IZombie is getting close to the end of the season as plots gather steam and the crew faces all sorts of challenges and problems. “Insane in the Germ Brain” starts off with Isobel video chatting with her mother. Isobel’s good sprits and humor are great fun to watch as she talks about her new friends, and we see Liv and Levon worried about Curtis the newly-made zombie, and Ravi and Peyton discussing plans with several surprises. Good humor only gets you so far, and Isobel starts showing some worrying symptoms which then leads to her starting a running joke for the episode with a clever rationale behind it.
Ravi and Liv debate what to do about their ailing friend, and find no good options. Clive comes in with a body and the start of the flu. There’s an outbreak throughout the city, which makes tons of sense. Fillmore-Graves kicked off their huge conversion plan with a fake flu shot. If I’d dodged that bullet before, I’m not sure I’d be getting one at this point, either. Clive makes an amusing joke about that and it’s the series’ second reference to a different creature than zombies, which makes me wonder… Anyway, the dead guy is a man dressed up like a female coworker for some office skit. Meal time for Liv. She’s probably the best-fed zombie in New Seattle at this point.
Chase runs a meeting of his people about so much of their brain shipments going missing. He has a new plan that he demonstrates, which seems pretty slick. Angus, meanwhile, is receiving the “benefit” of Don E’s newest brain, a video director. Don is going to take Angus’ message to the internet. It’s interesting seeing Don E, Crybaby Carl, and Angus without Blaine. It’s like watching a show when the star isn’t on for some reason. Dale hears something she didn’t know and doesn’t like when Detective Cavanaugh asks about seeing Liv beat someone with a fish again. The show is taking some license here, as, in my experience, cruiser-cam video doesn’t have sound.
As is frequently the case, the interrogation scene both develops the case and showcases Liv’s newest quirks. Now she’s a severe germophobe as they listen to Shiela, the woman their victim was dressed as, talking about being stared at. Liv gets a vision that leads to a bar and a softball team as Clive sneezes and snuffles.
Don E captures a particularly strong speech from Angus to send out on the net. Ravi goes through a familiar torture ritual: dinner with the significant other’s parents. Peyton’s dad is kind of a jerk and Ravi stands up to him, which was nice to see. Her parents make a suggestion that Peyton hates and Ravi takes a surprising stand on. Don E and Crybaby Carl send the video out among fake hastags and some critique from Carl. The man is surprisingly smart for hired muscle.
Clive goes to Dale’s office to ask her something and things go wildly, horribly wrong for the poor man. I get why it happened, but I hate it and disagree with what was done. The softball suspect from the murder gives them some good leads between bits of Liv acting like a nut and Clive being depressed. Ravi and Isobel get a touching scene that goes all over from the running joke continuing to his being worried about her to a lecture about time and an unexpected request.
The video of Angus starts to make the rounds. Word of it interrupts Major briefing Chase on his Russ Roche case, zombies waiting for brain tubes hear it, and Ravi and Liv watch at the morgue. Peyton has to go on a trip for work and Angus suddenly going viral couldn’t be at a worse time for her.
Liv comes home with a present, more running gag, and a very unexpected request. Clive and the annoyingly pointless French inspector question their new suspect, who proves to be a familiar face in a very different context. Liv gets an emergency text from some of her Underground Railroad co-conspirators, and pulls off a daring bluff, further blurring the lines between her normal life and this secret one. That net is slowly tightening around her. She also gets a taste of what it’s like to be someone and sees things she probably hasn’t even thought about before.
Major gets taken to Roche’s boss, tied to a chair, with the bag over his head. They have a unique security test for Major to pass, although Major seems oddly unconcerned and confident. We find out why soon enough, and it was a damn clever scheme. Well done, Major and company. They show a quick scene of an unexpected development for Clive which I’m really not sure about.
There are a lot of surprises as the episode starts to wrap up. Isobel gets a visitor she didn’t expect which ruins her latest iteration of the joke. Chase’s victory party takes a dark turn when someone screws up and their prisoner gets away. Chase invokes some harsh discipline, things escalate, and Major suffers a loss. A minor character from several episodes ago plays hero and is probably about to become a lot more important. And they end with something we knew was coming but is still very sad and heart-wrenching, even with an unexpected goodbye courtesy of Levon.
What I liked: As always, the humor on the show is great. The banter between characters and the comic book style word boxes after each commercial are entertaining. I loved Major’s plan and it was very well executed. The unexpected suspect in the murder I did not remotely see coming. The end was sad but done well. Peyton’s parents had a perfectly valid point in their request of her.
What I didn’t: For a show that’s usually a lot of fun, this was a downer of an episode. I had been thinking something roughly like this might be coming for Major and have a few ideas about what’s next for him, but it was still hard to see. So was the other big ending. I still don’t like and don’t see the point of Frenchie (yes, I could look up his name. No, I don’t think he’s worth it).
For all the down notes, it was still a good episode. I’ll go 4 out of 5 on this one. Only two left in the season, and then one final season after that.