If there’s one thing that iZombie knows how to do better than almost any other show on television, it’s produce game-changing, mind-blowing, adrenaline-pumping season finales. And while “Looking For Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2” doesn’t quite reach the thrilling heights of last season’s “Salivation Army,” it’s undoubtedly a more important episode to the series as a whole, as tonight’s Season 3 finale doesn’t just inch closer to the eventual discovery of zombies; it full-on delivers that reveal to not just major recurring characters like Bozzio and Johnny Frost but to the entire country.
By the end of the hour, pretty much all citizens of the United States (if not the whole world) are aware of zombies’ existence and know that Seattle is essentially their Mecca. Chase Graves has implemented a volunteer, organ donor-like system that will supply all of Seattle’s zombies with brains from the dead so that they will not pose a threat to the members of the living, and while it’s a solid idea in theory, we can already see the conflicts that have arisen since Discovery Day, as Major, Justin, and the rest of Fillmore-Graves’ mercenaries are forced to shoot down an angry mob of humans that won’t stand down. We also briefly see the strain that being out and in the open is putting on Liv’s life, as she mentions to Ravi that people pass her in their cars on the street and give her the finger as they drive by. It’s clear that this zombie/human partnership will not be as harmonious as Chase Graves had hoped it would be (although we do learn that this Plan-B was not his plan all along but one that he was forced to adopt due to a mutiny led by Fillmore-Graves employee, Carey Gold), and the ups and downs that Discovery Day has caused and will continue causing will certainly be a major focus in Season 4.
But that’s Season 4. “Looking For Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2” is the conclusion to Season 3 of iZombie, and while it’s a mostly satisfying end to this year’s stories, moments throughout the hour can’t help but feel a little rushed, quickly thrown together for the sake of plot. One of the biggest examples of this is Liv and Justin’s break-up, which happens right at the start of the episode. The two of them barely talk about the real motivation behind Liv sleeping with Chase Graves, although Justin does tell her that if she had really wanted to, she could have fought the brain she was on; being influenced by Katty Kupps’ personality was no excuse for her actions. Still though, the angry Justin we see in that opening scene seems like a far cry from the straight-up evil Justin who later calls in reinforcements on Liv after she breaks into the school where Fillmore-Graves zombies are dosing the Aleutian Flu vaccine with their blood.
Speaking of the Aleutian Flu, its overwhelming presence in the finale also feels like a last-minute plot addition rather than an organic story development. Sure, we are all aware of the flu and that Katty Kupps had been studying it before this two-part finale, but there had been no real importance placed on it by iZombie and it hadn’t even been mentioned since the beginning of the season until its true purpose is revealed during the finale. It doesn’t have the same impact as the threats from seasons past, like Blaine kidnapping kids off the street and killing them, or Vaughn Du Clark experimenting on zombies in Max Rager’s basement; it just comes off as tacked-on and underdeveloped.
And the last underdeveloped story point from the iZombie Season 3 finale that I take issue with is the reveal that Carey Gold is the mastermind behind everything this season, from the murders of Wally and his family to the creation of thousands upon thousands of new zombies in Seattle. While I appreciate the show not giving us the easy answer and turning Chase Graves into a full-on villain, rather a reluctant leader who does the best he can in a difficult situation, I still wish that iZombie had taken the time to develop Carey as a character more. I mean, I review this show weekly, and I didn’t even know what her full name was until last week’s episode. That type of character development doesn’t lead to the most satisfying storytelling. Frankly, it just seems that the iZombie writers had about 18 episodes worth of story for Season 3 and only 13 episodes to tell it, which is what has led to some recent episodes, including the finale, feeling overstuffed.
But even though the show bit off a little bit more than it could chew this season, that didn’t prevent it from having some outstanding individual moments in this final episode. Everything involving Major (the utter defeat on his face as he tells Liv about Natalie and his friends’ deaths, his meeting with Chase Graves, and his full-blown alliance to Fillmore-Graves and the zombie race) perfectly fit with his character’s journey this season, and even though it’s been a rather sad road that Major has been on for the past two years, the destination in this finale felt right—he finally has a place where he can feel at home and at peace in the world but it comes at the cost of his humanity, both literally and figuratively. After everything he has been through in Season 3, this is the proper place to leave his character, and it sets up a really interesting conflict for him and Liv next season, as Major is 100% on the side of the zombies while Liv still tries to see the best in everyone and bring humans and zombies together. His militant mentality is sure to clash with her more hopeful view of the world.
It doesn’t look like Liv and Major will be reconnecting in a romantic way in anytime soon, but the same can’t be said for Clive and Bozzio, who seem on the verge of repairing their fractured relationship until Dale unknowingly takes the vaccine and becomes a member of the undead. Every moment with Clive and Bozzio throughout “Looking For Mr. Goodbrain, Part 1” is fantastic, from the way he reveals the truth about zombies to her to their playful interactions as they wait in line for the vaccine. But the scene that signals to me just how much the two of them care about each other (and gives me hope that they’ll be able to find a way to be together as human and zombie, even though Major and Liv couldn’t) comes near the end of the finale, as Clive helps Dale dye her hair. It’s a tender, loving scene, but even though it’s an intimate, compassionate moment, both Malcolm Goodwin and Jessica Harmon do a terrific job of showing the fear and sadness that both Clive and Dale are feeling. They just got their chance to be together again, and it’s tragically ripped away from them; how they respond to Dale’s new zombie lifestyle is one of the stories I’m most excited to see in Season 4.
