iZombie – Season 2 Episode 12
“Physician, Heal Thy Selfie”
iZombie plays with the established structure to develop some of the background plots that have been bubbling along all season.
We all know how this works by now don’t we? The body of someone who is murdered has been found, Liv consumes their brain and has a series of visions that help Clive solve the case and bring the murderer to justice. That’s the foundation of this show and everything else more or less orbits that.
Not this week as the bodies that are found are without heads and that obviously means that they are without brains. Without those brains Liv isn’t privy to the clues that she normally would be and actual police work has to be used to solve the murder.
This should have been the foundation for an interesting story and it was to some degree. Having Liv completely clueless about what avenue to explore is a good idea especially since Clive has come to depend on her help with these difficult cases. Seeing Liv trying to bluff her way through was interesting and there was some impatience with Clive when things weren’t really going his way but that’s about as far as the show takes it.
To me it feels like a waste of an opportunity to give Clive some real development. Have his detective skills suffered because of becoming reliant on Liv or is he still as sharp as he ever was? That question isn’t answered here. It would also have been good to see him frustrated by a dead end with no idea where to go next. None of this really happened here.
Liv had to make do with the brain of someone obsessed with social media and she became the person many of us hate on any social media outlet. She posts her thoughts, an endless stream of selfies, pictures of food and other such uninteresting nonsense that most people don’t need or want to know.
Despite that it’s impossible to hate Liv because she’s such a great character. She plays these traits as being annoying but she is also clearly having fun with them which makes it all the more annoying. Clive’s irritation at her sudden obsession with her phone worked really well and in general it was a solid commentary on the obsession with social media in modern society. It was a parody of course but the most unnerving thing was that it managed to be very close to reality.
The brain isn’t actually all that important to the grand scheme of things as it isn’t needed to solve the case and there’s no real trauma for Liv to experience so it just becomes about Liv being obsessed with social media and connects to her relationship with Drake when she tries to hunt him down online.
He has no presence which unsettles her and she finds out that he went to prison in the past to make the situation worse. There’s a reasonable explanation for his time in prison that shows Drake to be someone who acts tough but actually has a deeply loving relationship with his mother. It’s easy to dismiss him as a disposable meathead distraction love interest based on his earlier appearances but, as with Veronica Mars, even the seemingly innocuous characters prove to be very deep. The more I learn about Drake the more I like him and I do wonder where his character is being taken over the next few episodes. If he is a temporary distraction for Liv then the show isn’t treating him as such so that can only be a good thing.
Blaine’s contribution to the episode was really well handled. It was fun to see him trying to charm Peyton by telling her what he thinks she wants to hear only to have Liv burst in and burst that bubble. The stitch up that they arrange shows how powerful their friendship is and robs Blaine of all power he had over Peyton.
There is some progression to Blaine’s attempt to be the new criminal power in Seattle that starts with taking down Stacey Boss and assuming his place. Blaine and Boss have an excellent scene together in the basement of the funeral home where Boss essentially extorts him for money that he feels Blaine owes him and Blaine appears to agree with him. The scene is dripping with tension and the subtle smile David Anders keeps on Blaine’s face throughout the exchange shows that he’s not afraid of Boss. He clearly has a plan that he needs some more time to put in motion or at least he wants to seem that way. His irritated reaction following the conversation suggests that he hasn’t quite figured that all out yet.
I like how this plot is progressing as the procedural side of showing all of the elements grinding along is largely ignored. We are given updates when something significant has already happened rather than seeing the convoluted circumstances that led to it. It gives the whole thing progression without bogging it down in unnecessary detail. It’s snappy and to the point which I like as it allows us to focus on the important things.
Major is still in really deep with Vaughn Du Clark and the situation is getting worse as time goes on. Du Clark now knows that Major spared a zombie which causes him to admit that he skipped one because of the sympathy he felt for the family connection. Du Clark obviously doesn’t buy that and wants further proof of his loyalty by encouraging him to take out the one he missed. If he doesn’t then innocent people will die, specifically those who leave negative comments about Max Rager. Du Clark shows how powerful he is and how powerful his organisation is. He also proves himself to be pretty soulless when doling out threats and almost cartoonish in how much he delights in the suffering of others. Steven Weber plays him as over the top enough to seem larger than life without coming across as a moustache twirling 1 Dimensional antagonist. It’s telling when it’s easy to forget how awful he really is due to his charisma. As a side note it was good to see Gilda again even though she didn’t do very much.
Major has another problem in that his secret is so close to coming out. Liv is getting closer and Major doesn’t really seem to be aware of it. It doesn’t look like he has a plan to get out of this situation and it’s only a matter of time before Liv finds out. Even worse than that will be when Clive and Bozzio find out because that will result in some serious jail time for him. I also wonder when he plans to let his collection of frozen zombies be free.
Ravi seems to be sinking into familiar territory when he spends more time with Peyton. It involves excessive drinking but it’s clear that, outside of the hangovers that he constantly suffers, the feelings he had for her are beginning to resurface and she is completely unaware or choosing to ignore them. Either way Ravi could be ready for some real heartache sooner rather than later.
Another solid outing for iZombie that attempts to play with the established structure to make the case of the week more of a challenge but doesn’t explore this idea to its full potential. The development of Blaine’s rise to power and seeing Vaughn Du Clark threaten Major with his considerable resources were also really well done.
• Steven Weber’s menacing performance
• a tense scene between Blaine and Stacey Boss
• the attempt to play around with the established structure
• the opportunity to play around with structure not being fully exploited
• Major’s naivety around keeping his actions hidden