NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “iZombie” are present in this review
With the two-part season premiere storyline for iZombie’s final season now having been sorted out, the show can spend some time going back to its classic format for a little while. “Five, Six, Seven, Ate!” once again gives us an old-fashioned murder and an old-fashioned brain for Liv to consume, as two dancers end up being killed by poisoned protein powder. The storyline also takes this case-of-the-week further from there to boot, as Liv and Ravi must go undercover with the other dancers to try and sniff out the murder, making for a fun core mystery that goes nicely with at least one very good subplot.
Even with Blaine, Don E. and that crowd completely absent in this episode, the stakes of New Seattle’s impending zombie war continue to build across a great subplot with Major and Peyton, after a viral video circulates from a local middle school, suggesting that zombie kids are being illegally screened and segregated. After the situation escalates, Major and Peyton end up having a disagreement over what actually happened, but it turns out that neither party is wrong in the end. Seeing Major and Peyton separately investigate and handle the situation professionally is pretty satisfying on its own, but better still is that the two work together to make legitimate change. With Fillmore-Graves and New Seattle’s administration often distrusting each other, it was a hopeful result that provides a bit of a win for deteriorating human/zombie relations in the city.
Even more interesting is that the zombie kid that is eventually bullied into raging out, motivating Peyton to consult Major, and then Liv, regarding finding him and his brother a new place to live, turns out to be one of the late Jordan’s siblings. This proves to be a strong way to keep exploring the fallout of Jordan’s death, not just at Fillmore-Graves, but also with Liv’s Renegade operation, as she agrees to take the two zombie children in, just in time for Baron’s funeral. Allowing the angry zombie children to learn that Liv’s coyotes are all human, and that Baron gave his life trying to protect zombies making their way into New Seattle, also went nicely with Major and Peyton holding human and zombie administrations together, which is welcome, especially considering how bad things truly looked for the city during the season premiere storyline.
The case-of-the-week also does a great job of providing that welcome levity, as I said, with iZombie wasting no time exploiting the humour behind an undercover assignment shared between Liv and Ravi. With Liv moving between two co-dependent dancer brains, while the very musically-illiterate Ravi is left to try and impotently pretend that he has any kind of dancing pedigree, the two untangle twisted rivalries, over-the-top dancer politics, and more uncomfortable relationship drama, all nicely executed to comic effect. This makes for a pretty fluffy, not-too-serious case-of-the-week, but this is likely a smart move for iZombie at this point, considering how bleak the final season’s opening was. Many viewers are no doubt eager to unwind with some good old-fashioned case work, especially when it feels like human/zombie relations are bound to fall apart sooner or later, regardless of what the characters do.
Besides, the innate hilarity of seeing Liv and Ravi attempt to master a dance routine together is pretty priceless! Even Babineaux ends up getting in on the fun, displaying a surprising salsa pedigree when it comes time for Ravi to try and master a salsa routine that he must perform with Liv to maintain their cover. Since Babineaux already interviewed the dancers however, he’s unable to go undercover with Liv, compounding Ravi’s misery. Fortunately, Ravi eventually coming around to a surprising appreciation for dance makes for a fun payoff, to the point where he’s late to tending to the death of the murder culprit, a scorned water polo player that one of the murdered dancers was torn away from by his overbearing partner. This isn’t much of a case resolution, especially since the culprit comes right out of nowhere towards the end, but in keeping with the fun, light-hearted spirit of this episode’s storytelling, the result of the case came together well enough to work, even if the ending wasn’t anything special.
The only real sour note in this episode came by way of a subplot with Babineaux and Bozzio, as they continue to attend birthing classes together. It’s here that they discover that Michelle has recently joined these same classes, having also become pregnant by an undetermined father. With Babineaux quickly suspecting that the kid may be his, Bozzio pressures him to order Michelle to take a DNA test, which she refuses to do, since it will likely cause complications with the unborn baby. While the payoff with this subplot is undeniably sweet, as Bozzio eventually invites Michelle to do birthing classes with her when Babineaux can’t attend one of them, it’s difficult to argue that Michelle suddenly becoming pregnant is ridiculously contrived, and feels a little too close to pure soap opera territory. It seems like the writers just didn’t know how to create engaging character conflicts for Babineaux and Bozzio during iZombie’s final season at this point, so they had to force a pretty ridiculous one that could incorporate both characters. I suppose that this is a side effect of moving Babineaux especially outside of the show’s procedural zone though, and more into the over-arching zombie drama that’s encompassing an increasing part of iZombie’s plotting in recent seasons.
Regardless, “Five, Six, Seven, Ate!” still functions as a nice break from all of New Seattle’s current misery, without completely forsaking the crisis facing the city, thanks to some inspired secondary storytelling with Major and Peyton. The light, but fun case-of-the-week with Liv and Ravi was also a winner, particularly with the amusing device of the two having to go undercover together, while Liv is on two especially annoying brains. The Babineaux/Bozzio drama with Michelle doesn’t work nearly as effectively, but I suppose we had to do something with those characters, since iZombie’s procedural element is bound to diminish once again, as the show draws ever closer to its final episode. Thus, I imagine that Babineaux and Bozzio are going to have a harder time finding their place in the lead ensemble from here on out, since the Seattle PD is bound to be quickly overwhelmed by the impending human/zombie war. Still, I suppose that’s a problem for down the road. For now, I’m happy to see that iZombie is spending some time leaning more heavily into its sense of humour again, allowing the show’s final season to stand on more than ever-encroaching drama and darkness.
- Funny, undemanding case-of-the-week with Liv and Ravi
- Major and Peyton successfully working together on human/zombie relations
- Liv agreeing to take in Jordan's orphaned siblings
- Michelle's surprise pregnancy feels way too contrived
- Case resolution is a bit weak