And then, of course, there’s that final scene between Liv and Ravi, as he takes the potential zombie vaccine and tests it on himself, but there’s only one real way he can do that: he needs Liv to scratch him. It’s a huge moment for the show and especially for Ravi as a character as it illustrates his evolution from last season’s finale to this year’s. Ravi at the end of iZombie Season 2 decided to stay in the car instead of running in, guns blazing, to help save Peyton; Ravi at the end of iZombie Season 3, though, has not only gone undercover with violent zombie truthers but is willing to risk becoming a zombie to help save the human race. It’s an incredibly bold and brave decision from Ravi, and it’s a perfect way to end this third season, finishing part one of this ever-changing story in the place where it all began: in the morgue with two medical examiners who had no idea how close of friends they’d become. The scene also wonderfully encapsulates the heart and humor of iZombie, as Liv and Ravi tell each other how much they love one another before she scratches him, and then Liv delivers these hilarious words to Ravi after he pretends to go full-on zombie, the final words of the season: “Don’t be a dick.”
It’s an exciting and emotional way to end iZombie‘s third season, which certainly has been the series’ most ambitious year to date, and even though I didn’t necessarily love everything about the show this season, I have to applaud Rob Thomas and the rest of the writers’ willingness to just go for it. Lots of TV shows out there are more than fine with sticking to the status quo and delivering the same type of episodes week in and week out, but that’s not iZombie‘s style. This is a show that likes to shake things up in big ways at the end of every season, and no finale has ever done that more than “Looking For Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2.” It will be a whole new world for Liv, Ravi, Major, and the rest of Team Z when iZombie returns for its next season, and I cannot wait to see the show’s writers explore these new zombie/human conflicts now that the truth about zombies is fully out there in the public. Let the countdown to Season 4 begin. I’m ready for it.
- I just want to quickly apologize for the lateness of this review. I don’t get screeners for iZombie episodes and didn’t get home until 1 am EST last night after flying back from St. Thomas, where my brother got married this weekend. Rest assured, my iZombie reviews for Season 4 will continue to be as timely as always!
- As someone who was a big True Blood fan (during the show’s first three seasons anyway), I’m really curious to see what the similarities and differences will be between that show’s approach to having vampires “out of the coffin” and iZombie‘s approach to having zombies “out of the grave.”
- Blaine and Don E. become worried about business after Chase Graves forbids his men from visiting The Scratching Post, but by episode’s end, after Discovery Day, their zombie bar is more popular than ever. Blaine’s journey in Season 3 was mainly about getting him back to his crime-loving, evil businessman roots, and I hope Season 4 pushes him in a new, exciting direction as I’m sure he’ll be trying to expand his business in some type of way.
- Speaking of The Scratching Post, how great were those scenes of everyone at the bar dancing while on choreographer blue brain? It felt like the zombie version of La La Land, and I could have easily watched more of it.
- Two of the other funniest moments from the episode: Liv drinking Super Max and failing to steal Chase Graves’s dog and Clive and Ravi’s reactions after Liv tells them about her sleeping with Chase.
- Also, after some complaints I had earlier this season about the show sidelining Liv at points, can I just say how happy I am that this finale had Liv at her most active and investigative? I mean, she has visions, drinks Super Max, gets into a kitchen fight with two zombie teenagers, breaks into the school where they are hiding the vaccines, and runs away from gun-wielding mercenaries. We don’t say it enough, you guys: Liv Moore freaking rocks.
- But you know who also rocks? Dale Bozzio, who wins the award for most easygoing and relaxed response to learning the truth about zombies. Seriously, it doesn’t even seem to phase her. She’s just happy that Clive is finally being honest.
- The best comic-book title card of the night is easily “Just A Prick,” which is immediately followed by a cut to Johnny Frost. I see what you did there, iZombie, and I love it.
- Also, on that note, please give us more of Zombie Johnny Frost in Season 4. That guy is always comedy gold.
- And that’s a wrap for iZombie Season 3! I want to thank everyone who has read, shared, or commented on any of my reviews this season. I greatly appreciate it. I’ll see you all back here for Season 4, and in the meantime, if you need some iZombie in your life, check out my podcast, iZombie Radio, as we’ll be pumping out episodes all throughout the hiatus. Excuse the shameless self-promotion, but give it a listen, won’t ya?
What did everyone else think about the iZombie finale and Season 3 as a whole? What do you want to see in Season 4? Comment below and let me know.
[Photo credit: Robert Falconer/The CW]