This iZombie review contains spoilers.
iZombie Season 3, Episode 2
Never has iZombiefelt more like Veronica Marsthan in this episode than in this ongoing iZombie Season 2 setup. (And, obviously, that’s a compliment.) Much like the set-up in Veronica Mars’sophomore season, which saw Veronica and co. dealing with the emotional and potentially criminal fallout of the bus accident, “Zombie Knows Best” sees Clive and Liv working to comprehend the murder of Wally and his family.
iZombie does this through a series of flashbacks to Clive’s connection to the doomed mother and son who used to live in the apartment next door. It’s not strictly necessary context. We already knew that Clive cared about Wally and, in general as a TV viewer, I tend to be pretty gutted by the murder of a cute kid. I was already on board with The Path of Vengeance. However, the context serves to deepen the emotional impact of the loss, as well as tell us a bit more about Clive, getting us even more on board with Clive and Liv’s search to figure out what happened to the family of zombies. Straight out of the Veronica Mars playbook, people.
“Zombie Knows Best” puts Clive front-and-center, proving what I think we all knew all along: this show should have given this character more to do a long time ago. Keeping Clive out of the know for so long was a mistake. (Though, if he had known earlier, maybe he wouldn’t have had as much time to watch Game of Thrones?) Thankfully, Clive is now in on the secret and in on the narrative in a way he was never truly able to be before. Watching Clive slowly build a relationship with Wally and his mom Anna is heartbreaking, but it’s also good storytelling. They were more than just neighbors. They were family — or at least starting to be before Clive was pulled into his undercover cop shenanigans. The episode-ending reveal that Anna decided not to stay in touch with Clive because of her and Wally’s zombie-ism was a gut punch. Well played, iZombie.
At this point, iZombie seems to want us to think that Wally and Anna were killed by some alt-right zombie-hater who listens to the Chuck Burd radio show. And it’s not hard to imagine that scenario playing out, especially given its real-world parallels. But, if I learned anything from Veronica Mars, it’s that the TV answer is never the simple one. These are early Season 3 days yet and we have a lot more investigating to do before we find out the truth behind this unthinkable crime.
(Crackpot theory: Fillmore Graves’ Vivian Stoll ordered the hit in order to get Clive, Liv, and the rest of their friends on their side and/or as part of a long con to get to Blaine, who was probably the one who murdered her husband.)
“Zombie Knows Best” saw a return to the more traditional murder-of-the-week plot structure we’ve come to expect from this show. This week’s revolved around a father and daughter who were murdered to keep the secret of another teen girl’s affair with her stepfather. It was convoluted and not particularly interested compared to the ongoing drama of the episode, but it did provide the hilarious, much-anticipated moment of Major on teen girl brain. Robert Buckley absolutely nails his performance as the angst adolescent. The way that iZombie relies on stereotypes for its brain-of-the-week humor is problematic, but I couldn’t find it in me to care this week when it gave me father-brain Liv asking Major where he was going, only for teen girl-Major to reply: “Gawd. Mercenary training.”
Speaking of mercenary training, Major seems pretty committed so far to the Fillmore Graves private security group. So far, it’s just been locker room chats and group runs, so it’s hard to get much of a handle on whether this move is a good or a bad one for Major. For now, it gives him future access to brain Go-Gurt, which presumably means no more silly brains for Major. Boo.
I’d like to blame Ravi’s handling of the Peyton situation on Major’s teen girl brain advice, but Ravi is an adult with his own decision-making skills. Which is why it’s so frustrating to see Ravi continue to blame his own inability to get past Peyton and Blaine’s hook-up on Peyton. Luckily, Peyton calls Ravi out on it. I don’t mind seeing this kind of behavior from a character on a TV show (even a fan favorite like Ravi) — especially because it’s the kind of sexist logic we see in real life — as long as the show seems to understand that misogynistic context. As far as I can tell, iZombie does. Keep up the good work, show. On all fronts.