Tag Archives: iZombie

iZombie: “Zombie Bro” is a return to most excellent form for the show

I think I almost one hundred percent loved this episode, which I was looking forward to with some trepidation after the racist mess that was the season premier. Everything about “Zombie Bro” worked, though. There were lots of “bro” puns, some interesting revelations, and a gut punch at the end that promises some serious drama in the future.

The murder victim of the week is stabbed to death at a frat party, which kicks off an investigation that has a couple of parallels with and tonal similarities to last week’s mystery. It’s interesting to me that they would do two such thematically similar episodes back to back, but I like the confidence that shows. It seems obvious that the writers aren’t worried about the audience getting bored and are certain that the other elements of the show will keep people coming back. In light of how heavily I criticized last week’s episode, I also kind of like that this episode felt sort of like a do-over of that shitshow, and I know that if I ever rewatch this series in the future I’ll be pretending that this was the season premiere.

Highlights of “Zombie Bro” include:

  • “E tu, bro-te?” (Have I mentioned how much I love puns?)
  • The guy with the same name as the murder victim.
  • Liv’s inappropriate laughter.
  • Furries.
  • Liv’s police tape dress, which is a miracle of handicraft that I wish I thought I could pull off for Halloween. (Sadly, I think I’m just too busty for that look.)
  • Princess Sparkles.
  • Major not knowing how to buy drugs. Because of course he doesn’t.
  • Ravi not knowing how to take drugs.
  • Seriously, all of the banter between Major and Ravi in this episode was great. I’m really starting to love these guys together, and I want more of this dynamic.
  • Liv’s is still Major’s in case of emergency number.
  • Ravi dancing shirtless. Thank you, iZombie writers.
  • Major falling asleep in Liv’s lap. I don’t care for Major that much, but I’d have to be a monster to not be affected by this scene.
  • Ravi trying to make sense of his messages to himself the next day. You can really see the moment when he gives up.
  • We get to meet Blaine’s dad, and it’s probably the best Blaine scene to date. This makes so much sense.
  • That whole ending, which was just heartbreaking.

As much as I loved “Zombie Bro” it’s not without its flaws.

  • Peyton is still missing in action, and this week she didn’t even get a mention. By the time she comes back, we’re going to have straight up forgotten what she even looks like.
  • Liv dragging Gilda to the frat party could have been really fun, but instead Gilda just came off as a wet blanket and Liv came off like some kind of weirdo with a case of arrested development who dragged her new roommate to a frat party. It was a completely wasted opportunity, and Liv and Gilda barely even interacted with each other. Considering how much both Liv and I are longing for Liv to have a friendship with another woman, I was pretty disappointed by this.
  • Everything Major-related that doesn’t directly involve Liv or Ravi. When he’s with other characters, Major is great, but by himself he’s just a big beige bore, especially since Liv and Ravi are both people who Major could talk to about the stuff he’s going through and he just sort of stubbornly refuses to.

Overall, though, this was great episode, and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the season and trying to pretend that “Grumpy Old Liv” never happened.

iZombie is back, and things have gotten weird

So, I loved the first season of iZombie, but I’m already struggling a little to get into the new season. It wasn’t bad, but I think I was just so excited about it, especially in a year of otherwise pretty lackluster programming, that there was no way I wasn’t going to be disappointed. And “Grumpy Old Liv” was such a disappointment, on multiple levels.

