iZombie 5x03 "Five, Six, Seven, Ate!" Review
This week’s iZombie was a much welcomed return to form. We got a fun brain with visions! Pop culture references! Verklempt Clive! It had the wacky fun flavor that made me originally fall in love with the show, and was full of key character moments. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
This episode had a very classical procedural set up: two codependent salsa dancers are poisoned with cyanide, and Liv eats the female partner’s brain. In order to get closer to the hot goss and all the action, she and Ravi go undercover as salsa dancers. While Liv is understandably overeager at this assignment, Ravi is at his most anxious. We are treated to a fantastic montage where Liv and Clive are very committed to getting Ravi to loosen up his hips and be a competent “frame” to Liv’s “picture.” Unfortunately, they don’t run a very successful investigation, nor do they ever become world-class salsa dancers, but it is so, so fun to watch. It’s clear the cast had a really fun time with this episode. It really shows during the scene towards the end where Liv and Ravi debut their moves, and Clive gleefully catches it on his cell phone camera. It reminded me of an episode last season when Liv was on a hockey player brain, and rather than rolling their eyes as usual, Clive and Ravi cheered her on from the stands. When the episode ends, we still have someone that’s going around poisoning folks with cyanide, but we also got several lengthy dance routines and some great Ravi zingers.
When Clive isn’t helping Ravi learn how to salsa dance or interviewing suspects, he makes time for birthing classes with Dale. They are both shocked to see Clive’s old flame, Michelle, show up. After doing some quick math, Clive and Dale put it together that Clive could be her baby’s father. They ask Michelle to take a paternity test, but she declines. Dale wants to press even more, but Clive points out to her that the only thing that would do is make Michelle lonelier than she already feels. I feel for both of them here — Dale admits she’s “trying her best here” to be okay that Clive might have fathered another baby with someone he slept with when Clive and Dale were on a break, but I think Clive had a very empathetic response to Michelle’s situation. At the end of the episode, Dale turns Clive’s lateness to class into an opportunity, and offers to be Michelle’s practice birthing partner. “I love you,” Clive mouths through the door window when he shows up. “You better,” she shoots back.
On the other side of town, Peyton and Major reluctantly butt heads. Once again, Fillmore Graves finds themselves in an unfavorable situation. When they attempt to break up a school’s “head lice inspection” — these administrators were clearly checking for white zombie hair streaks — a kid reaches for one of their guns, and the FG squad reacts by pointing their weapons at school children. One kid records the incident on his iPhone, but it’s shot from an angle that doesn’t tell the whole story. The viral video motif continues, but this time, it’s Peyton who can’t trust what she sees. Give her a break! This poor woman is trying to keep the town together while Ravi is donning a sequined vest and stuffing his feet into dance shoes! She points fingers at Major, but he asks Peyton to trust him. Because Peyton is actually really good at her job and has a really good head on her shoulders, she gets to the bottom of the situation and confronts the principal for segregating zombie children. While she’s reading him for filth, kids are bullying their zombie classmate in the hallway. The zombie kid meets his breaking point and rages out. While other incidents of zombie aggression on this show have a way of making things much, much worse, this one actually leads Major and Peyton to reconcile. When she taps him back into the situation, she reveals the zombie kid and his brother are Jordan’s orphaned siblings. Major and Peyton apologize to each other, admitting that they have some of the worst gigs in town and it can cloud their judgement. Peyton asks Major where the kids can go that would be a “loving and nurturing environment” and Major immediately knows where to go. When they show up to Liv’s Renegade headquarters with the boys, she doesn’t hesitate either. She tells them she has plenty of room, and to leave the kids with her. Major, Peyton, and Liv all lead with their hearts this episode, and New Seattle is a better place for it.
While I wish we could live in this version of iZombie forever, I’m sure we get back to other plot focuses pretty soon. While trying to learn his routine, Ravi moans “Is this really a good use of my time?” Good point, Ravi. You still have a zombie cure to develop!
The winning dance pair wins two tickets out of Seattle, and they all have varying stakes to do so. These tiny, deliberate world details really make “New Seattle” sing, and lands so much better than the other plot strings.
For some reason I loved watching Major and Peyton come through Liv’s Renegade Narnia wardrobe. When the show allows these three college buddies to be in the room at the same time, my heart glows a little. I melted a little when I realized that Major’s go to for Jordan’s brothers was Liv.
I loved that we got to see some of Baron’s funeral. It gives a sense that the Renegade operation is a tight knit team.
“Nobody puts Ravi in a corner”- That seriously would have been a missed opportunity if they hadn’t included that line.
“I’d say it’s a small world, but it’s a walled city.” That is just one of the incredible lines Dale hit us with this episode. It’s wild to me that on the other side of the CW network, Jessica Harmon is nearly unrecognizable in her role as Niylah on The 100.
Malcolm Goodwin can bust a move! Who is really surprised, here?
iZombie airs Thursdays at 9/8c on the CW.