Zombie mystery-solving crime shows meet Real Housewives of Seattle? Sign me up. In this episode of iZombie, “Real Dead Housewife of Seattle,” Liv eats Bravo brains and takes on the persona of an “I-don’t-like-drama” housewife who’s been murdered by a killer for hire. There are plenty of suspects — the greedy husband, her lover Vaughn Du Clark, the frenemies, the help — and it’s a thrill to watch the show have so much fun with its premise again. 

And what a deserving case of the week to explore. As we’ve seen in the first two episodes of the season, Liv’s alone for the first time in her life. She’s alienated her brother and mother for refusing to donate zombie blood, she burned Major badly by not telling him about zombies (aka encouraged him to check himself in a mental institution and turned him into a zombie without consent), she literally scared off her best friend Peyton to another country for three months and she doesn’t have any close friends to spend her birthday with.

So it’s fitting that Liv eats the brains of a ‘real housewife’ wannabe, who I personally think are some of the saddest people on television. To want that amount of attention is toxic. To claim that you are close friends with people you barely like is incredibly pathetic. 

Lately, iZombie has trended more toward tragic cases of the week. Unfortunately, Liv’s foray into high-class/low-class brains is played more for laughs than the tragedy behind that facade, which is a bit disappointing considering Liv’s sad herself at losing the meaningful connections in her life. It’s a shame the episode doesn’t explore more of that, choosing again to go surface deep with these brains. 

Still, it’s just so much fun to watch this show.

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Max Rager is a Downer?

The victim of the week is an aged trophy wife of a board member to Max Rager, everybody’s evil energy drink company that also happens to make zombies. Killed by a contract for hire, Liv and Clive have plenty of suspects to consider: her crappy “friends”; the greedy, all-work husband who knew she was having an affair; and her lover, Vaughn Du Clark, CEO of Max Rager.

It’s smart to bring Max Rager into the mix for a case to follow up with Vaughn, Gilda and evil corporations, though it does end up being a bit unbalanced. There’s the inevitable run-in between Liv and Major, who’s there to work out and kill zombies. While it’s hilarious to watch Liv turn into a reality TV persona and slap Major, it’s also a bit weird to see how the rest of the Max Rager stuff plays out.

First of all, there’s the hook-up with Gilda and Major. Major’s Utopium use plus Gilda’s constant eye-banging makes this tryst a shoe-in. What is weird, though, is where Gilda fits into the rest of the episode, eavesdropping on Ravi and Liv to learn something weird. Max Rager doesn’t seem to know about zombie visions yet, but wouldn’t they know already since they’ve wiretapped everyone’s phones? 

Second, as much fun as it is to watch Steven Weber kill in his role as soulless CEO, the reveal at the end that the company is studying Walking Dead-style zombies for research does very little for me.

Real Housewives of Seattle

While the Max Rager pacing bogs the episode down, our heroes still have a murder to solve! If you’ve ever watched a murder mystery show before, the usual suspects — husband — are introduced far too early and are far too obvious to be the killer. Is that a terrible way to watch iZombie? I’m not sure, but I can’t help but use my encyclopedic knowledge of Veronica Mars to help me solve the case.

So who fits the crime show model? Is it the personal assistant in the back room, whom the vic’s husband has to rely on for everything? Is it the friend she was on the phone with in the beginning? Or is it the guest star who spends the most time with our hero, Liv? Ding ding ding, we have a winner. 

Our killer in this episode is a personal stylist to Seattle’s terrible people club. A criminal in her own right, she met the vic’s husband on a sugar daddy site where she racked up expensive clothing and gifts. Then they conspired to kill the wife so there would be more money to spend on the personal assistant.

What makes this reveal such a blow, however, is that Liv’s loneliness and catty, shallow housewife brain is seeking a friend — a friend to hang out with on her birthday. And since all of her friends are gone — even with the return of Peyton (yay!) — it’s just another little burn. As Liv is sure to learn this year: keep secrets from the ones you love, and the ones you love leave.

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Other Thoughts

  • Let’s talk about Peyton’s return. She seems a lot more mature than last season in her few minutes of screen time here — almost like the anti-Peyton — but I’m so happy that she bakes a cake for Liv, even though they’re not speaking. One of iZombie‘s secret small strengths was highlighting Liv’s friendships last season. This season is no exception. That said, I’m not entirely sure if Peyton has another motive for returning, other than leading the Utopium task force.
  • Ravi is on fire in this episode. The choices the actor makes are so great.
  • The writers are clearly just trolling Veronica Mars fans with that “A long time ago, we used to be friends” line. I’m okay with that.
  • So Gilda is Vaughn’s daughter? Did I read that correctly?

iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV