iZombie 5x07 “Filleted to Rest” Review
It’s the midseason episode of iZombie, which means old dropped plots are coming home to roost, some new things have been set into motion, and a beloved character gets the short end of the narrative stick.
This week, a chef is murdered in her office, in an especially grisly way. She gets conked on the head by a frozen pork rind, and then her head is shrink wrapped to her chair. Despite never seeing her face, we know all about her personality. She’s snappish, rude, and very particular about her coffee. She also has gotten away with treating people poorly because she was a culinary genius. For the episode, it’s not her creations we are concerned with, but the stolen brains from her freezer. It turns out 12 brains go for about 10 grand these days, and that’s quite a pretty penny. iZombie has never been above going for the obvious suspect, but this one had a clever twist. The culprit ends up telling on himself when he calculates the net worth of 12 brains in his head, which reveals he had eaten a stolen statistician’s brain. Besides stealing the brains, he murdered the chef because he was living as a zombie in secret, and the chef was going to out him to his parents, who are a part of Dolly Durkin’s CHICS faction. I have been intrigued by the ways the worldbuilding of New Seattle has influenced the circumstances and motivations of the murders in a world where zombies and humans coexist.
All season, tensions have been brewing at Fillmore Graves between Major and Chase Grave loyalists, but things have finally reached a critical breaking point. An ambush strikes, killing several men and stealing loyalists from the freezer (a lot of frozen things being stolen this episode). Justin suggests that it might be Dead Enders, but a squad member named Peters has been missing since the attack. Peters shows up at Major’s apartment, and accuses Justin of orchestrating the whole thing, including making sure that most of the FG squad were scattered from their posts. It turns out that Justin really was behind the attack, and you really just hate to see it. He tells Major that the vision of zombies and humans coexisting has just as much weight as “blowing out a candle and making a wish.” Justin has been loyal to Major and Liv this entire dang series, and suddenly out of nowhere he’s a Chase Graves apologist? No way, baby. I don’t buy it.
This was a crappy way for this character to go out — getting shot by his best friend, Major, for insurrection. It’s a disservice to Justin as a character, and especially as black man, who can be few and far between on the CW network. This whole Fillmore Graves plot felt a little filler, as well. It feels like this ambush could have happened under Enzo, and the plot would have worked much better. Not to mention, the show brought back General Mills’ daughter for Major to negotiate with. There was a whole episode dedicated to her kidnapping last season, and then the plot was dropped completely. I don’t even remember her name! I would like things to be moving a little quicker on Major and Peyton’s end regarding the government/nuclear warfare issue.
Finally, finally, Quinta Brunson has been thrown back into the mix! Ravi communicates with her over the Freylich brain issue, and also a few personal problems. Charlie tells Ravi that the CDC hasn’t been very flexible, including how Charlie has been taking care of her mother with Alzheimers. In a little bit of a twist, we find out that Charlie has a twin sister, Lila, who is behind the Seattle wall. These two are polar opposites, and it’s fun to see Quinta tackle them both. Lila has more of the goofy, irresponsible personality, while Charlie is the scientist. Ravi manages to convince Lila to speak to her sister and they decide to take her over the wall. I hope we don’t have to worry about Lila too much, as she winds up on a smuggling trip where the undercover zombie coyote has been assigned.
At the station, Michelle is taking over for Clive, as he takes over for Dale, who’s on bedrest for the rest of her pregnancy. I am guessing that Michelle wishes she were too, given that her assignment manages to get her hit in the head with a hockey puck. A HOCKEY PUCK. Michelle really can’t catch a break. Clive visits her with flowers and asks her why she put him down as her emergency contact and father of the baby. She tells them even though the baby most likely isn’t his, putting him down seemed like a better choice because of how present and sweet he is. Something about this scene felt really unresolved and almost out of place. Although the moment was nice and heartwarming, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to lead up to.
Seemingly following a theme of estranged families in this episode, Liv bumps into her mother. The two of them have an antagonistic relationship, to say the least. We last saw Liv’s family in Season 1, when she was still living in secret as a zombie. A zombie scratch could have easily saved her brother’s life, but times were much different then. Liv admits that she might have done things differently now, but there was no way she could have known how her family would react, or what might have happened. It’s almost strange to think about the show in the early seasons, when Liv was so desperate to protect her secret that it came at the cost of dear relationships. This conversation is incredibly tense. The world itself of iZombie can be at times bleak and hopeless, but rarely is there ever true familial tension like this, with crying, yelling, and confessions. Despite all of this, Liv manages to get her mom to admit the name of her dad, a man she never knew. Martin Roberts. “Don’t go looking for him, Liv,” her mom warns. She tells Liv that he’s a junkie and not worth the time. Liv asks her mom to tell her brother she misses him, but her mother says Evan wasn’t interested in having a relationship with her.
Of course, with all that Liv has going on her life — with murder cases, Fillmore Graves drama, renegade business — she doesn’t have time to go searching for her father. But turns out he’s pretty easy to find. Zombie Shady Man is thawing Enzo out in his basement with a hair dryer when Liv shows up at his door and confesses she’s his daughter. Duh duh duh! Straight out of a telenovela, right? Oh, that’s another CW show? Okay, you have to admit, this twist is a little soapy. What’s going to happen when Renegade goes toe to toe with her father’s zombie army?
I wish iZombie would cast some older people to play Fillmore Graves squad members. It feels like every week, some really young kid is sniped in the forehead and it makes me so uncomfortable.
Are Martin Roberts/Liv’s Father/Beanpole Bob/Shady Zombie Man all the same person?? I had trouble following that
Rahul and Quinta continue to have really great on-screen chemistry, with both of the sister characters
The biggest laugh this episode was when Lila was eager to see a dead body, and it wasn’t quite what she expected. Big difference between seeing one on TV and seeing one in front of you. Not so edgy, is it?
Again, there are these small friendship moments between Major and Liv that haven’t necessary felt romantic, but they make their friendship seem strong and real — like Liv calling him about running into her mom, and Major joining her and the zombie kids for dinner.
This episode ended with a voiceover monologue with Liv, which is a narrative device the show used frequently at the beginning, but not so much lately. At first, it was a little jarring to return to it, but sometimes it really nice to get inside Liv’s head when she’s so often being influenced by other people’s personalities. Previous seasons have had a heavy focus on “who is Liv Moore, underneath the zombie of it all” and I think for the back half of the final season, and emphasis on this is going to be important.
Haley’s episode rating: 🐝🐝🐝
iZombie airs Thursdays at 9/8c on the CW.