Thursday, October 8, 2015

iZombie, Season 2, Episode 1: Grumpy Old Liv

Season 1 ended horrifically with Liv’s brother badly injured and needing a blood transfusion. Which poor Liv can’t give because of the whole zombie thing.

iZombie you already ripped out our hearts and ate them with the death of Lowell (NOT OVER IT!) tread carefully!

We do open 3 months after the surgery and little brother Evan isn’t dead no thanks to Liv – and both he and mother Eva are pretty pissed about that. Especially since Liv can’t tell them why she said no.

Poor Liv, she advises herself to ”harden herself” and act like a monster. As she tells Ravi, Major and Peyton are also avoiding Liv as well now they know about her zombieness (Major is also struggling to get a job. Ravi also almost uses the terrible and misogynist “bros before hos” line but walks it back after a look from Liv).

Crime scene time – and at least Clive’s ignorance means he doesn’t hate Liv. An old man, Wendell was killed with a car being dropped on him deliberately. His sister-in-law fills in his history – Wendell was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 30 years ago and has been bitter and unpleasant ever since.

Brain snack. (Ravi also has a new Rat he deems “New Hope” she deems “Final Hope” and there’s a nice Star Wars quip there too). Liv swears off all relationships until she is human again (she has a new room mate… which is… fine.) and Ravi sums up why they’re having trouble developing a new cure in glorious passive aggressive terms. I do like them together especially since snark makes exposition fun. Anyway to find that lost cure ingredient, they need to find Blaine

Who is now a funeral director.

Lt Suzuki also died last season (though the reason was somewhat covered up) and his widow is being honoured in his stead. That cover up has Clive all kind of suspicious – and about Liv and Major for that matter (since they made up a false alibi). Clive is not buying their reasoning. Liv’s snacking on brains has also left her very very grumpy which makes her less than sympathetic interviewer as they chase leads (but she does do grumpy well).

That grumpiness also comes with a side order of racism which Ravi could have slapped down a little harder (Asian drivers? Really? It’s also really clumsy since it’s applying an east-Asian insulting stereotype and lumping in Ravi) – and Liv realises what Blaine’s new business is and goes to visit.

Blaine mocks her with chocolate which is just cruel – further taunting her for not having any more cure. Liv, eat his brains already. She’s coming looking for the secret zombie cure ingredient and uses the threat that no-one knows if the cure is permanent or not (Blaine seems to like being human with all those feelings and senses again) and may do terrible terrible things told him.

Of course Blaine isn’t going honest – he’s smuggling drugs. Utopium zombie drugs to be exact. And now he’s tracking down the guy he had cut the drug with zombieness

Over to Major who is now a personal trainer and finally answers Liv calls warning him that Clive is super suspicious about their cover up. That suspicion is also driving Clive to interview Evan and have witnesses sketches made – which looks like Blaine

Another cranky interview (and now Liv takes issue with men in make up) followed by more leads and her terrible grumpiness causes her to make a terrible racist remark to Clive (“you’re one of the good ones” which he treats with contempt.) We then get a PMS joke going back the other way and REALLY iZombie can we get through one episode with me just loving it? Please? For Lowell’s sake (not over it). Liv and Clive keep following leads and Clive doing some nifty police work and eventually find the tearful killer and it all feels more tragic than satisfactory

In the morgue they prepare to cremate Wendal’s body because none of his next of kin want to claim him. Liv takes a life lesson – she’s not going to let misfortune bring her down and turn her into a terrible person

Poor Major may also have a zombie personal trainer client (he knows because ex-zombies have zombie sensing skills). Which he tells Ravi about who just wants to talk about the terrible kitchen. Though Liv doesn’t set off his zombie fear senses. Ravi reports this to Liv as a new zombie cure thing.

Back to the evil people – Vaughn the head of Max Rager is having to convince his board to stick with him despite the whole soft-drink-turns-people-into-spree-killers-thing. His PA looks much more sinister and awesome – she tells him she’s found a way to stop zombies.

Vaughn goes on to meet with… Major and makes a big speech about why it’s necessary to kill zombies. Vaughan has intercepted Ravi’s call to Liv and he knows about his zombie sensing. They’ve drawn up a list of potential zombies and want Major to hunt them down

And to make him do it Vaughn has intercepted Liv’s warning about the cover up. He also throws in the fact they know about Liv.

Major hunts down and kills the man he was training.

And Liv tries to make nice with her new room mate. It’s Vaughn’s colleague, Gilda.

Damn it iZombie you always do this! I should be able to watch this show while yelling how awesome this show is! I want to just hiss “preciousss” while loving the banter, Ravi, the snark, Ravi, the whole fun concept and Ravi. But you keep having to be seriously problematic with the brain eating, which we’ve talked about

You want Liv to eat the brains of the crotchety? Fine – do that. It would actually have worked better that way and people certainly need no reason to be bitter racists. But no, we went with the Fibromyalgia reasoning. Now we could have done this respectfully and had Liv be grumpy because she’s in constant pain or can’t move or can’t get around and how the isolation of it and frustration of it are limiting and annoying especially with people around her not understanding an invisible condition.

Instead there was no analsysis of her disability at all – she was just crotchety and racist (her comment on Asian drivers to Ravi was not well challenged and even Ravi seemed to treat it as humorous. I was A little happier on the comment to Clive because Clive actually seemed offended and it is a line that too many White people use and not realise is offensive – “singling out “the good ones”.) And in the end we have the whole condition being an inspirational life lesson for someone else – the disabled as inspiration porn is far too common a trope. And that's aside from the idea that someone with fibromyalgia who becomes angry and short tempered is letting it win and giving up

iZombie needs to be more careful when playing with other identities and it’s the massive glaring flaw in a show that I otherwise adore.