Thursday, June 8, 2017

iZombie, Season 3, Episode 10: Return of the Dead Guy

With the many many gajillion plot lines we have now, Stacey Boss is back, with a gun and, thanks to a brief visit to his not-so-loving and completely unaware wife, he now has money passports and other toys.

His next step on his path to revenge is Blaine – shooting Blaine twice in the chest. If there was ever any doubt that Blaine was a zombie this puts it to rest – he goes pale and red eye, along with Candy, and Stacey finds himself tied up in one of Blaine’s coffins.

But Blaine has other issues – he’s finding it hard to smuggle in the brains he needs for his business expansion (and a couple of employees are getting all snarky). Someone with Stacey Boss’s smuggling skills would be useful.

Time for a sales pitch – despite having killed Blaine several times now, he still isn’t buying the whole zombie thing so tries to murder Blaine again with a spike through the neck.

Having been shown again that killing a zombie is so very very very very hard to do, Stacey listens to the sales pitch

Quick check in on Major – he and Shawna have got very close very quickly with lots of sex and a whole blanket fort. I approve of the sex blanket fort. She is no doubt going to be extremely evil.

While Peyton and Liv get to spend some time together – and this has been really missing for so long because they are so awesome together. Their friendship is powerful, their injokes, their humour, bouncing off each other: I really like them together and we just don’t see it very often, if ever. More of this really helps build both of them so much.

Among their awesome friend banter, Peyton asks Liv to eat the blue brain of Wreckler because she’s sure something dubious is happening with his death and Peyton is a perfectionist and competitive and completely shameless about both. I like that – I like that she and Liv can openly joke about whether her desire to win or her desire to be right comes out on top. I like that Liv can poke her into doing things by implying she’s less than perfect at them – it’s fun because it’s treated as fun rather than glaring character flaws on Peyton’s part. This is Peyton and neither Liv nor she think these are bad things

Through the help of BDSM roleplay and visions, Liv does confirm that Wreckler seemed to strangle Roxeanne and was guilty. But as they continue to investigate (And I have to say how much I loved Peyton and Clive having identical expressions watching Liv have a vision and how utterly blasé the pair of them are about it) they discover that Wreckler didn’t hang himself – he was hanged by a prison guard. Some more investigation with a cell mate (and old run in of Liv’s) and they confirm the identity of the guard – who mysteriously died on a cruise

The whole thing is reeking of a cover up.

They speak to Wreckler’s daughter who seems to have nothing to add but is clearly suspicious of being overheard. But when left alone she eats brain goo along with the friend she’s staying with – and they both recognise Liv as a zombie. Ok this just got even more complicated.

The brain also came with mental health issues – Wreckler had guilt-based hallucinations of his ex-wife. In Liv this translates to guilt-based hallucinations of Drake, her ex-boyfriend she had to kill when he went full-on Romero zombie. He keeps poking her and taunting her about her guilt and it really ruins her sex life. But it is kind of fun as well because it’s never vicious or cruel. It’s fun and I love how everyone kind of just takes it into their stride: right until Liv resolves her guilt issues with Drake so he can move on and she and Justin can get down to it.

I have to say, given iZombie’s past record, I was surprised by this – there was no real viciousness or mocking of mental health issues. Of course, part of it is because they treated it far more as a haunting than as hallucinations – but there was a lack of exploitation and mockery even if, at the same time, there was a real lack of any actual exploration as well.

Now for the biggie: Ravi is now out of touch, his phone confiscated as he works for the anti-zombie militia in treating their captured zombie Donnie (who is still out of it on world war 2 brains). They plan to record him live until he starves and goes red-eye – and to make sure everyone gets a show, when they have enough views they plan to torture him

Ravi works with Donnie, not actually sedating and trying to hatch a plan – as Donny has a hidden burner phone he uses to contact Blaine. He’s so hungry he even tries to take a bite out of Ravi.

After enduring ramblings on conspiracy theories from the militia minions, he manages to drug him and retrieve the phone and call for help… except… this is the 21st century, who remembers phone numbers any more? Ravi doesn’t know anyone’s number and has to call Blaine for help as he’s the only number in the phone – and Blaine is busy with Stacey Boss

He does get the message but his plan is… shallow. He gathers Liv and they plan to both go in, full-on zombie. I think these people have gun and know to aim for the head so… not ideal.

As the hits on the live feed grow, the militia plans to torture Donny and then kill him – and Rachel the journalist who joined has definite concerns about that. But not as much as Ravi, he appeals to them for the sake of research, then pleas that Donny obviously feels pain and finally pleas that Donny is a person even if he is a zombie. None of this moves them so Ravi physically stands in the way – and they put a gun to his head and count down from 5

Ravi doesn’t move.

So much of this episode is what we needed from iZombie. We needed to see Liv and Peyton together, to be reminded that they’re awesome friends and work so well together – we need a lot more of this.

And, after the trainwreck of Peyton and Ravi, we needed to see some side of Ravi that isn’t the love-sick manchild obsessive: this, his courage, his integrity, his dedication doesn’t mean that other side is removed (and I definitely don’t espouse to the idea that being awesome in one area removes the bad things you’ve done elsewhere) but does make the character more than just that.