iZombie: The Whopper

izombie

Just in case viewers had forgotten how intelligent and complex the plot can get on iZombie, this episode dips us back into to almost five simultaneously conflicts at once and masterfully spins around to give just enough progress with each to keep things as tense as ever and still gloriously mysterious. By the end, we’re no closer to a resolution for everything, but certainly past the midway mark of iZombie’s second season.

Beginning in the field that feels like the physical manifestation to the show’s core premise — the hopeless prospect of finding a needle amongst several haystacks of needles is met head on — just as Liv, Major, and half the main cast continues to trudge through the impossible odds to stay alive and keep hope that they’ll persevere. One such mislead results in Major interrupting Ravi’s digging to exclaim that he found someone buried, which would be great news if Ravi — medical expert — didn’t immediately recognize that the body Major does unearth has only been dead for a short period of time while the men they’re meant to be looking for are supposedly buried for over a year at this point.

The following morning, having reported the dead body and claimed to be geocaching out in the field, Clive and Liv show up to help figure out what the body was doing there in the first place. After briefly pulling Major aside to ask if he has anything he’d like to talk about — given his suspected involvement in the Meat Cute murders still hanging over Clive’s head — to which Major continues to feign ignorance towards, Liv finds a clue that might point to the victim being a frequent at a particular bar and a phone number on a coaster he had on his person.

Blaine is getting some pushback from customers unhappy with the brains he’s been getting through the funeral home — many of whom are natural causes and older — leading to very boring brains for his clients, or in one extreme case a Holocaust survivor. Adding to his problems, his not-so-dearly “departed” dad left a good portion of his estate to Blaine’s sadistic German nanny growing up who he alleges terrorized him physically and emotionally as a child. The woman does not deny this and in fact is glad to gloat over her earnings and when Blaine’s side of the estate is rendered null and also payable to her as his father died under the mysterious circumstances he asked to exclude Blaine from benefiting from should they take place. Blaine is livid, since he genuinely had nothing to do with his father’s death, but the nanny gleefully takes off and tells her employees to liquidate everything and all but skips out of Shady Plots to make arrangements.

After interviewing the girl whose number the dead guy had on hand, they discover that the dead guy was a “jackass” and “FBI agent” who never called her back, but still told her about infiltrating a local syndicate that was selling drugs around Seattle. Liv makes a brain hamburger and ends up becoming a pathological liar shortly thereafter. They figure out from the bar on the coaster that the girl says their dead guy — known to locals as Big Fish, for his copious lies — was a regular at. Based upon a lead at the bar that means some of their merchandise being shipped from a warehouse owned by Stacey Boss, they realize that perhaps Big Fish was simply working for him and lying about the FBI side of things.

Downstairs at Shady Plots, Blaine’s crew have quite the present for him to lift his moods: they caught the Chaos Killer — one of their clients trapped him while trying to kill them — and Blaine is exhilarated. Though we know the Chaos Killer is actually Major, it is still shocking for this to finally be revealed to someone other than the higher-ups at Max Rager who are blackmailing him into doing this. They threaten him that they’ll torture him until he reveals who in Blaine’s crew leaked the information, but after a few hours trapped in a coffin and threats that Blaine will have someone scratch him and speed up the back to zombie process for Major, he confesses some of the truth. He tells them about the list and the third party that knows about Liv, but leaves out who it is which is just enough to keep him alive and bargaining. He also lets Blaine know that he hasn’t been killing many of the hits since he’s not jazzed about this assignment himself and he has his father on ice — welcome news given the current financial situation he’s found himself in — and agrees to let him off the hook momentarily. He does learn from a boasting Blaine that he’s friendly (a stretch, perhaps, but still true-ish) with Liv again given his renewed position at feeding the zombies of Seattle. Before leaving, Major peeks out the window briefly when walking around at Shady Plots, which Blaine reprimands him for doing since there’s been an FBI detail snapping pictures of the place for weeks after he was brought in for questioning. They sneak him back out the way he came in, in the back of a hearse.

Liv’s lying escalates to noticeable degree — she claims to have been off by one number on the lottery drawing — which Dale and Clive point out is still a winning ticket for the smaller but not inconsequential $50,000. Caught in the lie, she backpedals, and they chase down a lead that since money was found in the wheel well of Big Fish’s car, it’s likely he was skimming money off the top and in fact, Boss may have had him killed for his disloyalty.

While waiting for Liv to get back in the office and Clive finally — FINALLY — clears one of the most major blind spots iZombie been keeping up since day one: Liv’s embodiment of their victims personalities. Although Ravi plays dumb, but it’s been such a long time coming that Clive is practically doing cartwheels around the place while discussing this with him after all this time. Whether they’re prepping for Clive to find out the real reason for these assimilated characteristics or not, it’s refreshing to know that he’s not been ignoring the similarities this whole time. It only took two full seasons but we’ve finally got some progress on that front. Liv has already explained all of this behavior away by being a psychic — people’s brains being symptomatic of her visions and preternatural abilities are an easy and reasonable scapegoat — as stemming from her “mystical” gift (which I’ve, personally, been railing for here on The Televixen, time and again). When Liv returns, they drop the topic since they’ve got a suspect who is likely the person Boss would’ve sent to kill Big Fish if it were an inside hit. They go visit a man named Terrell who is as terse and unhelpful as you’d imagine a contract killer for a crime boss would be when talking to the cops.

