iZombie – Season 2 Episode 10
iZombie returns for the first episode of 2016 and due to a mix up in dates I’m publishing this review a day late. I didn’t realise it was back this week so sorry about that those of you that were waiting for my thoughts. I know that you exist!
There was a lot going on before the hiatus with Major and Liv’s breakup, Clive taking away Liv’s investigative privileges and Ravi’s discovery that the cure is likely to wear off and restore the cured to their zombie status. Each of these is given attention in this episode but not always to the extent that I would have liked. For example the breakup is barely mentioned.
Ravi wastes no time in telling people the bad news and gets right to work in running tests as well as looking for the Tainted Utopium stash so that he can continue his research into making it permanent. I liked how the episode moved through the time frame by using “Christmas”, “New Year” and “The Present” as title cards to show the passage of time since the break. At first I thought that this was going to be a Christmas episode nearly a month late but fortunately it wasn’t as I’m not sure how far Liv devouring a store Santa brain could really go in terms of plot but it seems that it occurred off screen. I guess the producers really wanted a Santa brain story but just couldn’t really make it happen.
The one thing that struck me most about the cure is how everyone seems to take it in their stride. There is some alarm when Major finds out but he quickly transitions onto something else. Blaine is pretty much the same to the point he actually seems in really good spirits. I get that they’ve had a few weeks to digest it but I would think they would be a bit more affected by it. It will definitely be an ongoing issue so maybe that’ll come soon though I’m still waiting for Liv’s conflict with her family to be dealt with in some way so there are some lingering threads still to be dealt with.
Major is getting deeper and deeper into the whole Max Rager situation in a way that will almost certainly come back to bite him -no pun intended- when the wrong people find out. He is using a Fitbit to eavesdrop on Vaughn Du Clark’s conversations. It’s a really proactive thing to do but it’s also incredibly risky as well. I’m surprised that Du Clark would take the Fitbit at face value without getting it checked in some way to make sure that Major isn’t being duplicitous. He has no real reason to trust Major considering his reluctance to take out the zombies. From Du Clark’s perspective it should seem as if Major’s change in attitude comes a little too easily.
Steven Weber is as magnetic as usual as Du Clark. His performance is always so effortless with likable qualities even though he’s almost soulless in the way he regards other people. His one interaction with Gilda shows that clearly as he disregards most of what she says and even insults her mother right in front of her. He seems to have no feelings one way or another for his daughter but the fact that he employs her suggests some form of compassion there.
His test for Major was a little too transparent but fun nonetheless as it’s easy to believe that a scientist would want to expose him and might go to Major for help doing that. Major either saw that it was a test for him or saw it as an opportunity to prove to Du Clark that he can be trusted. Either way it works and it’s good that he doesn’t compromise his compassionate nature by letting the poor scientist endure death by “old school” zombie.
I found the case of the week a lot more interesting this week but not because of the particulars of it. The whole meta framework made it a lot more fun to watch. It also became less about the brain Liv consumed and more about the situation as it was presented. The brain was part of it and brought a lot of laughs such as Liv’s demonstration of method acting as echoed by Ravi who loved every minute of it. When Rose McIver and Rahul Kohli share scenes true magic really does happen. I also got a kick out of the Power Rangers reference which of course calls back to the fact that Rose McIver was once in Power Rangers RPM. There’s all sorts of other references like saying that a show where the lead character is a zombie is a “dumb” idea and the filming nowhere near the show is set for Tax reasons. It’s all a fun wink to the audience that goes over well
The fictional TV show Zombie High actually came as a bit of a surprise. I wondered why the CW would let this send-up happen as they have done similar shows to this in the past that were possibly more corny than this fake one. It works as a joke because I’ve seen and stopped watching shows that are as bad as that.
