This iZombie review contains MAJOR spoilers for the series finale and some spoilers for Veronica Mars Season 4.
iZombie Season 5, Episode 12
iZombie has always gone all-in with its season finales and, as the season finale to end all iZombie season finales, “All’s Well That Ends Well” was the epitome of that. Of course, just because the series finale was epic, doesn’t mean it wasn’t straight-up hokey and weird, too. This finale wanted to have its cake and eat it too, wanted to raise the stakes of its zombie-fied world without actually following through on any of those stakes’ inevitable consequences for its main characters. It made for a tonally dischordant, bonkers experience of a finale… though one that was pretty darn enjoyable.
So what went down in the iZombie series finale? Reader, so much. It was downright Shakespearean in the number of times characters mistakenly thought other characters were dead. (No one was answering their cell phones during the Battle for Seattle.) First, it was Ravi and Liv who thought Peyton was dead (understandably—so did I), after Blaine’s minion shot her when she was being a total badass, rescuing the Freylich kids from Blaine’s greedy clutches. (She and Clive will always be the heroes of this show to me.)
In actuality, Blaine scratched her before all of the life could drain from her body, giving her undead life so she would see another day. This was the first time the iZombie finale undercut its own stakes, a trend that would continue throughout the episode. Unfortunately, we don’t get much insight into why Blaine did it. Does he still love Peyton? He doesn’t seem capable of love. What is his endgame here? This was an instance of plot dictating character, and it didn’t work for me.
In general, Blaine’s arc got put on the backburner here, and maybe that’s OK? We tend to spend too much time, culturally, trying to empathize with and understand bad guys. Maybe it’s better just to push them in a well, which Don E does to Blaine when he finds out (via Peyton, in another badass moment) that Blaine killed Darcy. Don E was already at his wit’s end with Blaine, having realized earlier in the season that Blaine will never be loyal to him in the way he has been to Blaine.
Liv shows up later to send Don E down the same well. It is a fitting ending, that these two bad guys end up stuck for eternity together down the same well they imprisoned their own enemies. I’m not sure what iZombie is trying to say with this, especially because it seems unlikely that they will stay down there forever, but it was one of the more believable and fitting ends for a closing chapter filled with bizarre endings for its characters.
The second main character death fakeout came with Major, who really should have died as a nod to the ongoing trend that all of Liv’s boyfriends will die. (I kid, I kid!) First, Major walks into Filmore Graves under the totalitarian rule of Frenchie. While Enzo claims that he will let Major fight for the zombie cause, I don’t think anyone (characters or viewers) believes him, which is fair, given that Major is also coming into the facility under false pretenses. He needs to steal the Max Rager so that Ravi can develop the cure.
While Major may be walking into a not-even-really-veiled trap, he still has people loyal to him on the inside (frankly, I can’t keep all of these supporting characters straight!), one of whom saves him at the cost of her own life. Major gets out and Ravi manages to develop the cure, but they need a way to get the information out to the people. Apparently, no one uses YouTube in New Seattle because they make their way to the local TV station where they try to convince Johnny Frost (who gets the funniest line in the episode: “I’m not even the most famous zombie in this six-foot radius.”) to take the cure live on camera.
Johnny Frost doesn’t do it, but he does heroically make the announcement that he is one before Enzo and his armed minions break into the news station and shut him down. They start the broadcast again, this time with Enzo making his own, dictator-y announcement, only to be interrupted by Major, who has a plan that he announces to the public: He will inject himself with the cure and then Enzo can shoot him to prove to everyone that it works.
Yeah, it’s a stupid plan, one seemingly designed to counteract arguments iZombie fans might have online about the plot holes in the series finale after the fact (to which I say: This isn’t Game of Thrones… thank god). Luckily, Ravi thinks it’s a dumb plan, too. Unbeknownst to us viewers, he gives Major a fake cure so that, when he takes it and Enzo shoots him, he survives. Then, Ravi tackles Enzo, giving him the cure. Enzo is then shot by that dude who was a mole in Renegade’s camp because Enzo and company kidnapped his boyfriend. (There are so many supporting characters I don’t really care about on this show.)
Meanwhile, Dale is having her baby. (Seriously, Clive and Dale seem like they are in a different show for this entire sequence.) They are watching the fake Major death on TV, so Clive tells Liv that Major is dead. Then, Liv listens to a voicemail from Major about how he has always loved her just before Michelle walks into the morgue and then they are both blown up, Veronia Mars Season 4-style, by a suicide bomber. (OK, so not exactly like Veronica Mars Season 4.
