iZombie: Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues

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This week’s episode of iZombie begins with a literal Chekov’s gun introduction wherein three bratty kids discover a discarded handgun and having gotten drunk, decide to have a good time and shoot beer bottles. For all that it seems ready to be inducted into the main plot of the week, it’s immediately relegated to the back of audience’s minds for nearly the entire rest of the episode. But it is important to the plot, so don’t forget about it just yet. We’re also told through a TV report that there’s an armed gunman who is on the loose after shooting and fleeing the scene of a robbery, which isn’t exactly subtle an inference paired with the first scene, but by the time these come into play it’s easy to have forgotten most of what’s gone on until that point.

In the meantime, we pick up mostly where we’ve left off with Liv visiting Peyton after her morning workout. The duo reunite warmly and apologize for the mistakes they made leading to Peyton’s initial departure. Peyton tells Liv that she left still resenting her for a combination of being a zombie and not telling her she was a zombie, but as the weeks went on, she started to think about Liv’s day-to-day life as a result of her change and feels deep remorse for being one more person who abandoned her along the way. With that, we hit pay dirt in getting into the theme this week, as Liv comes to terms with the people who she’s alienated by being truthful. Obviously her family is a stone not yet unturned, but between Peyton and Major, she’s been feeling especially toxic when all she’s really done is let them in on the secret they so wanted to know.

Liv has always been the first person to cop to having dealt with most of this whole “zombie thing” poorly, but she was still trying the best she could. Not many people could still hold a successful job and social life after rising from the dead. She does readily accept culpability for her actions and their effect on Peyton, but finally seems to be in a place where she expects the same level of honesty and communication from others. A lot of the “quit being cryptic” moments of the show have filtered into non-existence and it’s nice and refreshing for them openly discuss their reactions to the last time they saw one another without pretense.

In direct contrast to those good life decisions, we cut to Major waking up from his one night stand with Gilda/Rita/Whoever. She makes a comment at seeing him shirtless from the back which you can’t blame her for, but immediately goads him to go kill some more powerful zombies. He arrives back home to give Ravi a ride to work, which he’s very late to do, and apologizes to Ravi who is on his way out the door. Ravi, being a very laid back guy — all zombies considered — shrugs it off as no big deal, although he is considered for their dog, now named Minor (because of course), who was crying all night and eating trash while Major was away. Before they can discuss it much beyond Major assuring him it won’t happen again, the doorbell rings, and Ravi tries to cut the tension when Liv shows up to act as his backup carpool until he gets his car back later that day. They get a buzz from Clive that there’s a crime downtown so they hustle out the door before things can get even more awkward.

Their brain of the week was a country music fan who was strangled in her room. She discovers that she had an on again off again boyfriend who was in and out of jail for assault charges. Although the pair exchanged a series of heated love letters and had a very tumultuous break-up, he’s got an alibi for the murder. Liv ends up picking up country music singing as her trait for the week which will come in handy — as Ravi points out — since love and murder are the industry’s bread and butter.

Back at the station, Clive is told that they caught the guy behind the armed robbery but without a weapon, they won’t be able to do more than hold him for a day or so, let alone prosecute. He’s also introduced to the new FBI investigator looking into disappearing people of influence. Clive merely seems intrigued to meet her acquaintance, while we all know based on the description, she is hunting Major’s zombie targets.

Later that night, while on a date with his nearly girlfriend, Stephanie, Ravi is mortified when Peyton shows up to crash at his place until hers is ready. There’s already a point of contention between him and Major, but it’s clear that the absentee roommate and dog father is now approaching critical mass.

Blaine is also back this week, worried as well that his clients are disappearing. Major is making waves even though that part of the season’s plot seems so removed from the rest; it’s clearly directly affecting half of our main cast at this point. He is trying to get the original purveyor of the tainted Utopium but when they do find him, he’s found Jesus, and has given up that lifestyle. Even with a lot of threatening and straight-up torture, he still insists that he won’t spill the beans on the secret recipe. Somehow, he’s not already a zombie after likely sampling his own goods, but in order to give him a more intense bit of motivation, Blain and crew turn him and set him free into the world, sure that he’ll come back desperate soon enough.

While he’s running this dirty game at home, Blaine is called in as a witness for the prosecution of Stacey Boss. After a slew of unhelpful cronies refusing to roll on him, Peyton is thrilled to hear from Blaine. It’s a reminder of how Blaine got to where he is as David Anders turns on the charm and helps Peyton systematically break down the entirety of his organization. She’s so taken with how much information he up and volunteers (unknowingly to her for the good of his own burgeoning drug kingpin game) that she seems a bit taken with Blaine all around.

On the case, Liv and Clive stop by the bar where Lacy, their victim, used to work. Evidently she got into a shouting match with her boss when he creepily tried to grope her in exchange for an advance on her paycheck. The visions are few and far between this week, so it’s all pretty hazy other than the men in her life weren’t great to Lacy. We’re left up in the air between her boss and her ex as potential killers. The former gets eliminated even though he gives the world’s worst interrogation in which he has his pregnant wife lie for him until she finds out he was cheating and then only gets off when she is stopped from making a false police report just to make sure he ends up in jail (she claims he was covered in Lacy’s blood but Clive tells her it was strangulation and gets the truth from her, finally).

