iZombie Season 4 Episode 5 Review: Goon Struck

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Let iZombie Season 4 Episode 5 be known as the game-changer hour for the New Seattle. Who would have thought an installment that teased a humorous hockey case would take us down such a dark path?

"Goon Struck" was unexpectedly heartwrenching, horrific, devastating, and beyond intense. It had my undivided attention, and it may have changed the course for the rest of the season.

A Proposition  - iZombie Season 4 Episode 5

First off, I'll concede to your Chase assessments. Chase was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Most of his days have been this way since New Seattle was established.

It's not that I refused to believe that he's conflicted and morally gray. My issue has been that the show relied too heavily on that when some of his actions didn't necessarily support it.

I'll love Jason Dohring forever, and despite my criticism of Chase, I actually find the character compelling. As of late, he appeared to be floundering.

It was as if the show didn't know whether to make him a villain, an antagonist, or a decent guy who was put into an impossible position. As a result, it often felt like Jason Dohring didn't know how to play him.

What, no guillotine for me?


He volleyed back and forth from one category to the other, and it was maddening.

It's something that David Anders successfully pulls off with the many shades of Blaine DeBeers, but he had the time to shift from one version to another.

Related: iZombie Review: Can Blaine Be Redeemed? 

A significant issue with Chase is that we rarely see what he's doing behind the scenes. We know he's trying to keep the zombies in line, resolve the brain deficit, and avoid a mutiny, but we don't actually see it.

We see a stressed out Chase pinching the bridge of his nose as one of his many colleagues beat him over the head with the latest problem or pressure him into making another move. We don't often see Chase being the dictator leader in the same way that we saw him taking action as a soldier.

Misunderstood  - iZombie Season 4 Episode 5

This was the first time all season where he took action. It's also the first that we saw him grapple with how to make his decision before succumbing to pressure from colleagues, mainly Hobbs.

This is the first time this season that I believed that Chase is a decent guy who is forever at the whim of his colleagues.

He didn't want to execute Renegade, but in the end, he felt he had no choice. It was finally a solid choice that he made where he followed through.

Related: iZombie Review: Race to Find Renegade!

It was a devastating move. The entire scene played out like something in a dystopian movie.

They executed a heroic older woman in the town square to the cheers and jeers of the crowd while Don E capitalized off of it with food.

Chase: You've been found guilty of the crimes of human smuggling and the unauthorized creation of new zombies. The sentence for these crimes are death to be carried out by public execution at 12 o'clock this afternoon.
Mama Leone/Renegade: I'm not ready to die.
Chase: It'll be painless.

There is so much inferred about the relationship between government and special interest groups -- so much to infer about capitalism and trickle-down theory, the list goes on.

We're at iZombie meets The Hunger Games, but since comics have notoriously been about making statements like this, it's so different than what we typically expect from iZombie while managing to be true to form, too.

Related: iZombie Season Finale Review: D-Day

I loved the way the case and everything happening outside of it connected. The Canadian hockey goon brain Liv was on wasn't a random, new victim. Instead, he was one of the men we heard Blaine take out on iZombie Season 4 Episode 4.

Gordy was one of Renegade's men.

Murder Of a Hockey Player - iZombie

Blaine's interrogation was a highlight of the hour and gave us a plethora of witty banter, jokes, and laughs, but it also was a nice reminder of Blaine's awful behavior.

Blaine reverting back to his old ways is refreshing in a way. He's one of the best characters on the show and enjoyable, but it was agitating (and unrealistic) how quickly his many sins were downplayed or forgotten.

Related: iZombie Season Finale Review: Blaine's World

The guy murdered children. Can a person who killed homeless kids for profit ever fully be redeemed?

How does Blaine come back from all of this?

What happened to us? We used to be the OG Z's. Now, every time we get together, it's all "Where were you the night so and so was killed?"

Blaine [to Liv]

Chase getting in bed with Blaine is still a point of befuddlement. It led to Renegade's capture, but in the end, it was probably better if he never caught her.

Hobbs is reminding me of Gold. He's pressuring Chase into making certain decisions under the guise that it's for the greater good of New Seattle, but it's not in the end, is it?

Related: Watch Real Lives, Real Stories, & Real Celebrities on Reelz Channel via Amazon Channels!  

Renegade broke the cardinal rule, and she needed to be punished by his own words, but did she need to be the one executed when there are more pressing problems?

Not only is Mama Leone beloved among most zombies and some humans, but she had a particular skill set that Fillmore Graves could have used.

Mama Leone - iZombie Season 4 Episode 4

Their brain shortage is an urgent matter. Renegade isn't doing them favors creating new zombies, but for one, how often has a Fillmore Graves soldier turned a human since this rule was put into place?

The answer is quite often, and yet, none of them have faced consequences for it. They're contributing to the problem, but they're exempt from the consequences. Why is that, Chase?

Renegade has ties outside of Seattle, and I have to wonder if her skills and her entire underground operation could have been put to use obtaining brains humanely to help with the starving zombies.

Renegade was a good coyote who genuinely wanted to help people. She wasn't irresponsibly creating zombies and not giving them food. She had to have a hookup or system in place, right?

Liv: If we can find enough evidence to back up my vision, we could finally put Blaine away in zombie jail. Freeze that clown
Ravi: That's a dream.

Chase could have used that. There are still other coyotes out there who are far worse who could have gotten executed. You know, the ones who are not just smuggling in people and creating zombies but also killing humans.

