After the iZombie third season premiere, I initially thought we were moving away from the solving cases per week format. It seemed like the show was shifting toward actually getting to the meat and potatoes of zombie-human coexistence and bracing for D-Day, or, as we reviewed it last week, Discovery Day, the day that humanity discovers the existence of zombies. I was pretty wrong in that aspect, and this is one of those times where I am really glad I was. Here’s what iZombie knows best: its balance of comedic-somber writing and character development.
So, here’s another confession adding onto the one that I’m glad I was wrong about the show’s direction. Based off the season premiere’s after-episode promo, I was worried the whole parent-teenager brain dynamic would be corny and cringey. I take back my words. From Major asking Ravi if they’re best friends to Liv being the sunshine of positivity and trying to be hip dad brain, it was really refreshing to see Liv interact more with other zombies while they’re on their brain side effect phase. Teenager-brain Major was eye roll-y the entire time whenever he was in the same room as dad-brain Liv, and it’s not far from the truth of how the stereotypical teenager would act. I’m honestly surprised that Major didn’t bump into walls more with how often he would roll his eyes!
Also, a definite hats off to the writing team that was somehow able to manage combining a comedic parent-child banter with solving a statutory rape crime. In most cases, it shouldn’t have worked out, but I felt like it was properly handled. The comedic relief of Major and Liv balanced out the somber Clive dealing with Wally’s death, and it was done fantastically. Each story was given the proper screen time and attention. Nothing was toned down too much or dismissed.
I especially appreciated how this episode was done in a way that seemed like we were focusing more on Clive’s mental stability. The flashbacks and the non-chronological storytelling really echoes just where our detective is mentally. It wasn’t done too artistically either, because that just isn’t how Clive functions. It’s a bit to process and it puts pieces together in a way that is understandable, while taking in realities for other characters as well. Wonderfully done!
Sidnote: It delighted me that the characters in this show watch and enjoy Game of Thrones. Just throwing that out there!
Even though the show is mainly around Liv Moore’s zombie life, iZombie gives the main characters the proper care to let each one grow. Ravi, Clive and Major are excellent examples of this. Rose McIver’s supporting cast do not overshadow her or belittle her, but also aren’t left behind as characters that fall flat.
Ravi has mostly been comedic relief in my eyes, but isn’t just the guy with the punchlines. He’s smart, clever, geeky and has a heart of gold. It’s honestly an exasperated “finally!” moment when he lets his work buddies know that he plans to call up Peyton about how he actually feels. At long last, there’s some sort of resolve for that part of the plot so we can all move forward to how to handle zombiekind, as opposed to a “who gets the girl?” narrative. Although, I’m not exactly optimistic that the love triangle debacle is going to be put to an end soon, since Blaine is technically has his “I-realize-I-was-a-crappy-person-but-I’m-really-a-nice-guy” face on right now. I’ll admit, the reason I’m fairly critical about it is because I’m just not really a love triangle fan. Moving on and diving into Clive’s development…
Ever since Clive discovered the existence of zombies and how his pale partner has been one of them since they crossed paths, I’ve been interested in his struggles the most. Malcolm Goodwin plays Clive brilliantly; he’s such a fantastic actor and gives this character so much emotional range. You can especially tell whenever Babineaux is trying to balance his work and sense of justice along with his emotional attachment to some of the parties involved with some of the cases. It can be rather subtle in some scenes, but you can tell that the character truly has a lot of depth. His development has been one of my favorites, and seeing him try to wrestle with the idea of how cannibalistic humans and humans can coexist has been fascinating to watch.
Now that we’ve discussed Ravi and Clive, it’s time for Major. And Major’s development has been, well, a major development in this show so far. (See what I did there?) Since the very beginning of the show, Major has gone from his prince-in-shining-armor image to a murderer to a man picking up the pieces who just wants to live a quiet life. Even on his teenager brain, Lilywhite drawls that he’s “pretty psyched to tryyy ittt — “ittt” being the multiple-brain sauce in yogurt tubes. This reaction makes it seem like he just wanted to be seen as a normal person who has a certain diet, which will definitely be addressed in future episodes since Liv has a much stronger sense of purpose than Major does.
With everything confessed and said, iZombie is a show that knows what its doing. It knows its strengths and knows to keep them up in the unique blend of laughs and emotions. With all the great but gritty shows out right now, iZombie is incredibly refreshing to catch up on with all its silly antics and undead twists. I’m in it for the long haul. Can’t wait to see the next episode!