Liv performs at the club and Lacy’s ex is in the audience. He menacingly follows her to her car, but instead is only there to thank her for the song she wrote about his and Lacy’s rocky relationship history. He knows it didn’t always appear that way but he did really love Lacy. Unfortunately, as Liv tells him, “Love ain’t always enough.”

He is eventually also cleared of wrongdoing, but only by coincidence, as it’s revealed that the gun from the beginning of the episode was turned into the police and the location where it was ditched jogs Clive’s memory as being in Lacy’s neighborhood. The gun from the beginning of the episode, used by the now-caught armed robber, is the murder weapon. The robber ducked into Lacy’s apartment to hide from the cops and she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a neat and quick wrap up, but it also goes along with the running theme of Liv being a victim of circumstance. So much of her life’s secrets, lies, and betrayal when really that’s all because some jerk at a party dosed everyone with Utopium. It’s around this point that Liv realizes she needs to get some things off her chest and decides to confront Major one last time about all the distance between them.

When Liv shows up on his front porch, Major has just freshly snorted more Utopium. He’s already in a bad place, but she tells him that she’s sorry for the way things went but she needs to let him go. He sarcastically bids her farewell and shuts the door on her, berating her for still not giving him the space he’s requested. While the old Liv might’ve walked away and let things fester, we’re now entering a place where Liv is more like the Liv of yesteryear likely was. The secrets are on the table and she’s done feeling guilty about things she can’t control. She bursts back into the apartment and unloads on him that he needs to quit this routine of making her the villain. Maybe she was at one point, but the time has passed to keep holding that over her head. Major is clearly floundering and she and Ravi are the only two people keeping him afloat. Belligerent and high, he tells her that all he wants is space and yet every time he turns around she’s there. Probably because he’s wrapped his life around her and her friends, but that’s still her fault somehow. Major is in a very dark place and once she leaves, presumably sits around and gets high the rest of the night.

This is proven even more likely when he comes to hours later, playing video games and zoned out. Ravi asks him where Minor is and when Major assures him he was just here, Ravi points out that the back door is wide open and the dog is nowhere to be found. Major shrugs it off, figuring he’ll return. This is all very uncharacteristic of Major, someone who literally spent half the first season chasing down runaways, and Ravi has had enough. He loses it. He finds the dog on his own in the park where his owner was killed and pretty much lays Major out for being helpless. He could barely respond to his own name. Later, after Ravi storms off, he immediately runs off to score more drugs and runs some of the kids he used to mentor at the shelter. They make fun of him for get high thanks to the same kids he was trying to keep off the stuff. Clearly if this isn’t rock bottom, we should be afraid for what else could possibly follow.

Or maybe not, as the episode wraps, Major looks like he’s going to show up to Gilda’s for another round of self-loathing and sex, but instead winds up on Liv’s doorstep. He desperately asks for help, they hug and share an emotional kiss. Here’s to hoping there is some grand plan, after all.

Stray Observations:

  • That gross kid from the beginning was right, though. Second base is boobs, third base is down the pants.
  • Peyton having zombie questions — a few pages worth — was hilariously cute delivery by long-missed Aly Michalka. Why wasn’t that scene in the episode? I could watch a whole scene where people ask zombie questions to Liv.
  • “God help me that smells sensational.” Thanks for speaking on our behalf, Ravi. Some of the brains Liv cooks up on this show make eating brains seem like a GREAT idea.
  • Liv hates the phrase “made love” because it’s like “have sex” hired a PR firm.
  • We all need friends like Peyton to cut through the bullshit and say what’s really being said. “Thank you for coming back.” “I love you, too.”
  • Nice that this case was solved by out-and-out good police work. It’s not that Liv and Ravi aren’t also great help to Clive on cases, but it’s a nice reminder that Clive does okay on his own. Their involvement was, in the end, borderline irrelevant.
  • Raphael Sbarge is so good at playing a creep. Even though he didn’t end up being the murderer, you still can’t help but hate the guy.
  • On a co-worker burning a candle at his desk. “He says it centers his chi.” “Who brings their chi to work?” Hard not to be suspicious of Dale, but I like her already.
  • Shoutout to everyone else who was screaming at their screen: “NO! PEYTON! STOP! DON’T!”
  • “I’m sweating like a ten-dollar whore on nickel night.” All of Liv’s little turn of phrases this week were so delightfully stupid, it’s great.
  • The fact that they acknowledge that Liv is a victim for having witnessed a mass murder and becoming a zombie is so amazingly important. These things would of course genuinely traumatize a person and affect their relationships, so it’s about time they stop treating it as a “previously on …” and instead for the horrendous experience it no doubt was for Liv.
  • Being in the wrong place and the wrong time is a sad parallel for 90% of Liv’s downfall on this show. It’s extra bleak to see the same bad luck befall another young woman in the prime of her life. At least Liv got a second chance at hers.
  • “Actually I met someone interesting at work today. I think you’d like him.” NO, PEYTON! STOP.

Photo Courtesy of The CW

About Maura Kate

Maura Kate is a twenty something from the “generic M. Night Shyamalan exterior shot” area near suburban Philadelphia. She co-hosts a podcast called The Televoid (@thetelevoid), where she watches all the worst episodes of TV so you don’t have to. She tweets from @maurae.