This iZombie review contains spoilers.
iZombie Season 2, Episode 16
In tonight’s iZombie someone (Ravi, of course) finally cottons on to the fact that Major is the Chaos Killer. This potentially changes everything. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see anything past Ravi’s understandably freaked out, angry, betrayed initial reaction because we have to suffer through an entire stripper murder mystery plot before we get to the good stuff…
I feel a bit like a broken record here, but iZombie continues to be an uneven, though largely enjoyable show for me. The chief problems of the show’s format? The murder mystery plots unconnected to the larger zombie conspiracy are half-baked, uninteresting, and rely on lazy cariacture. I recently binge-watched all three seasons of excellent Australian period drama Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.Amongst its many strengths, Miss Fisherdelivers episodic murder mysteries that delve into the local subculture in well-researched, committed ways. A show like iZombie,on the other hand, is so much better at its serialized plot than it is with its murder mysteries.
Take this week’s murder, for example. The suspects are not rendered in any complex ways, instead relying on a stereotype of petty, unintelligent, and oversexualized strippers, each one interchangeable from the next. Sure, we get some much needed Peyton/Liv friend time, but it’s overshadowed by exposition we don’t care about and a local subculture that we will most likely never see again. It’s intriguing to me that iZombie can get so much right when it comes to its serialized, character-driven zombie conspiracy and so much wrong when it comes to its murders-of-the-week. Frankly, the show seems so incredibly bored with the latter, and that boredom translates to the viewing experience.
Unfortunately, because of the nature of the plot structure, that confused boredom also translates to the show’s main character. I want to like Liv and, often times, I do. When she is comforting her boyfriend’s mother, or being Ravi’s best friend, she is a funny, relatable, and good. However, when she is “on” someone’s brain, I am unclear where the brain personality ends and where Liv begins. (A dilemma further complicated by the fact that Liv’s family straight-up disappeared from the narrative.) Because of the murder-of-the-week format, Liv must be “on” someone’s brain every episode, a majority of the time. This results in the viewer never really being able to get a read on who Liv is as a character, and it makes for a frustrating, inconsistent part of this frequently great show.
Luckily for iZombie,it is able to render its other characters so consistently fun, compelling, and complex. The biggest character moment in tonight’s episode was the confrontation between Ravi and Major — and it did not disappoint. We have seen these two go from new roommates to fast friends to digging buddies to two of the most important people in each other’s lives. Hopefully, Ravi will give Major a chance to explain what he has been doing behind his friends’ backs, but — even with the much less horrific truth — Ravi might still see this as a betrayal of trust. After all, Major could have told him. Ravi could have been helping him this entire time. Instead, he has been lying to him.
This reveal is made all the more complicated by Major’s reversion to his zombie state. This is a big move for iZombie,given that we never really got to see Major as a zombie. He was given the cure almost immediately following his turn to the undead. How will Major cope with being a zombie? Will this bring he and Liv back together? And how much time does he have before he meets the same fate as A New Hope?
Another big development on the zombie front is the fact that Blaine seems to have developed total amnesia in the wake of taking Ravi’s most recent zombie cure. I’m not sure where iZombieis going with this, but I am intrigued. Blaine’s child-like state is not only a treat to watch David Anders play, but gives Blaine’s minions (another delightful aspect of this show) a chance to take the funeral home/utopium business wheel.
In other news, Gilda/Rita is officially a zombie after getting scratched last week at Max Rager. Presumably, she has not forgiven her father for leaving her in the Max Rager sub-basement to get zombified, but he may be having regrets about it. While sneaking into Liv’s apartment to grab some brains, Rita was drugged and carried off by Vaughn Du Clark’s main minion. And here I was hoping she’d join Team Liv…
Finally, we have Liv’s realization that Drake is not, in fact, one of Boss’ minions, but an undercover cop. This, along with the reminder of how great of a son Drake is, makes his disappearance all the more tragic for our protagonist. I felt more for Liv in the scene that saw her keeping Drake’s mom company than I did in her entire detective stripper plot. More serialized zombie drama, please.