iZombie: Season 4 Premiere: “Are You Ready For Some Zombies?”

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After seeing the title to this episode, I was certain it would have a football theme. I was disappointed that the fourth season of iZombie premiered so long after the NFL season was over, though. This would have been a great show to watch while we were getting ready to watch Tom Brady lose the Super Bowl.

I’m a fan of this series, and I have been since I began watching it. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the direction the show has taken going into this season. The world now knows that zombies exist. Detective Clive Babineaux now knows that Liv is a zombie. Seattle has been completely walled in as some kind of reservation for zombies. Some “normal” humans have been walled in with the zombies, mostly, it seems, to keep the rest of the country and world from nuking them out of existence (not that I believe this would prevent a nuke from being dropped in the real world).

What all of this has done is to hit the reset button on the series. It is now a different show. Almost an entirely different show. By outing Liv—and every other zombie—we’ve managed to ruin some of the commonplace moments that I always thought were fun. Clive thought Liv was having psychic visions, and he didn’t know that eating victims’ brains caused her personality changes. The zombie-related deaths on the show were treated as real murders to be investigated. Seattle was a real backdrop and setting for an urban fantasy-horror show. Now, it’s become something else, more in the science fiction category. A walled-in city like those in the television series Colony.

Fortunately, we have familiar characters to help guide us into this unchartered territory. Liv Moore is still our central character, of course, but she’s no longer very unique or special. In fact, in this premiere, she hardly seemed to be very crucial to the plot. True, she does end up solving the murder of the dead Seahawks fan who was also a zombie-hater. But, against the larger canvas of the militarized zombie encampment run by Fillmore-Graves, even this mystery-of-the-week seems like a small story.

Ravi is now a part-time zombie. The zombie cure he used on himself causes him to occasionally revert to Zombie-Ravi. He’s still working on a full cure. In this episode, he’s there mostly for comic relief after consuming the brain of a nudist.

Clive is still Clive. He just seems to incorporate the existence of zombies into his worldview. I get no impressions of a season story arc for Clive in this first episode.

Blaine de Beers is a zombie once again and is running several legitimate businesses (at least I think they are legitimate), including the zombie nightclub and a cemetery-to-table restaurant. Maybe the funeral home as well, although that may be an unnecessary cover at this point. Blaine is also still a bad guy, I think. It’s in his nature.

Major is also a zombie once again and is working for Fillmore-Graves. Chase Graves tasks Major with counseling some at-risk zombie youth, and Major seems to be more in his element here, even though Graves was just using it as a recruiting tool for his army. I think we will soon see Major going on another idealistic crusade. It’s in his nature.

Peyton had very little to do in this entire episode. She does show up as Liv’s friend. And then she shows up with her human boyfriend in Blaine’s zombie restaurant. There still seems to be something between Blaine and Peyton. We’ll see what happens.

What I hope happens is that my genuine affection for all of these main characters is enough to carry me forward after what I believe was a major misstep in the series’ direction. And, we have to go forward. None of us would ever accept that it “was all just a dream” at this point.

Will Fillmore-Graves be content with being kept on a reservation? Will it result in an all out zombie-versus-humans war? While interesting, that’s not the story I want here. A totalitarian zombie regime in New Seattle doesn’t excite me. And, what’s with the sudden rebranding of Blaine’s dad, Angus, as a zombie religious zealot? Or the sudden rise of the anti-zombie group called the Dead Enders? These are all gearing up to become huge plot devices this season. I can feel it, but I’m not necessarily looking forward to it.

I want the show to continue to be Liv-takes-on-a-new-personality-again (and not Ravi) stories alternating with mythology episodes relating to Blaine. Blaine needs to re-emerge as the Big Bad. Curing Liv also needs to return as a genuine story goal. And, as much as I like Jason Dohring, I want Chase Graves and Fillmore-Graves to become nonplayers somehow, without a huge war or nuclear strikes. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it may be too late for that. The story world that the creators of iZombie so expertly created has been irrevocably altered.

There were interesting things in this season premiere. I will continue to watch, of course. But, honestly, the shark may have already been jumped.

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