iZombie: Goon Struck

“Game over, Liv.”

We’re just a few episodes into the season and the writers are continuing to push the boundaries of this show by asking some hard questions. ‘Goon Struck’ was permeated by a seemingly filler case, but its ties to the turbulent world that these characters exist in took precedent, with each of them forced into tough positions by the time the credits rolled.

The case here was one that veered away from the personal touch of the previous two episodes, with further ties to the smuggling ring becoming the larger focus of the hour. Ice Hockey brain was a fun ride, but the victim’s role in Mama Leone’s operation was far more important, as was Blaine being the one who killed poor Gordie. He evaded capture thanks to Fillmore Graves’ douchey investigator turning over the wrong suspect, but at least Liv has a decent ally in Gordie’s teammate Levon. Was there some sparkage there or was it just me? She now also knows that Blaine was working for Chase Graves in order to seek out Mama Leone, a discovery that only makes things more complicated for her.

It was apparent from the outset of this episode that a concerted effort was being made to paint Chase Graves in a more sympathetic light. Despite being faced with opposition from all sides, he made the choice to spare Mama Leone by freezing her instead of killing her to make an example of her past crimes. It’s a choice that said a lot about him, considering how much blow-back he was experiencing from the brain shortage and the growing zombie population. Not to mention the ever present threat from General Mills to nuke Seattle into oblivion.

The fact that we saw him battling these issues was necessary in ensuring he didn’t come across as a soulless monster when he went back on his decision to spare Leone, and executed her in front of the public. It’s clear he struggled with his choice, but the idea of being a good man wasn’t enough to override the growing pressure he was facing. Leone’s death at his hand was a clear turning point in the season, and its knock on effects on Seattle, and the other characters, will be felt for a while.

With Major on Fillmore Graves’ side, it looks like there will be a clear division of loyalty amongst the core group. Liv decided to join forces with Leone’s former colleagues in order to continue the work she had been doing for the people of Seattle, but it looks like she will be doing it without Major, who stood on guard during Leone’s execution. The run-in between Liv, Ravi and Major a few episodes back was quite the foreshadowing in that sense; their friendship is going to be seriously tested.

Peyton is facing her own trouble in light of the city’s struggles. She made the choice to stand up for a persecuted zombie bus driver, even offering his family extra rations when she saw how malnourished he was. Unfortunately his starvation lead to him losing control of his vehicle and succumbing to his hunger. After being killed by a gun wielding citizen he just added to Chase’s list of bad zombie/human optics, but Peyton’s guilt over the part she played in what happened to the driver is likely to be a factor in how she handles cases going forward. Her position at the Mayor’s office hasn’t been utilized that much until now, but I like how easily she continues to fold into the greater narrative, and this plot had some great character moments for Peytsey.

Elsewhere, the episode ran into a few story telling roadblocks. Major and Don E’s road trip featured some great characters beats, but threw the viewer through the ringer until the final reveal of who their kidnapped victim was. I like that there’s a general understanding that those watching the show don’t need to be spoon fed, but the structure was a little jarring at first. I was a little worried I had missed a few scenes in the previous episode. Perhaps a little context would have helped? I did enjoy the truth behind it; Chase’s plan to kidnap General Mills’ daughter was an inspired move, and it buys those on the inside more time before the General’s threats become a serious concern. Her overdosing and getting scratched by Major was a bit superfluous, though.

Plus

No Angus in this episode.

I’d like more scenes of the FG investigator and Ravi insulting each other’s accents.

He Said, She Said

Mama Leone: “Maybe once I'm unfrozen Seattle will be a zombie-human utopia, and there'll be statues of Chase Graves in every city park. For he was the George Washington of the undead.”
Chase: “Or maybe you'll wake up because the power grid is down and there's no one left alive to turn it back on.”

‘Good Struck’ had a bit too much to say, which might account for a jumbled structure, but the outcome still had a tremendous impact. The different roles each of the characters are playing in all of this also remains quite affecting, now that they all have different stakes in how things play out and will inevitably butt heads in the coming episodes.

3.5 out of 5 hockey sticks

Originally posted at PandaTV.

3 comments:

Elissa Yorgey said...

The whole kidnap plot had me super confused, and like you, wondering if I had missing some scenes or even a whole episode. The question of when did they kidnap the girl is something I could get over not knowing, but I still don’t understand why Don E is working with Major on this? And who were the people they were supposed to be meeting? And then they just end up back at the morgue in ice buckets?? It felt like they needed to get the girl into the city but didn’t bother to really flesh out the actual process of it happening.

topher darling said...

I usually don't pay attention or give much thought to the little comic title screens after commercial breaks but the last one "Smells Like Guillotine Spirit" was particularly inspired.

Patryk said...

I guess Major and Don E were multitasking, kidnapping and buying brains from smugglers. The girl ate one and started talking French so I guess they got the brains from Canada.