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iZombie: Twenty Sided, Die

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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.

iZombie: Eat A Knievel

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whacked out brains and lawn darts–what could go wrong?

There’s a lot going on in “Eat A Knievel,” the most recent iZombie episode. Blaine, badly wounded last time, shows up somewhere unexpected with some demands. Justin and Major are in trouble at work over the mess with Harley Johns last time. Vivian leans heavily on Liv and Clive, also at the meeting, and encourages them to go catch the bad guys in the recent zombie family slaying. Vivian has Major stay after the meeting and asks him, point blank, how he managed to turn human again. Not a lot gets by Vivian. She and a few of the others who run Fillmore-Graves depart to check on their “Zombie Island” stronghold, but their chopper flight develops some complications. Liv and Ravi end up deciding they should go to a big meeting at Harley’s place this coming Saturday, to do some undercover and very unofficial investigating.

The murder of the week clearly draws its inspiration from the “Jackass” style of shows and movies. The head idiot, Finn Vincible, tries to do some big complicated stunt to win a woman he once dated but is now married to someone else. He ends up burning to death when his flame-proof suit proves not to be. When the team got there, I wasn’t at all surprised to learn Clive didn’t know who they were. I was a bit startled that Ravi is a fan. That man has really incomprehensible tastes. The film crew turns up evidence that this was murder, not an accident, and so Liv is going to end up eating Finn’s brain. Oh, this is going to be bad.

Blaine gets a brief check in scene as he spies on the Scratching Post, and we also see Angus continuing to be unpleasantly abusive to Don E. While Don tells Angus about Fillmore-Graves, Finn’s film crew shows up at the station, being jackasses and frustrating Clive. It doesn’t get any better when she starts acting like them from the Finn brain. The only lead they get is a cameraman named Kong. Whatever the problem with him was, they can’t discuss it because of an NDA they all had to sign.

In a weird case of small world, Kong the cameraman is filming a commercial for Baracus, the mayoral candidate that the zombies are backing. They try and bluff but Kong, too, doesn’t budge about the NDA. There are a few more short scenes that emphasize Angus being a dick and Blaine being on edge.

Liv and Ravi watch videos of Finn’s show, and Clive shakes his head, surprised it took this jerk as long as it did to get murdered. Liv gets a vision that points them at crew assistant Rudy. One of the film crew slips them a hint about what happened, and, I gotta admit, I’d be tempted to kill Finn myself. Rudy dismisses the incident as a prank, and tells them a bit about the NDA.

Liv goes on a date with DJ Justin, which is a weird zombie mix of sweet and insane. Both of them on Finn brain is a disaster waiting to happen, but fortunately, they both have the zombie mostly indestructible bit going for them. The date also kicks off another vision for the case, which has to be disconcerting.

Don E’s game of celebrity zombie with his idiot sidekick gets interrupted when Blaine calls. Blaine tells them he’s coming for them, and to finish anything on his bucket list. It’s a decent threat, and Blaine delivers it well. Angus and his thugs are surprised to learn Blaine’s still alive, and Angus sends everyone out searching for him.

Clive and Liv go to Rudy’s workshop, where his mother-in-law lets them search. After Liv does a few annoyingly stupid pranks with the props in there, they make a discovery that might give Rudy a lot more motive to kill Finn. I expect that might be a long line. They have a scene that wraps up the murder and gives Clive another good collar, so that bit is good.

Blaine pulls a surprise at the Scratching Post and manages to set up a really nice ambush. This also lets him get some nice payback on his dad, including a great snarky parting line. I’m a bit worried that Blaine wasn’t as thorough as he needed to be, though. Blaine goes back to the bar to establish the new rules, and meets absolutely no resistance from Don E. Angus’ management style doesn’t create a lot of loyalty.

The last two scenes are ominous in different ways. Fillmore-Graves has a big wake as part of dealing with some of their recent losses. It’s a wild party that ends by establishing that, as the cliche goes, there’s a new sheriff in town. Ravi and Liv go for their undercover work at Harley’s anti-zombie gathering, with Liv in disguise. It doesn’t go well, in part because either they underestimated Harley, or Vivian from Fillmore didn’t share her intel. That ends with some potentially serious peril for at least one of the characters.

