NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “iZombie” are present in this review
iZombie has been struggling more noticeably with its procedural element throughout this season, so it’s perhaps a smart decision that the show decided to put it aside in its latest episode. “Return of the Dead Guy” officially started bringing Season Three’s story elements together towards a palpable climax, as Peyton’s investigation into the suspicious death of the dominatrix takes an interesting turn, while Ravi is forced to watch the zombie-truthers torture Don E. enough to reveal the truth about zombies to the world.
There was quite a lot in this episode, but pretty much all of it was excellent. It was actually refreshing to get away from the usual murder-solving grind of the Seattle PD this week, even if it meant that Babineaux was a bit more in the background in this particular episode. Instead, Liv’s latest brain was consumed not in service to the police department, but to Peyton, who talks Liv into eating some of the alleged dominatrix killer’s brain, complete with it being soaked in Ravi’s vision-enhancing blue liquid. Disappointingly, we strangely don’t see any of Liv’s visions in this case, in a strange storytelling quirk, which is the only knock against an otherwise standout episode, though we at least do get them described in pretty good detail.
Liv’s latest brain, which belonged to a man hallucinating visions of his dead wife, not only leads to some truly hilarious humour, especially in a delightfully awkward scene where Liv and Peyton have to role-play as the dominatrix and client to trigger a vision, but also provides a great surprise return for Drake! Drake may have been killed by Liv at the end of Season Two, but since she ate the brain of a mentally ill person, Liv starts seeing visions of Drake throughout her daily routine, as a side effect of the brain. This was not only very funny in many respects, especially when ‘Drake’ uncomfortably interrupts her interactions with Babineaux, Peyton and Justin, but also provided some surprisingly strong drama as well, as Liv must start coming to terms with having to put Drake out of his misery during the events of the Season Two finale.
While this is going on, Mr. Boss also returns to Seattle, hilariously sneaking around his suspicious wife to retrieve his hidden stash of money in a fantastic opening scene, and later makes contact with Blaine, via bullets! Yes, Blaine is shot by an enemy again, but surprisingly, he’s apparently reverted to a zombie state, yet again! This appears to suggest that Ravi’s prototype zombie cure might wear off after a certain point, but either way, this is bad news for Mr. Boss, who learns the hard way about the existence of zombies! Fortunately, Blaine isn’t so keen on killing him, and instead decides to cut him in on his latest business venture. Mr. Boss may get to live, but now, his criminal network entirely belongs to Blaine, which was a truly great way to turn the tables, after it looked like Blaine was definitely dead upon the return of Mr. Boss to Seattle!
Blaine’s storyline is also cleverly timed with Ravi having to try and figure out a plan to rescue Don E., especially after the zombie-truthers fortunately fail to notice that Don E. has a burner phone on him. Ravi calls Blaine over to rescue his sidekick, before Don E. is starved enough to go full zombie on a crowded livestream, and in another surprising turn, albeit one we can’t see pan out right away, Blaine actually goes to Liv to offer her a chance to help with the rescue! Liv and Blaine both injuring each other enough to put each other in an aggressive zombie state was a truly superb way to end the episode, even if the cliffhanger was a bit painful, since we’ll have to wait until next week to see how all sorts of hurt is going to be laid on Harley and his band of douche bags!
This just leaves Babineaux, who is mostly in the background this week as I mentioned, along with Major, though they nonetheless offer some interesting forward story movement of their own. Major has begun a very passionate love affair with the woman who contacted him, which doesn’t mean too much on its own, but the implication of the zombie cure wearing off soon might force Major to bring his new flame into Team Z in a rather unfortunate way, if that’s indeed what’s happening! As for Babineaux, he was around to assist with investigating developments on Peyton’s case, though this was hardly resolved, and mainly served as a way to reveal that the alleged dominatrix killer and her friend happen to be zombies. Not only that, but they also have the distinct brain-feeding tubes of Fillmore-Graves! It looks like this is a key piece of evidence for how things will come together with this all-important case in the season’s climax, and so far, it’s providing quite a lot of great intrigue to that end!
“Return of the Dead Guy” nicely made up for the shortcomings of last week’s episode of iZombie, being another of Season Three’s best episodes overall! The brief return of Drake provided a nice way for Liv to reconcile her demons right before a major ass-kicking session with Blaine, while Peyton’s case is quickly finding its way into the larger Fillmore-Graves conspiracy. iZombie shouldn’t necessarily make it a habit to do away with a case-of-the-week, but in this case, it really proved to be the right call. The season is very quickly moving towards a big climax over the rest of June, and the show leaning into that demonstrates a commendable commitment to making sure this long-delayed third season caps itself off with a bang, especially since we could likely be waiting a whole other year or so before Season Four starts.
- Liv reconciling her demons with Drake
- Mr. Boss learning the truth about zombies, courtesy of Blaine
- Ongoing storylines are starting to come together very well
- Why can't we see Liv's latest visions?