iZombie: Fifty Shades of Grey Matter

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Liv and Peyton catch up

It really says a lot about a genre show when the characterization and dialogue manages to consistently overwhelm the sci fi/fantasy aspects of it. The writing on iZombie has been pretty damn entertaining, managing to swing from funny to high action to borderline tragic with apparent ease. Add in some great dialogue and the show keeps impressing me.

One of the things I’ve been really enjoying in this series are the titles. “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” is a good example. After a few scenes at the local library, one of the two librarians we see becomes this week’s victim. The usual introductory things happen, and Liv discovers that the victim wasn’t just an aspiring author, but an erotica author, or, as I recently heard the term, “more active romance.”

The murder investigation itself has the usual twists and turns with various suspects. A jealous fellow librarian/author? A husband with secrets? A neighbor who has a surprising amount to do with the erotic adventures in the writing? The murder itself even proves to have a literary twist. And, of course, the erotic impulses behind the writing make things interesting for Liv and anyone in arm’s reach of her.

There are some developments with FBI Agent’s Dale Bazzio’s investigation of the so-called “Chaos Killer.” She and Clive are convinced the killer is Blaine, and they are closing their net around him. Viewers know that the man behind the disappearances is actually Major, who has to take some drastic action to avoid being caught. Blaine himself gets a few surprises not only from Clive and Liv, but from Payton as well.

Blaine’s thug/informant Drake has a lot more screen time this week. He’s feeling like his informing on Mr. Boss is getting more and more dangerous, and he discovers a new aspect of zombie-dom that worries him. He ends up spending some time with Liv, initially for advice, then for some other reasons.

The search for the tainted Utopium continues, but goes nowhere. A frustrated Major at one point asks, “Why do people bury license plates? Do they think cars will grow?” Personally, I’m not entirely sure why they’re using a metal detector to find buried bodies. It doesn’t seem like a reliable method.

By the end of the episode, the various ongoing plots are, to me, a lot more interesting than the murder of the week. That’s not a slam on the murder, it was a good story. It’s just the other stuff is being done really well, too. I’m enjoying the various different factions running into each other. For so many people who are notionally on the same side, there’s a lot of competition among them. It’s not a conspiracy show, but there are more than enough secrets to keep everyone guessing and confused.

What I liked: Just about everything. The mystery was good. The dialogue is great. Even a potential throw away character like Drake got some great lines this week, and Blaine’s delivery remains hugely entertaining. Dale and Clive make a great couple, and they work together really well as investigators, too. Rose McIver, as Liv, continues to do a great job picking up new quirks each week. I love that more people know about the brains’ effects, giving us lines like, “Sorry, I’m on horny librarian brains.”

What I didn’t: Not much, really. It was a great episode. I sort of miss the MaxRager crew being around, but there was so much happening this week I’m not sure where they would have fit. Plus, Steven Weber, who plays Vaughn du Clark, plays a similarly slimy character over on NCIS New Orleans, and that character had a lot of screen time recently, so he may have been busy.

I’m giving this a 4.5 out of 5. It wasn’t quite perfect, it didn’t leave me sitting here going, “Oh, wow, that was amazing,” but damn if I can point at anything and say, “They could have done this better.”

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