iZombie S03E03 “Eat, Pray, Liv” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Major is training. It is not going well. He complains and Liv and Ravi console him with video games and Chinese food.
- Elsewhere. Peyton watches Blaine play the piano in a nightclub. It turns out the singer died, Blaine dealt with the funeral and when the owner heard him sing offered him the job. Blaine asks Peyton for help with a legal problem involving his father’s estate.
- At a yoga group nearby, a yogi is beaten to death. Helloooooooo case of the week!!
- At the crime scene, a uniform officer brings Clive a possible eye witness in the shape of a cheerfully grumpy hobo who may have seen something. The hobo mentions he saw someone sprint from the yoga studio and throw a trash at away. Clive and Liv find the dumpster.
- Clive, because Clive Babineaux may be the best man in Seattle, climbs into the seafood dumpster and pulls the trash bag out. It contains bloody shoes, with a sole that fit the prints left at the studio.
- After a zombie chai latte containing the victim’s brain, Liv is all set when Doctor Kupps shows up and, it seems, is NOT going anywhere. Especially as she’s found evidence of a human brains in the stomach of a plane crash victim… who was on a flight from Seattle.
- At Peyton’s office, Ravi arrives, apologises and, well, it goes even worse than you might think. She sets him straight and heads out to the legal dispute. Just in time to remind Blaine that the guy with the lawyer is, in fact, his father.
- Blaine is remarkably zen about his dad being back and signs his money back over to him. Blaine seems entirely sincere in wanting to get to know his father again. He asks for a story about his past and dad tells him about the time Blaine bribed a teen drug dealer to pawn his mother’s earrings. Peyton throws the older man and his lawyer out.
- At the police station, Clive has found out that Topher, the victim, used to be a venture capitalist whose partner was busted trying to sell cocaine. That partner is just out of prison and, it turns out, their new prime suspect.
- Major is still a terrible, terrible mercenary. Although he does bond with Justin, the only other civilian-turned-merc. Justin, it turns out, was the DJ at the Fillmore-Graves mass incident. He’s also sufficiently sweet that he’s either doomed or a bad guy. Oh and Major starts coughing, badly…
- Major goes to see Blaine and explains about Natalie. He gives Blaine the only lead he had and Blaine agrees to look into it. He gives Major the name and address of the client and asks him not to hurt the guy.
- Major is also pretty sure he’s finally dying, a theory confirmed by Ravi at the lab later. The good news is that his memory loss reversal serum is ready. The bad news is they have no way to test it. Unless Liv can persuade Peyton to persuade Blaine to take it…
- Liv and Clive talk to Mitch, the partner who has just got out of prison, but he has completely the wrong-sized feet. He mentions that a third partner, Devon, also worked at the studio.
- Clive and Liv go see him and discover that he was the one who got Topher into mindfulness. This is lovely. The fact that Mitch’s bloodstained shoes were found in the dumpster, not so much. Mitch claims the shoes were stolen a few days previously when his house was broken into and Clive has his doubts. Liv on the other hand is absolutely convinced he’s on the up and up. They decide to track down the homeless guy and question him further.
- At the lab, Doctor Kupps basically ambushes Ravi with profoundly terrifying information; the woman in the plane crash she discovered was also at the boat party.
- The same boat party as Liv.
- Ravi is, well, incredibly bad at lying to her. She takes it on the chin and asks him out to dinner…
- While on stakeout, Clive and Liv are checked on by a police car. The cop explains a lady called in a complaint about a pimp yelling at a hooker in a car. Realising this nosey lady may be the witness they need, they go see her. She explains that the homeless man threw the trash bag in the dumpster. He wasn’t a witness. He was the killer.
- Major is no longer a terrible mercenary! And celebrates by offering Justin raw brains because Major is still a terrible human!
- Major and Justin have an actual dance play date which is adorable. Even more so when Liv shows up. In the kitchen Major has another coughing fit then watches as Liv and Justin dance, clearly horrified and grief stricken that he may not have much time left with her.
- The hobo? Was Mitch. Comparing his finger prints with those on the liquor bottle he was swilling when Clive questioned him the first time, they get a match. Mitch waits for his lawyer.
- At the lab, Team Z, and Blaine, convene. Ravi explains that the memory loss serum is ready but there may be side effects. Blaine passes. He explains that he’s not afraid of dying, he’s afraid of remembering.
