All images: CW

Remember back when Rob Thomas said that the end of season three of iZombie would reset the series? And that there was a major reveal cut from the season finale and saved for the season four premiere, even though the cast and crew didn’t know for sure if they’d get one? Well, I think we have our answers.

The season finale of iZombie was exactly the kind of seismic, game-changing event that this show has kind of been lacking in its previous finales. Season one’s giant shootout was huge, but the fallout was contained. Plus, we quickly learned in season two that Ravi hadn’t actually come up with a permanent cure. Season two ended with another big action sequence and the promise that Liv was going to have a pick a side, humans or zombies, but again, the status quo of our little band of crimefighters didn’t change too much once season three began.

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Last night’s season finale was much lighter on the action than in previous years, but much heavier on the consequences. Militaristic Fillmore-Graves leader Chase Graves (Jason Dohring) has actually been the red herring, and the Aleutian Flu outbreak was orchestrated by second-in-command Carey Gold (Anjali Jay)—who was the big bad this whole time. She tries to organize a coup against Graves, but he puts her and some minions down. It turns out that the “apocalypse plan” with the flu was always the back-up plan for Fillmore-Graves, but Carey wanted it to be the primary plan. So she put it into motion and gave no one any choice.

Chase and Fillmore-Graves then use the Aleutian Flu vaccine to transmit the zombie virus. I’m not clear if this was always the plan—to make sure zombies outnumber humans—or if it was a change he made in order to “save” people instead of letting thousands die. The little pause Chase gives when he says it was about brains indicates he’s lying to Liv, so he’ll have time to infect the vaccine. Either way, Liv finds out and has Johnny Frost announce on the news that a) zombies are real b) stay away from the vaccine.

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That’s when Chase arrives and explains that Fillmore-Graves will be taking over brain distribution—from willing donors—and that if just one in 10 people put brain donation in their wills, they will all be fine. But if they don’t, the zombies will fight and win.

Meanwhile, Ravi’s created what he’s pretty sure is a zombie vaccine and he takes it and then asks Liv to scratch him. We don’t see the results, and that reveal is almost certainly the one that was moved to season four. Everything else is settled in a way that makes it clear it’s setting up next season’s plot. Plus, we’ve been promised an answer immediately, which tells me they already knew it.

I’m curious about what the show will do. If it doesn’t work, Ravi’s a zombie. And I hope he’s not, because his human-zombie friendship with Liv is so good. But increasing the number of zombies in our group would mirror what’s happened to Seattle at large. If it half-works, that’s basically the plot they already did with the cure. If it does work, the problem then is a) being able to recreate it (once again, the amount of tainted drug Ravi had to work with was tiny) b) getting it out in a Seattle run by a zombie military group. That has a lot of interesting story possibilities and, once again, forces a change in the status quo.

Thomas has also said that season four will see Seattle walled off from the rest of the world, with the U.S. government and Fillmore-Graves working together to make sure all zombies live there, getting only sanctioned brains.

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I love all of this. We’ve had a while to fall in love with iZombie’s characters, but this is a major change from a world very much like ours, with zombies underground to a full-fledged “five minutes in the future” story. It reminds me of Person of Interest’s similar shift, once Samaritan showed up and the fight became much bigger than just police corruption in NYC, and expanded to exploring different visions of AI. The procedural structure didn’t vanish, but there is something grander and more interesting going on now.

iZombie had been a show I love to watch, but can fall behind for a week and not feel too bad. Now it’s suddenly become a must-watch, every week, as soon as it’s on. Too bad I have to wait until fall at the earliest for the next episode.