What’s there to say about iZombie that hasn’t been said? It’s a great procedural and genre show, a budding buddy comedy and a hilarious yet tragic dramedy that can balance swings in tone and mood better than almost anything else on TV (except maybe Jane the Virgin). To me, it’s perfect bingeable material (with its first season on Netflix). The better question may be, why aren’t you talking about iZombie to all of your friends?
Seriously — in the age of peak TV, it’s your responsibility to inform your friends of must-watch, can’t-miss shows. I count iZombie as one of them. I’m not saying this episode — which has Liv and Ravi working as a detective duo to absolve Clive of murdering his stalker ex-girlfriend — is perfect, but it’s fun, smart and deserving of being a good show. At times, it can be a laundry-folding show or an OMG show or a show in which you are very emotionally invested in the lives of these characters. It’s not the best show on TV, but it’s certainly the most enjoyable. So why aren’t you watching instead of reading this recap?
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Jealous Stalkers and a Love for Clive Babineaux
The victim of the week is a wedding planner, attacked and killed in a parking garage on the way to her office by a man and an unknown assailant. Don’t worry — iZombie stays away from the wedding planner cliches (for the most part), but it does set up some higher stakes for the episode. Namely, by making Clive her ex-boyfriend and prime suspect.
At last, my love has come along and that love is for the very underdeveloped Clive Babineaux, the unsung hero of iZombie. There aren’t many other characters who can just roll with psychic medical examiners and still be good at their job as a homicide detective. With his soft-spoken demeanor that values professionalism first, iZombie hasn’t fleshed out the character since easily the worst episode of season 1, when the team investigated if he’s a dirty cop or not. (Spoilers? He’s not).
So with Clive primed as the main suspect (though he clearly is not the culprit), iZombie decides to strengthen the relationship between the show’s crime fighting team — Liv, Clive and Ravi. To be clear, this episode does a lot more telling about Clive than showing as we learn he’s super into Game of Thrones and likes to cook and play the piano. But we also know that despite what he says, Clive considers these two as friends, enough to help clear him of murder.
Initially, I was worried that the show would drop the nuance of a character as mentally unstable as our victim, who photoshops scrapbook albums of her faux relationships with cops, that the so-called “bunny badge” wouldn’t get the same tragic treatment as other victims and killers as in past episodes and more as a way for Liv to act like a cartoon.
Sure, the badge bunny isn’t a very well-developed character and the case is pretty thin — it’s crazy obvious that the wife of suspect number two is the killer, though the show treats that character with a modicum amount of respect. In fact, the wife is pretty even keeled considering her husband cheated on her before they were married with their wedding planner and married him anyway, and also killed his mistress and stole the engagement ring from her cold, dead hand.
A Bad Brain Raises the Stakes in an Unexpected Way
But there are levels and levels to what the episode is trying to get at beyond strengthening friendships and giving Liv a sick brain. As icky as the show treats the brain of a stalking, delusional lover, it’s a necessary one for the Liv and Major relationship. Like any tempted girlfriend, Liv raids through Major’s phone and secret safe for answers, digging until she’ll unearth anything. She does — the text messages exchanged with a woman known to Major as “Rita” and known to Liv as “Gilda.”
iZombie doesn’t drop the Rita/Gilda bomb in this episode, but it does push a little deeper into the real problems that Major and Liv are developing. For one, Major hasn’t disclosed that he’s been hired to kill zombies by Max Rager and is kidnapping them instead. And two, they have to deal with Liv’s brain-eating habit, which causes drastic mood and personality swings.
Liv’s current jealous brain is shown as not being very healthy, but it’s a shame iZombie doesn’t treat it more seriously and delve in deeper to the real problems it brings. Well, maybe it does a little bit when the case takes an interesting turn, as Liv breaks into the car of the new interim Chief. The Chief, who was also having an affair with the deceased bunny badge, throws Liv in jail overnight, away from brains to eat. It’s a sharp reminder that Liv without access to brains is one step closer to a brain-hungry, slow-ish zombie as opposed to everyone’s favorite Medical Examiner.
So maybe the brains this time do cause some damage to Liv’s life, but it does little to damage what it feels like it’s a set-up for: Liv and Major’s relationship. Yes, by episode’s end, Liv is insecure about her relationship with Major, enough to text “Gilda.” But because Liv is taking the advice of a murderer that all men cheat, this last beat feels out of place, which is a shame considering how enjoyable this episode is to watch.
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Other Rambling Thoughts
- So the employees of Max Rager have never seen any sci-fi movie where the scientists tamper with nature to disastrous results? Aka, why on earth are they developing an energy drink from zombie venom? I get it, they’re evil. They’re also stupid. Still, it’s a delight to see Steven Weber on screen.
- Again, I’m very annoyed that we don’t find out about Clive’s hobbies a little more organically, but I do appreciate the Clive-centric humor, especially the dig at what George R.R. Martin’s doing right now — which is not writing.
- Gilda/Rita is the femme fatale of the show for sure, and I just love how bitchy and manipulative she is. Can you imagine if she hooked up with Blaine? Speaking of which, I’m missing Blaine and Peyton in this episode.
- Ravi flashing his Medical Examiner badge is priceless. He always steals a few throwaway gags and lines into the best little moments of the episode.
iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW.
(Image courtesy of The CW)