This week’s episode had some interesting stuff going on… Rose McIver brought her Yellow Ranger moves! Blaine’s building a mob empire, and we see a little bit more back story on Clive. Ravi puts the obvious in front of Liv’s face, and that makes Liv think about her relationship with Major – into which Ravi has somehow been drawn. We think we know what happened to Eddie. (And when Eddie said he didn’t like his teddy, you knew he was a no-good kid… No? Oh, fine.)
My two favorite things about iZombie are the writing and casting. The writing is great! There are little clues dropped in each episode that are relevant to to either the previous or upcoming episodes, which helps preserve the continuity and storyline sequence. The dialogue is both witty and cheesy at times (my favorite things!), but it’s also starting to look familiar. That in itself isn’t a bad thing necessarily, although I’d really like to see this show stand on it’s own rather than lean on comparisons to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
We’re already building the Scoobies, we’ve got the Big Bad. We have the love-interest-at-a-distance (granted, he’s not a vampire). We’ve got the younger sibling who so far hasn’t caused any trouble, but wait – is it Tuesday yet? Don’t get me wrong. I loved “Buffy,” but I love iZombie too – probably for all the same reasons, which is why I really want to see it become something more than another “Buffy” clone.
The casting of major characters is really great, and some of these folks have been around the genre before:
- Rose McIver (recurring roles in the Herculese/Xena franchises, Tinkerbelle in “Once Upon a Time,” “Power Rangers RPM” as Summer Landsdown/Yellow Bear RPM Ranger) is really owning the role of Liv Moore, and she is already my favorite alabaster badass living dead girl.
- Rahul Kholi as Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti delivers dialogue to great effect, and I would love to see him become more than comic relief – I would love to see more back story on him. So far, all we really know is that he was fired from the CDC because they thought he was a whackjob. Yeah. Bet they regret that now, huh? And if Ravi finds a cure, you can bet your ass they will be calling him back to Atlanta and Rick Grimes will be all over that!
- Malcolm Goodwin (guest appearances on “True Blood,” “Bones,” Elementary,” and a regular on “Breakout Kings”) as Det. Clive Babineaux is a little more laid back than what I’m used to seeing from other TV show cops, and it’s pretty refreshing. To me, he comes off as a a real, normal human guy who happens to be a cop instead of the cop with the attitude. He’s not Horacio Kane, and that’s a good thing.
- Robert Buckley is Major Lilywhite, Liv’s ex-fiance. Yes. That is his name. Why? I don’t know. But I’m sure there is a joke from the writer’s room in there somewhere, and I’d love to hear it! I’d also like to see Major become a bigger part of the team,
- David Anders (“Once Upon a Time,” “Vampire Diaries,” “The Revenant”) is well-cast as Blaine DeBeers (and I’m sure that there’s a writer’s room joke somewhere in there about this name, too). Hopefully he’s not just a single season bad guy. Blaine is already being compared to Spike, which I don’t think is really fair. I mean, granted – both Blaine and Spike are undead, and they are both blondes. But that’s where the resemblance ends, in my book. Blaine is already so much more than Spike… he’s becoming a crime boss, with plans to take over the city – Spike was never so ambitious. I can’t wait to see what happens next with Blaine!
- Aly Michalka (Aly & AJ, “Phil of the Future,” “Grown-Ups 2,” “Hellcats”) is Liv’s best friend and roommate Peyton Charles. I really would like to see more back story on her, and how it fits in with Liv’s story. They’re best friends – Peyton seems to know Liv’s family and Major really well. And having someone who works for the DA’s office could come in handy for this team.
- Nick Purcha (“Spooksville,” “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour”) is Liv’s little brother Evan. So far, he’s just a recurring character who doesn’t seem to really have a purpose yet. I’m sure that there will be ways for him to get into trouble though. Liv won’t be able to hide the fact that she’s dead from him very much longer.
Jackie wakes up in bed next to Blaine, who is on his cell phone. He says, “Time to look alive, baby.” She asks, “So… last night – is that a service you provide to all your clients?” He looks at her. “What do you think?” She gives a little shrug. “I think I’m paying you 25 grand a month to keep me in brains, so answering your booty call should get me a rebate.” “Oh Jackie,” Blaine responds. “I made you a zombie, but I would never make you a whore.”
