NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “iZombie”, including a major character death, are present in this review
iZombie delivered a fairly laid-back episode this week, as a fairly straightforward case-of-the-week complemented a full return to Blaine’s former glory. “Eat a Knievel” is a pretty boilerplate iZombie episode in most respects, though this still makes it more entertaining and memorable than the majority of television programming, even if we get our latest disappointing case-of-the-week with an all too predictable final result.
In some respects, iZombie’s latest case-of-the-week almost feels like it’s intruding on what’s happening around it. The episode doesn’t even reveal its murder victim until after the intro, which is very rare for this series. Instead, the episode begins in the aftermath of Justin and Major exposing proof of the existence of zombies to Harley and his zombie truthers. Vivian also discovers that Major is human again, and thus benches him from further military operations, even if this may very well be temporary.
You see, mere moments later, Vivan, along with her lead military advisor and pilot, plummet to the ground and die in a helicopter crash. Yes, the show seriously appeared to bump off the leaders of Fillmore-Graves that suddenly. This is kind of unsatisfying, and feels like a side effect of Season Three’s shortened length, after The CW went back to holding iZombie as a midseason series as of this season, as it will next season too. This basically serves as an excuse to remove the more level-headed Vivian from command at Fillmore-Graves, and replace her with her more aggressive brother-in-law, who will likely get the war between zombies and mankind properly in motion.
Even with that threat festering in the background though, Major ultimately barely appeared in this episode, with Peyton also being entirely absent once again. Instead, despite a pretty straightforward case-of-the-week, much of the episode was taken up by the procedural end, as the show fell back on a lot of standard brain humour. This comes in after a YouTube-famous daredevil is killed in what appears to be a stunt gone wrong, after he burns to death in a hay suit upon jumping a motorcycle through a flaming hoop. Once Ravi and one of the YouTube show’s crew members determines that the suit was tampered with though, the death is ruled a murder, prompting Liv to consume the victim’s brain and undergo her latest personality change.
Considering that the victim was an obnoxious daredevil starring in a fictional Jackass-esque internet show, Liv’s latest brain makes her aggressively obnoxious, and obsessed with pranking everyone in sight. This offers some really funny moments, especially when Liv is able to prank Babineaux more than once on the case, but after a while, it felt like this latest brain humour became a bit one-note. There were also some missed opportunities to develop Liv’s character, especially since her latest brain somehow didn’t give her much of a mind for risk-taking, which is odd. I suppose there is one exception, when she feeds some of the daredevil brain to Justin, and they throw lawn darts around themselves, but that’s not so much inspired bravery as it is more wanton stupidity.
The case’s resolution is also a bit disappointing, since the culprit is very predictable. The show telegraphs quite heavily that the daredevil’s suit designer is suspicious, especially after Liv’s main vision for the episode shows him freaking out about the victim sleeping with his girlfriend, and after the girlfriend gets dodgy about having a baby, it’s extremely obvious who killed the victim. Yes, it was the suit guy, surprising no one, since there weren’t really any other compelling suspects in this case, despite the victim supposedly being hated by a lot of people. This is disappointingly one of the weakest cases-of-the-week in a season that has had a bit of a problem with a weaker procedural element, even if Liv’s personality shifting is still continuing to entertain fairly well.
Fortunately, this episode’s subplot also turns out pretty well, as Blaine makes his big move against Angus after the failed assassination attempt against him. Blaine has completely gone back to his old self now, and that means blowing away two of his father’s thugs, before giving Angus himself some concrete shoes, and dropping him down the old well at the McDonough estate. Angus likely isn’t dead, and is probably merely being tortured, even if he will probably enter a fully zombified state soon, if someone doesn’t go get him. Don E. seems to have already moved on from his history with Angus though, after Blaine fully places him in charge of The Scratching Post, having snatched it in his hostile takeover. Seeing Blaine fully back and fully dangerous was great, and one has to wonder if his arrogance with punishing his father will still find a way to challenge him towards the end of the season.
“Eat a Knievel” certainly wasn’t the strongest episode of iZombie, especially with how unceremoniously it shifted the Fillmore-Graves leadership, and treated the case-of-the-week as if it was practically an afterthought, despite spending so much time with Liv’s new jackass brain kicking into high gear. That said though, Blaine assuming control of The Scratching Post, and once again almost completely taking his father out of the equation, proved to be a great development. The episode ending with Ravi having to go into Harley’s den of anti-zombie fanatics without Liv for backup also presents a fairly decent tease for next week, even if he’s bound to survive the encounter just fine in the end. We’ll have to see how the forward movement on the coming war between zombies and humans unfolds over the season’s last handful of episodes, but I do hope that iZombie tries a little harder with next week’s murder case at least.
- Human/zombie cold war starting to escalate
- Some funny moments with Liv's jackass brain
- Blaine single-handedly taking over The Scratching Post
- Case-of-the-week feels too underdeveloped and tedious
- Liv's latest brain becomes one-note after a while