Thursday, April 9, 2015

IZombie, Season 1, Episode 4: Liv and Let Liv

Blaine is not only providing wealthy woman Jackie with brains – but they’ve set up house together including morning routines of body paint. He has a whole network of zombies now, including a woman who runs a café (and is a very good brain cook) and the two goons who attacked him. They are now his delivery drivers delivering brains to his rich zombie clients. The goons are not happy and they decide to take over his business. They’re not the greatest brains out there, despite their diet, so I don’t predict this ending well for them.

They start by making an offer to Jackie. Then Blaine shoots them both in the had, the cook is wonderfully blasé about the whole thing.

Meanwhile Liv is still trying to patch things up with Major who is wearing a towel. Major’s also kicking out his room mate (which he needs because Liv was supposed to move in with him and pay towards the rent). We also learn that Eddie, the kid who was missing last week, is still missing – as is Jerome.

Liv also gets to meet Corinne, a woman who seems to have stayed the night so is probably dating Major. Liv handles this with moderate grace – as she later points out to Ravi, she didn’t throw up or cry. Or assault people with a coffee cup

To the murder of the week, an Asian gang member who has been brutally beaten to death and then disfigured to try and make identification difficult. Ravi suggests she chow down while Liv’s voice over reflects how wonderful it is she has him to be her true self around. When Clive drops in he recognises the dead man, Sammy, and he orders Liv to stay out of it. Except she’s already eaten the brains and gets a vision of Clive brutally beating someone for snitching, presumably from the time when he worked for the vice department

Liv hides this from Clive and tells Ravi – who focuses on facial hair because Ravi. Liv makes huge assumptions about Clive being dirty. She also becomes super paranoid and suspicious and a little vicious about Corinne – and Ravi reminds her that she’s just eaten a brain and may be picking up some personality changes. Liv tries to convince Ravi to become Major’s room mate for the sake of keeping Corinne out; Ravi refuses (and is awesome while doing so) and points out again that she’s getting anxious paranoid from the brain she ate.

Liv goes to vice to investigate more on Sammy’s death and informs a detective Devore, Sammy’s old partner, who is completely indifferent (because they aren’t gambling on the man’s death) and can’t add any information about the case- but does do a bit of a hatchet job on Clive and adds that he was suspended.

Liv continues to be paranoid and assuming the worst while Ravi continues to puncture her assumptions. More investigating involves Liv trying to find Ray, the man Clive was beating, by going to the video store where he works and pretending to be sex obsessed (and dropping lots of “slutty” and similar disparagements) Asian fetishist (…whyyyyy?). This was added by Ravi looking to get out quickly and possibly because the writers think the line wouldn’t be as completely awful delivered by him. She also has another vision of Clive being present while a different snitch is tortured by an Asian gang leader who assures Clive Ray is innocent.

And this leader, AJ, is now waiting for them. He makes a crack about having a thing for super-white girls and this is just digging deeper. They leave as Ravi realises that they’ve stumbled across a major hub of the gang’s activity. As they discuss this outside, they see Clive arrive. Liv assumes the worst

We also have Liv’s brother, Evan, drop in – he’s staying with Liv for a few days while Peyton is out of town to avoid their mother. This involves waaaaay too much of him being creepy over Peyton.

Clive finally goes to see Liv at her home to tell her Sammy was in federal witness protection and to either warn or threaten her to stay out of it.

And Liv hasn’t given up on getting Ravi to move in with Major and has him go see Ravi at work for a very awkward and confusing conversation. Which becomes awesome when they bond over computer games for much geeky fun. The thought of sharing the geeky toys makes moving in sound much more fun

Back to the case – or Liv now becoming more and more paranoid about Clive being dirty and even Ravi beginning to have doubts. Though he still tries to slow her down – and fails. She goes to put a tracker on Clive’s car and has another vision – one of Sammy before he died telling AJ that Ray is a cop and she also realises she now knows kung fu. She runs to Clive to tell him the gang is going to kill Ray

Ray was Clive’s real partner when he went undercover. Clive is petty offended that Liv thought he was dirty but is more focused on contacting Devore and helping Ray. Clive runs off with the police to save Ray – leaving Liv behind.

Surprisingly she doesn’t burst in on the action – nor is there even a lot of action, just a nice simple off screen arrest (did I mention how much I like that Liv isn’t front and centre in dangerous police action being a civilian and all?). Liv makes her apologies to Clive while he reminds her he did repeatedly tell her to back off because he didn’t want her to see his past (I like that her apology doesn’t just make it ok, even as he acknowledges how helpful her visions are)

Liv does get in to some non-official action. AJ wasn’t with the men they arrested, he’s at Liv’s house, attacking her. He attacks her and she hits back with her newly learned Kung Fu. He knocks her down – and her brother returns home. Liv goes full on zombie but manages to draw it because before her brother sees – but not before AJ is unconscious

AJ is arrested and Liv has another chance to both apologise and explain to Clive what she saw and why she suspected him.

Everything is back to normal though Ravi and Major do move in together and share geeky joy (and throw cushions at she who dares walk in front of the screen).

Back to Blaine who has a new zombie follower now – and we have confirmation, if needed, that he is behind Jerome’s death.

So to provide background for the vice department we have a bearded sex worker in a dress. So no LGBT characters in Izombie but we do have a presumably trans or gender variant sex worker to provide a background snap shot of the vice department and allow Liv to be sarcastic about how terrible the place is.

I have no idea what the whole “into Asian guys” thing was supposed to be – was it supposed to be criticising the whole trope by having AJ come back with his “Moby Dick” line (showing how ridiculous it was) or trying to be funny or just plain ill thought out and dubious on an episode where Asian gang members torture informants with wasabi? And Kung Fu? Of course kung fu.

 In past episodes this show has been surprisingly subtle and willing to comment when it came to gender and race and this whole thing felt… jarring, so much so I do actually wonder if it was a poorly executed attempt at commentary rather than just a terrible attempt at humour. Maybe more fool me for getting my hopes up or liking a show enough to give it lots of high expectations.

And I do love this show. I love the characters, I love the plot lines, I adore Ravi (and Ravi and major may be incredible fun) and it was nice to see some more of Clive’s. I like the balance of how involved Liv is in the police cases excellent and just generally love this show.

So, step back from the dubious IZombie, I want to fanpoodle unashamedly, thank you very much