iZombie: The Hurt Stalker

iZombie

We welcome back iZombie after a week away with a plotline they had seemingly dropped for the time being in service of the larger, sprawling season arcs being addressed. The episode begins with addressing Liv’s renewed relationship with Major getting further under her roommate and his once-lover’s skin. Although it has already come to Gilda’s attention that the couple’s flame had been rekindled in past episodes, she is put off to learn that it’s been an ongoing thing. Paired with the unfortunate (or quite fortunate, depending how you see it) consumption of an obsessive girlfriend brain, what could end up being a forgotten c-plot becomes one of the bigger points of the episode.

Speaking of ex-girlfriends from hell, we discover that said victim was actually Clive’s unhinged ex who was the same person who left the package on his stoop the previous episode. For once the mystery is actually rather innocuous and that ends up being oddly innocent (all things considered) compared to the normal level of doom and gloom for most moves made by random interlopers on this show. She may have seen Liv illegally tamper and redeliver the test results from the FBI but there will likely be no lasting fallout from her having witnessed that. Unlike the fallout that comes from her being assaulted in a parking garage by an unknown male assailant. She very respectfully almost takes him down and is in striking distance of killing him in self-defense when a second attacker shoots her in the back, unaware. When Clive, Liv, and Ravi show up to investigate, Clive cops to her being his ex and the gun at the scene likely being one of his personal collection that she kept after they had split.

Before Liv gets the full story, she chomps down on the ex-girlfriend brain and later finds out that it’ll likely lead to her going full-Fatal Attaction over her own love life, which, given the continued strain between Liv and Major as weeks pass by can only end badly. She and Ravi worriedly glance at one another upon learning this and brace themselves for the shoe to drop.

Over at Max Rager, Vaughn Du Clark keeps the revolving door on his chief of zombie research offices firmly on its hinges as we get introduced to yet another new face looking into how Liv’s acquired blood affects their clinical trials. Apparently it helps shambling, George Romero zombies turn into 4k running Danny Boyle iterations which is bad news made terrible. Whatever it is they’re planning to do with this information remains to be seen but he also wants to test the Max Rager product to see if the mondo gains have yet to outweigh the murderous rage issues that infected the original round of dosing that we saw in early season one.

Later, barely having digested her brains and seeing a flash of a text message from the recently unnerved Gilda/Rita, Liv starts snooping through Major’s phone while he sleeps next to her in bed. Using his thumbprint to override his passcode feels especially intimate a betrayal since she has to purposefully lay his finger flat on the phone itself instead of clinically cracking the code. Shortly after, she finds the message chain that clearly indicates their intimate past including the text that went out unanswered the day that Major showed up on her doorstep and they reunited. Major wakes to see her frantically scrolling through his phone and is deeply upset at the imposition. It’s a very emotionally complex and loaded scene — the audience knowing how deep into the lies Major really is — that amps up twice as intense when he pulls out a locked safe box to stash the phone in to avoid her attempting to break in again (and avoid getting caught on a greater scale) which Liv returns to the bedroom to see firsthand. It’s pretty devastating for a multitude of reasons, but even though they were obtained through sordid means, Rose McIver’s performance proves that Liv is hurt anyway. When she returns to see him with the high tech safe and Major outright refuses to reopen it takes things to the next level. Liv still takes the blame for the brain’s intrusion and although they’re both furious at one another they agree to take a breather and revisit the topic when the wound is less raw.

On top of being crazed, Clive tells Ravi and Liv that his ex was also a badge bunny (a woman who specifically tries to date only cops) which explains why he was just her type. The photobook that Clive turned over to the department — now that his colleague, Cavanaugh, is in charge of the case — that his ex left on his front porch proves that she photoshopped lovey-dovey photos of the two together to further their “true love” delusion in her reality. Dale shows up at the morgue later, ignoring chain of possession temporarily so that the pair can see for themselves the photobook from the victim full of photos of the two together and see if anything triggers Liv’s visions. Ravi is especially moved by an unknown obsession Clive harbors for Game of Thrones, something that Dale knew about prior and maybe proves that the law enforcement couple is growing closer still off-screen. The hands in one of the photos are white, so whoever the original photo that Clive’s head is being placed overtop of is now their endgame to find out who might’ve had something against her enough to kill.

In their research, they speak to a couple who the deceased sued for damages since the victim was apparently as bad at her day job as she was with her love life. She screwed up their wedding and more or less tried to extort them the money owed so that she would drop the suit. They refused since she flagrantly didn’t follow through on any of her job’s basic responsibilities and although the initial interview amounts to little in proof that their interaction would’ve called for them to kill Clive’s ex over, it’s when the husband is revealed to be a cop that Ravi and Liv share a telling look.

Liv has another memory flash that a similar book was made and delivered to the victim’s former clients, but since he also isn’t white it’s only proof that the ex either had a relationship with him or misconstrued on obsession as a relationship — there’s no guarantee he’s more than another victim of the victim in the mix. Clive stops into the station when this information is added to the case and Cavanaugh looks more into whether or not his fellow cop could still have some involvement in the case despite Ravi and Liv trying to clear his name. The evidence of the book that’s been photoshopped goes missing and it falls to it being an inside job since it was taken from the department lock-up. Liv decides to look into it after hours.