Then there is the fact that Chase has been made well aware that zombies are starving, but has he decreased the rations for his soldiers?

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Zombie citizens are starving to the point where you can see it on their faces, but the Fillmore Graves soldiers are doing OK. It also makes no sense whatsoever that he still hasn't figured out Roach is one of the soldiers pilfering brain mash and selling it at astronomical prices for his own profit.

How is it so hard to track this guy down and figure out what he's doing? It has come up a few times in Liv and Clive's investigations without them ever looking into it, but Monsieur Investigator McFrenchie hasn't tracked down Roach?

Hit Me with Your Best Shot - iZombie Season 4 Episode 5

He's too busy covering for Blaine, I presume. The French investigator is quite a character, isn't he? If Clive hates him enough to poke fun, you know the guy sucks.

Which brings me to this Blaine situation that is irksome. He is allowed to continue with his business as usual, but if it came down to it, Chase could have pressed him harder.

Related: iZombie: Why Season 4 is Poised to be the Best Yet!

Why didn't Chase exploit the hell out of Blaine and his endless stream of brains while he still had him under his thumb?

Blaine and Don E are seriously profiting off of their position as one of the few brain business owners out there. In this new Seattle that is feeling like a warped dictatorship where even the dictator is being held over a barrel, why aren't they using the resources they have?

What Do You Mean You Don't Know What the Stanley Cup Is?  - iZombie Season 4 Episode 5

They could at least use their resources to hold them over until they figured something else out. It's doing nothing for optics having starving zombies attack humans.

I felt awful for that bus driver. He sacrificed his extra rations Peyton was able to give him so that his kids could eat, and all it got him, in the end, was a bullet to the head.

Related: The 100 Mental Health and the Necessity of Moving On

I did like how Peyton was implemented into this hour. It's not often we get an idea of what her job is like in New Seattle.

Maybe the tides will turn for Chase after that mission with Don E and Major. Again, it's incredible that Fillmore Graves will work alongside Blaine and Don E when Renegade and her entire operation would have been more fruitful and less nefarious.

Don E, what the hell did you do?


Were we supposed to believe that the plan wasn't to turn General Mills' daughter all along? They kept saying it didn't go according to plan, but turning the General threatening to nuke Seattle's daughter into a zombie and smuggling her into Seattle sounds like the perfect plan to get him to back the eff down.

If that wasn't the plan then what the hell was the actual plan?

Chase may have averted a crisis in that regard, but I don't know what will come of him after this Renegade stunt.

I empathized with him and liked how they showed him dealing with the situation leading up to the execution. The audience won't see him as a bad guy even if the other characters may.

Your Expert Opinion - iZombie Season 4 Episode 5

It seemed like he could have made a stronger argument for keeping her alive, but the guy is just lost. Bless his heart, Chase is a kid playing soldier trying to lead a city, and it's starting to show.

He unleashed the dragon, though. Yes, Liv has been on a self-righteous kick for some time, but Rose McIver repeatedly punched me in the feels during the last ten minutes of the hour, man.

The look she shared with Renegade crushed me. They built up such a nice friendship in such a short period of time, and then she had to watch this kind woman who was inspired by her being murdered in front of her eyes.

Liv yelling for Major crushed me, as well as Major's face when he noticed that Liv was there the entire time. Their relationship should be in shambles after this.

Liv: I need you to gather whoever is left in Mama Leone's organization.
Levon: Why?
Liv: We're going to pick up where she left off.

I'm most excited about Liv taking over Mama Leone's operation. She knows the stakes here; she's just witnessed them, but she's charging forward with it anyway.

It officially sets her on the opposing side of Major and Chase. Prior to this, they were like two family members who voted differently during the most polarizing election in the country in years trying to have cordial conversations over a holiday dinner.

Related: Dynasty: Will Alexis Carrington be the Force that Saves it from Friday Night Doom?!

Now, it's like a war has begun, and they're fighting each other. The thing is though, it also will put her on opposing sides with Peyton, who has sworn to enforce the law, and Clive, too.

Liv's clear ally here is the devilishly handsome Levon, and possibly Ravi. This will be good!

The Lovely Levon - iZombie Season 4 Episode 5

Other Brain Bits:

  • As a Mighty Ducks fan, Liv on hockey goon brain was the absolute best. The Canadian stereotypes were too funny for words, too. 
  • Everyone talks about the Major and Ravi bromance all the time, but can we take a moment to appreciate Ravi and Clive? They were on a roll in his hour. God, I love them to bits!
  • Clive talking about Liv as though she were his young daughter had me in stitches. Clive was very funny and cavalier in this hour, but I wonder, what happened with him and Dale?
  • Is it just me, or did the placement of this episode and the previous one feel off?
  • Did the Robert Knepper allegations cause the series to rearrange how they used him in the season? That's the only explanation I can think of to explain the continuity issues with the Angus cult plot. 
  • Anybody else shipping Liv and Levon? They had great chemistry, and they'll be working together. I was feeling it, and he's smoking hot. Make love and fight the power. 

Over to you, iZombie fanatics, did you love this installment? How are you feeling about the death of Mama Leone? Are you onboard with Liv's new mission and possible new beau? Hit the comments!

This has been a fantastic season thus far if you want to catch up on it, you can watch iZombie online here at TV Fanatic!

Goon Struck Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (41 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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