This iZombie review contains spoilers.
iZombie Season 4 Episode 6 Review
If you have Rachel Bloom for a cameo on a show that lets you do things about as bonkers as what they’ve got going on over at Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, you damn well better not waste her. On that front, iZombie absolutely delivered. I really can’t imagine a better use for her than as the director-cum-gender-bending-star of the Rent-plus-zombies social commentary community theatre musical. Every part of that sentence just makes me grin. This character allowed Rachel Bloom to do the most, and then saddle Liv a weirdly driven, hyper-organized ball of ego and tension, which turned out to be exactly what she needed.
Liv picking up the pieces of Mama Leone’s organization wasn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be. I’m still a little fuzzy on why she had to scratch people on camera, and while I get the drive to secretly make this highly dangerous documentary, I’m not sure that understanding was earned. I’m currently torn between wanting to see Liv learn the ropes and go down the rabbit hole of running this organization and wanting the obvious conflict between Liv and Chase, Major and Clive to become unavoidable. So far Chase seems like it will be the most fraught, since he’s at the top and is a character we could reasonably lose to self-sacrifice or permanent scorn.
A bonus to Ravi’s zombie purgatory is that we get two brains this episode, the latest in the iZombie writers’ attempt to make the brain-of-the-week format better suit the show’s current deeply serialized needs. These brains work best when they tap into whatever is already going on with our characters serially, like how this brain pushed forward Ravi and Peyton’s story, and offered a chance to quickly check in on Liv and Major’s fight.
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, this did nothing to push forward Ravi’s research, but with so many major threads in the air, something had to give. Still, I wish we had had a chance to check in with Chase Graves after what was an intense and conflicted previous episode – am I the only one who was counting on a Logan Echolls-style late night, drunken, guilt-ridden visit to Liv for some confused romantic tension and possible stress-induced, end-of-the-world hate-sex?
As for Ravi and Peyton’s reunion, this felt very well earned. Ravi had become a ghost of the man we love, he knew it. He spent some serious time dealing with it, and not being allowed to blame Peyton (try though he did at his ghastliest). I do wish iZombie had taken the opportunity to show the shallow foolishness (and sometimes downright creepiness) of the “grand, romantic gesture.” Considering that Blaine’s gesture and Ravi’s lack therof was a big part of what sent Ravi and Peyton down these paths to begin with. Not to mention, heroin withdrawal brain is seriously dangerous while also pushing the limits of the in-world rules for zombieism and brain consumption. Still, I’ll take the win where I can get it, in the form of Ravi’s happiness and a rare man on television who has to learn to grow up and respect a woman, rather than treating her like a prize to be won.
Leaving Chase’s moral conflict (and obvious candidacy for competing love interest) aside, this was a good episode for people owning up to their baggage. Clive still know how to function in an open relationship, which makes sense for his personality, so he bungles his first effort. It was refreshing to see someone make a mistake in a romantic encounter and then unequivocally take responsibility for their actions, their emotions, and how they’ve hurt someone else.
I hope Dale talks to Clive about what she overheard in the next episode and that the conversation goes in a similarly adult fashion. Polyamory, open relationships, and ethical nonmonogamy are trendy, but it would be great to see a show take these concepts seriously as emotionally healthy ways to live your life, rather than constant pearl-clutching or making it the butt of the joke. If Dale and Clive are going to make this work (and please let them, at least for a little while!) they’re going to need to communicate.
Liv and Major barely interacted, but when they did it was childish and frosty. We’re meant to put most of that on the D-R-A-M-A brain Liv is on, but I’m growing annoyed by how often she’s let off the hook like that, both by other characters and the show in general. Her actions here feel pretty natural to her character, if she responded with no filter, though that impetuousness did make their fight seem more silly than heartbreakingly sad, as it did in the previous episode. Aside from the narrative laziness of continually letting our heroine off the hook for much of her behavior, it makes less and less sense for it to go with little more than the occasional eyebrow raise from the other zombies of New Seattle. I love Liv, but what I really want to see is her taking more ownership over some of her behavior.
As Liv and Major take time apart, Liv spends more time with her incoming love interest, Levon. Given her history, you’ve got to imagine this guy’s days are numbered. Still, he gives us a good reason to spend more time in Mama Leone’s organization, which features the excellent Melissa O’Neil (2/Portia Lin on Dark Matter) and Francis Capra (Weevil on Veronica Mars. There’s just something about seeing Frank Capra giving a tiny blonde a hard time while somebody investigates a bus crash that makes my marshmallow heart flutter. For now anyway, I’m happy to see Liv making a difference, and doing so with friendly faces, while I worry about what Fillmore-Graves and Blaine’s dad have in store for New Seattle.