  1. I’m not a huge fan of time skips, and I especially hate them when they’re used poorly.
    And the time skip between the end of last season and the opening of this episode sucks. It’s not that it’s disorienting. Indeed, it’s not that very much has happened at all. There seems to have been almost no movement forward for any character except Blaine, who has started a new business (albeit as a front for taking back up his old business). It’s supposed to be three months since the events of last season’s finale, but it could just as well be three days for all the change in the characters’ statuses.
  2. Peyton is still missing in action.
    If there was one story thread from last season that I was hoping for an update on, and if there was one character who I was hoping to see done more justice this season, it was Peyton. She did at least get mentioned this week, but only to say that she’s still gone. Still, it’s more presence than she got in most of last season’s episodes. I’m just so concerned for her. And, as a feminist and a woman who loves (read: craves) stories about female friendship, it’s more than a little frustrating that this show just seems determined not to provide that story.
  3. I feel like Ravi’s entire life revolves around Liv and to a lesser degree Major.
    This is sort of an addendum to the Peyton thing, but only because Ravi’s apparent total lack of concern about Peyton’s disappearance is kind of appalling, and it was the thing about this episode that really hammered home the idea that, aside from his relationships with (and usefulness to) Liv and Major, Ravi has nothing else going on as a character. He has no family that we know of, no other friends that we’ve seen, no interests that he doesn’t share with either Liv or Major, no career ambitions that he’s stated aside from finding the zombie cure. It’s too bad.
  4. The whole “zombies are super secret thing” is wearing a bit thin.
    Frankly, I just don’t see how there isn’t some kind of public awareness about this problem. There don’t even seem to be any urban legends about it yet. I also don’t understand how Liv in particular, but also zombies in general, are so easily able to hide this from their friends and families. Liv’s behavior is so erratic that I feel like, at the very least, people around her would think she’s gone bonkers.
  5. Major is still so very boring. 
  6. The casual racism in this episode was the worst.
    Like it makes me almost not want to watch anymore. I know that it was supposed to be a part of the “grumpy old man” persona that Liv got from the brains she ate, but it sucked. It wasn’t funny, and it wasn’t insightful, and it feels really, really unnecessary. I know that the brains change Liv’s personality, but she seemed much more out of control than usual this week. In the past, she seemed to have some self-awareness about the bad qualities she got from brains, enough that she didn’t have to give in to the worst aspects of the identities she gets saddled with. I have a hard time, now, buying that she just completely lost her filter the way she is supposed to have here.

Still, there are a few interesting things going on in “Grumpy Old Liv. The scenes with Blaine were good, and Liv’s new roommate was an interesting surprise. The actual murder mystery this week was nicely done, and Steven Weber as the evil Max Rager CEO (or whatever) was delightfully wicked.

Overall, however, this episode just felt a little uninspired, and it felt more like a recap than a continuance of previous story. The time jump felt awkward and Liv’s brains-induced racism was so unpleasant and unlikable that it’s actually tainted the show for me a little.

What I will be (and you should be) watching this fall

So, it took me most of a summer of watching light fare to recover from this last season of Game of Thrones, but I think I’m more or less ready for watching and writing about some new television this fall. I won’t be writing about everything I watch, obviously, and there are a couple of things I intend to write about that I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick with–that could end up like my watching and posting about Killjoys did this summer; I still haven’t watched the last two episodes of that show, I was so bored/frustrated with it.

Here’s the plan:

The Mindy Project – Tuesdays on Hulu starting 9/15. I honestly love this show, and I will watch it til the end of time, although I rarely write about it outside of a line or two on Tumblr. The first episode of season four is excellent, and the first three seasons are available to stream on Hulu as well so it’s not too late too catch up if you’re really dedicated.

Doctor Who – Saturdays on BBC America starting 9/19. Doctor Who is another show I just can’t quit. It’s also one that I intend to write about this year, although I haven’t had much positive to say about it during Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner. I’m not making any promises about this one, though. Right now, my goal is to have my Doctor Who post up on Monday mornings, but I’m not going to destroy myself over this show the way I do over Game of Thrones. If it gets too insufferable, I will likely switch to just watching it.

Minority Report – Mondays on Fox starting 9/21. Frankly, I’m already bored by this series, but I’ll probably check out the first episode or two just to confirm my suspicion that it makes no sense. I’m pretty sure the whole point of Minority Report was that the whole pre-crime thing is a terrible idea and this show seems to be presupposing that–maybe it isn’t? Okaaaay.