What I liked: As always, the banter on this show is entertaining. I’m not sure I blame the murderer this week. This show is good at subverting your sympathies in unexpected ways– after all, I mentioned “anti-zombie” people earlier and they’re the bad guys. There were some big surprises throughout the episode, and it seems Fillmore-Graves has at least one big enemy we didn’t know about. I liked Blaine’s attack on his father’s empire, and the lengths he went to in order to succeed were impressive. Liv and Justin’s date was entertaining. I really feel bad for Clive dealing with Liv and the idiots this week.

What I didn’t: Finn and his minions were just plain annoying. I don’t think I’ve ever been more eager for a brain to wear off than this week. I don’t like how the Fillmore party ended. I’m worried about the last scene. I’m trying, but I still can’t square the rest of what we know about Ravi with liking this show. What happened to the big mystery about the missing camera data card? I guess maybe Peyton’s working on that off screen this week?

As always, this was a really entertaining episode. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5. I really wonder how some of this is going to spin out.

iZombie: Dirt Nap Time

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Put the puppet down, Liv!

While a lot of other shows do this, iZombie makes a bit of a departure from their usual format by staring “Dirt Nap Time” right where last episode last off. Major tells his desperate friends that he gave the dose of the cure he’d been carrying around to Natalie, the woman forced into undead prostitution (wow, that sounds even worse than I thought it would) by Blaine. The one thing that makes no sense to me is that no one even suggests getting in touch with her to see if she still has it. Liv is sure Blaine stole the other doses and is livid about it. Major feels crushed that he apparently gave away Liv’s best chance at becoming human again. Ravi points out that it might have been the always-slimy Don E behind the theft. Peyton and Liv scheme to go after Blaine, exasperating Ravi but having some great reactions in the exchange.

Blaine is clearly not at his best while performing at the bar that night. Things get worse for him when he leaves and Liv asks him some questions very forcefully. Aside from possibly making Liv feel better, and giving Blaine a chance for some more wisecracks, it’s a very non-productive visit.

What is no doubt going to become the murder of the week starts off in a pre-school classroom. The teacher, Jamie Brennan, seems to be great with the kids. It’s the moms he has trouble with as we see in a big confrontation just after school. Let’s just say he’s excessively friendly with more than one mom.

Sure enough, the very next scene is Clive examining the crime scene at Brennan’s house. When Ravi and Liv arrive, they both are startled by the body. That’s not a good sign with experienced Medical Examiners. Then again, you don’t see a lot of death by nail gun. Clive comes up with a decent theory of the crime, after they get past the awkward “Why is Liv still a zombie” exchange. The fridge also has an interesting note, spelled out in those colorful letter magnets.

Clive and Liv go to the school after Liv gets her snack, and man does the teacher brain kick in hard. She’s like an even more sweet version of Mr. Rogers, which is amusing to watch but not so good for a murder investigation. They get told about Brennan’s extra-cirricular activities and move on to interview the moms in question. Those three are Macy, Piper, and Eleanor.

Blaine is at work and clearly shattered over things with Peyton. His employee, Candy, tries to make him feel better and to get him to focus on business. Blaine does not always make the best decisions, and he handles this badly, pissing off Candy and likely alienating at least some of the viewers that were starting to feel bad for him.

Peyton is in her office, looking spaced out. Even distracted, she still manages to take the defense attorney for Weckler, the confessed killer in the dominatrix case, apart. She’s willing to deal, if Weckler will give up the missing memory card from the camera. The attorney, who is never named, says Weckler won’t give it up.

Major and Justin, his mercenary DJ (another phase I never thought I’d use) buddy are hanging out with a mayoral candidate who is part of the zombie scene. Justin not so subtly pushes at Major until Major admits he’s cured. Justin is excited to hear this, but then loses most of that when Major shares the news about the stolen cure. Major, remarkably unwisely, wants to not tell anyone at Fillmore-Graves about his change in status. Here’s the thing- the reason Fillmore has become such a kick-ass outfit is that they’re zombies. You know, a lot more durable than humans? The one mission we saw Major go on, he wouldn’t have survived as a human. And he’s going to hide this? He’s not only going to get himself killed, he’s putting the others in danger. Not cool, Major.

Of the three wives, Macy has the most interesting alibi. After going on about how good the sex was, and how great a listener Jamie was (a common theme), she says her husband knew about her sleeping with Jamie. In fact, she says they have an open relationship. That’s something that’s almost never portrayed well on tv, so I was really curious to see how that went. What was great was Liv/Mr. Rogers being so shocked by this.