Jackie watches with a look of bliss on her face as Blaine gets out of bed. They go through a spa routine – manicures, hair coloring for Jackie, spray-on tans for both of them. While Jackie goes for her morning swim, Blaine throws breakfast in a blender.
Meanwhile, Liv decided to drop in on Major with some coffee and an apology for her sketchy behavior over the past week. She rings the doorbell, and a rude young man comes out, hauling boxes. He’s grumbling and just generally not in a good mood. Liv goes inside, and Major comes down the stairs.
He’s just getting out of the shower, so is wearing only a towel. They have a little chit-chat about Jesse (the roommate currently in the process of moving out). “Yeah, that’s the last time I look for a room mate on Craig’sList. I can’t live with someone who starts every sentence with ‘yo, trip’ and always thinks I’m ‘frontin’.” Jesse goes past them with a subwoofer, “Jesse always insists on a lot of bass.”
Liv apologizes, saying that it’s all her fault – the only reason Major even needs a roommate is because by this time she would have been helping with the expenses. Major dismisses her apology gently. She offers him coffee, which he accepts. He opens the door for her to leave, and she asks him about Eddie, the shelter kid who was missing. Major tells her that they still haven’t heard from him, and now Jerome is missing too.
A girl comes down stairs, and Major greets her. “Oh! You’re up!” He introduces Karin to Liv. Liv tries to make small talk but doesn’t do so well. She notices the mug that Karin is holding, and the shirt she is wearing, Liv says, “Oh! You went to U-Dub too?” Karin says, “No, I went to Stanford.” Things get awkward quickly, and Liv leaves.
Back at the morgue, Ravi and Liv are examining a body while Liv rambles on about all the awkward that went on at Major’s house that morning. Liv comments that it wasn’t that bad, really. It could have been worse. “I could have cried… I could have thrown up… or I could have grabbed that mug, which was my very favorite morning coffee mug when Major and I were together, and I could have shattered it in a million pieces, like my heart.”
Just as Liv is about to cut into the head with the bone saw, Evan walks in. “Holy crap! My sister’s about to saw open a dude’s skull!” “No, she’s not!” Liv exclaims as she turns off the saw and puts it down. Even grins. “This is rad! I’ve never seen you do the gnarly stuff!” “And you’re not about to,” says Liv. She hands him a key to her apartment, and they talk about how their mom is freaking out over Evan’s grades. “Four A’s and two B’s? I understand that in some homes, this is considered a pat-on-the-back, frame-the-report card-achievement.”
In a voice-over, Liv shares her thoughts on brain flavor. “What a pleasant surprise it would have been if Chinese brains, or Spanish brains, or Italian brains tasted like the cuisines for which their countries were famous? No such luck…” Clive comes in and Liv quickly hides her bowl under the shroud, next to the body’s foot. “I never could understand how you guys can eat down here – I leave my coffee at the bottom step so it doesn’t get that… morgue-y smell.” Ravi pulls the shroud back from the body, and Clive recognizes the guy.
Clive tells her again to stay out of it, and she gets a vision. She sees Clive participating in a gang beating, and hears Sammy trying to stop him – “Come on, Clive – I told you, Ray’s cool!” Clive asks her what she saw. She tells him she saw nothing. As Clive leaves, Ravi looks at Liv with concern. He suspects she’s lying.
Meanwhile, Liv heads over to the Vice Department to talk to Clive’s former partner. “So Sammy’s dead! Hey, Marty – did we have a dead pool going on Sammy Wong?” “No, not on that one, Devore,” says Marty. Looking back at Liv, Devore says, “No dead pool. Hm. Then my reaction would be…. nyeh?” she says with a shrug.
Liv asks about the case that Clive was working on. Devore tells Liv that she can’t help her with that, because the case is ongoing. Liv is surprised to hear that the case is active. Liv asks, “Is there anything more general that you can tell me? I mean, about your experience working with him – what was he like on a professional level? You know… before I go too far down the road with this guy…”
“I haven’t been assuming the worst – I see it and live it in somewhat blurry color, and it looks like Clive’s a dirty cop throwing around his muscle. And that guy that he was beating up – that Ray character? His shirt said Hong Kong Video Staff on it…” They stop outside the video store. “This is the place.” Pulling out a stick of gum, she tells Ravi to follow her lead. “Should I be concerned that whatever you’re about to do requires gum?”
