iZombie Season 2 Episode 14 – TV Review
Tonight, a main character dies.
But it’s a zombie show, which makes that death almost as trivial as if it were on a vampire show.
Or a superhero show.
TL;DR Blaine is dispatched by Mr Boss, but his zombification has kicked back in so oops; a seemingly tangential COW is still a lot of fun; Liv finally finds out her roommate has been fucking Major behind her back; the new cure doesn’t work; Robert Knepper, Max Rager, and the Babineaux/Dale investigation subplots do not feature.
I suppose we were due for a breather.
The COW is another Phoenix Wright-esque kerfuffle, as a hippie-dippy cafe owner is killed by a falling air conditioner. Red herrings include her scorned ex partner in business and in love, and (kind of?) her daughter’s boyfriend. But it turns out to have been the daughter, herself, played with villainous relish by Kacey Rohl. The bitch gets away with it, though, by making the manipulated boyfriend take the fall alone. Will we see her again? The hippie cafe owner’s brains give Liv a sunshiney outlook on life, but that is later put brutally to bed when Major and Gilda finally bump into each other at the apartment, and Liv realises Gilda is the skank-a-licious “Rita.” Face-punching ensues. Meanwhile, Mr Boss figures out that Blaine is the challenger drug lord and sets out to execute him. The timing of Blaine’s regression into zombification couldn’t have been better, and he’s able to brush off a slit throat and shallow grave. Phew. Meanwhile, Ravi whips up some new cure from the Utopium bodies dug up last episode, but a test on the rats reveals it accelerates zombification. And it turns out that Drake isn’t a double agent: he’s a triple agent, as it’s revealed that he’s actually an undercover cop working to infiltrate Mr Boss’ organisation. He conceals Blaine’s operations from his bosses, and insists, despite their demands, on continuing his relationship with Liv.
How dare he reject Enrico Colantoni’s advice.
After two consecutive episodes featuring heavy arc influence on the COWs, it makes sense that iZombie would take a break and slip back to formula.
But I don’t know. The fact Kacey not only gets away with it, but that the episode takes care with the extra scene showing her triumphantly driving away, makes me think that this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of our Hannibal graduate.
And after watching her ham it up as the villain over on The Magicians, I sincerely hope she’ll call again soon.
Why I hate this episode:
I said last episode that the well of personalities for Liv to take on is running dry, and this episode’s hippie optimist thing is pretty different to anything we’ve had so far, so I’ll slap myself for that. But this personality also reveals nothing about Liv or the arcs. It’s just a flavour for Liv to act on for an episode without consequence. I know it’s demanding to ask iZombie to be razor sharp and on point with everything every episode, but the episodes that are that carefully crafted are so good that it’s disappointing to settle for chewing gum like this.
The omissions are the worst aspects of the episode. I’ll forgive the Babineaux/Dale stuff because they’ve been getting regularly benched for the entire season. But I can’t forgive the omission of Robert Knepper. He’s one of the last things we saw last episode, and Blaine leaves him to be tortured by his big goon and his makeup goon. But this episode he’s conspicuously absent, which is exacerbated by the higher-than-usual presence of Candy, the makeup goon. I want to know what she did to him.
Also, I thought Candy was already a zombie? Why else is she working for Blaine? The episode implies that Blaine, unaware of his zombie regression, infects her with sex, which is why Not E is shocked to see her zombified and munching on brains later. Can someone correct me?
Drake’s subplot is way too complicated for a character who is so blatantly not going to live out the season.
Oh, and while Liv’s takedown of Gilda is magical, it bothers me that it’s only for sleeping with Major. Like, Liv, he’s your ex-boyfriend. He’s not your property. Also, I want Liv to find out about Major’s situation with Max Rager so the gang can start formulating a plan. You’re running out of time.
But it’s not all bad:
The Gilda encounter made me say “Yes!” out loud. So overdue, and, despite my above gripes, so satisfying. Gilda’s “oh crap” face when she opens the door and Major is there would have been juicy enough on its own, and I was a little worried it would go nowhere when Major played along with the act of meeting her for the first time (I suspect because if he busted her then Gilda would go to Steven and Major would be in serious trouble). But this isn’t an ABC Family soap, because Major cleverly waits for Gilda to go to the bathroom to have a shower, and cheekily calls out to her as he leaves “Goodbye, Rita.” Liv puts it together, and it’s glorious.
Again, though, I was worried this would take a PLL-esque turn where Liv would just mope and sit on her hands, but nuh-uh. She waits only until Gilda is out of the shower and then punches that cunt right in the face (impressively brutal stunt work on that one) and kicks her out. Gilda is as shocked as I was. Though, I would guess not as happy.
The COW isn’t arc-relevant, but it’s got that Phoenix Wright colouring to it. The victim is the owner of a peace and love cafe, and across the street is a grim but efficient competitor owned by her Ex-Partner. It’s a fantasy world, and it’s fun.
Also in the Phoenix Wright lane is the bizarre return of Pam, the sassy black cellmate from Liv’s brief stint in jail. She even gets some character beats thrown in (she cares enough about her murdered employer, who gave her a second chance, that she breaks into an apartment to investigate the loose air-conditioner. And smoke some sneaky weed). Like I’ve said before: iZombie doesn’t skimp on the details.
Kacey is a wickedly nasty baddie. She plays the good daughter, but memory flashes show Liv that she was a selfish bitch who stole from the till because she didn’t want her mother wasting her profits on good causes. She managed to coerce her boyfriend into dropping the air-conditioner; sneakily pointed the finger at Ex-Partner; and to top it off, she personally painted the sidewalk art that her mum was viewing that put her in the right spot to die. She was even the one who so innocently suggested mummy take a look at the cool drawing outside. Fabulous.
Drake’s triple agent reveal came as a genuine shock to me. Enrico Colantoni joins the long line of Veronica Mars cast members to be featured, and he’s perfect as a no-nonsense agent looking to take down Mr Boss. He warns Drake that dating a medical examiner connects him to the authorities and will only complicate his cover, but Drake persists, saying Liv is the only thing he cares about. I suspect the reason he’s concealing Blaine from his bosses is to keep all that zombie stuff on the DL.
Ravi gets a tiny character beat after Liv has her flash of Kacey being a till-stealing jerk. Liv’s hippie brains make her want to see the bright side of everything, so Ravi aggressively questions Kacey and her boyfriend. It gets nowhere as Kacey is still pretending to be an offended, grieving daughter, but I liked that Ravi went for it.
He also has a crush on one of the hippie cafe’s baristas, but then finds out she’s never seen Star Wars so violently aborts. Agreed.
Ex-Partner is cleared of suspicion in the murder when he admits he was taking an explosive shit in a gas station bathroom at the time of the murder. Which is corroborated. I lol’d.
Mr Boss gets pragmatism points. The goon he sends for Blaine’s debt collection (which Blaine dutifully pays) reminds Mr Boss of Blaine’s original method of gaining favour with Mr Boss’ organisation back in the day: in order to take command of a drug territory, Blaine kitted out two of his goons to look like goons for the competing drug lord and had them assault the police. This led to the police cracking down on the rival gang, and allowed Mr Boss’ people to fill their void. Mr Boss recognises that the current spate of DA raids he’s been enduring could be a result of a similar false flag gambit, and decides to simply execute Blaine.
Which he does. Luckily for Blaine, he’s back to being a zombie, baby. But Mr Boss doesn’t fuck around, does he?