- Ravi takes him down, hard. He explains that Major is only a zombie because of Blaine and that Blaine is, or at least was, a terrible person. Peyton asks why Ravi’s being such a dick and he blurts out it’s because he’s in love with her. Blaine volunteers and in the most awkward silence you can imagine, Ravi injects him.
- Elsewhere, Angus and Don E have got their zombie night club set up.
- At home, Peyton comes to see Ravi and tears a strip off him. She explains that he’s made this all about him, that it’s about his pride. She tells him the only thing stopping them happening is him. He talks and mumbles and then they kiss.
- A LOT.
- It’s romantic and lovely and… then we find out Ravi and Doctor Kupps have slept together.
- Peyton leaves.
- Don E walks the rain slicked streets of Seattle with Angus’s coffee order. He sees Blaine, happy and in his new job at the club as Liv comforts a distraught Peyton and walks slowly off back to his new job with Angus.
This is the most well behaved iZombie’s been so far this season. There’s no massive direction change, no weird format, just an interesting case of the week and a lot of emotional shrapnel. So while it lacks the fizz of the previous two episodes it’s still one of the best hours of TV you’ll see this week.
A huge part of that is just how well built the show is now. The Yoga Brain case of the week is frothy and fun but has a real impact on Liv’s emotional state. She knows, in a way she hasn’t before, that the brains have a cost this season. Rose McIver is one of the best actresses working today and she shows us that combination of serenity and panic perfectly here. Malcolm Goodwin continues to do great work too and the dumpster sequence is Clive in a nutshell; pragmatically doing a crappy job because no one else could or wants to.
But the bulk of what makes this episode work sits with Robert Buckley, Rahul Kohli, Aly Michalka and David Anders. Michalka is great as one of the newest members of Team Z but the longest serving member of Team Liv. Her scenes with Kohli hear spark and snap and she never once comes across as either a passive victim or a harridan. Peyton’s an emotional adult, Ravi isn’t and Michalka shows us just how much that costs her this week.
Buckley’s work is always great here but this week it’s especially good. Major’s growing awareness of his mortality is nicely handled and Buckley nails the character’s fundamental impulsiveness perfectly. Major is a genuinely good guy, he’s just one who goes about it in the worst way humanly possible.
Speaking of worst way possible… Ravi has a bad week. Rahul Kohli – not the Doctor Who we’ll get but the one we deserve – is one of the best elements of this incredibly good cast and he’s on fire this week. This is Ravi as a deeply troubled, unsympathetic emotional train wreck and Kohli shows us everything, the good and the bad. Ravi’s not the show’s comic relief, at least not right now, but Kohli is so good, and so honest, that he’s still a vital part of the show.
Finally David Anders manages the impossible this week; he makes us care about Blaine. Charming, calm and oddly sad, his Blaine is an empty suit realising that it needs somewhere to wear it, for good or bad. His decision to take the cure opens a world of possibilities for the show but also looks set to cost him dearly. Good man or bad, this was Blaine’s one moment of heroism and Anders makes us feel it as painfully as he does.
Calmer, more measured but no less impressive this is another episode in the strongest season of the best show you may not be watching. Recommended.
- Clive in the dumpster. Malcolm Goodwin is getting so much to do this season and it’s all glorious.
- Major being a deeply terrible mercenary and the surreal fact that Justin used to be a DJ. Nice to see Vivian’s tidy solution isn’t so tidy.
- Every Ravi and Peyton scene. This is uncomfortable, untidy and real emotional complexity and it’s amazingly well written and acted.
- Every Blaine scene. This character is a MONSTER. He’s done terrible, unforgivable things and yet David Anders makes you care about him.
- “It’s like someone ate brains AND old yoghurt and then mama birded them into a tube.” More food recaps from Major please.
- “He died doing what he loved.”
“Meditating.” This entire scene is great with Clive visibly losing his patience with the witness.
- Again, basically nothing. This is a show firing on every cylinder right now. The only thing that could be seen as bad, Ravi’s terrible life choices, actually plays very realistically and grounds the show beautifully. We do miss chirpy Ravi though.
- Oh, and Mitch-as-hobo is really, really unconvincing.
And The Random:
- This week’s brain food is zombie chai latte.
Review by Alasdair Stuart