They enter the store, and walk up to the counter. Liv grabs a store card, and crumples it as she sticks it in her pocket. She addresses the clerk sitting behind the counter in her best “dumb bimbo” voice. “Hey there! I was wondering if you could help me. I’m looking for this guy Ray…”
The guy behind the counter asks how she knows Ray. “I met him at a party, we kind of hooked up or whatever…” Turning to Ravi, she gushes, “Do I sound sooo totally slutty right now?” Ravi looks confused. “Yeah… when don’t you sound so totally slutty?” Liv whacks him. “Dude!” she says. Through gritted teeth, Ravi whispers, “You asked…” “Whatever.”
Through Sammy’s eyes, she sees a guy being tortured with wasabi to the eyes, and Clive coming in. AJ tells Clive they found the rat. The vision ends. Seeing the fearful look on Liv’s face, Ravi asks, “What is it?” She tells him that they need to go. They start to leave, but they are met in the main room of the store by AJ and his crew.
“I hear you’re looking for Ray… and that you’re into Asian dudes. I’m AJ, and I’m into white girls… really white girls. You just might be my Moby Dick.” Liv smiles nervously. “I didn’t get your name, he says. “Melodie…?” she says. “Are you sure about that?” he asks. Ravi intervenes. “Please… It’s been Melodie… Melanie… she even tried to get me to call her Starfire last year, but I drew a line.” AJ asks her how she knows Ray. She tells him she doesn’t really know him, that they just met the one time.
They realize that the video store is the Blue Cobra hideout, and that AJ is the leader of the gang. Liv Tells Ravi about the vision she had earlier, and that Clive was in it. She says that it looked like Clive was helping them, and that Ray was AJ’s best buddy. Just then, Ravi notices Clive pull up in front of the video store. He tells Liv not to jump to conclusions, that it’s perfectly logical that a good cop investigating Sammy’s murder would logically come here. “So would a dirty cop reporting to his partners,” says Liv. They realize that they’ve been seen by one of AJ’s guys, so they leave.
When Liv gets home, Evan complains about the lack of junk food. She ignores his complaints and goes to the window. Looking out, she calls Evan over to the window. “Does that guy look suspicious to you?” Evan is confused. “uh… now that you mention it… he is taking a really long time by that bush waiting for his dog to pee.” “I know, right?” agrees Liv. Evan looks worried. “Have you been taking advantage of our state’s liberal marijuana laws?” No,” answers Liv, “why? Have you?” “Jeez… paranoid much?” Liv tells Evan to stay off of drugs and out of Peyton’s room, and to let her know if he sees anything suspicious going on, and she goes to take a shower.
Meanwhile. Blaine’s meatheads are finishing up their run. They aren’t happy with the way their boss treats them. They talk about how Blaine has the perfect business model, and the basic attitude is “Screw him.” They come up with a plan to start their own enterprise – by poaching Blaine’s customers. Dante says that Blaine won’t like it. His buddy says “Someone’s gotta be losing if someone else is winning – that’s just frickin’ science.” They already have the address lists, and they set off to make their first sale.
When Liv gets out of the shower, Clive is waiting with Evan to talk to her. Liv tells Evan he can hang out in her room. “Ill be in Payton’s room..” he says cheerfully as he goes off. Clive asks Liv why she went to talk to his old partner. Liv says she wanted to help. Clive reminds her that he doesn’t need her help. Liv says that she thinks he needs someone to watch his back. “I have a feeling Sammy ran with some very bad dudes.” “What kind of feeling?” asks Clive. “Have you been having one of your hoodoo film festivals up in there?”
Liv lies to him. “No. I haven’t had a single vision.” Clive tells her that Sammy Wong was in Federal Witness Protection. Liv makes a comment about the feds not being too good with the protection part, and Clive says, “He was fine for six months in Albuquerque, until his dumb ass had to sneak back here to visit his dying mom.” He warns her again to stay out of it, or she will wind up getting hurt.
Back at the morgue, Ravi is surprised when Major shows up. They have an awkward few words, and Ravi tells him that Liv’s not there but he can wait if he wants. Major is confused, and says he doesn’t need to wait, but he can if Ravi wants him to. “Is… now… not a good time? Do you need to finish up something?” Ravi says,
“This is a very strange conversation – are you here to see Liv?” Major says he thought he was there to talk to Ravi about renting the room. Ravi then realizes that Liv set him up. He rolls with it though, and tells Major about his surround sound system and how it’s so hard to enjoy it when there’s noisy neighbors. Major is disappointed about the noise thing, since he just got rid of a noisy roommate.
