iZombie Season 3 Review

  • Series Title: iZombie
  • Season: 3
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 3 (Blu-Ray)
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Rose McIver, Rahul Kohli, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, Blu-Ray, NTSC

Below are many spoilers for the third season of iZombie.

The third season of iZombie is very short, thus there is no time for simple placeholder murder mysteries that remind the viewer of the general plot. However, unlike the previous two seasons, there also is no A leads to B, B leads to C plot of uncovering a larger mystery either – so even though the season is short, it also feels a bit unfocused.

Picking up from where Season 2 left off, Fillmore-Graves is shown to be a zombie company – everyone who works there, from upper management to soldiers, even children at the company school are zombies. The female CEO explains to Liv and Major that not only does Fillmore-Graves employ only zombies, they own an island, and they are working on the infrastructure – she hopes to move all zombies to this island before D-Day or “Discovery Day”. Major is soon employed as a Fillmore-Graves soldier.

Meanwhile Don E has started a zombie-only underground club called, “The Scratching Post”. He and Blaine’s father steal all of Blaine’s customers that were getting brains from Blaine at the funeral home. We also discover that Blaine’s father is an abusive son-of-a-bitch – and he was responsible for Blaine’s mother’s death and his grandfather being put away in a nursing home. Blaine’s father truly cares for no one – especially his son, and takes every opportunity he can to hurt others, especially Blaine.

Blaine, meanwhile, turns out to be faking his amnesia – the cure works, and the memory loss is only for a few days. Major takes the cure before they find this out though. He heads home to Walla Walla, Washington, then returns to Seattle. When his colleagues at Fillmore-Graves find out he’s human, he’s fired. Major begins a relationship with a woman who claims to believe he’s not the Chaos Killer, but unbeknownst to him – she’s a reporter for a tabloid. He also gives a dose of the cure to Natalie, the zombie call girl from season 2 that he rescued from suicide.

Don E gets sick of being abused and pushed around by Blaine’s father. Blaine is nearly killed (more than once) but turned back in to a zombie. Blaine and Don E team up again. Blaine dumps his father in a well, and feeds him brains to survive.

Meanwhile – the first case of the season is the death of a young boy and his entire family. It turns out Clive had known the boy and his mother (they lived nearby in his apartment building) but hadn’t seen them in awhile. Clive is devastated at the loss, especially after being reunited with the boy, Willie, at Fillmore-Graves. Because he’s close to the case, he isn’t allowed to investigate and it’s assigned to another homicide detective. Clive and Liv investigate anyway, throughout the season.

Liv and Clive discover Willie and his family were killed because they were zombies. The find a neighbor who’s part of a hate group, posts to message board filled with theories about how zombies are real – and even outs the family as zombies (or “brain eaters” as they put it) and publishes their address. This doxing led to the family’s death. The hate group is supported by a local radio personality – who uses the idea of “zombies being real” to stoke hate, to encourage physical violence, and, of course, to stir-up anti-government feeling – blaming “Big Government” for zombies, when it was the Corporation Max Rager who created and released the zombie virus in the first place. In the last episode, however, Liv learns that it wasn’t the zombie-hater who lived next to Willie and his family who killed them. They planned to, but were outside the residence when they were killed. Although Liv and Clive don’t know who did it – it’s implied to be someone from the Fillmore-Graves Corporation.

Three episodes in to the season, the female CEO at Fillmore-Graves is killed. She’s replaced by a more militant leader. He’s also the one who fires Major for being human – and rehires him when Major tells him he wants to be a zombie again.