The problem with having so much plot is there was so little time for the quieter, character-driven moments. We get a few—like Major comforting Ravi when they think Peyton is dead or even the funny text conversations between Ravi, Clive and Liv—but they never linger for long. The plot takes precedent here, because there is too much to get through for an hour-long episode, and there is something slower and more lyrical sacrificed in the process.
We flash forward to ten years later. Yes, really. Dale and Clive are co-police captains in the city of San Fransisco. Ravi is the head of the CDC in Atlanta where Peyton also lives, still being a badass. Major and Liv are fake-dead, if anyone asks, and real dead to their loved ones because they never took the zombie cure. They’re living the life of retired house parents on Zombie Island with their gaggle of Freylich kid zombies and orphans.
The virtual reality TV series that Clive, Peyton, and Ravi guest on tells us that humans and the remaining zombie population can now live in peace because there is a much smaller population of the latter, which doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense, given that the zombie population of New Seattle never seemed particularly large to begin with and the draw of immortality seems like an alluring one for a culture obsessed with youth and a species obsessed with, you know, surviving. But whatevs.
The episode ends with Liv trying to convince her friends to turn zombie and live with her family on Zombie Island, which, frankly, seems like a great deal presented in this problem-free, dream-like context. It seems like a conversation they’ve probably had before, so I’m not sure if Peyton’s “yeah, sure,” is an actual agreement or more of the next beat in their small talk banter. Etiher way, the whole ending feels like bizarro world.
“All’s Well That Ends Well” will never go down as one of the great finales in TV history. It’s far too wishy-washy in its sense of consequence and downright ridiculous in its plot twists to even make honorable mention for that list—but it was a lot of fun to watch and, in a point in history when the news seems to be all terrible consequence, it’s nice to have a long-running TV show end with the good guys not only winning, but living happily ever after. (Even if it feels like they are all kids playing make-believe in that flash-forward scene.)
Was this a good ending for Liv? Frankly, I never felt like I understood Liv’s character enough to make that judgment. Because she was so often a prisoner to the personality/cariactures of the brains she was eating, and the rules of the brain-eating were always so murky, it was hard to get a grasp on who Liv really was. To me, iZombie never made me believe in Major and Liv in the way the season finale needs for their reunion to pay off. However, one trait that has always been true of Liv is that she believes in and will do anything for her friends. In that way, we get a fitting ending for Liv and this story.
This 10-year peek into our future is far too jarring to make any sort of sense, but this show has always been at its best when it is a story about a group of found family friends dealing with an inordinate amount of crisis thrown at them. In that way, just seeing this group together is enough. Will they all move to Zombie Island? I don’t know. But as long as they’re all in one another’s lives in some regard, that’s a happy ending for me.
The fact that all of iZombie‘s main cast survived the blood bath while so many supporting characters died wasn’t necessarily a poor choice (though it was a redundant one—Peyton, Major, and Liv all had fake deaths in this episode), but it did highlight just how much better developed this main cast is than the gaggle of supporting characters.
Hi, Piz! (Chris Lowell, who played the character of Piz on Veronica Mars appeared as the host of the virtual reality TV show in the flash forward.)
Is anyone else worried that Dolly Durkins is still out there? I am. She was the scariest villain of this show’s entire run.
Oh yeah, Clive and Michelle also adopted Michelle’s son, who really died in that suicide bomb (sorry, Michelle, should have been more of a main character). They also named their daughter Olivia, presumably after Liv. Aww.
Also, this virtual reality TV talk show made me laugh so hard. Like, this is 10 years in the future. Why would guests not just Skype in? It does the same thing. The only value to this sort of thing would seemingly be the ability to be in the studio audience as the viewer, but there’s no one else virtually there? How do people even watch this show?
The death fakeouts were particularly jarring, perhaps, for those who have watched the Veronica Mars Season 4 finale, which ended with the seemingly for realz death of one of that show’s main characters in a manner not unsimilar to one of the fake deaths in this episode.
In the ending, the iZombie series finale didn’t really seem to have much to say about anything besides extreme tribalism is bad and so is violence and maybe don’t perch on the edges of wells? Which: I agree.
I’m going to miss this show. For all of its weaker elements, it was always so damn charming, pretty consistently funny, and often ambitious in its attempts at allegory (which I prefer over not trying at all). The using zombie-ism as a metaphor thing never really worked out, but a show about a group of 20-something friends trying to make good choices in a world turning increasingly mad? Yeah, that’s pretty damn relatable.
I guess Blaine and Don E are still in that well?