Peyton and the defense attorney with no name (not even on IMDB) have a meeting with Weckler about the memory card. Just when they’re making progress, a much better connected lawyer, Thorn, comes in. He announces he’s Weckler’s attorney now, which surprises everyone in the room, including Weckler. After a moment of whispering, Weckler fires No Name and says Thorn represents him now. Curiouser and curiouser…

After another interview with another woman who goes on about how good a listener Jamie was, Major and some of his Fillmore team go in search of a zombie speakeasy they’ve been hearing about. Finally, they find it and of course it’s the Scratching Post, Don E and Angus’ new business. Major almost gets outed by the fairly ingenious screening system they have, but he gets a reprieve from an unlikely source. Once inside, everyone, including Major, is impressed by the club. They also wonder who all the zombies packing the place are, since there are a lot of them, and none of them are from Fillmore. Justin and Major chat about paying for sex and courting Liv.

Major reports on the club to Liv and Ravi, and Liv decides to go investigate. Major suggests she take Justin along for several good reasons. The banter here triggers a vision, and Liv and Clive end up re-interviewing one of the moms. The story gets more tangled, and she’s lying, but she gives them another lead.

Peyton gets a surprise visit from the defense attorney who delivers some shocking news. After that, Liv does some annoying teacher stuff with Clive and his notebook, but they develop a lead further. Justin and Liv then go to the Scratching Post. They flirt, he tells a story from his youth, and Don E makes a great point about why isn’t the cure thief. I hate the little weasel, but he’s right on this one.

Blaine’s been having a bad episode, and it gets worse. Don E and his fellow thugs show up with an offer they won’t let him refuse. Blaine gets betrayed in the course of this, but that’s still not enough. One of the thugs delivers a message from Angus, Blaine’s dad. I thought I loathed Vaughan du Clark, head of Max Rager, when he was around, but Angus is working up my list and he doesn’t even show up this episode.

Clive and Liv go to see a private investigator who they’ve discovered has ties to the case. He’s friendly, professional, won’t violate his client’s confidentiality, but still manages to give them what they need. He’s a very clever man. I’d actually like to see him come back. Based on this, Clive wraps up the case.

Peyton goes to talk to Ravi about more follow up on the dominatrix case. They bat some theories around, and Peyton resigns herself to asking a big favor from Liv that Liv isn’t going to enjoy.

Speaking of Liv, Justin and Major are doing just that. They talk about her and Liv does something cute for Justin based on their earlier talk. The cute scene ends with the re-emergence of Harley Johns, the gun-nut zombie hater. The gun nuts do something stupid, and Fillmore handles it like rank amateurs, not the slick professionals we’ve seen until now. There’s also a major continuity error in this scene. It ends with a nasty cliffhanger involving these two idiots that could be bad news for the entire zombie community.

What I liked: Even while I’m not liking the character, David Anders does a great job as Blaine. Rose McIver was amazingly annoying as the teacher, which was perfect. The PI I praised above. There’s something brewing on this dominatrix case that may well eventually be part of what ever the season finale ends up being. I liked Justin and Liv. Ravi playing dad to both Liv and Peyton in the opening was funny.

What I didn’t: I mentioned my problems with Major hiding his change in status from Fillmore. The end scene had the glitch I mentioned, and was badly done in general.. Everyone kept talking about Jamie the teacher being such a great listener, and that was a build up that went nowhere.

I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5. It would have been higher without that end scene and all its problems. I’m really wondering about this memory card now.

iZombie: Some Like It Hot Mess

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DJ Liv in da house…sorta

 

Sometimes I think it might be fun to be around Liv as she goes through her various changes from the brains she’s eaten. Every once in a while, I’m very glad I’m not actually there. This week was one of the second type. The title should be a clue: “Some Like It Hot Mess.”

The opening shows the soon to be victim of the week. Yvonne, as she gets yelled at several times, is a party girl, late to work, and not really the most together person. Apparently not everyone thinks she’s charming, between her boss threatening to fire her and some random woman walking in, confirming her name, and slapping her hard before leaving. What’s even more telling is Yvonne just looks at her coworker, Joel, and shrugs. This happens to her a lot?

