iZombie “Dot Zom” Review

*Spoiler warning for iZombie season 5, episode 4.

Blaine, Al Bronson, and Don E on iZombie
Al Bronson and Don E watch as Blaine prepares to chase off a bunch of Dead Enders on iZombie. Photo courtesy of the CW, screenshot by Linda Maleh.

This episode’s case had so many twists, it was hard to keep up. iZombie can be that way sometimes, and I think it’s often to its credit that it has a lot going on, but this was a little much. The deceased this episode is a tech genius, and the people who had motives against him just keep stacking up. In case you were wondering, yes, this does mean that Liv’s on genius brain, and no, it’s not as fun as you would think. It mostly just makes her philosophical at times.

It turns out that this guy, Cornell Piercey (Devin Johnston), had a bunker preparing for the apocalypse (I assume he did not rule out zombies as a possible cause). Piercey’s zombie ex-girlfriend and business partner, Melissa Schultz (Stephanie Lemelin) takes over the company, but on initial review, seems to be clean. Ravi determines that Piercey died from some poison mushrooms – apparently he was micro-dosing in shrooms every morning – but his supplier, who has a record, also seems to be clean. However, this routine was common knowledge, and anyone who wanted to kill him could easily have capitalized on it.

Now, back to Piercey’s bunker. He had a list of the people who would be saved and allowed in the bunker in case of the worst. Of course, no zombies allowed on this list. The interesting part about it though, is that Peyton is on the list, even though she’s never met him. It’s not that crazy since she is the interim mayor, so she’s a major asset that’s worth keeping around. Liv has her first big vision in the case, when she sees Piercey erasing his assistant Nora’s name from the list in favor of Peyton.

Clive and Liv go and confront Nora, and Nora reveals that she and Piercey were lovers. She doesn’t seem upset that he replaced her name though, since, she explains, Piercey made his decisions about the list dispassionately and logically. She goes on to say that Piercey made enormous sacrifices for the project, and the thing was bankrupting him and the company. She wasn’t even sure how he kept it all going. It’s at that moment that Liv has another vision: a man yelling at Piercey about how he gave him the money, and now he expected delivery on a product. Clive and Liv decide to track down who the man is, and do not appear to consider Nora a suspect.

Clive and Liv have a police sketch made of the guy in Liv’s vision, and they show it to Melissa and Nora. Melissa claims not to know him, but Nora recognizes him from his commercials for his business, the Fixture King, on late-night tv. Liv and Clive bring him in – his real name is Sheldon Drake (Bill Dow) – and Clive makes a comment that business must be going well if he’s wearing such a fancy watch (trust me, the fact that he’s rich is important). Sheldon refuses to tell them anything the second he sees Liv, and instead decides to spew a bunch of anti-zombie hatred and leaves.

So, the Dead Enders, our favorite anti-zombie hate group. They’ve been trying to ID all of Seattle’s zombies by standing outside of tanning salons and brain dispensaries, and taking photos of the people frequenting them, and connecting them to names, addresses, etc. Liv is not especially concerned about this, saying that it would take years to ID all of Seattle’s zombies this way, but then she realizes, what if there was a quicker way? Piercey’s main product was a traffic app; if Sheldon paid Piercey to ID all of Seattle’s zombies through the app, and that way he could wipe out zombie-kind, and Piercey wasn’t coming through on his end of the bargain, that would be motive for murder.

Clive uses the info to get a warrant and arrests Sheldon when he finds the poisonous mushrooms used to kill Piercey growing in his backyard. All is well and good, until Liv has a vision of Melissa confronting Sheldon and Piercey about what they were doing. Afraid for the future of zombie-kind, it would be significant motive for murder to stop Sheldon and Piercey. Liv tells Clive about her vision, but she also says that she would rather they both keep quiet about the whole thing – let Melissa go, and leave Sheldon in jail to prevent future zombie murders. Clive, however, is not so good with that scenario. He and Liv confront Melissa and she confesses to everything. She killed Piercey so that he couldn’t finish the algorithm to ID zombies – he apparently didn’t care that it would be used for mass murder, he just wanted the money – and then she planted the mushrooms in Sheldon’s backyard hoping that he would go away for the murder. Too bad, it was a nice effort, and as good a reason to kill someone as any – to save so many others. Liv feels uncomfortable with how all of this goes down, but she lets it happen.

Other things going on this episode are: Peyton and Ravi trying to make a hit tv show, Major dealing with a teacher fired for being a zombie, a new villain, and Blaine being profiled for a magazine.

A couple of episodes ago, Peyton and Ravi signed off on a pitch to make a tv sitcom about a zombie couple and a human couple living next door to each other to increase positive PR for zombies, and show that zombies and humans really aren’t that different. The comedy group that’s making the show comes to them with a first draft, except its all zombie raging out and making jokes about eating people – not exactly what Peyton was hoping for. Their second stab is no better, until one of the members suggests flipping the jokes, so that it’s the humans who have all of the misconceptions. Peyton makes her lead writer, which pisses off the rest of the group until they read the new script, and realize it’s perfect. So the show is well on its way.

Major finds out about a teacher, Graham Moss (Dejan Loyola), who got fired after he was outed for being a zombie. He plans to go to the school and sort it all out, until Liv suggests that Moss come and teach the orphans who are staying in her house. Moss readily agrees, though Major stresses the secrecy that will have to be involved since this is the base of Renegade’s operation. Obviously, this guy did not take the secrecy thing seriously, because he loudly brags about it to his friend in front of a bunch of other people, a couple of whom take his picture.

Now, here’s where things get really weird and complicated. Earlier in the episode, two of the Filmore Graves soldiers that Major had put in the freezer are let out by the French inspector. He tells them that in exchange for freedom, they can serve a new boss, which is surprising since he’s always been loyal to Filmore Graves before. The two are brought to a guy in a van who calls himself actually “The New Boss” (Bill Wise) and the entire back of his head is metal. He says that zombies are the superior species and they should crush the humans (although they really can’t eradicate humans since they depend on them to survive). He offers the two soldiers to join him, one readily says yes, the other is more skeptical of this scary new radical, and decides to pass, at which point New Boss crushes his skull. I’m not a huge fan of this person being a new villain. He’s just a little too outlandish to make an impact. He’s basically the zombie Dead Ender equivalent though, which I guess was needed.

So, back to the teacher, the first day he’s supposed to go teach the kids, he gets kidnapped by New Boss who says that he better help him or he’ll kill Moss’s friend who is being held hostage in the van. We don’t know exactly what New Boss asked of him next, but I’m assuming it was to spy on Renegade. And this is why privacy was supposed to be taken seriously.

Lastly, Blaine is being profiled for a magazine by a very beautiful and savvy journalist, Al Bronson (Gage Golightly). He does everything possible to show off for her, including chasing off a bunch of Dead Enders camped out outside his club, and throwing a rocking house party. He makes a mistake by doing this though, since while she’s at his house, she accidentally wanders into his office and sees a mask. This is the same mask that Blaine wore when he killed the mayor on camera. Connecting the dots, Al realizes she has a much bigger story on her hands. We haven’t seen Blaine in a few episodes, so it’s good to see him back and getting into shenanigans. Unfortunately, this story could also get the city into trouble as he’s the only one supplying the city with brains, so if he goes to jail, Seattle’s zombies could go hungry.

So, a loooot happened this episode, but the upshot of it all is that most of it is bad for zombies, and especially bad for our protagonists (and a couple of our villains). Let’s see how it all shakes out.

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Author: Linda Maleh

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

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