We get different aspects from the show to seeing scenes that aired to an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. In some ways it reminded me of the Supernatural episode “Hollywood Babylon” particularly with Clive’s reaction to the food put on by the caterers as it was very similar to the way Dean reacted. It’s good to see Clive loosen up a bit and enjoy himself in this situation too.
The general reaction to Zombie High by the characters was really amusing. Ravi in particular got my attention as he started off hating the show and pointing out how scientifically incorrect it is. We’ve all seen those types of comments and many of us have made those sorts of comments, I know I have. The amusing thing is that by the end of the episode he’s a fan. He knows it really sucks but can’t tear himself away from it. Another really relatable thing as I’m sure we all have a show that’s purely a guilty pleasure. The most recent one for me was Impastor. There have been many others in the past and I am sure there will be more in the future.
I was a bit iffy about Liv and Clive working so closely together on this case after him effectively banishing her in the previous episode. It feels that this has been resolved a little too quickly and hasn’t been developed in any meaningful way. Clive letting her come back because he seems to feel sorry for her doesn’t really fit his character but I can see that it had to be this way since it’s pretty much the main premise of the show and there’s not an awful lot of mileage if they aren’t working together. I’d have liked to see them apart for an entire episode to show how different their lives are and how Clive’s police work goes without the psychic clues.
Blaine doesn’t really do much in the episode but any scene featuring him is as great as ever. Seeing him full of the Christmas spirit at the beginning was really entertaining and having him a little flustered by Dale’s interrogation is a refreshing change for the character. David Anders is always watchable no matter what side of Blaine we see.
iZombie returns with a really entertaining outing that comes with a really fun meta story into the bargain.
A lot happened in the last episode with Liv and Major’s breakup, Clive revoking Liv’s investigative privileges and Ravi discovering that the zombie cure wears off. Each of these is dealt with to varying degrees but the cure gets most of the attention. Liv and Major’s breakup is barely mentioned.
Ravi wastes no time in telling Major and Liv about the cure as well as running tests to see if he can make it permanent. The way that the episode deals with the time gap by quickly covering Christmas and New Year before settling on the present was pretty clever and I’m glad that I didn’t have to endure a Christmas episode less than a month after Christmas.
The strangest thing is that everyone accepts the fact that the cure will wear off fairly easily. Major is slightly alarmed but seems to get over it and Blaine doesn’t seem bothered at all. I get that the time gap is supposed to account for them making peace with it but it should still be a lingering problem. I suspect it will be developed more later but it was slightly weak here.
Major is getting in pretty deep with the whole Max Rager story and risking spying on Vaughn Du Clark using a Fitbit to eavesdrop on his conversations. It’s a gamble and I’m surprised that Du Clark isn’t suspicious of Major’s change in attitude.
The test he engineers for Major was cleverly done if a little obvious. I like that Major either saw the opportunity to prove to Du Clark that he can be trusted or saw through the trap. Either way the whole thing works and it’s good that he didn’t compromise his integrity by letting the scientist die.
I found the case of the week to be more interesting than usual but not because of the brain consumed by Liv. It was definitely part of it and provided some amusement as she demonstrated method acting to a Ravi who was loving every second of it but the bulk of this story was devoted to the meta commentary. The fictional show Zombie High really worked for me and I was actually surprised that the CW allowed it as it’s pretty close to the quality of some shows they have actually put on the air.
It was good to see the cast dynamic as well as scenes from the actual episodes and it remained amusing throughout. We even get to see Clive lighten up a bit when he is exposed to the catering.
The resolution of Clive revoking Liv’s investigative privileges was a little weak as it has been no time from our perspective since they parted ways. It doesn’t fit his character to feel sorry for her and let her assist him again but I suppose the main premise of the show is at stake so can’t move away from it for too long. It would have been nice to see one episode of them working separately.
Blaine doesn’t really do much but we see a lot from him as he is full of the Christmas spirit early on and is flustered by Dale’s interrogation later on. No matter what side of Blaine we see, David Anders is always entertaining.