After the game changing finale to season two, iZombie would return for is third season for a shorter, thirteen episode run that would see the series deliver the goods yet again, delivering its best season to date and one that would be truly unafraid to be unpredictable, throwing in myriad plot strands with confident abandon.
If anything, iZombie’s third season is this show’s equivalent of Veronica Mars‘ second year, in that it throws in so much in the way of plot that it frequently feels as if the series is going to go off the rails, a similar feeling one gets when they watch the second season of the teen noir for the first time.
If iZombie has any failing at this point, it’s that with the series being on a network and going out once a week, one episode at a time is almost not enough and yet, it’s refreshing that in this day and age that a compulsive, incredibly watchable serial, can be viewed in a manner that is scheduled in an old school way.
Even more better, the series never loses sight of its goal. Season three ups the ante in terms of pure plot considerably, but unlike other shows that try a similar manner of plotting, Thomas and Ruggiero-Wright and their team of writers have a brilliant command of their material.
By the time the finale rolls around, we have; the return of Mr Boss, Blaine’s father, Blaine’s amnesia, Major joining Filmore-Graves, an anti-zombie militia making life difficult for everyone, Ravi deciding to become a zombie, and zombies becoming public knowledge.
It’s a lot, and it’s never anything less than compulsive, as always.
In fact, the season throws in a legitimate game changing twist in the finale, yet again, and while the third season finale is not as action packed as the previous season, it does feel legit in being a game changer, as zombification becomes public knowledge with all the controversy that one would expect with it, a piece of plotting that looks as if the series is going to become incredibly relevant in these President Trump dominated times.
Like Veronica Mars before it, there is a pleasing sense that the iZombie has taken great command of its genre tropes, but isn’t afraid to go into more socially aware realms. Where the teen detective was the lead in her own film noir serial, in reality Veronica Mars was as much about class and social hierarchy. iZombie in comparison looks as it’s about to throw into the ring an exploration of equality, but will do so in a way that will recall the exploration of the lack of a middle class in Neptune, California.
By the time we get to the superb finale, “Looking for Mr Goodbrain”, and Chase Graves (Jason Dohring, continuing the Veronica Mars links) is outlining the existence of zombies to the public, we get his message of hope and peace mixed in with non-zombies about to make their displeasure abundantly, and violently, clear.
It’s a brilliantly epic and yet subtle end to a season that becomes a wonderfully exhausting season of television. Instead of going all out as they did last year, Thomas, Ruggiero-Wright and John Enbom’s two-part teleplay ups the ante, but does so as subtly and beautifully as possible, and just when you’re catching your breath in its final moments, they go and make Ravi a zombie in its final moments.
At thirteen episodes, it’s clear that iZombie works even better when it’s as tightly constructed this way. Even better, it’s clearly benefitting from being on a network that has four of the biggest comic book series on television. It’s numbers are not high, but with great reviews and an adoring fan base, the series was renewed for a fourth season, officially making it Rob Thomas’ longest running series to date.
Like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, similarly low in the ratings but acclaimed by critics and an adoring audience on social media, iZombie has benefitted massively by being on a network that has given it room to breathe, and flourishing on a network that has gained massive success with its other shows to the extent that it can take a chance on a quirky, brilliant outsider like this one.
It’s building up a brilliant body of episodes for the streaming generation and has managed the brilliant ability of getting better and better with each episode and each season. With its wonderful cast, great villains, wonderful mysteries and now incredibly relevant story arc, iZombie may very well be the best genre series currently airing on television.