Blaine’s meatheads are at Jackie’s penthouse. They try to land their first big fish. Making their pitch to her, they say that Blaine charges so much for brains because he can – he’s the only game in town. They offer an alternative to the high price, and Jackie pretends to play along. “I’ll need to think about this,” she says. She tells them she admires their chutzpah. and compliments the intelligence of the idea – she didn’t think they could be so smart. The boys look pleased with themselves. “That’s ’cause we’re jacked. People think we’re dumb. But you don’t need body fat to have a lot of phat ideas.”
Liv breaks in to the conversation. “So wait… this is a thing? You two are moving in together?” “He had me at 4k Ultra HD tv,” replies Major. After he leaves, Liv tells Ravi about Clive coming to her place and what he said. “He threatened you?” Ravi asks. “Basically, yeah,” says Liv. “He seemed very concerned about me having any case-related visions.”
Ravi shows Liv what he’s found on the Blue Cobras. AJ is Anthony Jin, the son of the former leader of the Cobras. AJ’s father was jailed 5 months ago on conspiracy charges. Liv makes the connection between the Blue Cobras and Clive’s case, and figures out how Sammy Wong is connected. “If Sammy Wong testified against AJ’s father, no wonder he was constantly looking over his shoulder,” says Ravi. Liv rationalizes that the guy she saw being tortured in her vision had to have been before Sammy turned State’s Witness.
Ravi tries to talk Liv out of it, and suggests that they sleep on it and develop a plan of action in the morning. Liv goes out and tries to plant the device anyway, but finds that she is being watched by one of the Cobras. She leaves without planting the device. As he runs around a corner, she bumps into a homeless guy pushing a shopping cart and gets knocked to the ground. As people gather around her, someone wearing boots steps closer. This triggers a vision.
She sees AJ’s face and boot, and she ears Sammy tell AJ that Ray is a cop. She sees AJ and his crew kill Sammy. Coming out of the vision, she sees Clive get in his car, Getting up from the sidewalk, and goes through what looks almost like a Power Ranger morphing sequence. “I know Kung Fu… I know KUNG FU!”
She jumps in front of Clive’s car. Clive stops the car, and Liv tells him that she knows Ray is an undercover cop, and “if he’s not already dead the Cobras are going to kill him!” Clive gets out of the car. “What the hell is going on?” Liv tells Clive what she saw and heard in her vision, and Clive gets upset. “Ray’s burned? Dammit!” Liv tells him about her other visions, and that she saw him in all of them. He realizes that she had come to the conclusion that he’s a dirty cop, and tells her that Ray is his real partner and that he needs to find Ray before the Cobras so.
Back at Blaine’s, his runners have returned. Blaine asks them to have a taste of the new dish that’s going on the menu. They have a bite, and one of the meatheads asks about the dropcloths. “You gonna do some painting in here?” “In a manner of speaking” says Blaine. “You come up with a name for your new start-up?”
Grabbing her by the throat, he puts Liv up against the wall – breaking the glass in a picture frame. “You don’t need to protect Ray anymore, he’s dead. Right now, it’s just you and me.” “This just in from Snohomish – Ray is safe, and your boys are spread-eagle on the hood of a police cruiser. And here’s another shocker…” Liv busts out some pretty fancy zombie fu, and there’s a really cool fight scene. (See the image collage above for some of the action!)
Clive and his team come to take AJ away. Clive tells her she’s a lot tougher than she looks. As a cop leads him out in cuffs, AJ asks, “What ARE you, lady?” “Just a girl,” Liv says. “You got your ass kicked. By a girl. Get over it!” “You’re a FREAK!” yells AJ as they haul him out the door. Liv tells Clive, “I don’t know how many ‘Take Back The Night’ seminars they gave at your sorority house, but I could pretty much take out Batman with a spiral notebook and a student ID card.”
Moving day arrives, and Liv helps Ravi move in with Major. As she is unpacking some kitchen stuff and putting it away, she sees her old favorite mug in the cupboard. Tossing it in the trash, she notices Ravi watching from the doorway. “Say nothing,” she tells him. “About what?” “I’m glad you got over your nerves about signing a lease,” Liv says. “Oh… no, there’s no lease. Major didn’t want one.” Liv is surprised at that. “Really? He’s usually so… by the book with things like that.”