iZombie: Night and the Zombie City

“We're all already dead, Clive. We just don't know it yet.”

There have been a few examples this season of the writers using brains for cheap gags, at the expense of tying the standalone stories into the major arcs in fun and convincing ways. Thankfully, ‘Night and the Zombie City’ was testament to the fact that it’s still possible for this series to prove what it can do with its signature formula five seasons in.

As a private detective, Liv was a total blast, and not because she was on a zany over-the-top brain like a TV dancer or a mean chef, but because it was great to see her play off each of the other characters in ways that took advantage of the strong dynamics that are already in place.

Take her interactions with Clive. She’s always been a bit of a nuisance to him, and taking on the brains of a detective like Frank just amplified that relationship, and the results were a lot of fun watch on-screen. Ravi also tied in really well, even opening himself up to the disappointing role as the under-appreciated assistant, and setting himself up for the inevitable moment where his contributions are completely ignored.

The best part was how easily this investigation fit into the overall narrative. As the case came together, it started to become obvious that it was closely linked to the gang’s desperate search for a zombie cure. With Blaine and Liv racing each other to the finish line, there were some genuinely great moments that were a direct result of the writers using the iZombie formula to better the overall agenda of the season, and play around with several elements that have felt a little underutilized so far.

That great fight sequence between Liv and Blaine stood out, as did the other run-ins they had with each other throughout the episode; that lamp reveal was particularly hilarious. The ending itself was kind of pitch perfect, as well. As a generally docile presence for a few seasons now, it was great to see Candy use the men around her to better her own situation and get the hell out of town; with a stolen cure to her name she can basically buy whatever she needs to start fresh. I loved that final shot of her leaving town, too. In general the episode was well directed, even if the noir visuals felt a bit too on the nose at times.

Most importantly, the detective brain was a great way for Liv to get that last push to dig further into Martin’s agenda. Now she’s fully aware of the group of zombie warriors he’s keeping in his secret room, and she may have gotten her hands on the original batch of tainted utopium so a cure might not be such an unattainable goal (if he can escape Martin’s home undetected, that is). Without the extra motivation of Detective Chisel’s curiosity, Liv might not have gotten to this point, and I appreciated that the machinations to get her there this week made total sense.

I hope Ravi can cook up the cure sooner rather than later. Even though General Mills' plans to sway the department of defense to his side and nuke Seattle to the ground have temporarily fallen through, with CHICS on his side he may have all the ammunition he needs to push more people to to go nuclear, so to speak. I bet the people who jeered at Peyton during her drunken karaoke might come to see how much good she did for the city when the inevitable prospect of sudden death becomes all too real in a couple of weeks.

Plus

Major caught an employee with a stolen key card that he used to smuggle Max Rager out of Fillmore Graves. Hopefully Liv’s discovery will help Major to tie the theft to Martin so they can stop him from using his zombies to enact his plan.

I appreciate the tie back to Max Rager, though it’s odd that Major would still have it lying around in such a well known storage area.

Darcy and Don E are engaged now, after she initially struggled with his smarmy ways. Don’t think it will end well for either of them, but it’s cute to see him branch out more on his own.

Peyton struggled with the complete desecration of her career this week, which meant a lot of margaritas and an awful rendition of Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’. Peyton evidently can’t sing, but I can confirm that Aly Michalka can. Pretty well, too.

He Said, She Said

Liv: "That dame's got you dizzy, Don E. That's what dames do. But I'll tell you something, they can't break your heart if you never let them near it in the first place."

Liv: “I'll sleep when I'm dead.”
Clive: “You're already dead.”
Liv: “We're all already dead, Clive. We just don't know it yet.”

Blaine: "You throw like a girl."
Liv: "You're damn right I do."

Ravi: “How's the hangover, babe?”
Peyton: “It's a fitting end to my career as a mayor. I barely remember doing anything, all I'm left with is the pain.”

I was initially skeptical of a gimmicky PI episode, but the writing and direction sold the hell out of it, and it came together so easily. It’s a relief to see iZombie back at the top of its game, even if it might be fleeting.

9 out of 10 trench coats.

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