iZombie Season 5 Premier “Thug Death” Review

*Spoiler warning for iZombie season 5, episode 1.

Liv on iZombie
Liv frying up brains on the season 5 premier of iZombie. Photo courtesy of the CW, screenshot by Linda Maleh.

Well, after almost a year of waiting, iZombie is back, and with, extremely unfortunately, its final season. Last season was a blast, as the stakes rose further than ever for the zombie ridden walled city of New Seattle. To recap, the season finale, which you can read my full review of here, ended with: 1) Major becoming the new head of Filmore Graves, 2) Liv deciding to continue to be Renegade, 3) Dale becoming human again by eating Isobel’s brain, and getting married to Clive, 4) Congress deciding to stop the brain shipments to New Seattle, 5) Blaine being put in charge of smuggling brains into the city. With the city relying solely on Blaine’s smuggling operation, zombies are bound to go hungry, and things are going to get ugly fast, which is why it may be such a disappointment that this episode was so blah.

The episode starts off with a couple of zombies smashing open a woman’s head and eating her brain, and the whole thing being caught on video and going viral. This presents a major problem. For one thing, Blaine’s smuggling operation relies on a bunch of border agents being bribed to look the other way while the brain shipments come in Once they see the video, they decide they no longer want to help zombies. In addition to the brain shortage problem, the city deals with human unrest about the situation, and Liv and Clive work the case. They realize they maybe be able to find out who the victim is by tracking the cell phones that pinged the cell tower in the area at the time of the attack. Blaine, tries to bribe them to find the perps faster, before he takes matters into his own hands.

Liv’s other mission this episode is as Renegade. While Major has to make the big decisions of who can legally be allowed to leave the city, Liv has to make the decisions of who to use her resources to smuggle in (or out). This episode, it’s a foster kid who’s been placed in a dangerous home. The problem is that at the last minute, he shows up with two foster sisters who need to come too. Since they haven’t planned for them, they don’t have fake ID’s for them, on the bus into of the city, the two little girls get caught.

Ravi has his own mission this episode, but that’s complicated by the fact that it’s his time of the month to eat brains – if you recall, last season Ravi concocted a vaccine that only works part of the time, for a few days a week, Ravi becomes a zombie. Unfortunately, the brain this week is Thumb-Breaker-Barnes, a mean and nasty man that turns Ravi mean and nasty. He meets the person he’ll be liaising with at the CDC, a woman named Dr. Collier (Quinta Brunson), but due to the brain he’s on, he’s nothing but awful to her. She, being brilliant, comes to the same conclusion he did last season, that the brains of children who have Freylich Syndrome are the cure. If you recall, this is the disease Isobel died of last season, and why her brain was able to cure Dale, who’s now pregnant.

Dr. Collier wants to tell her superiors about her findings and publish them, but Ravi gets it together long enough to beg her not to. He argues that if this information were made public, those kids would be hunted, forced to go into hiding, their brains worth millions. Dr. Collier agrees to think about keeping it a secret. On the conference call with her superiors the next day, she’s about to tell them about her findings, when she decides not to. Ravi thanks her profusely, and the two strike up a friendship.

With tension rising following the attack, a contingent of humans decide to take revenge. Dolly Durkins (Jennifer Irwin), a local business owner, apparently now also leads a terror organization, bent on destroying zombies. She convinces some poor sap to drive a car filled with explosives into a bunch of Filmore Graves soldiers. Several casualties result. She’s definitely going to be at least one of the smaller villains this season.

Without anything being resolved regarding the attack, Blaine decides to take things into his own hands. He kidnaps all the border agents who used to take his bribes, and threatens their family members if they don’t start letting in the brain shipments again. One of them decides to call Blaine’s bluff, and Blaine kills him for it. It’s an important lesson – Blaine doesn’t bluff. If he says he’s going to kill you, he will. Blaine’s the ultimate big bad of the entire season, but for now everyone’s tolerating him. With the border agent made an example of, the rest of the border agents fall back in line.

Liv and Clive finally manage to track their victim’s phone, but they find the woman’s boyfriend clutching it, saying she’s gone. It’s unclear how this woman walked away after getting her brain partially eaten by zombies. It’s also unclear where she went, or if someone hid her body. There’s too much about the situation that’s both confusing and bizarre, and makes the entire episode much more confusing than it needs to be.

Some other observations about the episode: According to Dale’s pregnancy, we’re at least several months since last season’s finale, if not more. New Seattle isn’t just starving for brains, there aren’t a lot of regular commodities being brought into the city either, which we learn from Clive’s hunt for chocolate for his pregnant wife who’s having cravings. The city is such a mess, and tensions are so high, it won’t be long before the entire city descends into chaos. In terms of a big save, my money’s on Ravi and Dr. Collier. The two are both brilliant, and have a knack for this sci-fi stuff that their colleagues lack. With them working together, they’re bound to be the show’s best shot at creating a cure. But, don’t forget, this show is about Liv, so any big save is also going to include her.

 

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Author: Linda Maleh

Entertainment writer, feminist, and New York City native. Personal blog is tvtotalkabout.com.

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