iZombie: Twenty Sided, Die

Liv confuses being a Dungeon Master with Jazz Hands….

This week’s iZombie gets into the world of role playing games. I suspect most of the interests Liv has touched on were done in exaggerated fashion, and I’m sure that annoyed the various people who are parts of those worlds. Speaking as a gamer, I’ll say the show used a lot of stereotypes and did a few things that made gamers look bad, but they didn’t do a horrible job of it. If nothing else, it was fun seeing a set of gamer dice on network television.

The episode opens with the meeting Harley Johns and his brothers are running about zombies. Johns and his clan are definitely rednecks, but they’re not stupid. They have a good screening system, and they have some decently thought out plans. I can’t imagine this is going to go well in the long-term. I wonder how long until the Johns faction crosses paths with either Fillmore-Graves or Blaine’s organization. That should be interesting when/if it happens.

The Johns team are assigning their followers to surveillance on suspected zombies. Ravi ends up speaking up and telling most of the truth about himself, and advising caution because he’s close to a zombie-vaccine. I’m presuming he’s lying to try and calm them, since curing a zombie and vaccinating a human against the condition aren’t the same things. Or maybe I’m being overly picky. They also have Billy Cook, the security guard from the infamous Max Rager party who tells them what he saw.

Blaine introduces his version of Ravi’s memory solution, planning on selling it to the customers at the Scratching Post. Not being stupid, Blaine wants to test it first, and Tanner, the scuzzy bartender and Clive’s former informant, volunteers. He gets a bit of brain from a World War II waist-gunner and ladies man, which sounds like an interesting combination. While that gets underway, the Johns’ meeting breaks up and Ravi meets Rachel, a rather attractive young woman who wants to get pictures of zombies for her photographic career. She also gives Ravi a ride home, and they cut that scene neatly with…

A group of gamers playing Dungeons and Dragons starts off the murder of the week. It’s a collection of geeks like you’d expect, with one woman to about four guys, which is roughly right in my experience. The group goes to a tavern in the game (a tried and true trope in D&D) and, as the DM narrates the scene, he drinks his own wine and dies from poison. Amusingly, the group thinks it’s part of the game at first.

Ravi briefs Clive and Liv on the way to the crime scene, where they discover one of the witnesses is Vampire Steve, the odd computer tech we met earlier this season. Clive, like so many who have never actually played any RPG’s, mocks the game and shakes his head in utter bafflement. Liv, of course, eats the DM’s brain.

Here’s one of the places they diverge from actual games, at least as I know them. Liv rolls dice randomly to see what she’s going to do next, who she’s going to talk to, etc. in real life. I’ve been gaming for a few decades now and I’ve never seen that happen. They do get a few leads from Vampire Steve, and a vision that backs them up.

Tanner reports how intense the visions were, and they last for up to two hours. Don E continues to show his utter lack of judgement and helps himself to far too much Blue Brain at once. Ravi gets home to find out that Major has discovered the vast piles of hate mail Ravi’s been hiding. If he didn’t want Major to see it, I don’t know why he kept it. They do find one piece that seems a lot more friendly. Peyton continues her own investigation in to the after-effects of the dominatrix case and Wexler suicide, and gets some confusing answers.

Liv and Clive’s next stop is the comic shop where the group’s one female, Zoe, works. Clive shows a crack in his too-cool armor when he admits he likes the Flash (maybe a pitch for another CW show?), and Liv gets another helpful, if really odd, vision. This spins them on a few new directions for the case.

Needing new leads and hoping to trigger more visions, Liv ends up running a D&D game for Major, Peyton, Ravi, and Clive. It’s entertaining to watch, especially as Clive goes from “Can we go now?” to “Wait, we’re not done!” Between this, the Flash, and his fandom for Game of Thrones, I think Clive is more of a geek than he thinks he is. Ravi was also hugely into it, to no surprise, and was endearingly, if oddly, protective of Peyton. He really needs to get over that.

Liv and Clive go to the DM’s place, with Clive still talking about the game, and, to the delight of gamers everywhere, find an actual hidden room. What they find there throws a whole new wrinkle in the case, and brings back Dale Bazzio, FBI agent and Clive’s former love interest. It’s not a happy reunion, which is really too bad. I liked them together.

Major is still benched from active duty at Fillmore-Graves due to his return to human status, so he’s staying home alone. Liv and Justin are going to a big fundraiser for the zombie mayoral candidate, Floyd Baracus. Liv eats some Fillmore brain paste to normalize herself and forces the dice she’s been overusing on Major. At the party, she talks to Peyton and they start to put some pieces together about the Wexler/Dominatrix case.

Things go really weird for everyone as the episode wraps up. Ravi gets a surprise visit at the morgue, although the fact that he’s there alone at night isn’t good for him. Get a life, man! Major gets his own visitor which I think is a horrible idea. And there are big events at the fundraiser that I am deeply suspicious of. Then, they end with an old enemy of almost all the characters coming back from exile.

What I liked: There’s always good banter on this show, and I really enjoy the character interactions. I’m glad Dale came back, even if I’m not happy about how it happened (see below). I’m hoping the bit at the morgue near the end might get rid of one of few characters on the show I really can’t stand. I’m glad Peyton is pushing on her investigation, although I’m fairly sure it’s going to get her in some kind of trouble or other. The Liv/Justin relationship seems good, which probably means Justin’s going to die a horrible death sooner or later. While it’s frustrating to the viewer, it’s very realistic that this is another case we don’t get a clean wrap up on, like with the Wexler one. Clive getting in to D&D despite himself was funny and seems to fit him.

What I didn’t: I don’t like what they did with Dale and Clive. Again, it’s my area of interest but the D&D stuff got to be a bit much at times in how they showed it.

This was another highly enjoyable episode in a series I’m really liking. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.