Despite some really questionable (and objectionable) choices with Major, iZombie is having a great Season 2. The mysteries are stronger, the brain-induced transformations are funnier and the ensemble is being better utilized. Well the ensemble with the exception of Clive Babineaux. While originally a vital part of iZombie, Clive has drifted to the background in terms of importance. He is still very present but he’s more a very vocal part of the scenery nowadays. This needs change. It’s time that Clive learned Liv’s secret.
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It is Making Clive Look Stupid
iZombie has really begun to use Liv’s brain transformations to great effect. When Liv ate a brain in Season 1 it would be good for one or two scenes but the results were pretty inconsistent. The effect that the brains had on Liv were entirely at the convenience of the plot. She was weird enough to be funny once in a while but not weird to attract suspicion. In Season 2 no one can argue that Liv’s transformations are subtle. Liv’s personality is consumed each week by the brains she eats.
Everything about her changes, from her attitude to her interests and even her appearance. On the whole this makes for more enjoyable viewing. The transformations aren’t just window dressing they actually begin to effect Liv’s life on more than a week to week basis. Often times in Season 1 being a zombie would seem more like a mild inconvenience than anything. These total transformations go a long way in changing that fact. Unfortunately, it makes Clive look like a complete idiot that he just accepts them.
Clive will roll his eyes at Liv’s stranger moments. It’s not as if he doesn’t notice them, he just doesn’t seem to care. The problem with this is it doesn’t seem to fit at all with Clive’s character. When Major was acting odd in Season 1, Clive didn’t brush him off as eccentric. Clive defied TV convention and looked into the obviously stranger behavior of a fellow character. Clive is an incredible detective. He knows when he is being lied to and when something isn’t right. The blind spot he has for Liv has been given no reason or justification. Liv’s visions get results in solving cases but Clive should be questioning why she is acting like a grumpy old racist one week and prissy housewife the next. Clive should be concerned and inquisitive, not dismissive.
Furthermore, Clive’s disinterest in Liv detracts from my enjoyment of the humorous scenes where they are interacting. The more ridiculous Liv gets the more funny the scene should become and it does but Clive should also be growing more suspicious of Liv. Every time he rolls his eyes or gives Liv an incredulous look rather than probing her about her odd behavior it’s frustrating. Clive’s character is being sacrificed for the sake of a easier joke and that’s not OK.
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Clive Is Out of the Loop and Out of Action
The problem goes deeper than just a few inappropriate uses of humor. In Season 1 Clive’s inclusion into the weirdness of Liv, even if it was impartial made him important. The fact that Clive didn’t know Liv was a zombie was never an issue in Season 1. Clive might not have known everything but he knew more than most. Clive was allowed to be involved in the action because he knew about Liv’s visions but thought her to be a psychic. The psychic explanation wasn’t much but it was more than Major or Peyton ever got from Liv.
Clive has always ranked underneath Ravi in order of importance. In Season 1 though there was a very small margin between the two men. The more people that learn Liv is a zombie, the more it feels like Clive is being pushed down the line. The relationship between Liv and Clive feels less special and as a result interest in the character begins to wane. We aren’t as concerned with Clive anymore because iZombie itself seems disinterested with him.
Clive is now the only recurring character on iZombie who doesn’t know that Liv is a zombie. Major, Peyton, Ravi, Blaine, Vaughn and even Liv’s new roommate know about her true nature. Yet the man she has been working with closely for going on two years has no idea. Clive can get as much screentime as he wants but until iZombie stops treating him as a tertiary character, he isn’t going to be as important as he was in Season 1.
How to Fix It
As much as I want Clive to find out, I don’t want Liv to just tell him with no build up. This is a big bomb to drop and it has to be handled correctly. Clive is too smart and too shrewd a character to just accept this life-altering news and move on immediately. iZombie needs its case of the week, crime investigation formula if it wants to keep moving along as a standard TV show and for that it needs Clive. It needs a Clive who hasn’t had his world turned upside down and by suddenly discovering that zombies are real.
There are ways to work around it so Clive begins to become more important, learn the truth and iZombie can still keep the status quo. iZombie could explain Liv’s rapid and abrupt personality changes as a new side-effect of her visions. Clive has to notice the correlation between Liv’s personality and the victim’s each week. All it would take is for Clive to question her on it, Liv to answer in typical quippy fashion and a lot of the problems could be solved.
A lot of the problems but not at all of them. Clive still needs to find out the truth in some way. As mentioned before he is a very talented detective, iZombie could give Clive something to do besides eye-rolls and put his brain to use. iZombie can use Clive’s continuing suspicions about Major and the Meat Cute massacre as a starting point. From there, Clive can start looking into the deeper zombie threat of Seattle until eventually he discovers his partner is a zombie herself.
The story would be a parallel of Major’s arc from Season 1. Clive on his own, without Liv, investigating zombies, Blaine and Max Rager. This would give Clive a purpose that he so far lacks. The groundwork has already been laid for this with Clive getting the sketch of Blaine early in Season 2. He could earn discovering the truth about Liv through his own deductive reasoning not just be handed it on pale, slightly guilty platter. In fact, depending on how closely this potential storyline mirrored Major’s it could even give Liv a chance to right the wrongs she made with Major. Liv could come clean before things are too late and dangerous for Clive.
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But what do you think? Are you fine with Clive not knowing Liv is a zombie? Do you have another way that he could find out? Have you enjoyed Season 2 more than Season 1 so far? What has been your favorite Liv brain transformation of the season?
iZombie season 2 airs Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW
(Images courtesy of The CW)