iZombie: 5.13 All’s Well That Ends Well
“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.” T. S. Eliot wasn’t writing about the iZombie finale when he wrote those words but he might as well have been. After five seasons of brain munching action it all comes down to this. Is it a worthwhile conclusion to the adventures of Liv and the gang as they desperately try to save Seattle? In a nutshell, not particularly. It’s enjoyable for what it is but it doesn’t really feel like a show's final ever episode. Some strange creative choices and story ideas hamper whatever chances the show had of going down as one of television's epic finales. Several ‘fake out’ deaths don’t help things either. The flash forward denouement is also executed in a bizarre fashion, which I’ll come to later.
The initial problem with All’s Well That Ends Well is how long it takes to get going. The heist crew spend the first act of the show on a plane returning from the CDC. There are some funny interactions as they communicate with each other by text messages but I can’t help but feel the story would have been served better if we’d skipped the journey back to Seattle completely. There is a moment of tension when it seems a flight attendant has ratted them all out to the police but this is quickly defused.
Meanwhile in Seattle, Major returns to Fillmore Graves and hands himself in to Enzo. His plan is to get access to the Max Rager that Ravi needs to complete the zombie cure. This negates the pseudo cliffhanger from last episode where we saw Major badly wounded and on the run. Obviously that ending was somewhat pointless as Major is undead and as such only a shot to the head is actually going to be anything to worry about. Anyway, Major quickly escapes with the Max Rager thanks to the help of one of the many side characters whose names I can never remember because they’ve not been particularly fleshed out very well. It’s not really a concern because Enzo summarily shoots her in the head straight afterwards.
Whilst this is happening, the battle for Seattle rages on. Apparently. Like iZombie’s penultimate episode, we don’t really get to see much of this epic fight between zombies and humans. To be fair iZombie has never been a big budget action packed affair, so to expect something more is perhaps doing it a disservice. It has primarily been a comedy drama centred around Liv and the murder of the week scenarios as she adopts the victim's personality traits. This is also something of a letdown as that is also abandoned for the finale. Liv doesn’t get to chow down on any grey matter at all. It could be argued that having your main character be themselves for the season finale should be the way to go. I’d counter however that Liv is pretty much side-lined in the episode anyway (as she has been in quite a lot of this season) and having her utilising different personalities to solve the conflict might have been a fun device.
This final season of iZombie has taken the time to build Blaine up as less the lovable rogue and more the proper villain. With his kidnapping of Peyton and the orphan/Freylich kids last episode, he really placed himself beyond redemption. I’ve previously surmised that perhaps he’d get his comeuppance at the hands of his own henchman Don E. It turns out I was right and the method of his demise is nicely poetic. Whilst trying to escape with the kids Peyton is shot and killed (fake out number one) but a scratch from Blaine brings her back from death. Enjoying her first brain meal, as once again Blaine’s prisoner, she has her first vision. Confirming what we all suspected, she sees Blaine murdering Don E’s fiance Darcy on her wedding day. Blaine delivers his final soliloquy sitting on the edge of the well he dumped his undead father in. A rampaging Don E raging at what Peyton has just revealed, to him pushes Blaine in. It’s a sudden end to iZombies defacto villain. Whilst it’s a fitting end, presumably living out an undead eternity with his father and murderer as Liv promptly appears and pushes Don E in after him, it does rob us of any sort of showdown between the shows main good and bad guys.
This is echoed throughout the episode as Enzo also meets his maker at the hands of the guy he blackmailed (whose name also escaped me) to infiltrate Renegade’s operation. This is after Ravi has injected him with the cure live on television to prove its existence and presumably stop all the fighting. It’s during this sequence that Major is killed (fake out number two) after Enzo shoots him. It turns out Ravi didn’t like his plan and injected him with a fake cure so he’s still a zombie and not dead after all. It’s not surprising as Major’s plan to take the cure and get himself killed live on air seems a ridiculous plan at best. It seems purely included to make us think he’s really dead, especially as he’s left Liv a voicemail telling her how much he’s always loved her.
While everything else is going on, Dale is in labour with Clive rushing to her side in what seems like a side plot that has wandered in from another show. Very odd.
I would say the lack of real resolution to much of the story and characters is what hurts this finale the most. It’s time to address the final moments of iZombie which go all a little bit weird and tonally very bizarre. After the cure is revealed live on television, we cut back to the morgue where Liz has just listened to what she thinks is Major’s last ever voicemail. Even before she can properly begin the mourning process all of a sudden Michelle walks in (and yes I did also have to look her name up). Remember Michelle from the inconsequential plot about possibly having Clive’s baby? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. Anyway, for no reason what so ever she appears, seemingly to just look at someone off camera and state “hey you shouldn’t be here” and then everything explodes. Yes it’s fake out death number three as we presume Liv has just been blown to pieces. Here is where things take a turn for the strange.
Following the explosion a title card reveals ‘ten years later’. We then get a very oddly shot sequence as the survivors of Seattle are interviewed for a tenth anniversary news piece. Obviously to show we are in the future this is done in virtual reality, because why not? It’s revealed that Ravi is now head of the CDC, Peyton is a District Attorney and Clive and Dale are police captains in San Francisco. Also in a throwaway line, we gather that Michelle was definitely killed and Clive and Dale adopted her baby as apparently she didn’t have a single living relative who was interested. A lot of zombies didn’t want the cure and are now living in harmony with humans. This seems a bit of a cop out and doesn’t allow any closure on that part of the story. If humans couldn’t live side by side in Seattle, what difference does it make now?
This is especially irksome as we discover that Dolly Durkins didn’t get her comeuppance and has apparently survived to carry on waging war against the undead. Everyone sticks to their story that Liv and Major are dead even though they have become legends with Elvis-like mythologies and sightings. After the interview concludes who should show up but Liv and Major who are living luxurious undead lives on an island with the orphans and Freylich kids. Not partaking of the cure themselves, they remain zombies. I kind of figured all along that Liv would remain a zombie at the show's conclusion as it just seemed fitting for her character.
It know it seems like I’m bashing this episode a lot and it does deserve it up to a point. I did enjoy it overall, but it just definitely doesn’t feel like the ending that the show deserved. Everyone lives happy ever after which doesn’t seem in keeping with what has happened previously. Zombies are still a thing and presumably some humans will always hate them. Nothing seems quite resolved the way it should be. The ten year gap to the final scene appears forced and just allows a ton of exposition to be doled out without showing anything of substance. In the end it all feels kind of hurried and I think a longer running time would have help. The lack of budget also hampers things and we don’t quite get the payoff the show deserved.
iZombie it seems, shuffles off into the night, never quite satisfied and still searching endlessly for brraaaiiinnnsss…