Boss catches wind that Terrell has been visited by police and that alone is reason enough that he be taken out — no telling who would roll on him for the right plea deal or immunity — and calls Drake in to take care of things. Before he gets the call, he’s in bed with Liv chatting about their days. Liv is drawn to the door to find Major there upset at her for being friendly with Blaine, which she explains is a necessary evil in her position. He relents but soon realizes that Liv has someone over and she puts the pathological liar brain to good use and launches into a crazy story about her and her younger brother patching things up and him being on a bender and then crashing in her room. It’s very convoluted and although Major offers her congratulations for mending fences, he seems put off by how quick Liv was to shoo him away. Meanwhile, Drake has been called by work and tells Liv, when she returns to the bedroom, that he’ll make it up to her with a date tomorrow. She warns him that Blaine is now the major drug supplier in town and he laughs that off as another lie and heads off to get his orders.

The next day he lies more aggressively to Liv as we see him happily take on the challenge of killing Terrell and earn some credit within the crime family. He feigns illness — a callback to his having eaten a hypochondriac brain earlier in the week, which Liv has been teasing him about during their time together this week — and heads off to Terrell’s place to take him out. When he arrives, despite having a gun trained on the other man, he gets coffee thrown in his face and Terrell takes off.

After Liv has a vision of the police arriving on the scene of a crime where Terrell was seen by Big Fish, standing over the body of a hit, they realize that their initial suspect was even more likely to be the one behind his murder. They return to Terrell’s place and although neither he nor Drake are there, the computer on his table has tabs open researching trips to Mexico.

Liv and Ravi discover that their original cured and then reverted rat, A New Hope, has suddenly and without warning died. They are more desperate than ever to find a new synthesized version of the cure to keep this same fate from befalling Major. Liv suggests that rather than a new batch of rats, they could just test anything they try on Blaine because as far as she’s concerned: he’s disposable.

The night of their rescheduled date, Drake stands Liv up, and she leaves him a voicemail telling him that she’s hoping he’s okay. After going to bed, Drake lets himself into the apartment after being told where the spare key was earlier in the episode. When he tries to sneak into bed with Liv — to make up for the no-show — Liv awakes and has a vision of him getting shot at the same time as the victim whose brain she ate. The real killer, Donnie E., is one of Blaine’s henchmen, and very much aware of the zombie situation — leaving her out to dry with leads usable to give to Clive — and making Drake an accessory to murder.

Clive informs his chief that he’s not sure what could’ve happened to their killer and she tells him to worry himself with other cases since it’s been kicked up the chain to the federal agencies it needs to be. Brief as it was, the peek out of Blaine’s window while Major was visiting earlier is just enough to show that distinctive, chiseled Lilywhite chin and tips off Dale of his involvement in whatever’s really going on with all these shady plots over at Shady Plots.

Liv pretends to be a reporter and gets invited into one of the homes of the dead guys they’re looking for — at this point desperate for leads of any kind — and gets some information about the two men buried in the field they’ve been digging up for the past few episodes. She has a vision of Big Fish killing them, first hand, and when the mother hope’s out loud that however they died, it was quick and they didn’t see it coming. In one of the more poetic turns in the use of her powers, Liv lies one last time and tells her the opposite of the vision she just witnessed. She does, however, have a very clear idea of where the bodies may be buried — near a swing set — and takes this to Major and Ravi for a night of more fruitful digging.

Major brings Blaine’s father back to the funeral home and in turn Blaine helps lure one of his clients there — who is on Major’s list — to tranq him and put him on ice as well. Blaine proceeds to commit to one of the most bizarre and amazing bits the show has ever indulged: he has Candy professional make-up his face to look like he’s an old man. When his father wakes, he pretends he’s been asleep for decades and when his father finally asks for help, he snaps and rips off the fake white beard to mock the older man. He calls in Chief and Candy — one lost an eye, the other fingers, thanks to Blaine’s father — to torture him until they feel vindicated and leaves with Les Misérables blaring on the stereo.

With Les Misérables still championing their determination, the trio find the swing set and dig up the prosthetic leg full of Utopium, finally one step closer to the cure. In a romantic finally image, the scene freezes with the three gleefully celebrating what feels like the first win they’ve had through many bleak months with the comic book style “fin” caption for both the episode and at least one of the mysteries has been evading them this long.

  • Speaking of comic book style captions, the “cop afield” caption for Clive earlier was a really solid joke.
  • This can’t be the first time we’ve heard a podcast on a TV show, but it was so delightful. Ravi listening to people dissect Star Wars VIII could have been an entire episode if you ask me, but I’m probably biased.
  • Next time you’re caught with a dead body in an open field and no excuse as to why you were there digging? Geocaching.
  • Good luck this April to the guy Stacey Boss was explaining couldn’t claim his pitbull as a dependent on his taxes. “But it depends on me.”
  • First sign that someone wasn’t a legit FBI agent? Who tells a one-night stand that you’ve infiltrated a local mob? Even the cops on The Shield have better instincts than that.
  • The monologue about how everyone lies was the closest this show has ever sounded to being a straight-up classic Veronica Mars script. You could interchange that with scenes at Neptune. Rose McIver even sounded faintly like Kristen Bell. It’s like when the light hits your cousin the right way in a photo and you’d swear it’s a picture of their parent at a young age — I promise, that’s a compliment. It was sublimely good.
  • Blaine’s mocking pictures at the FBI were also amazing. I guess if you know you’re being watched, throwing up the horns and sticking your tongue out just keeps things interesting. It’s another reminder that while Blaine is oftentimes The Worst, he’s still so compelling to watch.
  • Blaine in the grandpa make-up is up there with his fight scene with Ravi for best moments of the show of all time. There’s not much I can do but gush about how funny and left-field and perfect it was. This show is not slowing down the quality at all in its sophomore year.

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.