This iZombie review contains major spoilers.
iZombie Season 4, Episode 13
iZombie knows how to do season finales. It’s a perk we’ve come to expect from a show that is so good at its season-long arcs. iZombie has been slowly ratcheting up the tension over the course of Season 4 and, tonight, it reached its breaking point. Washington voted against any sort of plan involving human-zombie cooperation, cutting off brains to the city. Fillmore Graves, with both Liv and Levon in custody, scheduled their executions. And Blaine worked on a plan to get Angus’ zombies out of the city to, hopefully, turn more of the non-New Seattle population into zombies.
As is often the case with the best laid plans of mice and zombies, not all of these aspirations go off without a hitch. When it comes to Liv’s fate, Chase Graves severely underestimates the power and determination of Liv’s best friends. Ravi, Peyton, Clive, and Major refuse to let Liv go without a fight. They release Levon’s documentary, rallying thousands to their pro-Renegade cause. Peyton storms on Johnny Frost’s show to announce the time and place of Liv’s election. And, when it comes down to it, Major slips inside of the Fillmore Graves’ warehouse to physically halt the execution.
It’s too late for Levon—a detail not lost on Liv, who has lost what feels like a million boyfriends at this point—but Major’s antics manage to force Chase Graves onto the guillotine himself. It’s fitting that he be taken out by the same method he subjected so many others to. Chase Graves may have started out with good intentions—maybe—but he fell too in love with power far before he executed the original Renegade or gunned down one of the teenaged zombies in his employ just a few weeks ago.
In the end, it’s Liv who does the deed, pulling the guillotine lever while Chase goes after Major. The action leaves her numb—numb not only from Levon’s death just minutes before, but from the fact that she has taken a life, too. I like that iZombie doesn’t brush past this. Too many shows treat the action of taking a live like a non-event, rather than something deeply traumatizing in its own right. When a traumatized Liv is talking to Ravi after the fact, she wishes to go to a place not only where she is free from hurt, but also where she doesn’t have to hurt anyone else. If you engage in the latter thing, you suffer the former fate, as well.
While Liv’s friends work to save her from death, Blaine uses the opportunity to try to get Angus’ flock out of the city. He still plans to set them on the human population surrounding New Seatle, exploding the zombie population even further. The plan fails, with Fillmore Graves and the army taking out more than a thousand of Angus’ people, including Angus himself. It’s somehow a devastating blow for Blaine, who seemed to become attached to this much more loving version of his father. Angus 2.0 may have been an anti-human murderer, but he offered Blaine the chance at parental acceptance Blaine never really had with the pre-well version of his father.
Of course, Angus takes back that acceptance in the final moments of his life, shaming Blaine for his decision not to join the zombie masses hoping to flee the city. Blaine has always been smart, and he knows that becoming part of the front lines means death. When he is asked to choose between joining his father and surviving, he chooses the latter, and it’s not a suprise to any viewer who has spent any time whatsoever with this character over the last four seasons. In the end, Blaine is left fatherless again, though with his best mate Don E. to at least attempt to cheer him up, along with a deal with the new commander of Fillmore Graves.
That new commander would be Major Lilywhite himself who, following Chase’s death, becomes the organic leader of Fillmore Graves. In many ways, it’s disappointing to see Major take this role. Chase didn’t start out as an evil person; he was desperate, and that desperation was given terrible power by the power structure that propped him up as a dictator. As the leader of the same military complex, I doubt Major will be able to create a New Seattle that is any more just. He has to dismantle this unequal, totalitarian leadership structure to do so, and create something new in its place.
On the other hand, I understand the necessity of having some kind of stable Fillmore Graves as New Seattle recovers from this latest bout of instability and mass murder and figures out what its next step will be. The finale ends on a relatively hopeful note, with Liv cheered on by strangers and friends alike as Renegade, a hero. This moment was wonderful on a character level, but fell flat for me when it came to the larger, sociopolitical structure of this fictional world. If I am going to believe in a future where humans and zombies are able to co-exist peacefully, then it is going to be one that is not based on one person’s heroics, but rather a community that supports each other.
It’s not a coincidence that the season finale’s best, most inspiring moments didn’t come from recognition of Liv’s role as Renegade—the show never fully sold me on that—but rather in the friendships that have always made the dramatic foundation of this show and that, notably, often cross human-zombie lines. It’s the fact that Ravi literally went weak at the knees when he got news of Liv’s planned execution, or that Peyton vowed both vengeance and justice should anything happen to Liv. It’s the fact that Clive proposed to Bozzio, effectively choosing to become a zombie himself, because he would have rather lived a life as undead than one without the zombie woman he loves.
iZombie may not have always articulated its political parallels this season with as much grace as ambition, but the show did get something wonderfully right: the political is personal and, if we have any hope of fixing this fractured world, it doesn’t lie in manipulations of power, but in demonstrations of love, compassion, and shared humanity. It lies in Liv giving up her chance at a human life in order to give Clive and Dale a chance at their dream of starting a family. That is what hope looks like.
“You better not be on a plane back here. You stay there, where it’s safe.” From Peyton and Ravi’s reunion to Dale and Clive’s hilariously sweet wedding vows, there was so much great romance in this episode.
This episode’s thematic subplot was in noticing all of the Fillmore Graves dudes Liv has been involved with. Major, obviously, but also Justin, who makes an unexpected reappearance here. And can we talk about the fact that, prior to Chase ordering Liv’s execution, these two did, in fact, knock boots? Weird.
“Remember that terrible horse-themed hotel…” *Jordan looks around at where she lives.* “It wasn’t so bad.” I wish Jordan had more to do this season.
Liv and Levon love each other? I’m not sure if I buy this, but I also know people tend to get swept up in the heat of the moment when their lives are on the line.
After a season, I still just refer to the Inspector as The Inexplicably French Fillmore Graves Dude.
Chase gives Liv a minute to say goodbye to Clive, Ravi, and Peyton. This is cruel, but also results in some of the most touching moments of the episode: “Try to remember me on this on this brain. It’s the one that loves you,” Liv tells Clive. Sob.
Ravi’s “I love you” freakout is hilarious. This is why you should never try to pull a Han Solo, friends.
I wish they didn’t call it the Underground Railroad when it’s mostly a bunch of white people.
“Is that Paul Rudd narrating? … Paul Rudd, he’s a good get.” — Chase Graves on Levon’s documentary. Wait… is that actually Paul Rudd narrating? Is he like the Other Rob Thomas of this season finale?
Angus calls Don E. Donald, which is adorable.
I love Peyton. That is all.
How did we feel about iZombie’s execution of the execution scene, complete with flashes of images intercut with fades to black? There were many points in this episode where it felt like the show’s modest budget was showing, and this was one of them. Though it could have also been an artistic choice.
“I want someone else to figure it out.” — Major, on getting the Fillmore Graves commander job.
“I know who he is… even if he forgets sometimes.” Liv still sees the best in Major.
“This is my choice. I want to be your husband more than some entitled, Minecraft-playing brat’s dad.” Clive is such a charmer.
Major makes a deal with Blaine and Don E.: they are forgiven for all past transgressions (which is so much) in exchange for help smuggling more brains into the city. Dude, Chase Graves should have tried this. It would have solved a lot of his problems.
“Zombies and humans believing we can work together. What should we do first… Renegade?” This definitely felt like a season finale designed to be a series finale, in the case of cancellation, but I, for one, am glad we get to see what happens next in this story. With Major and Liv both in positionsof power and New Seattle still on the brink of chaos, what could peaceful co-existence look like? Seriously, iZombie, we need some answers so we can implement them in the real world.