iZombie S03E11 “Conspiracy Weary” REVIEW

iZombie S03E11 “Conspiracy Weary” REVIEW

0 comments 📅15 June 2017, 00:03

Airing in the UK on Netflix, new episodes every Wednesday
Bob Dearden
Mark Piznarski

Essential Plot Points:

  • Johns asks Ravi if the zombies can feel pain, distracts him and cold cocks him.
  • The hunters start torturing Don E. Live on air.
  • And then there’s a knock at the door.
  • And then there’s a knock through the door.
  • Liv and Blaine stage a two-pronged assault and all hell breaks loose. Rachel runs for it, Ravi fights back and Liv gets shot.
  • Johns runs for it. His idiot rednecks charge the F-G troops who just showed up and are gunned down. Johns watches his friends die.
  • In the gun range, Liv comes round and F-G including Major storm the facility.

  • Outside, Chase, Liv and Blaine catch up. It turns out the tracker in Johns’ truck led them there. Blaine instantly shifts back into business mode.
  • Inside Ravi and Major catch up. Ravi’s looking for Rachel but no one can find her.
  • Outside, Graves is talking to Liv about the compound the Johns family have outside town. Justin brings them weapons he found in the truck. The same calibre weapons that killed Wally and his family.
  • Inside, Blaine and Don E are snacking on their victims.An F-G guard joins them as does Liv, hoping the brain will lead to the Johns’ compound location.

  • At home, Ravi and Major catch up. Rachel turns up and she is freaking OUT. She and Ravi almost make out and immediately regret it. They regret it further when Major turns up and she recognizes him as the Chaos Killer and storms out.
  • Later, Shawna encourages Major to go out dancing despite being the…well…technically Chaos Kidnapper as he says. He agrees and she takes a selfie of them in bed because…well…yeah.

  • Liv fills Peyton in and it becomes clear she is on a very paranoid brain. This is even more apparent when she brings the weapons to the lab and tries to brief Clive and Ravi on the guns Justin found while listening to rock at maximum volume. They eventually get through to her

  • At The Scratching Post, Blaine and Don E are deep in discussion about the truth about Tupac’s death. Liv attempts to set them straight, by talking about Biggie Smalls’ twin brother and FINALLY Clive puts them back on the investigation.
  • Peyton receives the dominatrix killer’s personal effects and finds a key in his wallet…
  • At F-G, Chase is being tanned when the soldier who guarded Blaine and Don E comes in. He had some of Johns’ brain and just had a vision about the location of the Johns’ compound. Chase dispatches a squad but opts not to tell the Seattle PD…

  • Peyton brings Tatum, Chaos Killer’s daughter in and tries to ask about the key. The girl shuts her down at first and then asks which bank the safety deposit box the key opens is at. Peyton goes full lawyer and persuades her to go to the bank with Peyton to retrieve the memory card.
  • Except when they get there it’s a music box, one that belongs to Tatum’s mother. Inside there’s some jewellery and the card. The girl goes to leave and…
  • Has a vision. She covers it and runs. Peyton doesn’t buy it.
  • At the gun range, the zombies are convinced Tom Cruise is a zombie. That triggers a simultaneous three-way vision, of the Justin incident. Clive asks Liz to focus and that triggers a vision just for her. One of Johns explaining to his brother that he found the bug and is going to use it as a trap to take some zombies out…

  • At the cabin, Major and Justin are front and centre in the insertion, Liv texts them to warn them and Major and Justin call it in to Chase. He pulls them all back but two go in anyway and are blown apart.
  • The following night, Liv comes to see Ravi at the lab. Well, wake him up. Liv’s convinced Harley is former black ops and Ravi, not unkindly, reminds her to separate her own thoughts from the brain she’s eaten. The conversation turns to Shawna and Liv doesn’t buy her act.
  • And then she finds Shawna’s Tumblr page. Crammed full of the text messages and videos that she and Major have been taking.
  • At the lab, Rachel comes to see Ravi. She asks him to help her get head around everything that she’s seen. Including the Chaos Killer’s Sex Fort. She asks him to level with her and he does, explaining Zombies aren’t monsters and laying everything out for her.

  • At the precinct, Clive’s ballistics guy confirms the guns that they recovered killed Wally and his family.
  • At home, Major confronts Shawna. He has symbolically dissembled the Sex Fort. Shawna argues she’s helping him come back to the world, and be more than the Chaos Killer. He wants to go back to when no one knew who he was, and she very sweetly points out that ship has sailed. She tries to make it up to him and he dumps her.
  • To be clear, this is not a situation with a good outcome but Major almost certainly picks the worst outcome possible because he’s Major.
  • It’s Election Day and Major and the other mercs are suiting up for a simulation. Major catches some flak from his colleagues, and discovers there are t-shirts of him and Shawna on sale everywhere. He’s blamed for profiting off the ‘murders’ he committed.
  • At home, Liv and Peyton discover that the dominatrix killer is on camera calling someone and begging them to fix what he did. He’s working for a high power…
  • Peyton also explains that she figured out Tatum’s a zombie. They try and figure out who would have the strongest motive and settle on Baracus. He’s on the card, can’t risk the footage going public. It makes perfect sense. Maybe.
  • As they watch, Floyd Baracus is elected mayor.
  • Clive calls and explains that he’s found a noise complaint filed at the Johns compound eight weeks ago. It may not be as deserted as they thought…

  • At a newspaper office everyone is pitching stories. One of whom is Rachel, an undercover reporter…
  • At the compound, Clive and Liv snoop around. Liv is still convinced Baracus is dirty. Oddly, the trained homicide detective in the room is a mite less convinced.
  • Then, Clive notices a new outhouse. Despite the house having indoor plumbing…
  • The outhouse doesn’t stink. The outhouse hasn’t been used. The outhouse? Is not an outhouse.
  • It’s the entrance to a bunker.

