On the D/L – iZombie
Season 1 Episode 4 – “Liv and Let Clive”
iZombie allows Liv to take a little bit of a back seat and develop some of the supporting characters while moving things along with the background stories.
The conceit this week is that Liv eats the brains of an Asian gang member who was brutally stomped to death at a “boot party”. Liv’s visions reveal that Clive was around this gang and this leads her to suspect that he is a dirty cop who shouldn’t be trusted due to the obvious -to her- corruption.
With this being such a young show we as an audience aren’t completely familiar with the characters yet so having a revelation like this early on really works since we don’t really know Clive all that well. This relative anonymity means that it’s quite easy to play with the notion that he might not be all he appears as it could quite easily be true.
Of course it turns out to be not true and it was a very long undercover mission when he worked in Vice. I liked how this played out as it allowed us to really explore a little of Clive’s past and get a look into what informed his motivations. Malcolm Goodwin’s performance was a really strong one as he managed to create a powerful sense of empathy with his character. I found it really interesting that this one case managed to affect his life so profoundly. It was quite harrowing to hear him talk about how none of his colleagues wanted to work with him after what it looked like he became.
Having this back story developed helps to explain why Clive is so adamant to help people in any way possible. It suddenly makes sense why he accepts Liv’s psychic abilities since he feels that they can help. Basically anything that gets the job done quicker is good by him.
Ravi gets some welcome development in this episode as well. He is cleverly paired with Major in order to bring him more into Liv’s orbit. It’s been a problem in previous episodes that Major has appeared in scenes but never really contributed to the overall plot. This change allows him to be removed from representing the past and allows him to influence the present. Ravi and Major make such a natural pairing in terms of a friendship that makes for some really memorable nerdy scenes between the two of them. I kind of want to game on Ravi’s 4K TV.
Blaine’s business operation becomes a lot more fascinating as we learn more about it. I’m left wondering how long he’s been a zombie and how long he’s been operating like it. It’s a pretty slick setup that seems to have been refined over a long period of time. I wonder what his endgame is or if he even has one at this point but David Anders plays him so cool and collected it’s hard not to be fascinated by any scene that he’s in. He seems so complex in his villainy and there is something really engaging about the way he runs things. It should be interesting to see how this continues to develop.
We also get to see some zombie rules creep in. Apparently you can freeze them and they stop but become functional when thawed out. I just find that really interesting.
The drawback to the development of the supporting cast in this case is that Liv’s story suffered somewhat. Logistically this was probably the most complex case yet but it’s probably the least developed of the cases so far. It also gets bogged down in Asian stereotypes a little but it is fun to see that Liv knows Kung Fu. They really missed a trick on the Matrix reference here.
Rose McIver did a great job as always but it was less obvious what personality traits she had absorbed. Maybe her meal didn’t have anything really pronounced but I liked seeing her pretend to be an airhead who had an Asian fetish. It’s always a joy to see her act as she’s so good at it.
Another strong episode that allowed the supporting cast a welcome opportunity to develop and further the universe of the show.
The suggestion that Clive might be a dirty cop is cleverly used at this stage as the audience doesn’t really know him all that well so it could easily be true. I like how the episode uses this as an opportunity to explain a little of the rationale behind his motivation. It was quite moving to hear him talk about how nobody wanted to work with him after his long undercover assignment. His desire to help people quickly explains why he’s so open to Liv’s psychic ability as a resource.
Having Ravi and Major becoming roommates is a nice touch as it allows Major to have more ties to the present day storyline than he has had up until now. The two actors have really natural chemistry and are a lot of fun to watch.
I found the development of Blaine’s business enterprise to be really interesting. It opens the situation up to the question of how long he’s been at this and how long he has been a zombie. The setup is so slick and David Anders plays it so nonchalantly that it’s hard not to be engaged by it.
Unfortunately Liv’s part of the story suffers a little. The murder case was logistically the most complex so far but it didn’t quite get the development it needed to become fully engaging. Liv’s absorption of the personality traits was a little too subtle so she didn’t really seem to change all that much. Rose McIver did a fantastic job as always but the case wasn’t as engaging as it could have been.