iZombie Season 5 Episode 9 Review: The Fresh Princess

iZombie's Season 5 continues to ask questions we didn't necessary need the answers to, but does it with a heck of a lot of charm.

Rose McIver as Liv in iZombie Season 5 Episode 9

This iZombie review contains spoilers.

iZombie Season 5, Episode 9

iZombie has spent much of this final season answering a question that I’m not sure many of its viewers were actually asking: how did the zombie outbreak begin? Perhaps in an attempt to make the mystery and reveal more interesting to those viewers who never wondered much about this question, iZombie has tied its explanation to another subject fans had probably long ago given up on having resolution on until a few episodes ago: the mystery of what happened to Liv’s family after they dropped off the face of the show.

I’m not sure tying these two previously not-integral aspects of the show to each other is totally working, but the other shoe has finally dropped on the reveal that Beanpole Bob, aka the man behind the zombie apocalypse, is Liv’s father, Martin Roberts. By the end of this episode, Peyton and Ravi now know the truth audience members have known for a bit: Liv’s father is hiding a major secret, one that Liv will probably never forgive him for keeping.

The dramatic irony works well in this episode, as Liv supports her father through his ostensible rehab. An empathetic person who will do anything for the people she loves, Liv is trying to decide if her father, whom she has been estranged from for most of her life, falls into that category. It’s rough for us to watch it seemingly click into place this episode, as Liv calls her father “dad” for the first time, a symbol of what he has come to mean to her in this short time.

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For Martin’s part, he is a surprisingly complex character. When he tells Liv that he thinks she is the best daughter that he could have imagined and that he wants her to let him take care of her when zombie-human relations hit a boiling point, I believe him. He cares about Liv; he just cares about the zombie revolution more. And everything, by the end of this episode, is seemingly falling into place in that regard as Dolly orchestrates a zombie attack during Seattle’s Pie-esta event.

What was meant to be a celebration of Seattle’s apparent pie culture becomes a horror show when Dolly and her minions release a very hungry Sloane Mills and her boyfriend, Jesse. Fillmore Graves is forced to kill them both, but not before Sloane kills and eats the brains of a hapless victim. It’s worth noting that not only is Sloane a victim here, too, used as a weapon by the Dead Enders, but her death may spell doom for New Seattle, as previously she was the main thing keeping her father, General Mills, from nuking the city—two facts Major obviously understands as he looks into Sloane’s hungry eyes and pulls the trigger.

Meanwhile, in the case-of-the-week, Liv and Clive are investigating the manslaughter of a 90s beauty queen. Accidentally poisoned 20 years ago, Laurie-Beth has only just died after decades in a coma, her confessed murderer, another beauty queen Velma, having been in jail since, only now proclaiming her innocence. It turns out it was Laurie-Beth’s own mother, having attempted to give Velma a rash rather than kill her own daughter. She has been living with the lie for 20 years, a reveal that is done with a high degree of sympathy for the mom, helped by the fact that Velma has somehow still maintained a degree of optimism during her time in prison. Velma’s “oh well” attitude is highly unrealistic, but also not totally unwelcome in an episode that obviously has a lot of other dark stuff going on.

Liv’s time on Laurie-Beth’s brain gets more of its substance from the naive, idealistic teen beauty pageant aspect of Laurie-Beth’s frozen-in-time personality than the vague 90s references, which are still a lot of fun. The brain sits more naturally with Liv than most she consumes, giving the character, who was presumably mostly a child of the 90s, a chance to tap into the idealism, optimism, and empathy that are inherent parts of Liv.

While this final season has arguably bitten off more than it can chew (partially and unfortunately because of budgetary limitations) when it comes to telling a zombie apocalypse story, this show does everything with such enthusiasm, charm, and good intention (much like this episode’s beauty pageant contestants) that, even when it isn’t totally pulling all of its ambitions off, it’s not hard to root for its success.

Additional thoughts.

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At the beginning of the episode, Liv doesn’t hang up the phone call with her father so much as put the phone facedown on the table.

Lunchables! Mood ring! Spice Girls! Butterfly hairclips! Sunny Came Home!

AJ of the Blue Cobras returns as part of Ravi and Peyton’s investigation into the tained utopium. Another throwback!

Dude, it kind of sucks that Liv’s mother and brother only seem to want to talk to her when they need something from her: in this case, to be smuggled out of New Seattle so that Evan can get cancer treatment in Boston. No wonder Liv is so open to patching things up with her father.

Clive loves the jinx.

“Big fan of the show here. Wife and I binged the whole shebang. I’m an Ed.” Hi, Zombie has entered the zeitgeist.

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If you were wondering, you can tell Scott E and Don E apart by Scott’s droopy ear.

“My daughter seems to have a lot of friends in high places.” Finally, someone comments on this.

“It doesn’t hurt that I live with the best zombie of them all.” <3

“Maybe it wasn’t just like Dwayne Johnson.”

“I just heard you compliment my lamp. No takesies-backsies.”

I find Ravi’s use of the phrase “gun-murdered him” very endearing.

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“You’re a badass superhero saving the day over and over.” Mayor or not, Peyton really is the freaking superhero of this show.

This was an episode featuring the main characters being adults who are pretty good at their jobs, which is nice. Also, extra points for Peyton and Ravi as adults being pretty good at their relationship.

I love that Liv’s crazy wall is also a vision board. More crazy walls should look like this, honestly.

“It’s OK to cry. Let it out, girl.”

Is Seattle known for pies? I didn’t know that.

“This is just awful.” Dolly really is such a great and infuriating character.

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“The father of all zombie-kind… is Liv’s dad.”

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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.

Rating:

3.5 out of 5