Back at her place, before she goes back out to run down a lead on where the photobook may have ended up, Gilda stokes the flames and tries to get Liv even more on edge about Major’s potential (or from her POV — confirmed) misdeeds. Although Liv takes the bait, she has to move on the case at hand and tracks down where the missing photobook may have ended up and breaks into a car to figure out who it belongs to. She’s hardly there for a few seconds when the owner gets back inside and starts driving off, leaving her stuck in the backseat unable to move. It’s revealed to be the new chief of police who stole the book in a panic that he would be revealed to be the original white hands being photoshopped over with new cop faces given that he’s the chief of police and married. He calls Cavanaugh to yell at him and blame the books theft on the department screwing up, even though it’s clear the fault lies solely with him. Liv’s phone rings and the chief — although bad at the rest of his job — overhears the buzzing and turns to find her in his back seat.

She is immediately arrested and sent to jail where she’s deeply disturbed not just by her fellow inmates but whether her eventual hunger will lead to the world ending. Ravi visits the first he can to check in on her and worriedly tells her that there is no way for him to sneak “you know what” in for sustenance. Liv assures him that she’ll try to remain as calm and collected as possible even though all she’s eaten was that first taste of the ex-girlfriend brains and she’s worried how long she’ll hold out. When she does eventually get out the following day, he gives her a brain milkshake which is actually just her mainlining more crazy brain and although she’s worried what that’ll mean for her promise to not be so obsessive with Major, at least she’s not cracking skulls. While looking over the photobook she pulled a scrap from earlier her newly refocused attention to the ring on Clive’s ex-girlfriend’s finger. It’s in fact that ring that the original suspects they questioned about the victim suing and from the flashback Liv had about the potential affair — proving that they were far more involved than they claimed to be — in that it was the wife co-owner and her brother, not her husband.

When they are re-interrogated they break shortly after being taken in and admit that they were only attempting to shut her up but she was way too good at protecting herself against an attacker. In fear that her brother would die, his sister grabbed the gun and shot her in the back to stop him from being stabbed to death. They were hardly innocent, but it is another example of things being a lot messier than anticipated when it comes to even the most basic “murder of the week” case being closed.

Earlier, when broached about more human application testing with Max Rager, Du Clark intimated that he had an unlikely path he wanted to go down. It’s surprising that he starts imbibing the known-psycho-creator drink himself during his training session with Major. Major starts off telling him to pace himself since Steven Weber — although an intense person by nature — is in fact older and very close to throwing his back out. When he takes an extra swig of the Max Rager, he’s able to bench twice the weight and Major is stunned. Du Clark offers Major a few bottles in case he ever wants to amp up his own workouts and it’s clear that maybe the test subject he had in mind was actually Major all along, despite sampling his own product for the moment. Major seems receptive, but then Du Clark goes nuts on a fellow meat head at the gym and nearly kills him in a very titular “rage” which makes him seem a lot less eager to try it out for himself.

When he gets back home later he sees Liv trying to open the safe and relents, somehow making it out to be such a betrayal — which is insane given last time we saw him stuffing his phone in there he’s also hiding the tranq gun and murder list he’s got on his person in case of zombie killing emergency — that Liv comes across as desperate and pathetic. This time, however, he’s covered his tracks and opens the safe in an aggressive guilt-laden way that makes him pulling the ring he proposed to her with and drives home that Liv is “out of line” for pressing the subject. They go to bed sad and it seems as though the topic will hopefully be dropped when Gilda (as Rita) texts Major again asking him again if he’s up — in no uncertain terms, for booty calling purposes. Liv is reeling enough from the brain and the earlier unease of Major refusing to open the safe once again uses his fingerprint to open the phone and reply back that he is, to which she gets sexted back photos from her roommate, neither woman knowing that they’re talking to one another. Luckily for Rita, she only shows her body from her neck down and her involvement with Major remains a mystery to Liv for another day. Not putting a face to the name doesn’t stop Liv from being understandably heartbroken, tears streaming from her eyes as the episode closes.

Stray Observations:

  • Making slow moving zombies runners is a lovely unaddressed lampshade of the genre they’ve already mucked with given Liv’s super speed versus long-dead zombies foot dragging slowness. Also: a terrible idea, Du Clarke. Seriously, quit it.
  • “If this case were any easier, I would’ve slept with it in college.” When they introduce Cavanaugh as the new lead on the case and everyone grumbles, you may not get why. But as soon as he shows up a resounding, “Ohhhh.” is said aloud by audiences everywhere.
  • Love that Ravi’s first reaction to finding out that Liv ate the ex-girlfriend of Clive’s brain is whether she’ll get to see Clive’s “O Face” was fantastic. Shame we didn’t get to.
  • On a similar thread, Ravi’s ongoing teasing of Clive being low-key obsessed with Game of Thrones was very delightfully sweet.
  • Clive is a big softy for bringing them both sandwiches to thank them for clearing his involvement in the crime. Extra sweet that he brought Liv extra spicy — he listens!
  • Probably could’ve done without the angry black cellmate screaming “Ferguson!” repeatedly like it was a punchline. It’s supposed to intimidate Liv in the moment — which is insane given that she could bend the bars to let herself out at any moment — but felt like a really insincere and stereotypical way of portraying intimidation and cheapening real illegal detainees in the process.
  • Major remains a bundle of contradictions. He is so tragic and so infuriating at the same time.

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.