Scream Queens – Tuesdays on Fox starting 9/22. This show is relevant to basically all of my interests. And it has Jamie Lee Curtis. I’m currently planning to write about this one on Wednesdays.

Heroes Reborn – Thursdays on NBC starting 9/24. This show is basically not relevant to anything. No one wanted or asked for it. But it’s a thing that is happening. Since I loved the first season of Heroes as well as anybody, I will be watching this, but I’ll only be writing about it if it’s really good or really comically terrible.

Bob’s Burgers – Sundays on Fox starting 9/27. Love it. Watch it with my family. Will almost never post anything about it except gifs of Tina on Tumblr.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Sundays on Fox starting 9/27. Also love, but also won’t write about unless something major happens.

iZombie – Tuesdays on the CW starting 10/6. The first season of this show was a little uneven, and I wasn’t totally thrilled with the way it ended, but I plan to tune in again this year and write about it some more. Depending on how things pan out, I may end up choosing between this and Scream Queens to write about, though. Just, realistically, I’m not sure I have it in me to write about more than one show a day, especially as I’ve got a lot of reading that I want to do over the next few months as well.

Jane the Virgin – Mondays on the CW starting 10/12. I won’t write about this show (mostly because it’s basically perfect), but it’s another one that we watch as a family and I can’t wait.

Supergirl – Mondays on CBS starting 10/26. I kind of dislike most super hero stuff, but this show looks completely charming. I’m currently planning to write about it.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – Saturdays on Starz starting 10/31. This show is definitely what I am doing on Halloween. I’m not sure if I will write about it or not. It depends on how good this show is and how bad this season of Doctor Who is.

Into the Badlands – Sundays on AMC starting 11/15. This show is almost certainly awful, but I’m kind of interested in it anyway. No plans to write about it.

The Man in the High Castle – On Amazon Prime starting 11/20. I haven’t read the Philip K. Dick novel this series is based upon, but the trailer for the show looks promising. I’m hoping to read the book sometime over the next couple of months, and then I might watch the show.

Jessica Jones – On Netflix starting 11/20. Another Marvel show. I’m somewhat looking forward to this one, but I haven’t even finished Daredevil yet, so there’s no telling when I’ll get around to it. I do really like Krysten Ritter, though.

Childhood’s End – On SyFy starting 12/14. I read this book over the summer, and I totally understand why it’s one of the great sci-fi novels. I also totally have no faith in this adaptation of it. It looks legit awful, and I’m a little embarrassed for SyFy about it. I’ll definitely be watching it, though. And I expect that I’ll write some about it, too. I think it’s going to be just that enraging.

The Expanse – On SyFy starting 12/14. I’m somewhat more optimistic about this show, although I haven’t read the source material (and don’t really intend to unless the show is really good). I’ve no idea whether I’ll write about it or not. It depends on whether I have any feelings about it strong enough to be worth sharing.

I’m really disappointed that the new shows that seem intended to capitalize on the popularity of Game of Thrones-esque, gritty, dark medieval European settings (The Bastard Executioner and The Last Kingdom) both look boring as shit. I’m actually a pretty big fan of the gritty medieval stuff, but I have no desire to watch shows that look to be almost entirely devoid of women. Game of Thrones might hate its women, but at least they exist there.

In all honestly, the shows I’m most looking forward to this fall are all returning favorites. The new stuff that’s coming out isn’t that exciting, with a couple of exceptions, and a solid half of it looks actively bad. I figure I’ll try a few new things, though. Worst case scenario, everything is terrible and I end up reading more books instead.

iZombie’s season finale left me hungry for more…

…and not in the best way.

I love this show, but it has some problems, and the first season finale had a lot of stuff to love as well as a couple of things that I hate. Spoilers ahead!

