NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “iZombie” are present in this review
iZombie excelled to superb effect in its latest experimental new spin on a case-of-the-week in, “Night and the Zombie City”, which sees a mysterious murder occur within Don E. Be Goodz. After a hard-boiled P.I. is found murdered in one of the brothel rooms at Don E.’s club (alongside one of Blaine’s and Don E.’s favourite hookers), Liv consumes his brain, and becomes a noir detective stereotype, complete with most of the episode adopting a noir-style visual flavouring, particularly within the first half. Meanwhile, the fate of New Seattle continues to hang in the balance, as U.S. government delegates continue to debate whether or not to nuke the city, which may end up getting an unlikely defense after some of Peyton’s efforts as the former New Seattle mayor.
This episode’s murder case really was the star however, with its noir stylings lending themselves perfectly to both comedy and mystery. The tongue-in-cheek noir cinematography goes perfectly with Liv obliviously spouting inane detective phrases like she’s in a pulp novel, even inspiring Ravi to emulate her to humourous effect at one point. Somehow, the joke of Liv being a weirdo, and Babineaux being perpetually annoyed at her new brains, still hasn’t gotten old, and it felt like the recurring gag worked even better than usual in this case. This is all the more true when the writing especially goes for broke in this latest case-of-the-week, leaning fully into iZombie’s more meta bag of jokes, namely by playing the show’s detective and procedural elements up to ridiculous extremes, combining a classic detective style with the modern sense of personality that makes iZombie such a consistent delight to watch.
Both the case progression and resolution were especially satisfying in this episode to boot, despite the killer actually being revealed very early on! This narrative experiment proved to be successful however, since the killer may have been revealed early, but the motive remains undetermined, particularly when Blaine kills the guilty party himself, a waitress at Don E. Be Goodz, in an effort to determine just what exactly she’s looking for at the club, and why she killed one of the club’s best hookers. It turns out that the murder occurred over a zombie cure that the P.I. was trying to smuggle to the hooker, after being paid to do so by the woman’s father, with the waitress attempting to steal the cure before she is killed herself by Blaine, leading to Blaine also realizing that a zombie cure is hiding right under his nose.
The resulting race between Liv and Blaine is pretty effectively tense as well, particularly considering how hot a commodity zombie cures have become in recent weeks. At the same time, Peyton also becomes a drunken mess after losing her job as mayor, resulting in Peyton starting a bar fight during a sloppy karaoke number, creating a nice distraction for Liv and Blaine to also get into a scrap. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a good old-fashioned duel between Liv and Blaine, and this one’s a pretty good one, even if it’s prematurely ended after Crybaby Carl strikes Liv himself. Fortunately, Babineaux and the Seattle PD burst in right as Liv holds a gun on Carl and Blaine, which results in Blaine quickly throwing Carl under the bus, and pinning the waitress’ murder entirely on him. Yet again, Blaine has spent one of his enforcers in trying to escape the law, and at this point, it really seems like he’s running low on thugs. This proves all the more true when Candy also flees from both Blaine and Don E., having stolen the missing zombie cure herself, and riding off with one of the thugs that Blaine hired to find Freylich kids. It’s a weirdly fitting ending for this whole twisted saga, while also giving Candy a surprisingly upbeat ending, as iZombie nears its overall conclusion.
Aside from the case-of-the-week, this episode also serves as the point wherein Ravi tells Liv about her father being Beanpole Bob. This once again drives a wedge between Liv and her father, though nonetheless motivates Martin to come to the morgue and try to pick Ravi’s brain about what he knows about the tainted Utopium. When Ravi reveals to Martin that Max Rager was a key component in the initial zombie outbreak, a janitor is coincidentally caught stealing Max Rager from Fillmore-Graves not long after, who conveniently commits suicide after Major voices suspicion towards him. It thus becomes very evident that Martin can’t be trusted to Liv and Ravi, who then break into his house, trying to look for the tainted Utopium formula themselves. This more or less serves as a convenient excuse for Liv and Ravi to discover the big room of Romero’s in Martin’s basement, though they have to flee before they can fully process that information. Perhaps this will nonetheless be enough for Liv and Ravi to stay one step ahead of the city’s current biggest threat?
Of course, it’s also difficult to discount the U.S. government here, as they take a vote on whether or not to nuke Seattle. This comes after a night where the chairwoman discovers her grandson watching, “Hi, Zombie!” as well, with Peyton’s sketch comedy show ultimately inspiring the general to make the swing vote of not nuking New Seattle. This doesn’t sit well with General Mills however, who places a call to Dolly Durkins about a mystery collaboration towards the end of the episode. Dolly’s already proven enough of a danger to the city on her own, so one can only wonder what kind of deadly scheme she could cook up with a military general on her side! This also begs the question of whether Dolly will merely end up being another pawn in Martin’s plans to boot, since Mills deciding to call Dolly Durkins of all people couldn’t possibly be a coincidence. Is Dolly actually inadvertently signing humanity’s death warrant in a manner that we can’t yet anticipate?
“Night and the Zombie City” thus delivers plenty to stew on, while also providing an especially great case-of-the-week that not only worked well on its own merits, but also found a way to tie into the over-arching battle for the soul and status of New Seattle. Again, the only weak link to speak of was once again the Don E./Darcy romance, which is still feeling more tedious and less interesting than everything else, particularly after a rather forced fight between the two, relating to Don E.’s supposed insensitivity over the club’s dead hooker. The two ending up being engaged is fair enough, but hopefully that makes this story arc a lot more interesting than it’s been up to this point. Regardless, iZombie seems to be nicely approaching an overall climax, as the final stages of Martin’s plan begin to come together, and New Seattle manages to survive a nuking, which merely leaves it wide open to a full-scale war between humans and zombies. There’s still a couple of mysteries to solve before the show’s final season wraps up, but as long as it doesn’t trip at the finish line, those final whodunits should hopefully prove just as exciting as the overall battle for zombiekind.
- Clever, engaging noir-flavoured case-of-the-week
- The, "Hi, Zombie!" sketches saving New Seattle from destruction
- Candy cleverly absconding with the zombie cure
- Don E./Darcy romance is still a weak link in the storytelling