iZombie Season 5, Episode 4 Review: Dot Zom

iZombie takes on the very topical theme of data-mining as Liv & Clive investigate the murder of a tech CEO.

This iZombie review contains spoilers.

iZombie Season 5, Episode 4

If you need an example of how consistently entertaining the iZombie formula has stayed over the course of five seasons, look no further than “dot zom,” a good, old-fashioned episode of this show that delivers a compelling murder mystery that ties into the series’ larger arcs in some integral ways. iZombie, you still got it.

This week’s murder concerns the death of a tech company CEO named, wait for it, Cornell. Cornell has his very own apocalypse bunker for when shit inevitably hits the fan (I kind of want this show to end with the end of the world—is that too dark?). Sadly for him, he never had the chance to make it to it or explain to Peyton that he, creepily, gave her a spot on the guestlist after he split with his ex-girlfriend—probably, because he wants to sleep with her.

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Cornell created the apocalypse bunker because he knew something that the rest of New Seattle doesn’t: he was in the process of developing a data-mining system for zombie-hating bigot and local businessowner Sheldon Drake that would make identifying the zombies of New Seattle very easy. With a system like this one, which still seems to be a goal for the zombie doxxing website that represents the Dead Enders’ latest project, zombies could be taken out en masse. It’s a terrifying process not only for the zombie population of New Seattle, but also for anyone who values the relative stability of the city.

When it becomes clear that it was not Sheldon who murdered Cornell, but rather Cornell’s ex-partner and current CEO Melissa, Liv and Clive have a choice to make. Locking Sheldon up would mean keeping him from planning the mass murder of the zombie population, but, as Clive points out, “we’re not pre-cogs.” They can’t arrest Sheldon for a crime he has yet to commit, even if they want to. To be honest, I wasn’t sure which way this would go—and I wonder, were Clive not a part of this decision, if Liv would have made the same choice. After all, many of our protagonists have demonstrated that they are more than willing to take the law into their own hands in some unsettling ways.

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Meanwhile, another Big Bad is on the rise, recruiting several mutinous Fillmore Graves members for his operation. He believes that zombies are the next step in human evolution and doesn’t seem to have any qualms with taking human or zombie life to reach his goals, which, at this point, remain somewhat nebulous in nature. He kidnaps Graham, a zombie teacher that Liv and Major have hired to tutor the zombie orphans they are apparently raising, forcing Graham to work for them presumably against Renegade and co. by holding Graham’s boyfriend hostage. 

Ravi pulls double duty this week, helping with the murder investigation while also helping Peyton in the long-running drama that has been the Hi, Zombie project. Unsurprisingly, Jimmy is unable to successfully take notes, completely misunderstanding the point of the project in favor of preserving his artistic comedic vision (which is, let it be said, not funny). It is a bit annoying how much iZombie and its characters bend over backwards to ensure that, even after Jimmy is fired and replaced by Yasmin, Jimmy’s ego is left intact. Dude’s a bad writer. There, I said it.

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You know who seems to be a good writer—or at least a solid investigative journalist? Al (short for Alice), the woman who has been hired to do a profile on Blaine. While this seemingly starts as a straight-forward feature, the more Al sees of Blaine’s world (including the mask he wore when killing the mayor), the more she understands this is a bigger, more complex story than she could have imagined.

It kind of surprises me that everyone in New Seattle doesn’t understand how corrupt Blaine is. I am also not sure that Al writing some kind of expose exposing all of Blaine’s crimes would make a difference? This says a lot about my current level of faith in humanity and/or the power of money and wealth, but Blaine is protected by his black market brain supply. As long as he is the only one who is securing the zombie population food, he is untouchable.

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That being said, I am into this new storyline. It is interesting to see Blaine’s weak spot: namely, his own ego with a side helping of a conventionally beautiful woman. Al is a major threat but, at least for now, Blaine can’t see that. Like Yasmin elsewhere in the episode, the dudes around Al are totally underestimating what she is capable of. However, the stakes are very high. Blaine has demonstrated again and again how willing he is to take out any threat to his power.

Thematically, “Dot Zom” had some delightfully feminist undertones weaved throughout many of its storyline: namely, a pattern of male characters underestimating the competency of the women in their lives. Whether it was Blaine and Al, Jimmy and Yasmin, or Cornell and Melissa, women got shit done in “Dot Zom.”

Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

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3 out of 5