iZombie – Season 2 Episode 17
“Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be”
iZombie completes its build to the season finale as Major’s secret comes out at the worst possible time and Liv throws herself into her work.
This episode picks up shortly after the events of last week with Major waking up from Ravi tranquilising him and the two have a much calmer discussion. It’s unclear how much time has passed but Ravi has definitely had time to calm down and approach the discussion from a more rational standpoint. Major catches him up on what he has been doing all season and Ravi seems to accept it. This is a great scene as it plays on the friendship that has developed between these characters over the past two seasons. Ravi is able to accept Major’s story without questioning it too much because they are good friends and Ravi knows what sort of a man Major is. When he is told that Major is only pretending to be a killer it makes a lot of sense to him as it matches the opinion Ravi has of his friend.
Their friendship with Liv also comes into play as Ravi wants to tell her immediately given how involved she is in the whole Max Rager situation but Major counters that by reminding Ravi of Liv’s tendency to want to help and how much trouble this could cause for her. Major is keeping all of this a secret to protect Liv as Vaughn Du Clark is a powerful and dangerous man who has promised to kill her if Major disobeys him. Whether Major is doing the right thing or not is up to debate but it’s clear that he’s doing what he thinks is right and sees no other way out of the situation. He knows that Liv would immediately go after Du Clark if she found out the truth and that would most likely end with her being captured or killed which Major really wants to avoid. We’ve seen this justification for secret keeping done in so many superhero stories and it works best when the character believes they are doing the right thing but there are other options that they aren’t seeing. This is definitely one of those situations and now Major is in a little over his head.
I like how the episode proved Major’s point when Liv -who is still drunk on the stripper brain from last week- barges into Mr. Boss’ office and roughs up one of his henchmen to find out information on Drake. There’s a comedic edge to it as a small woman beats up a big guy but it shows just what kind of person Liv is and suggests that a similar thing would happen if she knew what Du Clark was really up to. I’m sure that her attack on Mr. Boss’ henchman will have consequences as well so we can look forward to that. Rahul Kohli’s performance when he realised that Major was right and decided to only tell Liv half of the story concerning Major was really subtle. He conveyed the understanding followed by the guilt and regret over feeling that he has to lie to Liv to keep her safe. I love how complex the characters and their relationships are in this show.
Major experiences what life as a zombie is like when he eats the leftover brains of Lesley Morgan from “Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind” and ends up being annoyingly optimistic. From a characterisation standpoint it could be seen that he is in denial about his own situation even if the brain he ate is affecting his personality. I’m sure he will become more pessimistic as time goes on but for this episode it really works. The brain allows him to put a brave face on it and see the bright side of his situation even though there really isn’t one.
This is especially true when a witness comes forward to connect Major to the missing dog which gives Dale enough to arrest him on suspicion of being the Chaos Killer. It’s not a good situation for Major as he will find himself in prison without easy access to brains and his relationship with Liv could completely break down considering all the lies he has told her. There is a further complication when he appears to go “Full Zombie” once he is put in handcuffs. Could he try to violently resist arrest? Roll on next week.
I often comment that the case of the week is the least interesting part of most of the episodes but that wasn’t true in this instance. It was an engaging plot that pulled in elements from other parts of the show to make it more compelling. A lot of this could be to do with the fact that Veronica Mars alum Enrico Colantoni played a significant part as Detective Lou Benedetto. He has only appeared on the show once before this episode but is already shaping up to be a really good character. I like that he compromises on ethics in order to get results and seems to go through the motions on how he is supposed to react to the deaths indirectly caused by him without actually caring. He points out that the death of one of his informants is something that he will have to live with but there’s no remorse in his voice indicating that he actually means it. Enrico Colantoni is impressively detached in this role while still remaining charismatic. His veiled threats to Clive were really well delivered and he came across as a character who could be an antagonist in the next season. This is also shown by the way he manipulates Liv into trusting him so she delivers information that he needs. Benedetto is clearly clever and has a very loose moral code which makes him both interesting and dangerous.
Liv consuming a brain with a similar personality to the way she was before becoming a zombie was a really nice touch. It’s well timed as she is having trouble dealing with the fact that Drake is missing so having her obsession shift to working on a case and being rewarded with praise for all the effort she puts in. This gives us great insight into what Liv was like before the show began and Peyton’s reaction shows that this version of Liv was very likeable; at least to Peyton.
Blaine’s amnesia is the weakest part of the episode mostly because it’s unclear what the writers really want to do with it. There’s the suggestion that it’s all a big act which Ravi is about to test and I like that Don E and Chef are pretending that they are his boss while they get high on Bluegrass Band brains and making music. Ravi explaining every horrible thing Blaine has ever done was well done as we see him about to explain followed by a cut to having finished explaining while Blaine has a really dumbfounded look on his face. Assuming he’s being honest about the amnesia I wonder if this will start a redemptive arc for him. Either way I get the sense that the episode doesn’t know what to do about him so he appears in more scenes than he really needs to.
Seeing Gilda fully transformed into a zombie complete with white hair was cool but I wonder how she will factor into the final episodes. Is she the expendable factor that proves the cure doesn’t work or will she be the one to bring down Du Clark/turn him into a zombie? It would make dramatic sense for Gilda to get her own back after he was the cause of her current situation. I look forward to the last episode next week to find out. The mention of Rob Thomas and the compelling stuff he writes was amusing too and I couldn’t end this review without mentioning that.
An excellent episode that manages to make the case of the week as compelling as the side stories. Enrico Colantoni’s presence in this narrative really elevated things as he creates a really compelling character that carries the whole thing nicely. The only weak link was Blaine’s amnesia but that may yet pay off into something interesting and didn’t drag the episode down too much. Ravi finding out what Major has been up to and the further complications that are sure to be caused by Major’s arrest are really exciting stuff. I really can’t wait to see what they do in the finale.
- Enrico Colantoni
- Major’s secret being out and his arrest
- the deep character relationships being well used
- Blaine’s amnesia plot feeling slightly unfocused