Major is enjoying his return to humanity by gorging himself on ice cream and making orgasmic noises. Ravi, trying to quiz him on things from his life to see if the memories have started going yet, is not amused. Major and Liv have some sweet morning after talk that leaves Ravi reminding them, “Still in the room!”

Liv actually goes home for once, and Peyton and Blaine are there, also doing the cute couple thing over breakfast. Liv suggests a few ground rules for them in public spaces, and everyone agrees. Liv talks a little about Ravi’s memory restoring/enhancing serum. She also gets another long vision, leading Blaine to wonder if she’s having a stroke. Finally, she snaps out of it and gets going.

Yvonne from the opening is, indeed, dead. The way she died is questionable at first look, but Clive notices enough details to call it homicide. Again, one of the things I really like about the show is that, despite Liv having special abilities, Clive’s skill contributes just as much, if not more, to the cases. They interview the roommate, Barb, who describes the deceased as always in the middle of some drama. Clive and Liv exchange a long look and an, “Oh, boooy,” knowing what’s coming for Liv.

Apparently, hot mess brain kicks in early, as Liv is already dancing around the morgue and screwing up in the most scatterbrained of ways. When Clive and Liv go to interview Joel, the co-worker, Liv is already all over the map, behaving like a lunatic. Joel shows then the video of Yvonne being slapped. Liv gets very excited when she finds out Yvonne was a DJ.

Major and Ravi are at home gaming. Ravi mentions that he apologized to Peyton via a long voice mail. The conversation isn’t exactly uplifting, and gets worse when Major starts forgetting some of their special moves in the game. Not a good sign when memory loss is a major (no pun intended for once) concern. Ravi tries to convey this to Liv, but she’s too wrapped up in her new drama to process it correctly, or to get the ingredients Ravi needs for his memory serum.

Don E deals with a morose client at The Scratching Post, who is really depressed about being a zombie. A very flaky Liv accompanies Clive to Ice Ship, the club Yvonne worked at. There’s a lot of drama going on there, too, not all of it of Liv or Yvonne’s doing. They do manage to find out who the mystery slapper is from the store video.

Liv goes to check in on Major, who pulls a pretty good joke on her. He’s writing goodbye letters to the people in his life, anticipating the full memory loss. They talk about two names that I’m fairly sure have never come up before, and then Liv leaves in a big dramatic huff. I can’t wait for this brain to wear off, and I’m sure everyone around her is saying the same. Major then hops a bus out of town as soon as he’s alone.

Blaine and Peyton are back to banter over breakfast. Liv comes in, spewing more drama. The recent dominatrix case comes up again, and that really odd confession at the end of it. I’m glad they’re bringing that up, because it made no sense at the time. It’s a relief to know it wasn’t just some bad writing. Liv gets another reminder from Ravi about the ingredients for his blue memory goo, and manages to leave the list behind when she takes off.

The case takes the usual twists and turns among several suspects who keep not quite telling the whole truth. They get a few nudges from Liv’s visions, as usual. Don E comes to the morgue, and tries to bribe Ravi about the blue goo for his client. I don’t remember when Don learned about that, but he is being a slime even about the money. The most interesting thing to come from the visit is that Don is convinced Blaine is faking his memory loss and offers some anecdotal evidence to back it up. This puts Ravi in the rough spot of knowing something he should tell Peyton, but if he does, he sounds like a jealous ex, especially the way he’s been acting of late. Ravi makes his choice, and it goes about as well as you’d expect.

Liv continues to act like a brainless wonder, annoying everyone around her, and once again forgets the memory goo. By this point, I really don’t understand why Ravi isn’t taking care of this himself. I wouldn’t rely on Liv for anything until this brain’s influence is gone. It gets worse when he points out she’s supposed to be watching Major. As we already know, he’s gone, and they don’t know where. The next scene shows us that, at least.

Peyton and Blaine do seem to eat a lot together. She once again brings him food, and they have another bit of their banter. It gets serious when the subject of Blaine’s possibly faking his memory loss comes up. There are a few surprises here, and it bodes ill for their future relationship. Peyton even works in a crack about lawyers, which is her job.

Major has a happy reunion and we learn a bit more about his background. Thinking about it, his history has been unexplained. For that matter, I sort of wonder what happened to Liv’s brother and mother. It’s been a while since we saw them or even heard about them. Ravi, Liv, and Peyton are together when they get a call that’s some good news for a change.

