For the record: I love iZombie. I think it’s a really, really good show with good writing, interesting performances and a fun premise/procedural cursed with a bad name. So I ask: is it just me or does this episode feel like busy work? It’s not bad, but it isn’t an episode of iZombie. I know — how can it not be an episode when it was written and produced as one? The better description may be that it doesn’t feel like one.
Many times, viewers of a TV show lament over the rigid structure of procedurals, but iZombie has its “formula” down cold. Give Liv a fun, wacky brain to eat, watch her and Clive solve the case and continue to be entertained by the antics and subplots of Ravi, Major or Blaine. Of course, some of the best episodes from season 1 didn’t follow this, but the spirit was there. The show earned that trust.
But, weirdly, this episode doesn’t feel “earned.” In storytelling terms, we like to use this to describe stories that really work for its audience. This one feels all over the place — checking boxes for plot points and emotional beats that need to happen instead of happening organically — and the result is a mismatched episode of subplots.
For one, there’s how Peyton fits in the verse now. As great as it is to see Liv and Peyton together again, Peyton feels vastly different this season from the first season. Perhaps we’re supposed to see her as more mature, but it may be just too long since we’ve seen her. Likewise, checking in with Peyton and Major and Clive is too much for one episode.
This is not a good episode of iZombie, but I’d gladly watch its average episodes over most of what’s on TV today.
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A Little Bit Country
By far the weirdest part of this episode is the aspiring country singer who was strangled in her home. The show gives us several suspects — a shady, ex-inmate with anger issues, a slimy manager and his pregnant wife — but each is written off.
Liv, meanwhile, doesn’t take up too many of the victim’s characteristics because ‘country singer’ isn’t the stock character a frat boy or a curmudgeon are. More than anything, the brains force Liv to perform a lackluster song (though props to Rose McIver’s singing) to reevaluate her love life. Cue a long-overdue speech Liv gives to Major on how she’s tired of feeling like the punching bag. Her year as a zombie was difficult and she made mistakes. She’s done paying for them and she knows what’s between them is dead. Major, meanwhile, just wants space because he’s high and still has secrets from her.
No, the real culprit is fate — or chaos, depending on how you look at life. The victim was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when an armed robber broke intp her house and strangled her so he wouldn’t get caught. Life is random; death is too. Personally, I don’t think iZombie nails that random idea in a scatterbrained episode, but it’s a tough one to convey.
Utopium and Rock Bottom
Peyton’s back in town and on a mission as Seattle’s best ADA to take down Mr. Boss, Seattle’s biggest crime boss at the moment. She’s trying to strike deals with imprisoned members of his networks, but the only one to take the bait is none other than Blaine.
Blaine’s busy at work with Don E. and a tall, mute henchmen to find the original Utopium dealer who cut the drug the night of the boat massacre. You know, the one who helped create a zombie apocalypse. Dude’s a reformed sinner and Jesus-loving guy, but it isn’t long before Blaine and his crew are torturing him for info. He refuses to disclose any info, so Blaine turns him into a zombie to fend for himself. Not the smartest plan, is it, Blaine?
But Blaine’s focused on giving Peyton the extensive details of Boss’ network so he can take him down and take over. There’s some flirtation (which, Peyton, no) on both ends, but we’ll see where the tides take them in the coming episodes.
Elsewhere, Major continues to mope in self-loathing and self-pity, abusing Utopium to the point where he’s sleeping with Gilda (or, as he knows her, Rita) and being too stoned to notice that the dog, Minor, is missing. After being shunned by Ravi for his irresponsibility, he seeks refuge and help via Liv, and by refuge and help, I mean a make-out session.
Huh. That’s what I leave this episode with — both the last scene and the episode as a whole. Huh.
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- Again: I love iZombie, but I didn’t like this episode. Though I loved parts of it (i.e. Ravi in his cowboy hat, David Anders’ whole thing, the small Once Upon a Time reunion, Don E., etc. I also probably would have liked this episode more if the sketch artist was in it.
- Were they setting up the vic’s totally hot ex-boyfriend to be a love interest for Liv? I’m down.
- How many impulse buys do you think Liv has on her credit card by now? I’d like to see a joke about Liv in credit card debt or something.
- I wasn’t crazy about the confrontation between Liv and Major, but I will say that I liked Liv’s decision to go back in the house after it. She gives this ShondaLand-type speech about how the “dream is dead” and then yells at him for not fighting. That felt like a real thing Liv would do and was the most interesting choice in the episode.
- I prayed that Clive would had more subplots and here’s a Clive subplot buried underneath all the other ones; prayer works! Clive has to work with an FBI agent who’s looking into the wealthy murders of Seattle’s elite. That’s all for now, but I’m pushing for more insight into his personal life.
iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW.
(Image courtesy of The CW)