Thursday, June 29, 2017

iZombie, Season 3, Episode 13: Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2

Ok… that happened. Talk about a game changing episode.

After the action of last week the gang gathers together to deal with the aftermath of losing 12 Fillmore Graves people. Major is traumatised, Justin horrified and asks where Liv was. And she tells him about sleeping with Chase.

Ok, I appreciate the honesty, but ye gods, Liv, timing! Timing!

Justin doesn’t hear any explanation and storms out - he doesn’t accept brains as a reason because he has been on brains and he has been able to resist

This is something iZombie has touched on previous seasons but never really developed, especially not this season where the brains have been reduced to comic relief. The struggle of having your personality stripped, of having to resist alien thoughts and urges, of being drawn into situations and opinions which you’d normally reject. There’s a horror to that this show has completely lost and it was needed in this scene

Another problem is that this scene seems to exist entirely to remove Justin from the plot line. Maybe he’ll appear again in season 4 for some relationship angst, but just when all the action is heating up he has been completely removed from the plot line. Contrast with every other one of Liv’s relationship, Justin has been completely sidelined. It’s lucky he didn’t die last episode but, really, a corpse would have had as much presence.

Also last week I said how they didn’t shame Katty for her sex life- well in this episode there’s a lot of harping on her low standard and addiction to anonymous sex (and the only objection is Ravi’s self esteemed).

We have a brief interlude with Blaine who is not seeing business go well. He’s lost a shipment of smuggled brains and a minion. And Chase doesn’t accept his deal to provide brains because Chase has decided unprocessed brains and their personality changes are dangerous to his unit (he’s not wrong) and despite his shortage, he’s banned his men from going to Blaine’s bar - and that’s half his business. It also means less bars full of choreographer brains which, I have to say was awesome.

Another twist is Major - mourning Natalie and his squad mates, he goes to Chase and asks to be scratched. Chase warns him zombie reveal is coming and he needs to realise how bad things are going to get - but Major insists. Majoris a zombie again

At the morgue, Clive, Ravi and Liv compare notes, from Tatum bringing Chase’s dog back from Paris, to Chase being in touch with Katty (provided by Liv) and some other leaps: basically they think that Chase’s dog is apparently spreading the deadly flu around on purpose to kill loads of people and get bains on tap.

Also apparently there are dog collars that spray your dog when it barks. I did not know this and do not approve, train your dog, don’t torment it, lazy dog owners.

Time to prove this by sending Liv to check Chase’s dog - and get caught. So Liv and Clive confront Chase and tell him that Harley was not responsible for killing the zombie family.

He pretty much denies everything and they leave. At least they didn’t intend to confront him so this isn’t the clumsy “we’re going to confront the bad guy scene”

Things get more tense as Peyton, Ravi and zombie mayor Barracus consult the CDC about this mutated flu - it’s deadly, contagious, medicine resistant and tens of thousands if not more are going to die unless everyone possible is vaccinated!

Mass vaccination time - and no infuriating anti-vaxers running around wailing “but autism is waaaaay worse than hundreds of thousands dying!” NEws anchor JOhnny Frost announces mass mandatory vaccinations and the vaccines are carefully stored

While Chase confronts Carey Gold, the nice civilian chief of Fillmore Graves and confronts her… because behind all this - the death of the zombie family (Clive’s friends), the disease, setting up Harley, killing Vivian in the helicopter, basically raising the zombies to a paranoid fever pitch was all her. She is trying to force “plan B” because she thinks zombie island is a terrible idea as the humans could just nuke them when they’re all gathered. She kind of has a point - if zombies unleash carnage didn’t GUARANTEE nuking

She has soldiers on side so when Chase calls the guards she’s all smug. Chase responds by killing all the guards and her because he’s just that badass.

OK, can we look at Carey. Are well shocked by her being the bad guy? I’m not. Because she wasn’t present enough during this entire season for her to be relevant enough to be shocking. If they’d had her there, more pushing for peace, coexistence, resisting the military push of Chase, showing her family life - something to make her more than a background character, the reveal would have been meaningful. Instead she could have been replaced with Bob the Previously Unknown  Zombie. It’s telling that both she and Justin have been treated this way - we get visible minorities added to the cast but not involved in any meaningful way.

Liv and Clive arrive too late to save him but clive agrees to let him cover it up because she murdered his family friends. Fine, but Clive is completely taking Chase’s word for this. He’s too good a cop and too suspicious to go for it.

Of course, Carey’s plan has already started, leaving Chase with little choice but to follow up with ominous Plan

Twist, remember that minion of Blaine’s was captured smuggling brains? Well he was caught by Dale, Clive’s FBI ex. And between Clive, Major, Blaine, brains there’s just so much unexplained here and she demands answers from Clive

Who reveals zombies exist to her. And after having that explained she agrees to let minion go while she and Clive go to get their vaccines and she adapts to her new reality - with a definite edge of their relationship being back on

Liv is still following up on Carey and goes to see Tatum and Patrice, the zombie kiddies- and looking through their phones it’s clear they still expect zombie apocalypse to happen despite the vaccine. Something’s up, getting the vaccine location from Peyton she goes and snoops: and discovers Fillmore Graves soldiers tainting the vaccine with zombie blood

This is such an utterly bad idea.