The last few scenes are a roller coaster. With all the good news, it sounds like Liv should be able to take the cure and get her life back. Clive comes in, having wrapped the case after another Liv vision steered him in the right direction.  Liv tells Clive she won’t be able to help him anymore, and it’s a bit bittersweet. Then, they get some bad news with a new problem. As all this happens, we seen Blaine has a new project which really doesn’t make any sense to me.

What I liked: The banter and funny lines are always good. This episode especially gives us a feel for the characters actually liking each other and being important to each other. Rose McIver, as always, did a great job, even if I wanted her to shut up almost every time she started talking. I’m glad they at least mentioned the weird confession in the dominatrix case.

What I didn’t: The sudden revelation about Blaine felt like it came out of nowhere. It’s too convenient for too many sub-plots. I also don’t get what he was up to in the last scene. I know it’ll never be a major plot point, but I’d really like to see some of these people who keep lying during the murder investigations charged with Obstructing Justice. I wonder when the complications from Major’s change are going to set in.

This one was really good. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5. It’s going to be an interesting rush to the season finale.

iZombie: Spanking the Zombie

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Clive is very out of his element here…

 

Things start off a bit differently this week on iZombie. We see Major on an op with the Fillmore-Graves mercs. There’s a lot of good action, and Major has definitely picked up some new tricks while he’s been working with them. The mission is a success with minimal losses. After all, zombies only go down from head shots, and those are rare in combat, despite what you see on Walking Dead. And, of course, the bad guys don’t know they’re fighting zombies. Of course, not dying isn’t the same as not getting injured, and that hurts this version of zombies.

Ravi and Liv compare notes about what’s been going on of late when Clive arrives with another case. This one is two weeks old, which Clive inherited when the detective formerly on it went out sick. The victim this time around was a dominatrix, so you know we’re in for a ride when the side effects kick in. By bizarre coincidence, the brain Ravi has been testing his memory serum on is the one from the case. Liv isn’t sure about eating a blue brain, but goes ahead. The effects are kicking in quickly as they go the dominatrix’s dungeon. Clive is baffled by the whole scene, and Liv, channeling the victim, starts rattling off reasons people come to see “her.” They also find a SpyTech remote, suggesting the sessions there are recorded. Liv starts getting visions of some very high profile clients. Ravi’s serum is making the visions longer and more potent. When she snaps out of it, Clive gets in another Game of Thrones reference.

As Major wraps up his mission, he gets a surprise.  Fillmore-Graves is engaging in a kind of unique form of recycling. Major isn’t quite sure what to make of this, but they do make really good use of the sound track here. One Tin Solider does a great job of playing up how odd this scene is.

Liv’s more and more under the effects of Sweet Lady Pain’s brain. It makes for some fun, and some really awkward moments. Clive looks particularly uncomfortable as Liv acts out more. They interview a mayoral candidate, who I guess we’re supposed to recognized but I admit I didn’t. He knows all about zombies, so at least that’s easier. They also end up back with Johnny Frost, the really bizarre weatherman who has been on a few times before and is now a news anchor. Amid all this chaos, we also see Liv abuse a sketch artist and Detective Kavanagh warns Liv and Clive to stay out of his case. Harley Johns, the gun nut, filed a complaint about their visit.

Liv goes to the Filmore-Graves offices and tells them about Harley Johns. Liv gets another of her longer visions, and Vivian, the head of Fillmore, wonders if they need to reboot Liv. That’s one of the better lines of the show, in my opnion. Liv’s visions lead them to a lawyer, who Liv “persuades” to help them out. He confirms a peeping tom who was looking in the window a few times. My two issue with this are 1) Who has a dungeon with a window and 2) If they’re worried about someone looking in, why not just cover the window?

Taking a break from all the major characters, Don E gets some scene time, and we see his grand new venture isn’t working out the way he’d wanted. He’s doing all the work, the thug set to watch over him refuses to help, and he has nowhere near as much control as he had hoped. He ends up out on the street and comparing professional notes with a dealer out there, about prices and Utopium, the designer drug that helped kick off the current zombie problem.