In the last two episodes of season 3 of iZombie, as has become traditional for this show – everything changes. With the moderate head of Fillmore-Graves dead, the militant side of Fillmore-Graves takes over. They do not believe they can simply separate themselves from humans and live quietly. So they hatch a plot – the Aluesian Flu is released on a flight from Paris to Seattle. As more and more people get sick and even die from the deadly flu – a vaccination program is ordered. The Fillmore Graves zombies then infiltrate the storage sites for the vaccine and inject zombie blood into the vials of vaccine. Soon, the vaccinated Seattle natives turn in to Zombies. Liv is manipulated to breaking in to news anchor Johnny Frost’s broadcast to give the truth about zombies. And the head of the Fillmore-Graves military, Chase Graves, plays a video. He explains that a large portion of Seattle’s inhabitants are now zombies – but that they are normal other than their unusual dietary requirements. He says that Fillmore-Graves will provide brain mush tubes to Seattle’s zombies (they had already developed the technology for a side-effect free brain mush compound – and it was fed to all personnel and soldiers at the corporation). Stating that “a fed zombie is a happy zombie” he vows that no zombie will feed on the living, that all the zombies in Seattle can be properly fed if just 1 in 10 brains from natural deaths in other areas of the country are sent to Seattle. Chase Graves also remarks that Fillmore-Graves Corporation will establish zombie police and courts to deal with zombie-on-zombie crime. Some humans flee, but no doubt others will stay. The ending montage shows Fillmore-Graves soldiers, including Major, handing out brain tubes, and turning humans who are mortally sick with the flu into zombies.

Ravi also claims to discover a vaccine to prevent zombie-ism, which he puts on a sugar cube (like the polio vaccine) and eats. He then has Liv scratch him to test it.

So the season is a bit weird. In the first episode, there are two victims, a father and his teenaged daughter – so Liv has the brains of the father and Major the brains of the daughter. Watching Major on “teenaged girl brains” is hilarious! It made me appreciate the actor a lot more and added to his character – it was a shame this only happens once, as the rest of the time, Major eats the Fillmore-Graves Corporation-provided brain tubes and has no personality changes or visions. And as horrible as the military-arm of Fillmore-Graves’ plot is – the first CEO’s plan of “Zombie Island” probably wouldn’t have worked – no doubt radical, prejudiced people would have destroyed the entire island. But, on the other hand, turning most of the population of Seattle into zombies, many without their knowledge or consent, has just created a “larger island” – and it will be interesting to see if that plot point is picked up in season four or not. And Fillmore-Grave is implied to have been behind the deaths of the CEO and her secretary and helicopter pilot, Willie and his family, and several Fillmore-Graves soldiers both throughout the season and at Major’s “going away” party. So, they aren’t exactly to be trusted when they are willing to kill their own people to get what they want.

Meanwhile, Blaine has become one of the most complicated and interesting characters on the show. Lounge singer “cuddly Blaine” who has an affair with Payton, I actually quite liked. I felt bad for him when Payton rejected him, especially as by then we know about his past and the physical, mental, verbal, and other abuse inflicted on him by his father and the world’s worst nanny.

Don E also has grown up a bit – running The Scratching Post is clearly all he wants. He has no desire to franchise out, or expand (like both Blaine’s father and Blaine himself would like to do). Don E is happy being a big fish in a small pond, which is an admirable trait. He also shows a strange sense of loyalty – to Blaine, to Liv and Major (covering for Major when he enters the zombie-only club as a human).

Overall, I found iZombie Season 3 to be a quick watch (I finished it last Saturday, 12/9/2017, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to type up a review). Although there were parts of season 3 that were very uncomfortible (the racist anti-zombie humans, the portrayal of Fillmore-Graves as “zombie saviors” even though they had killed several zombies to get in to power, including Willie and his family, etc.), overall the show is still very, very good, and I will certainly purchase season 4 next year.

Read my Review of Season 1 of iZombie.

Read my Review of Season 2 of iZombie.

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iZombie Season 2 Review (Spoilers)

  • Series Title: iZombie
  • Season: 2
  • Episodes: 19
  • Discs: 4 (Blu-Ray)
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Rose McIver, Rahul Kohli, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka, Steven Weber, Leanne Lapp, Greg Finley
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, Blu-Ray, NTSC

Many spoilers below for the second season of iZombie.

iZombie Season 2 opens with a couple episodes designed to remind the audience of the plot. Additionally, the first two brains that Liv consumes are of “asshole victims” – so the audience has no sympathy for them. Liv Moore is a Zombie, having been scratched by a Zombie at the world’s worst boat party. She now works in the morgue, for access to brains, with Ravi – the only person at the start of the season who knows she’s a zombie. Liv also works with Clive Babineaux, a Seattle PD detective who thinks her insights to his cases come from psychic visions. Since eating brains allows Liv to absorb the personality of the brain she’s just consumed and to experience visions of what the person experienced, Clive is somewhat correct about the visions part. The first few episodes of the season fall in to a regular pattern – Clive is called to a homicide, Liv and Ravi respond as well, the body’s taken to the morgue, there’s a curiously yummy montage of Liv preparing the brain to eat (these are surprisingly yummy – substitute beef, chicken, or tofu for the brains and Liv’s recipes would probably be *good*) and Liv uses her visions and personality changes to help Clive solve the murder. But about episode 9 or 10 the series focuses more and more on the continuing storyline and how each character fits in and changes.