I think I expected the season finale to do a better job of wrapping things up with the Max Rager conspiracy plot, but instead I feel like that took a decidedly back seat to Liv’s feelings and Major’s zombie killing spree. The thing is, Liv’s feelings are important, and it’s nice to see Major get his moment to shine, but I was extremely upset by the continued absence of Liv’s roommate, Peyton–who just found out last week, in a pretty traumatic way, that Liv is a zombie.

“Blaine’s World” continues last week’s story, starting off with one dead teenaged band member (Teresa) showing up in the morgue and another missing. Liv eats Teresa’s brains, but I felt like this was barely noticeable throughout the episode. Liv has a couple of flashbacks, but this aspect of zombie-ism doesn’t play nearly as large a role in this episode as usual. Ravi jokes early on that Teresa isn’t different enough from Liv for him to notice a difference, and that turns out to be the case.

On the one hand, I think this could be a necessary thing–in this episode I think it’s important that we get to see an authentic Liv who isn’t unduly influenced by her food. On the other hand, the very necessity of this makes the “Teresa’s brains won’t even be noticeable” thing feel like plot convenience. Liv’s visions are usually extremely important to solving the case of the week, and the brief experience of others’ lives that her diet provides is an aspect of the show’s zombie mythology that has led to some of my favorite moments in the series so far. So it was a little disappointing to see that abandoned in this episode.

The mystery of the episode itself, well, wasn’t really. I felt like there weren’t really any big reveals here, and there wasn’t really any huge defeat of a bad guy, either. I’m not sure if I love this or hate this. I suppose it could be interpreted as reflective of the ambiguities of the real world, but if I wanted realism I probably wouldn’t be watching a show where the protagonist eats human brains. What I do like for sure is that, even without any major defeat of a villain, by the end of the episode everything is poised to change:

  • Meat Cute is gone (and Major’s destruction of the place is amazing)
  • Blaine seems to be getting better after Liv uses a dose of cure on him
  • Major may or may not be a zombie, but he’s definitely not real happy with Liv (I definitely love that they didn’t pair these two off, by the way. That would have been way too easy.)
  • Liv has possibly ruined any chance that Ravi could develop a cure for the zombies, and Ravi doesn’t know it yet
  • Liv’s brother is in the hospital, and she’s just refused to donate blood to him (we’ll have to wait til next season to find out if she sticks by that decision)
  • Lieutenant Suzuki is dead, which means some major changes in the police force probably
  • Clive is about to have Major arrested for murder, probably, which I think means Liv (or someone) is going to have some explaining to do
  • The Max Rager story finally hits the press and it looks like there are some structural changes going on there as well, which seems like a definitely mixed blessing

Honestly, though, I think that the season finale might have been better if it had been a little more focused. There’s a lot to unpack in this episode, and most of it is stuff that we’ll have to wait until next season to see how it’s really going to affect things. I felt like the episode was just a bit too much all over the place, and I actually found it a little confusing and overwhelming without actually being particularly exciting.

“Blaine’s World” covered an enormous amount of ground, but I don’t think it really did any of its various plot threads justice. More than that, I think that aside from Liv and Major and possibly Blaine, it didn’t do its characters justice. Peyton is still missing in action; Ravi doesn’t have much to do until he finds out about Liv’s use of the cure next season; I’m not sure I understand the purpose of Suzuki’s death; Clive seemed to barely appear in the episode at all; and Liv’s brother gets hurt, but I hardly care because, like Peyton and Liv’s mom, he only shows up when it’s convenient and I don’t feel like I know him yet or that he’s particularly important to Liv–sure, I know I’ve been told that Liv loves these people, but they seem to only exist to her when they are in the same room as she is.

All that said, I’m not truly unhappy with the episode; I just want another forty-five minutes of it to flesh everything out. I’d rather have a little more closure on some things–especially what is going on with Peyton–to make it easier to handle the wait until next season before finding out about some of the major (get it?!) things that happened in the finale.