Liv, being out of options, is going through the mug books to see if anything strikes a chord, or another vision. She comments that this is torture and she’s not even enjoying it. Her tedium is interrupted when two of their earlier suspects, Johnny Frost and the lawyer, come in to talk more about the case. Frost, apparently, is being blackmailed,.and he’s now coming in to get help.

The Fillmore-Graves crew shows they are more than just gun thugs. They lure Harley Johns in for an interview, pay him off to keep legal headaches away, and then do something clever. The obvious move would have been to kill him, but they’re smarter than that. It was a good move that will hopefully give them more info in future episodes.

The good guys arrange a sting for the blackmail payoff. Some of it was really nicely done, like Clive’s undercover role. Some of it a bit less so. This isn’t a zombie secret case, why in the world was Ravi part of the op? I like him, but coroners aren’t generally involved in field work for law enforcement. The interrogation is where things really get weird, both from Liv’s ongoing dominatrix brain issues, and from the lamest confession ever. It didn’t make much sense, and they don’t follow up on it. It was like they decided, “Ok, we just need to wrap this plot now.”

At Fillmore-Graves, Major talks with his friend Justin the former DJ about what he saw at the end of the op. Justin doesn’t seem as worried as Major is. That changes when Major’s coughing fit gets bad enough that he collapses. A worried Justin rushes to him, and is very confused when Major tells him to take him to the police morgue. Ravi and Liv spring into action, and then realize they can’t give him the cure because of his wounds from the mission. They’re talking a bit too much, as Justin keeps repeating “There’s a cure?” Liv and Ravi do a temporary measure to give them more time.

Don E has the Scratching Post, the new bar, full of zombies. It’s a rocking party and, in a normal world, would make his business partner happy given the business they’re doing. I’m sure Angus will find some reason to be upset anyway.

The end of the show is really sad. Major finally heals up enough to risk the cure, and there’s a long, slow goodbye with him, Liv, and Ravi. The lurking threat of Major losing his memory is getting to everyone. On the one hand, I get why they didn’t, but on the other hand, I kind of wonder why they didn’t give Peyton, at least, a chance to say goodbye. The episode ends on a slow fade to black.

What I liked: As always, the banter is great. I’d probably listen to this as a podcast with just the characters riffing along the way they do. I like what the Fillmore team did with Johns. Ravi’s memory serum having unexpected side effects worked, and I loved the line about rebooting Liv.

What I didn’t: I’m not sure the purpose was of the Don E scenes. Are they trying to get us to feel bad for him? The window in the dungeon made no sense, as I mentioned above. Neither did Ravi being at the blackmail sting. It was good seeing Frost again, but he wasn’t as engagingly weird as he was in past appearances.

There was some good stuff on this one, but a few flaws. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

iZombie: Wag the Tongue Slowly

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The Light Dawns about the Quirk of the Week

 

While there are several major plots going on in the background, much of the focus on iZombie each episode is the murder of the week. Every once in a while, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for the victim. “Wag The Tongue Slowly” is one of those times. After a brief scene with a worse-for-the-wear Ravi examining Blaine, we meet this week’s victim. She’s the company gossip at a dental supply place, and she has a really vicious tongue. After a fire drill, said gossip ends up dead in the restroom. The scream/reaction with two coworkers is really nicely done.

It turns out that Cheryl, the dead gossip, was on anti-depressants, which apparently reacted badly when someone spiked her yogurt with Utopium, the illegal drug that played a part in Liv’s zombie origin. Cheryl didn’t end up a zombie, though, just dead. And, of course, her incredibly annoying tendency to gossip got passed on to Liv when she ate Cheryl’s brain. This is particularly badly timed as she starts going on about Peyton and Blaine, which is the last thing poor Ravi wants to hear.

Clive and Liv spend some time working their off-the-books investigation of the murders of Clive’s former neighbors. After that, they meet with the HR rep of Cheryl’s company, and get the best reaction I’ve seen so far when they learn about Cheryl’s gossiping. The HR rep also drops off an entire binder full of complaints about Cheryl. She didn’t exactly make herself popular, which means Clive has a lot of suspects. This leads to several interviews with people who had less than good interactions with Cheryl, while Clive looks increasingly annoyed at Liv’s new-found loose tongue.

