Throughout this episode we have a bit more information about Clive’s relationship with Wally and Anna. I like that because it develops him as well – the show didn’t just rest on “hey here’s some throwaway characters that justify Clive being invested” without developing any of this. It didn’t let this relationship/history just be something mentioned in the past so they can railroad him on
So we saw how he got to know his neighbours, arrested Anna’s abusive husband, looked after Wally when she had to work (and let him watch Game of Thrones, teaching him the important lesson that 9 year olds lie) and generally became closer and closer and definitely heading to romance.
Except she eventually moved in with her brother (who worked for Fillmore Graves and got the zombieness) because her abusive husband was due to be released and she didn’t want to be that hard to find
It’s a really nice montage and super emotional. Also Wally was cute and cheeky.
A lot of this is revealed as Clive talks to Detective Cavanagh who is on the case. There are also other suspicious elements like the bodies not bleeding much and the killers deciding to rip out the zombie fingernails – more proof that the killers knew what they were doing.
While they’re not on the case they do investigate anyway including speaking to Vivian at Fillmore Graves who is grimly ready for this: they’d predicted 3 years of being hidden before humans found out about them – but it’s been less than two. Her soldiers are all ready to take down any humans hunting them which naturally makes Clive nervous (he’s also interestingly conflicted when Vivian describes him as on their side. Clive clearly doesn’t agree with attacking and killing zombies but also isn’t really on side for zombie separatist army).
The counter is they also speak to the school teacher who tells how scared the kids are that humans are going to come and try and get them which is, of course, tragic and sad.
One of the family’s neighbours turns out to listen to the zombie-reveal radio show and be definitely up to his eyeballs in zombie conspiracy. But, far worse, he shows them a whole website with hundreds of contributors all adding zombie conspiracy, talking about hunting zombies – and given suspected zombie locations. One of them hacked him and found where he was and where his zombie neighbours were.
That’s all very deep and heavy so it’s probably a good thing that this week’s storyline is a bit lighter
In particular we get both Major and Liv eating brains, getting visions and Clive being with them from the beginning which is very very different from him. It includes gems like refusing the bag of crisps of Ravi casually eating while Liv and Major eat human brains, to his creeping horror when he realises Liv looks at a crime scene as a buffet and finally seeing the reasoning behind all those zombie bran changes but still finding it all a little creepy.
The victims are a father and daughter killed in a deliberate car accident – Liv eats father’s brains while Major eats the teenaged daughter’s for maximum comedy. I feel in this episode the brains are just there to be a personality change for Clive and the meta rather than to be a big thing – hence the shallowness of Liv’s “father” personality (giving kind, paternal advice, fixing things and controlling Major’s acting out). As well as to give Major the chance to do all the character acting Liv does
Which I’m kind of torn on. On the one hand Major actually does a really decent job of running with this teenaged girl persona. At the same time the persona itself is basically one cringe-worthy stereotype of teen girls we see a lot which is basically used a lot, usually as a way to dismiss or demean teenaged girls. Like the acting is good, but what he’s presenting – selfie obsessed, loud, dramatic etc etc
The murder case also troubled me. It came down to murdering the victims to hide a step-father abusing his step-daughter. His underaged step-daughter
But the presentation is all over. The relationship isn’t really treated as abusive, there’s a lot of suggestion that the daughter was fully consenting and even instigated the relationship. His action is referred to as “technically illegal”. The actual killer is the girl’s mother to protect her own reputation and inheritance. She doesn’t have a bad word to say about her husband – and she laces into her step-daughter as a stupid seductress and no-one really steps in to challenge that: either contradicting her or reassuring or supporting the girl at all.
This episode had the crime of the week be a distraction and even the brains – but all of it was shallow leading to some unsatisfying brain and an absolutely appalling depiction of sexual abuse.
Other things of note:
Ravi is still pining after Peyton
We have a new tech support guy who I suspect they will use again as they’ve spent a bit emphasising his goth persona
Vivian’s zombies use mashed up brain goop which has neither visions nor personalities attached. I think this is kind of a cop-out to be honest. I think there’s a lot to be said about maybe storing different brains for different purposes, or the challenge of running a business/society/school/military where everyone has rapidly changing personalities. That would have been interesting (and unworkable. And hilarious "our military is disabled! There was a terrible bus crash killing 10 hippies! Our soldiers are on hippy brains!")