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'iZombie' Season 5, Episode 1 "Thug Death": What Show Is This Again? [SPOILER REVIEW]
I've been anticipating the premiere of the 5th and final season of CW's iZombie, looking forward to brain delicatessens, "murders-of-the-week," seeing Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) and Liv (Rose McIver) back and action, and of course enjoying the numerous victim-induced personalities of Liv.
So you would understand how disappointed I am that "Thug Death" gave us none of that. This is still the same show I used to think I knew and loved so well, right? Did Liv lose her leading role status to Ravi (Rahul Kohli) and Blaine (David Anders) in a poker game?
In season 5 of iZOMBIE, our heroes try to keep the peace in the zombie state that is New Seattle, but with starving zombies on one side, and terrified humans on the other, they'll have their work cut out for them.
Liv faces off with the U.S. military trying to prevent her from bringing the sick and dying into Seattle to give them a lifesaving scratch. Major, now the head of Fillmore Graves, has to worry about dissent in the ranks dissatisfied with his warmhearted treatment of humans. Peyton, still the acting mayor, will use her power to attempt to make the rest of the world see Seattle as something other than a lawless wasteland. Ravi will work tirelessly on a cure that may be the only thing that can stave off widespread violence.
And through it all, Liv and Clive will continue to solve the murder cases that come across Clive's desk, the murders themselves becoming more and more tied to the societal breakdown taking place all around them.
The season opens six months post Major Lillywhite (Robert Buckley) being appointed Commander and Chief of Fillmore-Graves after its predecessor lost his head (literally). Blaine is living the high life as the key point man for smuggling brains in to "New Seattle" curtesy of Major's backing. Clive and Dale (Jessica Harmon) are soon to be proud parents, not sure it's wise to bring a child into a world where zombie's and humans are at war. It seems that no much has changed since the 4th season; there continues to be a brain shortage, no zombie cure, and a persistent divide between the undead and living.
The episode opens to a video capturing what is assumed to be a human being killed by a few zombies after she plays bumper cars with their vehicle. With no body and no brains to speak off, Clive and Liv set out to solve this… murder? My beloved iZombie cast spends most of the episode sitting back passively in their chairs watching said video or "following" leads by making calls. The action would be… where exactly? Oh, wait!
The episode does end with "To be continued…" so maybe next week they will actually… I don't know… actively investigate?!?
The murder creates outrage among the "New Seattle" human population and Peyton Charles (Aly Michalka) goes on Johnny Frost's (Daran Norris) show to put out the fire, being put head to head against from what I assume will be the season's new villain Dolly Durkins (Jennifer Irwin) who as we find out at the end of the episode is organizing a suicide bomber squad and has a vigilante with a loaded van of explosives drive into one of Fillmore Gravies checkpoints and take out a number of his soldiers. Clearly Major is doing a great job protecting his people. I'm glad a descent chunk of screen time was dedicated to him pondering applications for humans petitioning to be let out of "New Seattle" on various excursions.
"Thug Life" truly belonged to Ravi and Blaine while Liv was off to the sidelines. Ravi consumes the brain of "Thumb-breaker" Barnes and delivers on the part of a thug. From crashing Frost's set after he inappropriately lays his hands on Peyton to protecting Liv from a zombie-hating grocery store owner, and getting into Blaine's muscle's face (down boy) – Ravi was on point. Ravi also saves the day by persuading a new doctor at the CDC from going public with the idea for a zombie cure that could possibly be derived from children with Freylich Syndrome. The young and ambition Dr. Charlie Collier (Quinta Brunson) is excited about her hypothesis, the problem is that the condition is very rare and Ravi fears that the children will be hunted for their brains.
Should I ask the question? How come a young doctor was able to figure this out so quickly and it cost Ravi – and us – Isabel to get to the same conclusion? Hmmm…
"Thug" seemed to be a major trend of this episode, and Blaine did not disappoint by taking matters into his own hands. After the video of the human being killed went viral, the border patrol soldiers who were on Blaine's payroll decided to develop a conscience and stop allowing brains from being smuggled into "New Seattle". Blaine attempts to go the quasi-legal route and offers $10,000 to Clive and Liv to "fix" the situation – but when that doesn't work, he does what he does best: he kidnaps all five soldiers and ships them to his club in crates. He then persuades them to go back to work and continue with "business as usual." I'm sorry to report that only 4 report back to work: apparently the fifth soldier preferred to terminate his employment with Blaine – and his life.
Renegade selects an ill child with a brain tumor to be saved from an abusive foster home and zombified. Here is where I'd expect for Liv to have screen time… but instead, the case is turned over to her team mates. The rescue mission takes a turn when instead of smuggling one child our missionary agrees to smuggle 3 and they are detected at a bus checkpoint.
The episode wraps up with Liv and Clive in a forest with a lead on the dead body of the woman who has her murder on repeat for most of the episode, and then that "To be continued" I mentioned earlier.
So what have we learned? Major should step up his game as Commander and Chief – at this point to me, he's just "Major Lillywhite." Blaine gets results – so a possible promotion there… I'm thinking Mayor? Liv was possibly sick with the flu during the filming of this episode and had to "sit this one out" but will (hopefully) be back to full action and more screen time next week. I look forward to our team back in action for next week's episode of the CW's iZombie, "Dead Lift":
iZombie season 5, episode 2 "Dead Lift": KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR GUEST STARS — Liv (Rose McIver), on fitness guru brains, and Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) continue investigating a murder with no body and no evidence. Meanwhile, Peyton (Aly Michalka) approaches councilman Zed (guest star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) with a request but doesn't get the answer she was hoping for. Lastly, Liv surprises Major (Robert Buckley) with a thoughtful gesture just when he needs it the most. Rahul Kohli, David Anders and Bryce Hodgson also star. Michael Fields directed the episode written by Philip Hoover & Jacob Farmer
Margo Staten is a Ukrainian born, raised in Brooklyn, organically driven, coffee loving, twice-divorced mother of one baby Einstein. Has a passion for books, yoga in the park and all things 80's and New Orleans.