Ravi goes into full blown self-pity mode, which doesn’t look good on anyone. When Blaine manages to find a lead on Major’s missing friend, Natalie, Ravi goes with Major out of ennui. Natalie is apparently being held by a very dangerous diamond merchant, so Shaggy and Scooby there go on a stakeout. Ravi snarks that the guy being a diamond merchant makes him a Bond villain. They don’t do well, get caught, and threatened. Afterwards, Ravi goes off on Major, calling him Don Quixote for his quest to save Natalie.

While Major goes off to search for Natalie on his own, and Liv keeps gossiping, the investigation into Cheryl’s death takes a few turns. They find one of the employee’s alibis doesn’t work, and a suspicious text. Liv gets a lead via vision, while Ravi keeps moping. I get it, he’s upset about things with Peyton, but he did a good bit of that damage himself, and he’s not making anything any better. Ravi is usually one of my favorite characters, but at this point I just want him to shut up.

Peyton and Blaine chat about his still forgotten past. It really is an odd situation to be in, not only not remembering who you were, but, after listening to everyone talking, not wanting to know that person. The pair work on dinner, and, when she gets a moment alone with her, Liv questions some of what Peyton’s been doing of late.

Following up on something Liv found, Ravi has been going over some evidence (that, as usual, has nothing to do with his job). Ravi has also developed an interest in one of the suspects. With some good old-fashioned detective work, Clive finds the lead they need to unravel the case. This was a different kind of murder, both in the intent and in how it actually happened. It harkens back to an Agatha Christie classic.

Major finally manages to find Natalie. The reunion doesn’t go at all as he’d hoped. But, while Major is still blaming himself for not being there when Natalie was defrosted, she’s worried for him. Natalie’s situation doesn’t exactly get resolved, but at least there’s some progress. In a fit of misplaced heroism, Major gives her something really important.

Blaine and Peyton are counting down the hours until Ravi’s supposed memory restorer kicks in. They have a very interesting scene together, which really shows how much Blaine has changed. They have the usual great banter, and the writers had a lot of fun taking advantage of Blaine’s unique situation. They get a sort of resolution to some of their issues the next morning.

While Major gets shipped out on his first mission for Fillmore-Graves, Liv gets a lead on her and Clive’s private investigation. They go to a gun range and meet a really nasty man who embodies so many attributes of the bad side of gun nuts. He does go as far as saying that killing a zombie is on his bucket list, and then makes a really interesting point about a legal loophole in Liv and Clive’s case. The man, Harley Johns, also proves to have a tie back to the Max Rager party, which really does seem to be the gift that keeps on giving.

What I liked: I always enjoy the writing on this show. The banter between the characters is really entertaining. It’s a great cast with no bad performances. While I really didn’t like this week’s victim, Liv (Rose McIver) did a great job with the quirks. The murder mystery itself was clever. They made some progress on the side case, and Major finally found Natalie.

What I didn’t: Ravi. Sorry, like I said, I usually really enjoy the character, but this self-pity trip of his is getting old fast.

All in all, another really entertaining episode. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.

iZombie: Heaven Just Got A Little Bit Smoother

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The team is back and getting some really bad news

After a way too long break, iZombie finally returns. I don’t generally do recaps, but this has been such a long gap, I’ll make a partial exception. Among the many surprising events at the end of last season were: Clive learned about zombies; the Max Rager party ended in a massive zombie outbreak; Liv had to shoot her boyfriend Drake; CEO and annoyance Vaughan duClark finally died; Ravi’s zombie cure 1.0 kills the subject (which Major took); cure version 2.0 works perfectly except for causing near-total amnesia (which Blaine took); Peyton got kidnapped and Blaine rescued her; Vivian Stoll and her band of mercenaries not only know about zombies but are zombies and plan on establishing a “zombie homeland.”  Oh, also as an inside joke to the viewers, musician Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 died at the party, since he has the same name as executive producer and writer Rob Thomas.

At the scene of the party turned slaughter, Vivian demonstrates that she’s very thorough when it comes to cleaning up evidence. Blaine, Peyton, and Ravi, meanwhile, give their statements to the police following the abduction and rescue. Major had promised a zombie that he “killed” as the so-called Chaos Killer he’d look after her later, but now can’t find her and is very worried. Major was taking all the zombies on duClark’s list and freezing them, thus not actually killing them, although he was publically accused of being a serial killer, which is causing him some problems.

