iZombie – Season 2 Episode 13
iZombie adds more connections to the overall season plot as Liv consumes the brain of a compulsive liar.
I’m really liking this new trend of having the case of the week tie into the bigger plots going on in the background. It helps give the world a sense of scope and organically moves the developing stories more into the foreground before they become hugely important. Not every case of the week can be tied into something bigger as that makes everything feel too calculated and convenient but having it at key points in the season is a really good idea.
I did find the case this week to be a little too complicated in what it was trying to achieve. A two month old body -that is killed two months ago not born two months ago- is found that turns out to be a former employee of Mr. Boss and has ties to Drake as well as Don E. The big problem is that the whole thing to a little too lost in the detail instead of making it clear what the connection was and what that meant. It was harder to get invested in the case because I spent so much time trying to figure out who was connected to who and why the connection existed.
Drake’s shifting loyalties are another symptom of that same issue. It has been established that he is working for Mr. Boss but is also working undercover for Blaine to some degree. This episode makes it seem like he is fiercely loyal to Mr. Boss to the extent that he doesn’t even care what someone he is ordered to kill did to deserve it. The question still lingers over whether he actually kills them and makes it look like they fled or secretly facilitated an escape in some way.
I don’t have an issue with moral ambiguity on Drake’s part as it makes him a more interesting presence in the show but I think more work needs to be done to establish who he is loyal to and how deep that loyalty goes. Having him morally dubious at that point would be more interesting as there are several options. He could be playing the two parties against each other for his own amusement for instance or maybe he just enjoys inflicting violence and will side with the one who gives him the most opportunity to do that.
One thing is certain in all of this. Drake is lying to Liv and she is incredibly close to the truth. She already knows that he was involved in the murder of the brain she has consumed but she doesn’t have the whole picture of why he was there. She is fed a story but I’m sure that it doesn’t really add up in her head. It definitely seems like their days are numbered as a couple.
The underlying theme of this episode was dishonesty as a broad idea. Everyone in this show with the exception of Ravi lies to everyone else for their own reasons. Though Ravi does lie to Clive so that he isn’t implicated as a suspect in a murder. That makes some sense and does count among the general dishonesty within the show as a whole.
Major’s lies are starting to catch up with him. He tells Clive a lot of nonsense when questioned about the Meat Cute situation and is consistently hiding the truth about his mission to kill zombies for Vaughn Du Clark. He claims to be doing that in order to protect Liv but the lack of knowledge will be putting her in more danger. This causes him to lie about his connection to Blaine in order to call her out on her own potential dishonesty. Liv also doesn’t know about Major’s affair with Gilda. Keeping up with Major’s dishonesty is exhausting and that’s not even mentioning the lies he tells to Du Clark about what he really does with the zombies.
Major’s capture by Blaine came as a bit of a surprise but it led to some really interesting scenes. With a distinct lack of options Major is forced to play the only card that will keep him alive and reveals what he does with the zombies. Considering Blaine has just suffered dealing with his father’s fortune being left to his childhood nanny this is information that he really needs at this point and it buys Major some time. This causes further complications when most of his face is caught on a surveillance photo which puts Clive and Bozzio right back on his case. Conveniently it’s not a clear enough image for them to go after him legally but at least they know who to follow.
Blaine’s revival of his father where he wore old person makeup and talked about surviving the zombie apocalypse as well as the ginger apocalypse and many other events was excellent. David Anders completely chewed the scenery and clearly had a blast with the whole thing. It was never really going to work and accomplishes nothing from a narrative point of view other than letting Blaine be Blaine and I have absolutely no problem with that. The dialogue within the scene established that Blaine was beaten by his nanny as a child while his father ignored the problem. This doesn’t redeem him at all but gives him something of an origin story that makes sense. Any subtle deepening of the characters in this show is always welcomed.
Tying into the theme of lying was Liv being on compulsive liar brain. I’ll be sounding like a broken record here but Rose McIver is always great in this show as she really brings these personalities to life. Liv seems to get really into her extensive white lies to the point where she sounds almost believable but not quite. Her reaction as she does a double take when called out on her nonsense was subtle and great as well.
Interestingly Liv uses her brother as the subject of one of her lies despite the fact that she had a huge falling out with her family at the start of the season. I find this fascinating because it hasn’t actually been brought up since so to have it casually referenced like this is a little strange. It should have been a solid indicator that she was being less than truthful.
Clive’s conversation with Ravi about Liv’s changing personalities has been a long time coming but welcome now that it’s here. I get the sense that he has been putting up with her behaviour because her visions get results but is starting to get really fed up of it. I wonder if this is setting up him eventually finding out the truth or if there will be another shakeup in their partnership.
How can I close off this review without talking about the closing scene. The victorious ending of digging up the corpse they are looking for to get access to the Tainted Utopium was brilliantly played mostly due to the use of “One Day More” from Les Miserable as the soundtrack to such a profound moment. It was cheesy but in such a perfect way and completely encapsulated the unique comedic style that makes this show so interesting. The freeze frame as Ravi, Liv and Major made a cheering motion was perfect. The victory couldn’t have come at a better time as there is now time pressure attached to Major and Blaine’s survival.
According to my research the initial order for this season was 13 episodes and more were ordered later to make up to 19 so I wonder if this might have been the season finale at one point. Certainly the final shot captioned with “fin” would be a memorable way to end the season.
An excellent episode that keeps the case of the week closely tied to the season long arc as well as the underlying theme of dishonesty. Some of the plot points are a little too complicated but the sheer entertainment value and a really memorable closing scene more than make up for any shortcomings.
• Rose McIver’s performance as Liv on liar brain
• the connection the case had to the larger story
• that closing scene
• some of the plot feeling overly complicated