Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar, or the frat bro dressed as him at a fraternity party where Caesar is ceremoniously stabbed in the back. Yep — in this episode, “Zombie Bro,” Liv eats frat boy brains and it is glorious. Seriously, has iZombie ever had this much fun or was that hiatus really long? While Liv and Babineaux work the case, Ravi and Major have a much different mission: to score Utopium to find a cure for zombieism.
iZombie is such a delight to watch, in case that plot summary didn’t show it. What I think is so thrilling about the show is that it manages to capture a very specific tone that can balance both comedy (re: Liv’s zombie antics) with grounded human emotion (re: Liv’s relationships). Though the serialized stories take a backseat in this episode, it’s easy to see why this show is clearly still a procedural wrapped up in a genre show. And for the good. This is coming from someone who avoids procedurals at all costs.
Enough cannot be said about how iZombie balances the procedural, mystery, comedy, drama and genre elements into one show. At once, it’s a detective mystery with a dash of supernatural drama and comedic high-jinks. Though this episode is more heavy on the procedural than normal, it pays off in spades.
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The Case: Bro Edition
A quick montage after finding the body, Liv has a gross looking … salad (?) and we’re right into bro territory, bro. Enough cannot be said about Rose McIver’s ability to adopt these personas each week, but her turn as a fraternity brother is hilarious. Sure, the show isn’t depicting these dudes with any nuance, but there’s plenty of that in other parts of the episode.
Chad Wolcoff — our victim of the episode — has plenty of potential enemies. He pranks his fellow brothers when they’ve passed out to the point of no return, wins trophies for bagging the “ugliest” girls on campus and hazes his brothers so much that one of them is now a registered sex offender. All in all, not the best dude, but still not one deserving of murder.
No, Chad’s “crime” isn’t one at all. Early in the case, our detective and M.E. crime solving team meet another Chad Wolcoff, though one who’s less douche. It turns out they frequently get each other’s mail because having a name like Chad Wolcoff is common in the Pacific Northwest. After intercepting an invitation to speak out against drunk driving at local high schools, the victim bombs the event (by teaching the kids how to drink and drive) and ruins the reputation of the other, which puts Chad on probation.
So we’ve got a motive, yes, but not from the other Chad. Nope, this mystery is harder to crack. Instead, the killer is the son of a man who was killed by a drunk driver. The drunk driver was other Chad, who matured later to find redemption by speaking out against other students. When the son and killer found that a ‘Chad Wolcoff’ had killed his dad and was still acting like a drunk guy, he used the furry costume he rented with his girlfriend to find and kill this kid, not knowing the guy did nothing wrong but be a bro.
Overall, a very nice case of the week: plenty of twists and turns to track down the bad guy, who has a similarly tragic but still murderous motive. It reminds me of my favorite Brooklyn Nine-Nine quote: “Cool motive, still murder.” That seems like an apt description of the route iZombie is taking.
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Drugs, Not Hugs
Though the case of the week is a nice reminder of how much fun Rob Thomas shows are (especially with a script from Diane Ruggerio, who is one of my favorite working TV writers), the more “serialized” aspects are kind of a drag, or at least a necessary step for future episodes.
Ravi is looking for a cure and he can’t do that without some tainted Utopium, or even good old regular Utopium. So he enlists Major (get it?) to come with him to a rave to score some from reliable drug dealers. It’s easy to see Ravi’s thinking of why Major would be such a good guy to bring along — dependable, responsible, secret bad-ass. But no one knows that Major’s been blackmailed into killing the undead, so his headspace is all whack.
So it takes one barely-clothed Liv (having attended an Anything But Clothes party with her new roomie Gilda) to come and take them home. Finally, the rift between Liv and Major looks to begin healing in a familiar looking shot. But even though Major insists his choice of drugs is hugs (love that line), he’s looking to heal his pain via Utopium. You know, the rage-inducing drugs that can cause zombieism. Never a good sign.
Elsewhere, Blaine begins to set plans into motion against his former boss (called Bauss, Vauss — my hearing is bad, apologies) and lead the Utopium market. The drug dealers that sell to Ravi and Major are murdered in the crossover, but it’s all part of Blaine’s twisted plan to unseat his former mob boss. See, since the kids were rich and white, people will care that they were murdered. And since he turned half of the most powerful people in the city into zombies, he’s leaning on them to put him away.
But that’s not before we see Blaine approach his not-so-dear dad, Angus, for some cash for his next upstart. See, Blaine has what we call in the biz “daddy issues” and that’s probably why he turned Angus into a zombie. Because Angus is a bit of a sociopath, not unlike his son, they trade blows and revisionist family history. It’s an unusually long (but great) scene that sets up their complicated relationship for the weeks to come.
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- My sisters and I have a version of the game “Do, Date, Delete” called “Marry, Boff or Die.” Want to play? Okay let’s play: Blaine, Major or Ravi?
- The ABC party, aka anything but clothes, was a nice touch. Frats do weird stuff like that all of the time. In fact, frat and college life was especially on point in this episode.
- I didn’t register the VO much in the previous episode, but it stuck out a lot in this episode. I’m pretty sure we’re at the point where we don’t need it, but I understand why the writers still use it.
- “Who do you guys know who totally sucks?”
- I adored the visual gag of both Ravi’s glittered princess beard and how Liv arranged the skeletons.
- Theory Corner: So my theory about Blaine’s dad is wrong. Or is it?
iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW.
(Image courtesy of The CW)