Blaine, still somewhat lost, returns to his funeral home/cover for his illegal operations. Of course, he no longer remembers he had illegal operations, or what they were. Blaine runs into Donnie, the cockroach-like second in command who was taking advantage of Blaine’s amnesia. Donnie has now convinced himself that Blaine is faking the memory loss, and tries to pressure Blaine into coming clean. Donnie and Blaine clash over a few things, and then Donnie makes a discovery down in the basement.

Major and Ravi find their place has been vandalized when they get home. I think Major’s going to have a rough time while the suspicion about him being the Chaos Killer lingers. He also doesn’t make any progress finding the missing zombie.

Major, Clive, and Liv pay a visit to Vivian at her soldier-for-hire company, Filmore-Graves. Vivian is preparing for what she calls Discovery Day, or D-Day, the day when society at large learns about the existence of zombies. Vivian is a realist and is not expecting this revelation to go well, and taking steps to protect her people. Vivian outlines her very extensive and well-wrought plans. The woman is very impressively detail oriented. We also get introduced to what I am sure will be Vivian’s ongoing sub-plot; a quest for the zombie that killed her husband. I have a theory about that, but I’ll hold it for now. We learn how Vivian came to command a team of zombie/mercs, and see a kid from Clive’s building who is apparently also a zombie.

Clive, Major, and Liv debate what they’ve learned afterwards. Liv goes back to the morgue and gives Ravi an update about what’s been happening with Vivian and her company. Liv, still under the effects of the solider brain she ate most recently, is worried about what’s going to happen to her when it wears off as far as Drake’s death goes. With that affecting her personality, she’s less than sympathetic to Ravi’s worries about not being the hero during Peyton’s abduction.
Blaine and Peyton have a scene at his place. Blaine is very reflective about his memory loss, wondering who he was before. Peyton updates him on the fugitive Mr. Boss, crime lord now on the run. Peyton is very jumpy, and looks even more unsettled when Blaine starts asking questions about their past.

Major is still having a really rough time after the public airing of the accusation against him. Even getting coffee is proving complicated. Ravi and Clive mull over what to do with Ravi’s 17 remaining doses of cure 2.0. Not being a zombie anymore is great, but who is going to want to lose their memory so completely? Ravi can’t make any more, as they are still missing a critical ingredient, likely the tainted Utopium from last season. Ravi is trying a new approach to a cure, but the process leaves Clive turning green. Liv bursts in, interrupting to tell them that Chuck Burd, radio host and conspiracy nut, is interviewing Billy Church, the security guard at the door of the Max Rager party. Church talks about seeing zombies, while Liv and Clive are too late to prevent the broadcast going out. Clive and Liv debate what public reaction might be to news of zombies as they drive off. A rattled Liv finally starts breaking down about killing Drake, and Clive suggests they do what cops usually do.

Peyton gets threats via Twitter and starts getting really nervous. She tries to call Ravi and ask for company, but he’s still sulking after learning she slept with Blaine and doesn’t answer. Ironically enough, leads to her calling Blaine and spending time with him. So Ravi caused the thing he’s worried about happening. Nice job, Ravi. I get it, but man, he needs to fix this.

Major finally has something go right when he gets a new job. Donnie begins spinning his latest scheme to try and get rich quick and screw over Blaine. Ravi’s life gets a lot more complicated when the morgue gets a visitor from the CDC who has a tie to his past. Ravi and Liv get called to a murder which leaves Clive really broken up, and finally agreeing that the public won’t handle news of zombies well. This murder also upsets Vivian Stoll. When Liv is there breaking the news, she gets a surprise about one of Stoll’s employees. All in all, this is getting really complicated for everyone.

What I liked: I’ve missed this show. The humor, the intricate multiple plots, Rose McIver’s masterful new tics with each brain Liv eats, all of it. I’m glad they’re back, although I’m still unsure why it took so long. There really are no bad performances on this show. Vivian Stoll is an intriguing new character who I am sure will bring along both help and complications.

What I didn’t: I get where Ravi’s coming from, but he’s not helping himself by not talking to Peyton. He’s too smart to do something that dumb. Donnie the thug just won’t go away and I’m worried about his new plan making things hard on everyone.

I’m glad they brought the show back. This is a really entertaining take on zombies, very distinct from The Walking Dead, but still highly enjoyable. I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5, and I’m looking forward to the new season.

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