  • They find the bunker fully kitted out with weapons, radios, the whole bit.
  • And Johns. Clive arrests him even as the man sleepily pleads innocence. A voice comes over the radio and… Liv has a vision.
  • Of Harley outside as the gunshots go off.
  • He draws on them, and Clive kills him.
  • Clive just killed an innocent man.
  • And then, the newly zombified Harley Johns gets back up…
  • Major is listening to Seattle complain about his t-shirts as he heads into FG to get drunk with he only people he knows accept him.
  • The next morning, Ravi walks past a paper stand.
  • With a photo of Liv and the headline ZOMBIES ARE REAL on the front page…


What a very strange episode. A massive amount happens and most of it is really good, but the bum notes are very audible indeed.

So, the big news. D-Day. Zombies Are Real, on a front page. The impact of that is unmistakeable and, especially given the hints of a major premise retool for season 4, we suspect this is going to stick. It makes sense too, giving the show a chance to expand out of its relatively small premise and explore some really interesting future stories.

And yet, this is kind of depressing.

A big part of that is because the reveal comes through Rachel, a character who has had I AM AN ENORMOUS PLOT POINT written on a sign over her head from the moment she arrived. We don’t doubt there’s more to come with her but this really does feel massively sporadic. In the space of three episodes she’s gone from a minor character to the reporter that breaks it open. And what the hell was up with that near-kiss? Is she playing Ravi that badly? It’s…odd. And uncomfortable and so weirdly paced you struggle to take it fully seriously.

Then there’s Ravi who has been the least well-served character this season by a substantial margin. Don E has had more to do for God’s sake. Ravi’s plot so far this year has been:

  • Admit he loves Peyton.
  • Epically screw that up.
  • Have a one night stand with Doctor Kupps who presumably returned to her home planet not long after as we’ve never heard from her, or her plot, again.
  • Go undercover with the worst written collection of characters this show has ever featured.
  • Blab everything everyone else has tried to spend the entire season concealing.

…It’s not a good look is it? There’s still the season finale to pull this out of the bag and Rahul Kohli is still great but this has been a crappy year for Doctor Chakrabarty and we get the awful feeling it’ll stay that way.

Likewise Major, who’s had more to do but still ends up in a very bad place. He makes the worst possible decision with…everything. Shauna, lying to his squadmates, running back to them, the whole bit, The Shauna plot is looking dangerously like a distraction too and if there isn’t some payoff to it then what were we doing there for two episodes? Et tu Sex Fort?

The good news is, terrible TERRIBLE rednecks aside the rest of the episode is great fun. The resolution on whether Johns killed Wally and his family is nicely handled and the latest twists in the dominatrix killer conspiracy work well too. Aly Michalka, who has previously been the cast member with the least to do, is clearly really enjoying getting a nice meaty plot and the episode works best when it focuses there.

So, this isn’t a bad episode. A lot of it works brilliantly but like last week it feels…off. There are big events on the horizon and next week they arrive. We’ll see if things settle down after that.

The Good:

  • The fight is nicely scrappy and desperate.
  • Ravi asking to be the one to zap Blaine is a nice touch.
  • The conspiracy brain is actually kind of endearing.
  • Jason Dohring does NOT skip core day.
  • The running gag of Liv sticking gum over laptop cameras is a nice touch.
  • The 3-way vision is adorable.
  • Actual ‘I pity the fool’ at long last.
  • ‘This is a surprise! I thought you might have…ethics or something!’-Possible best line of the season, right there
  • “What you got going on there?’
    ‘That’s a Sex Fort.’-…Sure. Okay, Major.
  • ‘What’s that?’
    ‘That’s my roommate’s Sex Fort.’
    ‘Oh.’-The boys have been dismally served recently but this entire chain of scenes is lovely.

The Bad:

  • The Rednecks even manage to die in an annoying way.
  • Hand to god if we get Harley Johns as a zombie next season we are going to need LOTS more tea.
  • Oh good, a Finnegan’s Wake musical interlude.
  • Major remains terrible.
  • Both the Shauna and Rachel plots seem horribly rushed and that dampens the impact of some vital events.

And The Random:

  • …Did Major just help execute two guys? Because it kind of looks like he did.
  • Mark Piznarski has directed for Veronica Mars, Everwood, Gossip Girl and others. And yes, Piz from Veronica Mars season 3 is named for him.
  • Bob Dearden is story editor on iZombie and wrote glorious metafictional for the sort of Veronica Mars sequel, Play It Again, Dick

Review by Alasdair Stuart

Read our other iZombie reviews

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