iZombie: Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Brain

clive

At least somebody knows how to wear a hat on this show…

Liv continues taking on irksome personalities, and the writers keep coming up with clever titles, as the iZombie crew gets through “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Brain,” which probably sums up a lot of Clive’s cases with Liv. The opening shows Liv with the Underground Railroad crew, now tanned and wigged, which, ironically, makes things a lot easier for Rose McIver, the actress who plays Liv. The meeting focuses on their problems for new, illegal zombies, who need food and ID cards. There’s also a mention of Brother Love, one of the names the Prophet/Angus/Blaine’s father is going by.

The next scene is the set up for the fairly detestable victim of the week. He’s a man that gives pick-up advice to the guy he’s with, and we quickly see it isn’t from the goodness of his heart. I’m starting to wonder if they make so many victims jerks or worse to both give Liv more extreme personality shifts and so we won’t feel too bad for them. It’s like no good people get murdered in Seattle, which is a nice thought, but horribly unrealistic. At any rate, the jerk acts like a jerk, and his one night stand gets a nasty surprise in the morning.

Clive and company work the scene of the man’s death, and Ravi notices signs that indicate the victim was poisoned. The victim, Max Roberts, was a “wingman for hire,” who coached men on how to pick up women for pay, using various sleazy tricks. There’s a great scene when the crew discovers a hidden lighting feature in the room, and then Liv goes off to make her meal and dial in on the visions for the week.

At the Scratching Post, there’s some really random weirdness between Don E and the big bouncer. It gets kind of surreal, but at least they mention the late Chief again, who was an entertaining, if silent, presence. Blaine is, according to Don E, off hunting up information on his father’s escape from the well and his following in the roll of the Prophet.

Clive and Liv interview their only witness, who isn’t much help even before Liv’s new brain starts kicking in. The ever-exasperated Clive lets her go, and Ravi comes in to announce the unique delivery method for the poison. Over at Fillmore-Graves, Chase has a meeting with Major about his recent mission to kidnap the daughter of General Mills (really, who keeps coming up with these names?) to prevent the nuking of Seattle. Chase gives Major a new assignment: discover the source of the black market brain paste. Chase also seems sure his office is bugged, but isn’t saying why.

Clive goes through a series of interviews with various women who knew Max, mostly focusing on Zoe Ward, who sent some threatening texts. All the women agreed that Max was great in bed and a horrible person in every other way. Liv gets a vision of a Fillmore-Graves soldier yelling at Max about some mutual trouble they’re in, and duly reports it to Clive. Liv hits on Levon, the Railroad cameraman, as they go to visit the Preacher, and she apologizes for the brain influence. The interview goes oddly, and, while they may have gotten the new zombies’ food issue dealt with, Liv is shocked when the Prophet casually mentions Blaine is his son. I suspect that will be an interesting conversation when those two meet up again.

Liv and Clive go to Fillmore, waiting for a meeting with Chase. Liv boasts like the annoying guy she’s sort of stuck being about her night with Chase. When they finally get in, a smug Chase tells them they’ll have to come back tomorrow to interview the soldier. Clive points out they’re in a walled city and he can’t be that far off, but Chase stands by his statement. Peyton and Ravi find out Clive is on Tinder, about his open relationship, and that he knows nothing about making an online profile. Ravi pushes Clive into going out with him for a night. They agree to not invite the current version of Liv along, but she finds them anyway after an embarrassing scene with Clive getting Ravi’s “help.” There’s a lot more banter, and some not helpful comments from Liv, although Ravi’s riff on Frosty was entertaining. Liv moves on to Levon again, who does something touching and noble, although it points out an inconsistency on the show.

While a very drunk Clive goes to a woman’s apartment, Chase holds a meeting with his Fillmore council. Chase is enraged about an article in the local paper, calling the late Renegade a martyr, and saying various unpleasant, if accurate, things about Chase. Chase says a few things that seem designed to get the Council to dislike Major, then gives Major a new assignment which is a slight part of his outstanding one.

Clive has a rough morning after, and we learn more about the woman he was with. Clive, of all people, should know better. His morning gets worse when Cavanaugh asks about some weird texts from Liv, and then he has an unpleasant scene with Dale. In my opinion, this scene shows that neither of them knows anything about having an open relationship, and that Dale is being very unfair to Clive. I’ve never disliked her more. If this is what she’s like now, Clive can do better.

Liv and Clive return for their meeting with Marsh, the Fillmore solider, and it turns out there was reason Chase made them wait a day. Unfortunately, that reason gives Marsh a perfect alibi, although they do learn of his part in a different crime. Major shows how far he’s fallen when he carries out Chase’s new mission in a way that’s both very un-American, and in keeping with the tenor of the current administration. Major’s falling down there with Dale on my list of characters. Liv has another scene with Levon, when she shares her plan for tomorrow and hits on him and lies to him.

The search for a zombie that was part of Marsh’s crime takes them to zombie services. Liv brings bribe donuts, confuses Clive with her antics, and accomplishes her own mission while Clive gets an important clue. As they leave, we see why Liv was wearing the stupid hat Clive kept mocking. I really like Clive’s deadpan delivery of most of his lines.

They finally track down their suspect, and get a confession and explanation. I’m not in favor of revenge murders, but this was a pretty compelling motive. As I’ve said before, I like that many of the cases get solved as much by Clive’s solid detective work as Liv’s visions and weirdness.

One of the final scene shows Chase, Major, and Roach in a meeting with the Mayor and Peyton. The Fillmore-Graves personnel deny they did anything wrong, telling some outrages lies in a way that seems familiar. A frustrated Peyton goes home and finds Liv doing something seriously illegal in a majorly stupid way. This may be the dumbest thing Liv has ever done. Here’s a small hint while trying to avoid spoilers: if you’re part of a conspiracy committing capital crimes, don’t do so with your back to the door and headphones on so you can’t hear someone coming. Liv should be a LOT smarter than that, and she put Peyton in a really awkward position.

What I liked: As always, the dialogue and banter is great. The scene with the lighting really stood out as a funny moment. Clive is quite possibly my favorite character on the show at this point, from his delivery to his work ethic to his doing his best to be honorable in really difficult circumstances. Ravi is a reliably funny supporting character, and Rose McIver is really talented as the many new versions of Liv. I admire Liv’s dedication to her new cause.

What I didn’t: Dale is being an unreasonable bitch to Clive. That scene with them was horrible to watch. Liv is being way too stupid about what she’s doing, and we know she’s a smart person. The scene with Don E was mildly amusing but seemed utterly pointless, unless the whole thing was just to tell us why Blaine wasn’t on this week.

This was a good but uneven episode. I have a real issue with a few of the things they did. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5, and hope this was a slip up, not a sign of the show getting worse as seems to be happening with Arrow and Flash.

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