About episode 9 or 10 – Payton returns. Payton is Liv’s old roommate who found out at the end of the first season that Liv was a Zombie – she freaked out and left Seattle. Back in town, Payton is now a District Attorney, who is trying to make a case against Mr. Boss – the kingpin of Seattle’s mafia. Very quickly Blaine becomes her star witness and the two also become involved. Payton lives with Ravi and Major for awhile, briefly gets her own apartment, then moves back in with Liv.

Blaine, last year’s “Big Bad” is now running Shady Plots funeral home – mostly as a front to get brains to sell to Seattle’s zombies, and as a front for selling Utopium. That is, until Mr. Boss gets wind of his trying to muscle in on the lucrative Utopium trade. Blaine has two lackies, a mute, giant zombie, called “Chief”, – and Don E – a ambitious low-level drug dealer who eventually is turned into a zombie (by his own choice). Blaine also has a very difficult relationship with his abusive father. Blaine walks in to Payton’s office one day and offers to give her all the inside information she could ever want to make a case against Mr. Boss. Blaine’s mostly doing this to get rid of the competition. Blaine’s life (he’s also now cured of his zombie-ism) is going fine – his cover as a “businessman” running Shady Plots is working. Payton’s office will give him immunity for any old crimes, mostly related to drugs, in return for his information and testimony, and Blaine is making money from selling Utopium and brains. However, Ravi discovers the zombie cure is temporary – eventually it will wear off, and be followed by death. Ravi makes a second cure, but, again, is unable to fully test it before giving a syringe of it to Blaine. Later, after first reverting to zombie-form, Blaine becomes convinced he’s dying. He takes the cure and becomes a total amnesiac.

Major Lilywhite also is human again, thanks to Liv giving him the cure. He’s in the same position as Blaine, though, he will eventually become a zombie again. He gets some work as a personal trainer, but is also hired by Max Rager – there, he is blackmailed into tracking down zombies and killing them. Vaughn, the head of the Max Rager company has a list of 322 suspected zombies. He blackmails Major into killing the zombies, or Liv will die. At first, Major kills the people he finds out were actual zombies (he can now literally sense a nearby zombie). However, Major’s conscious kicks in, so he starts telling Vaughn that the suspects aren’t zombies. When that doesn’t work – Major knocks out the zombies with drugs, then drops them in a freezer. Later, Major also reverts to being a zombie.

Clive, besides working on the weekly murders, gets a new partner, a female FBI agent who is looking in to the “Chaos Killer” serial murders. Major’s crimes have not gone unnoticed, and as the case is thought to involve kidnappings – the FBI starts to investigate. Clive also very gradually starts to fall for the FBI agent.

At the beginning of the season Liv and Major get back together romantically, but as they cannot have sex without Major becoming a zombie – Liv eventually sets him free. Liv also has a roommate briefly, before Payton returns – but Rita is actually a Max Rager executive who is keeping tabs on her. Rita also has a brief affair with Major who later dumps her. And Rita turns out to be Vaughn’s daughter.

Much of the season has Ravi trying to find a cure – first he needs a sample of the tainted Utopium that caused zombism in the first place. He briefly gets a sample from Blaine – but it’s destroyed. Once he gets a new sample – it causes severe issues. Given to a zombie it kills them, turning the zombie to dust. Batch two causes the newly-human former zombie to be a complete amnesiac. Also, Ravi and Liz seem to think it was only the tainted Utopium that caused people to become zombies, forgetting about the Max Rager energy drink being part of the equation (or it’s never really mentioned).

After giving up Major, Liv starts dating Drake, one of Blaine’s lackies – but he’s also working for Mr. Boss – but he’s also an undercover vice cop. Unfortunately, Liv had dumped him when she found out he worked for Mr. Boss, before discovering he was a cop from the Drake’s mother. Major, meanwhile, sees his name on the list, and knocks him out and freezes him.

