*Insert witticism about The Walking Dead here.
[Look at me and my pandering to the internet ways.]
I didn’t cover The CW’s iZombie this year not because I had no interest in the show simply because my slate of TV writing was already erring on the side of overwhelming by the season two premiere. However, I have kept up on a week-to-week basis with the series and it’s ended up being one of my favorite series to watch. Fun, witty and deftly plotted and a series where each character serves a purpose, iZombie isn’t just genre television, but a show that knows where to milk its zombie lore while also providing some excellent moments for character drama.
So it’s only fitting that the show end its second season with a bang, so to speak, with a two part finale that is everything we love about the show while also setting up what should be a game-changing season three, demonstrating that the show and its creators aren’t afraid to play with style and narrative. With hints of a much more serialized story to come, it will be interesting to see this more procedural by nature series take that turn.
Every character got a moment to shine in the finale, and while there are some choices that made me pause (I’ll get to those), overall the episodes were excellent, never loosing their spark of humor while amping up on the incredible action sequence at Max Rager headquarters.
But quickly, a detour in what I didn’t love as much.
Blaine/Peyton/Ravi’s “Love Triangle”
In this case we mainly needed more time for any development among these three, especially as the romantic thread between Ravi and Peyton has be downplayed for much of the season (with Peyton even turning Ravi down at one point), while Blaine and Peyton’s ended abruptly once she realized who he really was. I had a lot of issues with the storyline. Mainly:
a. Who is focusing on romantic endeavors when there’s the very real threat of a zombie apocalypse?
b. It needlessly places Peyton (easily the least developed character of the cast regulars) in a damsel in distress role.
c. Takes a lot of short cuts so we buy Ravi’s devastation over Peyton “choosing” Blaine.
d. Puts Ravi dangerously close to the “nice guy” territory which is a big, fat NO in my point of view.
There’s a lot of little things to harp on (and the nice guy aspect really frustrates me), but the shortcuts is the most glaringly obvious. Hardly a highlight of the season and more often than not put on the back-burner in favor of utilizing Ravi and Peyton’s characters for their friendships with Liv, it was an unnecessary and superfluous narrative thread in an otherwise superbly executed episode.
What are we going to do about Blaine?
David Anders has unquestionably been one of the greatest delights as bad guy Blaine over the past two seasons, so much so that the writers have bent over backwards to justify why Liv and Ravi would still interact with someone who killed homeless teenagers in order to sell their brains to customers. Their solution? Give him the Spike treatment. Now with his memories of all of his ill doings erased, he’s free to start a new life as a better, more heroic man but sadly, one who isn’t nearly as fun as the previous baddie version.
I liked quite a lot though, such as:
Ravi kicking ass
Despite being a genuine joy, Ravi doesn’t always get the hero moment, and I was more than pleased to see how well he handled tough situations. For a second, I was ready to be annoyed that Ravi let Liv be taken out of the morgue right under his nose, but instead, the show remembers that he’s intelligent and can fend for himself. What’s more, that he would readily go to battle to defend Liv. Him taking the fire extinguisher to the mercenaries head and knocking him out before lethally injecting him with a drug meant to knock a zombie out, Ravi is a true bad ass and does whatever he must to keep Liv safe. Better still is that when Liv awakes, Ravi hasn’t had a personality transplant, he’s visibly shaken from what he’s done but that doesn’t lessen the actions he took to ensure their safety.
More of this Ravi please in season three. There will be no need and no time for him to mope over Peyton possibly being with Blaine.
The Max Rager showdown
Anyone else have a feeling the show saved most of their budget for this last episode? For the first time resembling an actual zombie movie as humans are transformed into brain craving monsters without a trace of humanity, the show adopts an action-packed tone set sneakily in the season one finale. The show utilizes claustrophobia for much of their bigger action set pieces as Clive, Liv and Major are all forced into tight spaces as zombies bang on elevator doors or windows. The show doesn’t shy away from the brutality involved in the zombies fighting technique and the shows heroes fall into a similar line, prioritizing the possible humans still at risk of becoming victims of the attack.
Clive has low key been one of my favorite characters on the show for a while now due to hints and shades Malcolm Goodwin has brought a lot to the performance for a character who could be rather thin. Him being in on the whole zombie secret gives greater opportunities for the character to explore new territory.
But there are two moments that better illustrates what kind of person he is. The first is when he goes to the party after not hearing from Major and Liv, and the second, when he tells the two of them that even if his only out is to be shot, he doesn’t want to be turned into a zombie. He doesn’t wish to be condemned to their fate, but he also sees them as worth saving. It’s a multifaceted take on the character and only makes the character richer.
Liv’s tough choice
Liv does not have a good track record with boyfriends, huh? Drake, having gone full zombie, is attacking Clive, and in order to save him, Liv has to kill her ex. It’s an impossibly tough decision, and there’s the chance that if she hadn’t been on mercenary brain she wouldn’t have been able to do it, but it’s a bold choice for the character and show to make. Liv’s life continues to inch towards a greater tragic trajectory, and after this fiasco, it’s nice to know she has people like Major, Clive, Peyton and Ravi on her side.
Especially with the whole “new world order” heading to Seattle, that’s tough shit.
Season two was great television, simply put. With the performances, clever writing and action that holds emotional impact, iZombie isn’t just as good and entertaining not just against The CW lineup (which is superb) but against the television slate in general.
Thank goodness we know season three is confirmed, but it’s still going to be quite a wait.
What did you think of season two? Let us know in the comments below.
Finale Review: 9/10
Season Review: 8/10