claims not to know where the money is, Don E. goes for the next best thing: stealing the frozen body of Blaine’s zombie dad and de-thawing him. Something tells me this isn’t going to end well.
While Don E. is secretly plotting against Blaine, Blaine is being a good friend to Peyton, who understandably continues to be freaked out in the wake of her kidnapping. When Liv, Major and Ravi don’t answer her phone calls, Peyton calls Blaine to hang out with her/take her mind off of its alarmist (or not) imaginings of the terrible things that are going to happen for her. No doubt this will only further aggravate her relationship with Ravi, who is being a bit of a dick after Blaine saved Peyton from Boss’ men. Given the world we live in, it’s realistic that Ravi might feel demasculated by his decision to stay in the car, however, it’s hard to sympathize with someone who makes someone else’s life-threatening kidnapping about their slighted feelings. Pull yourself together, Ravi.
Ravi’s mood is further aggravated by the appearance of his former boss (the one who fired him) on the scene. Doctor Cups has been brought in to go over the Max Rager deaths. She seems to be asking all of the right questions (i.e. Does that look like brains in the digestive tract?), but, as Ravi tells Liv: the silver lining to Cups being brought in is that her by-the-book brain will never suspect a zombie outbreak. Let’s hope Ravi knows his nemesis as well as he thinks he does.
All in all, the iZombieSeason 3 premiere proved how narratively healthy this show remains. There is still so much story to tell here and the way “Heaven Just Got a Little Smoother” deftly handled the wrapping up of last season’s major arcs and the introduction of this season’s major arcs bolstered my opinion of iZombiebeing one of the most consistent genre series on TV.