The conclusion of the season is, wow – but very violent. In a season where more and more and more people find out that Liv is a zombie, and more people in general find out that zombies exist in Seattle, it seems for awhile that Det. Clive Babineaux is the only one who doesn’t know what is going on. He finds out in the penultimate episode. Major is arrested for the the “chaos killer” murders – creating a extremely dangerous situation because he’s trapped in jail without proper food so to speak. Clive, after discovering Liv is a zombie, scuttles the case against Major, getting him released (and destroying his relationship with the FBI agent). Liv, Major, and Clive resolve to break in to the secret lab at Max Rager to release Liv’s zombie boyfriend, Drake, and all the others that have been taken from Major’s storage facility. It does not go well.

The final episode is utter, bloody chaos. Zombies escape the lab, attacking the Max Rager employees locked in to a prison-themed “Super Max” party. Meanwhile, Vaughn has sold his company, including the secret lab and all the zombie research within to a private military contractor. Vaughn’s daughter, Rita, is also turned into a zombie – and Vaughn imprisons her in the basement, which makes her very angry indeed. Although Drake dies – many of the intelligent zombies are released, while the more violent “romeros” are killed off (it’s a bloody episode). Major ends up trapped in a room of recovering intelligent zombies who remember him as the guy who knocked them out and froze them. Liv discovers the woman running the military contracting company is a zombie who plans to make Seattle the capital of Zombie Nation.

The second season of iZombie is as good if not better than the first. The first few episodes remind viewers very effectively of the plot and actually even create a good starting point if the viewer hadn’t seen season 1. Although the first few episodes seem to be heading in a formulaic direction, about episode 9 or 10 the series focuses more on the continuing storyline and less on weekly murder-of-the-week procedural stories. This draws in the viewer. Each of the characters experiences a great deal of change. And Clive finally is told the truth. I like this series a lot and I highly recommend it.

Plead read my iZombie Season 1 Review as well.

iZombie Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: iZombie
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 3 (Blu-Ray)
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Rose McIver, Rahul Kohli, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, Blu-Ray, NTSC

Olivia Moore, Liv to her friends, was a driven, A-personality doctor, engaged to Major Lilywhite, and happy with her life. Then she goes to a boat party where things get way out of hand, between the drugs, an energy drink called Max Rager, a fire, fights, and all hell breaking loose, Liv barely notices when she’s scratched by one of the guys at the party. She falls or dives off the boat, and wakes up on the shore, in a body bag, craving brains. Liv is a zombie. She quits her job at the hospital, and dumps her fiancé, then gets a job at the morgue so she has access to brains to eat. Ravi, her boss at the morgue, is the only one know knows Liv is a zombie – she doesn’t tell her family, her roommate, Payton, or Major. But all is not hopeless for Liv, she discovers that when she eats someone’s brain she takes on their personality traits, and has visions of how they died. Liv soon partners with Det. Clive Babineaux, a new Seattle police detective to solve murders. Liv’s excuse for how she knows so much about the victims? She’s psychic.

So if this sounds like a mash-up of Psych, Quantum Leap, and The Walking Dead, it somewhat is – yet… there is more. As the season progresses, it moves from establishing it’s universe, to a medical thriller. Liv gradually learns just what made her a zombie, as well as who. Liv even makes another zombie herself, accidentally, which leads deeper in to a conspiracy involving the Max Rager energy drink and a designer drug called Utopium. Liv’s personal life gets more and more complicated as well. Major works at a homeless shelter for street kids – but the kids are disappearing. He takes advantage of Liv’s friendship with Det. Babineaux, to have someone look in to it. But he’s never satisfied to let the professionals do the work – and slowly uncovers the zombie conspiracy of Seattle. Blaine, the zombie who made Liv a zombie, is a drug-dealer type, supplying brains to Seattle’s zombies. He works out of a butcher shop called Meat Cute. But Blaine isn’t above making someone a zombie so that he has a steady supply of new customers.

iZombie is a complicated mix of police procedural, paranormal mystery, and SF. It has that 20-something vibe of most CW shows, but it’s a bit more grown-up and sophisticated than Supernatural. I was expecting more humor, but the complicated nature of the continuing storyline drew me in. Season 1 still had a bit of a set-up feel, despite the breadth of material covered in the season. iZombie is based on a comic published by Vertigo Comics, the adult/mature readers imprint of DC Comics.