iZombie: Goon Struck


NOT one of Liv’s better looks

With the reveal of zombies’ existence and the takeover of Seattle, there are a lot of complicated things going on. This episode opens with some of the political ramifications of things, and what’s essentially a zombie affirmative action program. The people fighting over it seem to be giving poor Peyton a headache, as she hears arguments about whether zombies should be allowed to be bus drivers. She handles it well, and is worried about the driver. While Peyton plays politics, the unlikely pair of Major and Don E are on a mysterious road trip with a less than willing passenger along for the ride.

Elsewhere, Liv, Clive, and Ravi are dealing with a multiple homicide. Their efforts are being hampered by a weird European detective who halfway seems like a parody of the Inspector Clouseau character from the Pink Panther movies. He calls it a hate crime, while Clive is leaning towards it being a professional hit. One of the victims proves to be a Canadian hockey player who is a designated goon on the ice, so we’re in for more weirdness from Liv after she whips up another special dish. This also gives us the title, “Goon Struck.”

Don E and Major make a stop and things look like they’re going badly inside as Major pumps the gas. The crimefighting trio go to the hockey arena, and Liv’s new quirks start coming out. Clive is vastly amused, and even calls Ravi to come watch the show. Liv does some brutal things on the ice as she channels her new hockey player self. One of the players, Patch, was a friend of the victim, and reveals that he’s a zombie, too, so he knows how they’re getting some of their information and why Liv is acting so much like his dead friend.

At Fillmore-Graves, the goofy inspector, who I’m having trouble finding a name for, drones on about his findings. Chase seems bored, and most aren’t taking the man seriously. I wouldn’t, either, I have to say. There’s a lot of concern about a General Mills, an Army bigwig on the outside, who wants to solve the zombie issue by just nuking Seattle. Chase is also being pressured about Mama Lenoie, AKA Renegade, the coyote he had Blaine capture for him. Chase is clearly conflicted about what to do with her. Chase has a few flashbacks to Mama talking to him, and they debate what she’s done, before Chase coming back to the present and refusing to execute her.

Don and Major stop at a motel, and we get to see their reluctant companion. Don gets overconfident and pays a price while an amused Major looks on. Major is a lot less amused when the local news comes on and we see how badly Don screwed up during their pit stop. Their passenger freaks out on learning a few things about them. Major lectures Don, who doesn’t seem to care, and the low-level gangster keeps being abusive to their captive.

Ravi is practicing some hockey moves in the morgue under Liv’s supervision. She gets a really helpful vision about the murders, but visions aren’t useful in court, so they’re going to need more. Clive has Blaine brought in, and the criminal is at his smirking, wisecracking best. Liv’s current brain seems to be making her dumb, which isn’t helping any. While Major and Don screw up their road trip, Blaine gives Clive and Liv nothing but attitude. He does screw up and let something slip that steers them in the right direction about Mama Leone at least. There are complications as Liv knows things Clive really shouldn’t as law enforcement, and Fillmore’s annoying Inspector pops up again and annoys Liv the Goon. That goes badly.

Liv goes back to the locker room and talks to more of the players, throwing Blaine’s name around. Patch steers her back to good ol’ Fillmore-Graves, and repeats a movie reference she didn’t get earlier. Armed with new insight, Liv charges back to the precinct, only to find out that Blaine is, indeed, well-connected and has been released. Peyton and Clive are disappointed, Liv hockey babbles, and leaves Blaine confused. Peyton and Clive talk after Liv goes home, and Peyton gets a nasty follow up to something she was dealing with earlier.

That event has repercussions, and Peyton ends up briefing Chase Graves himself. Chase finds a few things out he really doesn’t like hearing. The man may have had an idea for Seattle that might have worked, possibly, but he has too many forces arrayed against him at this point. His organization has too many holes in it. As a show of force, they end up finally convincing Chase to go ahead with something he’s been trying hard not to do.

Blaine and Tanner are eating together when they get a surprise as Don and Major return in an unexpected way. There’s an amusing exchange of nicknames between Major and Blaine, and they reveal some complications from the road trip. We do find out what Blaine and Don were up to, and it makes some ruthless sense. Major returns to Fillmore, briefs Chase, and finds his leader in a melancholy mood.

The end of the show is shocking on a few levels. There’s a public spectacle that most people aren’t happy with. It’s sad and surprising and certainly final for one of the characters. It’s also another moment when the status quo changes, as someone is inspired by the scene to take their life in a whole new direction. This is going to make things a lot more complicated among the main characters. You have to give the show credit for being willing to take risks in changing what the show is about.

What I liked: He’s annoying and I don’t want him to win, but you have to give Blaine that he’s damned entertaining. David Anders does that job really well. The road trip at first seemed like comic relief, but it was a really slick move. I actually feel a bit bad for Chase, which I didn’t expect to. I give them a lot of points for that final scene and what came out of it. And it was interesting to see Peyton dealing with all her problems at work.

What I didn’t: The weird inspector seemed to come from nowhere and was just annoying. I’m not sure what he was supposed to be doing. I agree with whichever character it was (can’t remember and I seem to have not noted it down) that was wondering why they’re striving so hard to solve crimes in this version of Seattle. It’s a bleak place.

There were a lot of interesting turns here, and I really like most of what they did. I’ll bump this one to a 4 out of 5, with a big nod to the writers taking such big risks with their plots.