iZombie – Season 2 Episode 4
“Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues”
iZombie continues to impress with a very character driven second season that seems to have covered a lot of ground already without feeling bogged down in detail. It is very character driven but only for certain characters. At the moment Liv and Major are getting the biggest share of the development but the others are starting to creep in around the edges.
I’ve said endlessly in my previous reviews that development for Clive is relatively limited. He is a good character and Malcolm Goodwin does a lot with the little that he is given but there hasn’t been a lot revealed about who Clive is beyond his capacity as a detective who really wants to do the right thing. This episode suggests that there is more to come for Clive as he flirts with his co-worker who seems to be as much of a troublemaker as he is. Are we going to have a Clive centric episode in the near future? I hope so.
The case of the week was pretty standard stuff as usual but I like that Liv’s visions had very little impact on the solving of the case. Clive got there through police work, his intelligence and his ability to read people. It’s a welcome change from being at a dead end until Liv has a carefully timed vision that gets things moving again. It was a nice touch to have the murder not be premeditated in any way and be connected to another case the Seattle Police Department is working on. It adds a sense of scope to the police force and reminds us that Clive isn’t the only one who does anything.
Ravi has more to do this week than in previous episodes. We get to meet the elusive Steph (Debs Howard) after having her mentioned a few times before now and she seems like a good fit for Ravi. I like how casually he acts around everyone, even women he is attracted to. It feels different to the standard awkward nerd around women trope that seems to dominate similar characters. It’s refreshing to see that he even keeps his cool when Peyton shows up. I was also very amused when he turned up to Liv’s performance dressed as a cowboy. That guy certainly fully commits to everything he does and naming the dog that Major brought home Minor is just hilarious.
Major is continuing his self destructive path but I like that he has an awareness of it. When he admits to the dog that the smell is “sex and self loathing” it shows that he is fully conscious of what he is doing to himself and doesn’t really seem to care. There are a few examples of his behaviour affecting other people such as leaving the door open so that the dog escapes and not telling Ravi important information. As an aside I like that Ravi lays down the law to Major by yelling at him. It’s a nice change to see someone who is usually so chilled out and accommodating pushed to the point where he is angry enough to say something.
This episode marks when Major finally hits rock bottom after going to buy drugs from a kid that he once tried to help. The combination of seeing that he failed to help someone and the realisation that he has become the thing that he actively tried to prevent people becoming sends a powerful message to him that things are spiralling out of control and finally gets him to admit that he really needs help. This is a more realistic road to go down than Liv’s rant making him come to his senses. Her confrontation had the opposite effect and made him get more Utopium which then caused him to hit rock bottom. I imagine the effect is cumulative but the fact that Liv talking to him didn’t instantly cause the realisation was good.
Liv’s adopted personality was far less pronounced this week. She took on some of the “cowgirl” traits such as using the word “ain’t”. I can take or leave that as it felt like more of a stereotype than it needed to be but it would seem that the deceased personality was far less dominant this week which meant that we got more of Liv than usual. It did give her the confidence to write and sing country music and aids her reflection on her own life which leads to her heated confrontation with Major. It’s an important step for Liv and highlights how her situation at the start of season 1 is similar to his current situation. She isolated herself from everyone around her for reasons that are personal to her and Major is doing the same thing. She recognises that but won’t let him lay the guilt trip on her any more no matter how unintentional it is on his part. She finally does something about her frustration by yelling at him and it’s great to see. I wonder when her family will be brought up again as that seems to have been sidelined since the first episode of the season. As an aside, is there anything that Rose McIver can’t do? She’s a versatile actress and it turns out she can sing as well. That is a lot of talent for one person.
Peyton’s return is very welcome and it’s good that she’s not simply around to be a friend to Liv. Her purpose in the show is much deeper than that. The dynamics have shifted this season for Liv with her relationship with Major being strained and having a new friend in the form of Gilda but not being aware of the truth about her yet so having the familiar presence in her life is a good touch. Their reunion scene was great as the two actresses have excellent chemistry and Peyton seems to have a perspective on what’s going on that is noticeably different.
Having her connected to the overall Utopium story is working really well as it has her connected to more of the show than she was last season. Her scene with Blaine was excellent and it cleverly ties into his plan to be the biggest crime boss in Seattle. Peyton could unwittingly help with his rise to power. The fact that she thinks Liv would like him without knowing their prior connection is great as well. I look forward to seeing how she continues to fit into everything.
Blaine’s attempt to find out the formula for tainted Utopium gave David Anders more of an opportunity to chew the scenery like only he can. I love that he extorts a man who has found religion by torturing him and turning him into a zombie was really entertaining and seeing his minions discuss whether Jesus was a zombie was such a hilarious conversation. Blaine has also noticed that some of his clients have been disappearing due to Major’s current role as Seattle’s zombie hunter which ties everything together through Blaine.
An excellently character driven episode that moves Liv and Major on organically without feeling overly bogged down in lots of unnecessary detail around these characters.
Clive is still a little underdone but there is a sense that there will soon be more to him. Seeing him flirt with a coworker that is new to the job suggests to me that a Clive centric episode should be coming our way.
The case of the week was pretty standard stuff but I like that Liv’s visions didn’t actually solve the case. It was done through police work, Clive’s intelligence and his ability to read people. The fact that the murder wasn’t premeditated and was simply a random act feels a bit different. I also like that it’s connected to another case that is being worked on by someone else which gives scope to the police force and shows that Clive isn’t the only guy that does anything.
Ravi has a lot more to do as well with the appearance of Steph after being mentioned previously. Having him turn up to Liv’s performance dressed like a cowboy and giving Major a much needed dressing down are also nice touches that show him acting differently to how we have previously seen him.
Major finally hits rock bottom in this episode after realising that he is buying drugs from kids that he failed to help. Seeing that he has become the very thing he was trying to discourage people from becoming after being yelled at by Liv is enough for him to identify that he needs help. He still has a long way to go but it feels like the right time for a reality check.
Liv’s adopted personality is far less pronounced other than some changes in her speech pattern and a desire to write and sing Country music. It feels like there’s more of Liv in this episode with the alternate personality being less dominant but helping her sort out her issues within herself in a way that helps her take steps to fix them. I wonder how long it will take for her family to reappear and pick up that plot thread.
Peyton being back is great and she has a defined purpose in the show with her being after the drug dealers in town. Her reunion with Liv was a great scene and shows how unique Peyton’s perspective is on the overall situation. Her scene with Blaine is nicely done as well and it’s interesting that she will unwittingly help him become the dominant crime force in Seattle.
Blaine extorting someone to find out the tainted Utopium formula was great to see as it allows David Anders to chew the scenery as only he can. Seeing his minions debate whether Jesus was a zombie was a hilarious touch as well.