'iZombie': Discovery Day Brings Chaos in "Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2"
"Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2" essentially blows up the universe iZombie has spent three seasons creating.
iZombieAirtime: Tuesdays, 9pm
Cast: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley
Subtitle: Season 3, Episode 13 - "Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2"
Air date: 2017-06-27
Carey Gold: You're the traitor, Chase. That's how it will be written in the history books. Zombie Island would've gotten us all killed. All of us together in one place? Some government, probably our own, would've nuked Zombie Island into vapor. You and Vivian weren't idealists, you were cowards.
Ravi: I want it to be you. This morgue. This is where it all started, remember? I caught you eating brains in my office. You were this bright, mopey girl, so sad because she couldn't be a cardiologist. Look at you now.
Liv: So sad because my friend wants me turn him into a zombie.
Ravi: What I want more than anything is to feel like I left the world a better place.
Liv: I love you, Ravi.
Ravi: I love you too, Liv.
Liv: Give me that arm. You sure?
Ravi: I'm sure.
Well, that's certainly one way to end a season. "Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2" essentially blows up the iZombie universe; it does less to wrap up the current season than it does to set things up for the next one. The looming Discovery Day has been foreshadowed throughout the whole season, but the way in which zombies were revealed to the public was genuinely surprising, and creates a world that'll have to contend with a zombie population that has the numbers, the resources, and the planning to remain a lasting population.
There's a ton of plot in this episode. While normally that's a strength of the series, the finale did feel overloaded at times with the amount happening. Liv (Rose McIver) and Justin (Tongayi Chirisi) break up when he learns she slept with Chase Graves (Jason Dohring). Major (Robert Buckley) asks to be scratched by Chase in order to be part of the Fillmore Graves team again. It's not a shocking request, seeing as Major's depression has been getting worse all season and his only sense of fulfillment has come from being a soldier, but it's still a decision that has to sting Liv and Ravi (Rahul Kohli) after all their work and sacrifice. Meanwhile, Peyton is working as chief of staff for newly-elected zombie mayor Floyd Baracus (Kurt Evans), juggling her many political duties with her loyalty to Liv, and Chase turns down Blaine's business proposition while also forbidding his soldiers from frequenting The Scratching Post, severely affecting Blaine's business.
Chase discovers that Carey Gold (Anjali Jay) is responsible for killing Vivian (Andrea Savage) and Anna (Caitlin Stryker) and Wally Tuttle (Mataeo Mingo); scapegoating Harley Johns (Andrew Caldwell) and his zombie truthers; and introducing the Aleutian flu in Seattle. She set in motion plan b -- although she had no authority to do so -- including turning a good portion of the Fillmore Graves soldiers against Chase. Revealing Carey as the villain is certainly a twist; she’s been such a minor character up until now that it was difficult to remember who she was before last week's episode. She's killed by Chase as soon as her plan is revealed, but interestingly, she has a point about the potential flaws of a Zombie Island. Her approach, culminating with infecting Aleutian flu vaccines with zombie blood, could've been finessed a bit more (perhaps with fewer casualties); however, the logic behind creating more zombies to normalize their presence is one that makes sense, and will surely continue the larger metaphor of marginalized groups in society.
"Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2" does still manage to insert comic moments, even in an episode as jam-packed as this one. Johnny Frost (Daran Norris) is always a pleasure whenever he appears, and whether he's shamelessly cutting the flu vaccine line or getting his first taste of brain mush, Norris adds a silly absurdity to much of his performance. He also gets the opportunity to show off a more serious side when reporting on zombies, but his comedic gifts are always welcome. There’s also some great scenes featuring patrons of The Scratching Post on blue choreographer brain. Even Clive’s (Malcolm Goodwin) flustered and time-is-of-the-essence provoking of Tanner (Nathan Barrett) into zombie form to prove to Dale (Jessica Harmon) that zombies exist, had humor to it.
In addition to its ability to add humor in unexpected moments, iZombie also consistently makes excellent music choices. This episode contains two great sequences scored to Childish Gambino's "Zombies" and XTC's "Dear God", respectively. They're terrific selections; they're simultaneously perfect complements to the scenes and offer a degree of playfulness. Much like the series often works on several levels, so too does its music choices.
The previous two seasons have ended with huge action sets: explosions, the threat of imminent discovery, and one or more of the main characters close to death. This season ends with a news report. Well, mostly. That's not to say that a change isn't welcome, but this choice in particular also requires a great deal of exposition, and that the majority of that exposition comes from Chase, a character who has been mostly on the fringes of the story and whose loyalty has been in question since he arrived, is less satisfying than if it came from Liv.
When Chase spells out that zombies will be getting their brains from donors who specify their intention upon death, he attempts to alleviate the fear of feral zombies killing everyone in sight. ("Remember a well-fed zombie is a happy zombie.") It’s obvious, however, from the angry mobs that still exist that it won't be a painless transition. There are sure to be vigilantes intent on ridding Seattle of zombies, while the consequences of turning those dying of the Aleutian flu into zombies as a means to save them will also create complicated consequences.
Among those consequences is Ravi's latest zombie vaccine. His willingness to use himself as a guinea pig when he asks Liv to scratch him is a potentially interesting development. Ravi as a zombie holds less appeal than Ravi as a human surrounded by zombies, but if his vaccine really works, what will that mean for the Fillmore Graves plan to normalize zombie-ism? Despite these still lingering questions, the final scene was a lovely showcase for McIver and Kohli; their relationship is arguably the heart of the show, and their dynamic is consistently a highlight in the series.
"Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2" has laid a huge amount of groundwork for season four, and it remains to be seen how the new iZombie universe will play out. Will the weekly mysteries still remain a part of the series (as it's a Rob Thomas staple) or will the majority of show now focus on a city openly populated by humans and zombies living side by side? How will zombie/human romantic relationships play out now that so many couples will clearly be affected? Will Liv remain on staff at the medical examiner’s office?
In potentially disrupting so many of the key elements of the series, iZombie is poised to strike out in wholly original ways or get bogged down by too much change all at once. Luckily, the series has proven it understands how to balance plot and character development, so regardless of the big changes, it’s safe to assume iZombie will remain as engaging and entertaining as it’s been for the past three seasons.