iZombie’s “The Fresh Princess” Goes 90s Prep – Review

*Spoiler warning for iZombie season 5, episode 9.

Liv on iZombie
Liv on the brain of a teenage beauty pageant contestant from the 90s. Photo courtesy of the CW, screenshot by Linda Maleh.

All season the city has been teetering on the brink of chaos, but Major, Peyton, and Liv have managed keep the peace for the most part with some pretty ingenious plans. This episode, all of that is over as Major fails to stop a disaster in time, and the delicate peace shatters. A lot happens in this episode, so let’s dig in.

Let’s start, as always, with what the case is this episode. The murder victim is a teen beauty pageant contestant – from the 90s. It turns out this girl was poisoned during a pageant in the 90s, when into anaphylactic shock, and has been in a coma for the past 20-something years. Now that she’s finally died, murder charges have to be brought, and Clive and Liv have to investigate a case from the 90s. A fellow contestant, Velma (Jordan Claire Robbins), was charged with the poisoning back when, but now claims that she didn’t do it, and had been railroaded into giving a false confession. Liv’s vision of the victim, Laurie-Beth (Mellany Barros), using Val’s makeup (where the poison was stashed) seems to support that theory.

I have to say, Liv on 90’s pageant brain is my new favorite. Her preppy style is on point, she uses 90s lingo like “jinx”, listens to Spicegirls’ “Wannabe,” and she is super positive about everything. Some of Liv’s other brain-induced personalities are just annoying, but this one is pure gold.

Liv and Clive cycle through a bunch of different suspects who could have wanted Velma out of the way – and accidentally got Laurie-Beth killed instead, but I have to say, I pegged this one from the start. The mother of the victim, Gayle (Wanda Cannon) gives Liv and Clive all of her video tapes of what she shot of the pageant. It seemed obvious to me from that moment that she had put the poison (really only meant to induce a rash, but Laurie-Beth was allergic) in Velma’s makeup to get her out of the way so that Laurie-Beth could win, not knowing that Laurie-Beth would spontaneously borrow Velma’s makeup. It takes Clive and Liv, however, until they see footage of Gayle on the tape – not behind the camera – moving toward the dressing rooms at right around the time the poison would have been placed. Clive and Liv work with Velma to set up a sting to get Gayle to make a full confession and it works, go team.

Ok, having got the case portion of the episode out of the way, let’s talk about the parts with huge impact. Major focuses his efforts this episode to find Sloane Mills (Laura Bilgeri) – the daughter of General Mills who has been missing for weeks now. We saw her get kidnapped (again) a few episodes ago, but I assumed back then that it had been Martin Roberts’s people. This episode we find out that it was Dolly Durkins and her anti-zombie hate group CHICS (Concerned Humans Imposing Common Sense). She’s been keeping Sloan, and Sloane’s boyfriend, prisoner without brains so that they turn full Romero.

Major follows the clues to Sloane, including using video footage from Don E. that show someone pretending to be a zombie leading Sloane and her date out of the club. When Don E. and his new girlfriend – the girl with Freylich Syndrome Yasmine (Stephi Chin-Salvo) – foolishly meddle and get their one lead killed, Major has his Filmore Graves soldiers eat her brain to hopefully get a helpful vision. The the vision one of them gets is of dumping a stolen porto-potty truck by the river. The vision comes too late however, and by the time Major tracks down the truck, Dolly’s plan is already in play.

She places Sloane and her boyfriend in porto-potties right by the pie festival, and then lets them loose on the crowd. Having been held without brains for too long, the two zombies viscously attack the humans. Major and his soldiers run over when they hear the commotion, but not in time to stop it. He takes down Sloane, but not before she kills someone and cracks open his head to eat his brains. The peace in Seattle has been shattered, and there might not be any getting it back after this. Humans will no longer believe that they have the ability to live side-by-side with zombies anymore. This means war.

It’s a good thing Peyton and Ravi are hot on the trail of finding more tainted Utopium to make more of the cure. We found out last episode that the “Bean-Pole Bob” Ravi’s been looking for is Liv’s father aka the New Boss aka Martin Roberts, and that he accidentally created the tainted Utopium that created the zombie virus. This episode, Ravi find an arrest report that mentions “Bean-Pole Bob” and that there should be more tainted Utopium in the evidence room from the arrest. When he goes to the evidence room, however, he finds out that the evidence was stolen. This leads him and Peyton on quite the scavenger hunt to find the batch of Utopium, that ultimately leads to Don E.’s house, where Blaine has been crashing. Even that, however, turns out to be a dead-end. The tainted Utopium is officially gone.

That’s okay though, because they find something even better. Peyton realizes that they have Bean-Pole Bob’s address in the system due to an incident where some cops responded to a shooting, but the guy was fine – because he was a zombie, and that was the same night that a gang tried to have Bean-Pole Bob murdered. Peyton and Ravi go to his address, and when they do, they see Liv leaving the house and Martin Roberts standing in the doorway. Peyton and Ravi realize that, “The father of all zombie-kind is Liv’s dad.” Having this information out changes a lot for the show. If they can get Martin to give up his recipe for the tainted Utopium, Ravi and the CDC can make a lot more of it and use it to mass produce a cure.

Speaking of Liv hanging out with Martin Roberts – that story Martin gave her about wanting to get clean is real, and Liv and all of her friends help him do it. He even stays at Liv’s house for a couple of days. He tells her that he hopes that when the time comes to have to choose a side between zombies and humans, she’ll let him take care of her. She says that she hopes it never comes to that. I honestly think that Liv might be getting through to him, which would be good considering it would make him more amenable to giving up his recipe for the Utopium.

In more Moore family drama, Liv’s mom, Eva (Molly Hagan), and brother, Evan (Nick Purcha), show up. I know, we haven’t seen these guys since season 1 and they’re suddenly around. Eva tells Liv that Evan is suffering from complications to the scarring that formed after Evan was shot in season 1, and he’s sick enough that they need to get help from outside Seattle. Eva asks Liv to help her and Evan get out of the city as Renegade. Liv offers to turn Evan into a zombie to cure him, but they refuse. After an awkward encounter between Martin and Eva an Evan (who had no idea that Martin was their father), Liv decides to help them.

Someone who is no longer in a position of power to help – Peyton. After running around with Ravi all day trying to find the Utopium, she admits that she was fired for selling the naming rights to the Space Needle so that she could fund the zombie-positive sitcom “Hi Zombie.” It’s unfortunate since Peyton was doing a fantastic job as acting mayor, and no one else left in Seattle is really qualified for the job. It was also really important to have someone who understood the nuances of zombie-human relations and committed to keeping the peace in the job. With Peyton out of the job, Seattle is not going to be able to handle its new crisis created by Dolly, and everything is going to go downhill fast.

This episode was classic iZombie, packing in the plot, city on the brink of collapse, and bringing in shocking twists at every turn. The show has been on its game for its final season, and I can only imagine what they’re going to do next.

 

Advertisements

Author: Linda Maleh

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

Leave a Comment Here!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.