Liv springs into action: she warns Clive and Dale… in time for Clive. But not for Dale

She also grabs news Anchorman Johnny Frost, recurring character, media personality, newly vaccinated…. And now a zombie. She feeds him brains as a quick way to convince him to make a live announcement:

Zombies are real

The vaccines causes them. If you haven’t don’t get vaccinated. He explains the symptoms - the hunger for brains, contagious from a scratch: and from sex. He tries to encourage everyone to be calm and remember the zombies are their friends…

It doesn’t seem to take on, people panic, stampede - and loot gun stores.

Zombie apocalypse seems to be beginning

Until Chase and Fillmore Graves arrive; it looks like he’s fully back in control again (judging by his soldiers taking in Tatum and Patrice) and he implements Plan B- or maybe a version of it. Using guns to convincing allow him to have the mic, he has his own news to spread and the game changer for the next season: he narrates and we see it put into practice:

He reiterates Liv’s warning about contagion - especially intimacy (que cruel scene of Clive dying zombie Dale’s hair)

Those who caught the deadly flu will be saved- by being scratched and turned into zombies. He wants a happy utopia where zombies and humans live side by side, and zombies do not harvest human brains and all brains eating will be from voluntary donors after death: from all over America because there’s a whole lot of people die every day in the US, even 10% could feed the Zombies of Seattle

But there’s a menace too- he declares Seattle a zombie controlled city (though he claims nothing will change - they already have Mayor Barracus after all). Though he understands if humans want to leave the city (which sounds like… encouragement, as we see many people leaving).

And if the rest of America doesn’t send brains… well… they need brains from somewhere

He spins it very very diplomatically but there’s a definite threat. And I don’t think the democratically elected mayor matters to him on whether Seattle is zombie controlled or not. And while he talks about processed brains being shipped in, Blaine is back in business with his blue brains and a whole populace to serve

We also have mobs of armed, angry humans being killed by Fillmore Graves soldiers- and Major - when they attack the brain distribution sites

Liv doesn’t approve but Chase counters while he’s implementing Plan B, that’s only because Carey started it - she left him no choice. Also he flirts about her dying her and tanning her skin.

Liv’s response is the next day, back to her zombie self - and dealing with being recognisably a zombie among a newly aware and hostile populace.

She goes to Ravi - who thinks he has a zombie vaccine. Which he takes and now wants to test by Liv scratching him. It’s a beautiful moment of bonding between them but we’re still left on a cliffhanger as to whether she does it

Ok… plan B? Is terrible. Hey, don’t get me wrong, zombie island was terrible too - all in one place is extremely vulnerable, easily spooted and easily bombed into ash. Y’know what else is? Seattle. Turning a significant percentage of the population of Seattle - or, without Liv’s intervention, nearly all would just create a bigger, scarier target. Saying “hey you better all send us brains OR Else” and even “we control this city” sounds like a threat that will invite the entire Pacific Northwest be reduced to a well bombed wasteland. Especially with humans leaving the city in droves - no human shields, threat of zombie invasion if demands aren’t met? This plan is very very very foolish.

Admittedly there’s no real good plan here if we’re working on the inevitability of zombie revelation - but perhaps splitting zombies up so they’re not so easily targeted and don’t tax the brain requirement of one area? More chance of more communities surviving, maybe more isolated communities?

Actually, I do know the solution, choreographer brains for everyone!

The next season is going to be radically different - open zombies, Chase in defacto control of the city, the reaction of the humans of Seattle and the US government (carpet bombing would be my prediction). Liv and Ravi, Dale and Clive, Blaine as a kind of illicit trade and what about humans like Ravi, Peyton and Clive? It’s going to be interesting

I’ve spoken about about Justin and Carey, but I’ve also been frustrated by Clive being sidelined most of this season and Ravi’s storylines - except one awesome moment infiltrating the zombie haters - being reduced to the gross nastiness of his relationship with Peyton. All of these characters need a more integral role - it’s not enough to have minority characters on screen, we need them

Plot wise I’ve loved the meta but I actually think more breaks, more examining the implications of the brains, more police work would have worked well to bring Clive and even Liv closer to the fore - similarly getting Peyton involved which they’d just begun to do would have awesomely continued Liv and Peyton’s friendship and added some desperate prominent female characters to a very male skewed shows (also Major and Ravi both had conniving female love interests or near love interests - be wary of this trope).

This is also the third season with no appreciable LGBTQ presence.

Honestly I don’t even know where this show will go next season - I’m intrigued. I’m a little worried about them shaking the dynamic so completely, but interested because after a while a good shake up isn’t a bad thing