iZombie: Fresh Princess


Like, OMG! Liv is totally stuck in the 80’s! 

The end is near for iZombie, sadly. “Fresh Princess” is episode nine of thirteen in this season, and that’s the last one. Things are building to a head between Fillmore-Graves, the Dead Enders, Liv’s Renegade network, and everyone else caught around the edges. I’m really not sure how this is going to end, but I’m betting the current state of affairs in New Seattle isn’t going to last much longer. There’s too much pressure building and too many plots and schemes colliding.

The show opens with Liv, offering encouragement to her father for his rehab efforts via videochat. This is followed by Major and Liv sharing bagels, and an amusing riff by Major about his bromance with Ravi. The dialogue has always been one of the show’s strengths, and they do little things like this very well. Liv asks Major for some advice about what Martin’s going through, and comments on her having trouble calling him “Dad.” Major sympathizes, but is worried about the missing Sloan Mills, daughter of the General that really wants New Seattle gone. We get to see why Sloan isn’t returning Major’s calls, and it’s not good.

At the morgue, Clive has brought Liv an odd case. The victim was in a coma for about twenty years, and the original incident involved a potential prank gone wrong and a beauty contest. Between that time frame and that setting, this is going to be an interesting brain trip for Liv and those around her. Clive and Ravi talk about a lead on Beanpole Bob, which gives Liv a chance to eat and go through her changes. Ravi tries to guess what she’s supposed to be now, and I love what that says about how far the show has come. Where once Liv’s quirks were things to hide, now it’s an amusing guessing game. I really do think things got better once Clive found out about zombies. Ravi has a lot of enthusiasm for the new lead, but is lacking some practical knowledge. Between that and Liv’s new persona, Clive is grinning and shaking his head as he guides Ravi to a really annoying cop who worships rules, and then demonstrates it didn’t matter. The new lead they get involves a local gang and a crooked cop.

Liv drops in on Martin, and finds he’s really not doing well. She gets some help from Major, and then something triggers a vision that helps with the murder of the week, twisting the previous theory of the case into a wholly new shape. She slips into full 90’s mode, surprising Clive with some of her visual aids for the new clue. The parents of the victim bring in some mementos they hope will help clear up the new wrinkles in the case.

Peyton and Ravi’s quest for the tainted Utopium and possible zombie cure brings them back to AJ, a local gangster we’ve seen a few times before. He and Ravi start playing stupid macho games, and Peyton gets them back on track. AJ’s story checks out as far as they can tell, but doesn’t get them anything they need. Back to the evidence room again, Peyton gets a much better reception than Ravi did. Digging further into the records, they find something new they can follow up on.

Liv is still babbling and chirping away under her new brain, as they talk to the chief suspect in the case, who is seeming less and less likely all the time. It’s an interesting exchange with a hidden talent displayed that seems like a setup for something later on. Major visits Don E to try and find out what happened with the missing Sloan, and at least gets a time frame. Don is a lot different with Darcy around, and they help Major with some unusual camera footage. Major leaves, issuing some instructions you just know Don and Darcy will ignore.

Clive and Liv have a discussion about the word ironic while developing a new suspect. She’s vapid and shallow and fits the pageant stereotype wonderfully well. There’s a callback to the company that helped Major out recently, and a few more hints of shady things happening at the competition. Ravi takes his turn to visit Don, who is acting a bit oddly and doesn’t even have the brain excuse. Don tells Ravi he wants the late Scott E, Don’s twin who died several seasons ago. Don does have a suggestion that ties back all the way to the infamous Max Rager boat party.

Peyton is taking a turn caring for Martin, who is impressed by his daughter having friends in high places. Liv does seem to have the Well Connected advantage these days. There’s some footage of Peyton dealing with a local event on the news. Liv comes in, chirping under the new persona, and she and Peyton hug, which Martin watches with some confusion. Don and Darcy contact Major about their Scooby Doo-like misadventure as they tried to “help.” They prove utterly clueless, and Major takes over with what they left him. Major splits this new task among some of his few remaining trusted inner circle.

Things take a turn for familial drama when Liv’s mom brings Evan to Liv’s place, explaining why they are desperate to get out of the city, and asking for Liv’s help via the Renegade network. Mom is her usual snappish self, and then stunned when Martin comes out to offer his two cents worth. Liv is forced to play peacemaker and try and keep things civil as she agrees to help. Liv’s spreading herself mighty thin here. Then again, her being distracted might explain why she’s missing a few things.

Ravi and Peyton continue their sleuthing, much more successfully than Don and Darcy. They don’t find what they’re looking for, but do make a different surprising discovery: Blaine. There’s more of the entertaining banter and bargaining that you’d expect with Blaine as part of the picture. Peyton agrees to a few things that surprise Ravi, and it’s even worse when Blaine does cooperate and they find out they’re back to square one. Liv and her father have a conversation that starts off well but gets a bit strained when zombie/human relations comes up. Elsewhere, Dolly is skulking about, up to no good.

Ravi is ready to give up over this latest setback, but Peyton has proven clever and resourceful and finds something else for them to look into. She also shares some surprising news with Ravi that we knew was coming. The news isn’t great, but one of the ripple effects makes Ravi happy. Fillmore-Graves gets a new clue, zombie style, and Liv and Clive find a hole in someone’s story about the night of the pageant. With some careful staging and cooperation from someone we saw earlier, Liv and Clive poke at the newest suspect, and finally get answers about what happened that night. I don’t think all this holds together wonderfully well, but I’ll get back to that later.

Dolly finishes her preparations for her latest heinous act. I have a lot of questions about what she’s doing here. Liv has a goodbye scene with her mother and brother, and I strongly suspect we either won’t see them again, or only as prisoners/hostages/bodies. Dolly kicks her plan into gear, and sits back to watch the chaos and get incriminating footage. Major and his team are nearby from their own lead on something, and manage to respond before things get as horrific as they could be. That said, things are bad, and Major has no choice but to do something that might be the final nail in Seattle’s collective coffin. Liv and Martin watch the coverage of the chaos and Liv is worried before having to go to work for the aftermath. Ravi and Peyton make their own discovery that is going to complicate a lot of things in the near future. Of course, with only about four episodes left, there is only the near future.

What I liked: The teamwork on the murder case was good, in spite of Liv’s weird brain this week. Clive’s role was subtle this week, but his reactions to a lot of what went on was really nicely done. I loathe Dolly, but she’s slick and has a good plan, conceptually at least (more on that below). Don and Darcy are amusing together. Ravi and Peyton make not just a good couple, but a good team. Blaine is, as always, entertainingly slimy.

What I didn’t: Dolly is either really lucky, or has safeguards we don’t see. Her plan actually put her in a fair amount of danger. I also suspect she didn’t know exactly who she grabbed, because she’s also managed to decrease Seattle’s odds of surviving. The murder case hinged, in part, on a discovery from some stuff that was kept for decades that pointed at the suspects. Why did they keep it and then let the cops see it? The good guys are woefully behind, and I don’t know that they’re going to catch up.

It was a good episode for both this week’s case and the movement on other fronts. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5. It would have been higher but for the plot holes I addressed.