iZombie 5.11: “Killer Queen” Review

NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “iZombie”, including multiple major character deaths, are present in this review



iZombie is officially winding down, presenting its final case-of-the-week in, “Killer Queen.” With only three episodes remaining for the series, and no more murder cases for Liv after this, the show deserves a memorable whodunit to go out on, and as usual, the hook is pretty good here. This episode begins after a drag queen gets strangled to death by some pearls, necessitating that Liv consume a brain that turns her into an over-the-top diva. At the same time, Ravi enlists Major to pursue a lead on the missing Freylich kids, and Blaine gets some bad news that ends up having heartbreaking consequences for Don E.

Unfortunately, considering that this is the last time that iZombie takes on a usual case-of-the-week, before moving into the show’s overall climax, “Killer Queen” presents a disappointingly weak mystery in the end, albeit one that at least starts out fairly promising. The initial premise of the case is not bad, with the drag queen victim having been murdered with three main suspects, namely a husband, a drag partner and a supposed young successor, all of whom seem to have a connection to the murdered drag queen having a majority stake in the drag club where performances were held. Liv’s diva brain has quite a few funny moments too, so the case is at least fun to watch while it lasts. Disappointingly though, this marks the latest instance where the solution seems to be an afterthought, with the murderer simply being the partner using a cheap disguise, so that he could stop the club being sold. Lame.

Fortunately, the other story arcs at play do sometimes fare a little better, particularly as the series starts coming to a head with its ongoing conflicts. The highlight subplot is likely the shared mission between Ravi and Major, after Ravi manages to snatch some of the original boat party Utopium from Martin’s lair, and sends it over to Charli at the CDC in order to manufacture a cure. Ravi nonetheless wants to rescue the Freylich kids however, and after Liv tips him off to a lead at the precinct, Ravi gets Major to break into a warehouse where the kids are supposedly being held. This subplot seems a bit hasty, particularly when we get disappointingly little time with Major having to function as a honey pot for the lead, but at least Ravi and Major working together is pretty entertaining, even if their rescue of the kids feels a little quick and easy.

Speaking of quick and easy, Martin’s plan is also proceeding pretty smoothly, with Riley and several disguised zombie women all being smuggled out of New Seattle so that they can go to Las Vegas, claiming to Liv that they’re sisters trying to tend to a sickly mother. After this phase of the plan is done as well, Martin decides to let Graham’s boyfriend go… Before Enzo says that Martin is losing his nerve, and Martin should just kill the boyfriend… And then Martin authorizes it, just like that. This is easily one of the most infuriating turns of the episode, because not only is this a head-slappingly idiotic move by Martin, and not only is Enzo yet again coming off as a moronic thug who all of a sudden can’t see past his own nose, but it’s also a transparent story device that’s simply there to ensure that Martin’s plan fails, when it logically shouldn’t.

As much as iZombie at least feels like it’s moving towards a fairly exciting climax at this point as well, it sadly also feels like the show’s endgame is already coming apart in terms of narrative. All that killing Graham’s boyfriend will accomplish is drawing more attention to the operation, namely from Liv, who is the damn medical examiner for the Seattle PD, and will naturally learn that Graham has a boyfriend, before Graham inevitably blabs the nature of Martin’s operation to Liv, no longer having any reason to hide it. This leads to a heartfelt plea from Liv to her father, which initially seems to work, right as Riley and her girls get in position to pose as hookers, and subsequently infect people at a Las Vegas tech convention with the zombie virus. It’s ultimately moot though, since Enzo simply shoots Martin multiple times in the head, seemingly killing him. So much for Martin’s defense plate, I guess…

But herein lies another issue to boot; If Ravi and the CDC are very close to developing a mass-produced, easily accessible zombie cure anyway, then what’s the difference if Martin’s plan is successful? Liv might as well just shrug and let it go through, because anyone who’s infected can easily take a cure, and that’s it. Sure, there’s no guarantee that the cure will be available immediately, once Ravi’s and Charli’s research is complete, but it’s still a pretty big hole in Martin’s plan! In fact, the villains acting emotionally more than rationally is just as much a problem with Blaine to boot. The idea of the woman that Major tries to woo in order to reach the Freylich kids also happening to be the mistress of one of Blaine’s wealthy clients, who was killed for screwing around with her, is pretty interesting, but the show doesn’t end up doing anything with this turn. Instead, this is yet another transparent excuse for one character to learn about the treachery of another, in this case, Blaine learning that Don E. has been secretly running brains to Fillmore-Graves. This results in Blaine seemingly killing Darcy off-screen, and telling Don E. that she died naturally. I mean, I guess that’s nicely dramatic, but how exactly does that stop Don E.’s side hustle?

iZombie still has two episodes left with which to hopefully deliver an overall exciting climax and conclusion for the show, but now that the series is fully moving into its endgame at this point, it seems like the writing can’t quite keep pace with the drama on display. “Killer Queen” doesn’t even manage to make that big of a splash with its case-of-the-week either, appearing to leave iZombie’s procedural element hanging on an unsatisfying whodunit that deserved to land with a lot more impact. Even Enzo killing Martin, and taking over his role as the show’s climactic zombie big bad, feels rushed and illogical. There’s still time for Enzo’s takeover to go somewhere exciting, but with Ravi and Charli inevitably on the way to curing zombies for good, it’s also difficult to invest that much in what the zombie extremists are doing. After all, if getting rid of zombies is about to be very easy, then how does the villains’ success even make a difference anymore?

iZombie starts to stumble as it heads towards its overall endgame with, "Killer Queen", creating several considerable plot holes with its climactic zombie threat.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Initially fun case-of-the-week hook
Entertaining shared mission between Ravi and Major
Interesting and creative worldwide zombie infection plot by Martin
Case-of-the-week flounders with yet another disappointing resolution
Enzo stupidly exposing Martin's plot, then unrealistically seizing power
Ravi being close to a cure makes the zombie villains' plans pretty much pointless