Tensions are rising in New Seattle, and things are looking ugly for just about everyone, really. I’ve always admired this show’s willingness and ability to change up the status quo, and they keep doing that. They also manage to have a simple episode that has progress on the several ongoing subplots. For this episode, they do all that and give a passing nod to Ferris Bueller with, “Death Moves Pretty Fast…”
The episode starts with a pirate radio broadcaster/annoying young punk throwing a big party. After a passing “Pump Up The Volume” reference, the scene shifts to his 80’s themed party, and gives us a better sense that Harris is A) a jerk and B) clearly destined to be this week’s victim. Al continues her interview with Blaine, who has a few lines that are actually honest and even a bit vulnerable, probably showing what’s coming with his hinted-at fall. Al wants to go home, but can’t, because someone blocked her in. Sure enough, it’s one of Harris’ party guests, and Harris is amazingly obnoxious to Blaine. I’m kind of surprised Blaine limited himself to verbal threats here.
The vile Dolly Durkin sets a plan in motion involving a cooler with unusual contents and some bribed plant workers. I really hope that woman doesn’t make it to the finale. The focus shifts back to Harris, who meets his end in a flamboyantly unique fashion, and I believe makes him the longest-lived victim of the week. The police show up to investigate, leading to some banter, some background about Harris, and Clive having an accident that takes him out of action for most of the episode. Malcolm Goodwin, who plays Clive, is directing the next episode, so that’s likely why he sat most of this one out. There’s a great exchange about Batman, and Liv and Clive decide to try and work the case themselves. As it turns out, they really suck at being cops.
They hear about a cranky neighbor who threatened Harris, and this turns out to be Blaine. Did Liv and Ravi both not know where he lives? Someone that dangerous and currently important to the city, I think I’d keep an eye on. Blaine is his usual sort of charming self, claims innocence, and produces Al as an alibi. He does make one decent point about the killer probably not being him. There’s some fun banter, and Al hears a few things that clearly intrigue her.
The ever-annoying Inspector Lambert brings some problems to Major. The two big takeaways here are Lambert wants to start breaking human heads and Major is having issues. Even with his new problems, Major sticks to his convictions. Liv does her usual cooking routine, and she and Ravi talk about his newest problem: the story about kids with Freylich disease (alas, poor Isobel) being a source for a cure is starting to get out there. As if that wasn’t unsettling enough, Al stops by to steal some food, clear up a few things, and asks some very pointed questions about Blaine. While it’s more subtle than many weeks, this is about when Liv’s new quirks start shining through.
Liv’s gleeful anticipation of doing the case herself fades quickly when they interview Harris’ sobbing friend/sidekick, Hamm. Clive Facetimes in on some serious painkillers to provide some comic relief for the awkward scene. We learn how Harris made his money, some more suspects with issues with the deceased, and a place to find a few of them later on. How convenient. Lambert gets several bits of puzzling news and starts to piece together what’s going on. He may be annoying, but he’s not stupid.
Liv and Ravi interview a few more suspects at a big gathering, and learn that Harris wasn’t exactly universally beloved. There are some very strange developments with one of the suspects, that ties in with several subplots this week. There’s a lot fit into this one short scene, which is some nice writing. Major’s continuing problems embolden Lambert to take action.
Ravi and Liv return to the morgue, and have a great exchange with Vampire Steve. He really can be an amusing supporting character. They get Harris’ video will, and lose a big possible motive for the murder. All this gives Liv an idea that she ropes Ravi and Steve into. Run, Steve, run! Ravi gets home to make a disturbing discovery and hear a heartbreaking line. He manages to figure out what Lambert did earlier, and calls Liv to help with the more immediate problem. Ravi tries to warn Peyton’s office about what’s going on, and ends up in the midst of more Liv weirdness. She hatches a new scheme with help from Steve. Lambert takes some decisive (over re-) action.
Major, after some assistance, shakes off his problems, leaves a nice little message for Ravi, and then sees what’s been going on while he was out of action. Liv’s plan sparks a viral video among Harris’ high school peers, which is, of course, a trap. It’s a pretty obvious one to the viewer, but is still fun to watch with the usual iZombie spin for the dramatically weird. Things don’t go quite to plan, and someone does get hurt, but they catch the killer, who did, indeed, have a pretty good motive. Liv does some more Ferris Bueller-style talking to the camera, which turns out to be a very annoyed Clive. Liv and Ravi show one final bit of incompetence at being actual cops. I like those two a lot, but they need to do a bit more staying in their odd and winding lane.
Al and Liv get the same vision at about the same time, which is very revealing, although nothing to do with Harris’ murder. This prompts Al to go to the Scratching Post and visit manipulate Don E. She’s a very smart woman, asks the right questions, and uncovers a lot more than she bargained for. Al makes a follow up visit to Peyton, and volleys off some very pointed, unpleasant questions. The city’s uneasy arrangement with Blaine looks like it’s doomed, and Peyton swallows the personal insults to try and get Al to back off before she wrecks everything. This leads to a scene that almost make you feel bad for Blaine, the premier recurring bad guy/pain in the ass for most of the series.
The news, with the usually zany Johnny Frost being much more serious, interviews hate-monger Dolly Durkin, who goes off about the recent clash outside the brain processing plant. Major is quietly furious, has Lambert brought in, and dealt with. Because there hasn’t been enough bad news yet, we move on to two different stories being published that are seriously bad news. Al’s piece on Blaine runs, and it’s bad news for Blaine, the Scratching Post, Peyton, and her government. The Freylich story also gets out, causing Ravi a lot of anguish and worry about future victims. Don E gives Blaine the bad news, and, coupled with the other story coming to Blaine’s attention, I suspect he’s about to start something truly horrible, even by his standards. Major gets some bad news from Collins, which leads to a very ominous end scene. The city has a lot more trouble coming in this final season.
What I liked: There were, as usual, a lot of good pop culture references, and great banter. Amy, Harris’ girlfriend, would easily be a forgettable character, but she both got one great line in early, and was the key to some important information getting out later. David Anders really plays Blaine wonderfully well. Clive’s few appearances made up for their scarcity by being funnier than usual. Olivia Moore played Liv’s new quirks well but didn’t let them take over this week, since there was too much going on. Major got control back quickly and decisively. Dolly’s plan was brilliantly wicked, and Lambert’s wasn’t bad. Al is arguably ruthless, but smart and a good reporter. Rahul Kohli played Ravi’s grief really well.
What I didn’t: I get Liv’s clouded thinking letting her think this weirdness was a good idea, but not why so many went along with her. Who, in this day and age, doesn’t at least know how the Miranda warning starts, if not all of it? The city’s unstable situation got a lot shakier, and the timing couldn’t be any worse for Peyton’s upcoming trip. I think Blaine might be entering the “Nothing left to lose” stage, and that makes anyone very, very dangerous.
The murder this week was almost just window dressing for all the other developments. I’m really loving this season, and sorry it’s the last one. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5 for all the shaking up it did and showed was coming.