iZombie S03E04“Wag The Tongue Slowly” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- A colossally hungover Ravi is giving Blaine a check-up. Ravi explains that if Blaine’s memories haven’t returned in a couple of days they probably won’t. Blaine sets an alarm for 6am Saturday. Liv arrives, Blaine leaves and Liv good-naturedly points out just how colossally screwed Ravi now is with Peyton.
- At a dental tech firm, perennial gossip Cheryl makes her colleagues’ already dull lives even more miserable until she dies on the toilet.
- And cue the music!
- I AM AAALLLLLREEEADDDYYY DAYYYEEEED!
- And we’re back.
- It turns out we yoghurt was spiked with utopium and it reacted badly with Chery’s meds. She was poisoned, the utopium put in her yoghurt during a fire alarm that was triggered as a diversion.
- That night, Major is talking about how weird it is that he’s now an on-call mercenary. He’s bent in two by a massive coughing fit and Ravi makes the call; it’s time. He asks Liv to drop the syringes around and she does so, with gossip brain in full effect. This is not a good thing for Ravi. Major, in the meantime, is told to keep one of the cure syringes with him at all time.
- Blaine asks Peyton to stay with him until Saturday to make sure the cure works.
- At the precinct, Clive begins working the case while gossip brain kicks in good and hard for Liv. They interview the suspects. Her cubicle buddy Jim, a prime suspect at first, is revealed to be oddly grateful to Cheryl for inadvertently helping him come out. Pete, another worker, who feuded with Cheryl, fits the frame though. He claims he was on a sales call when the alarm went off, and was so convinced he’d make a sale he didn’t leave the office…
- Ravi is playing video games and feeling very, very sorry for himself. Major gets a lead from Blaine about Natalie and talks Ravi into joining him on a stakeout.
- Back at the precinct, Liv and Clive talk to Vicky, a staff member who lost a promotion thanks to Cheryl. Again, her alibi is pretty watertight. Ronda, the staffer who confirms her alibi, is on less solid ground. Cheryl learned and told everybody that Ronda used to work on porn movies, but again she seems remarkably zen about Cheryl having blurted out her secrets.
- At Oats’ place, Major explains to Ravi that they need to tag his car. The one behind locked gates…
- Liv arrives home to find Blaine as a house guest. She’s okay with it. Gossip brain is very okay with it.
- At Oats’ place, Ravi is very asleep. Major wakes him up as Oats drives out and they follow him out in the countryside. Where Oats’ bodyguard is waiting for them. With a gun.
- He tells them if he sees Major again he’s dead. Then proceeds to beat him up to really drive the point home. Major, on the other hand, is ecstatic; the beating gives him a chance to put the tracking device on Oats’ bodyguard so now he can find Natalie. Ravi cooks off at him, pointing out just how serious these guys are. Major agrees to stay away.
- Major does not stay away. He tracks them to a second location…
- At the lab, Clive has chased down Pete’s alibi and it does not check out.
- Clive makes clever use of Liv’s gossip brain giving her the transcript of every company cellphone call in recent weeks.
- Together they go through it and discover Pete’s call.
- They also discover that Jim sent Vicky a one character text a minute before the fire alarm.
- Then Liv has a vision of Cheryl watching one of Ronda’s pornos. One where she had an Italian accident…
- At the funeral home, Blaine and Peyton are hanging out around a coffin. It’s… oddly sweet.
- Blaine starts to freak out a little and Peyton very kindly reassures him. They go back to her place and prepare dinner. There’s still nothing and, as Liv points out, if he doesn’t get his memories back then the Major they know is toast.
- Ravi has done science. By watching lots of porn. He isolates Ronda’s accent from a specific movie and compares the audio wave form with the voice of the woman on the phone to Pete when the alarm went off. Pete was unknowingly talking to Ronda doing an Italian accent.
- And Clive solves the case! EVERYONE IS GUILTY!
- Using the schematics of the building, Clive walks everyone through it. Jim sends Vicky the text, she pulls the fire alarm, Jim triggers the evacuation and Cheryl leaves. Once she does, Jim and Vicky hide in the bathroom while Ronda does the fake sales call that will set Pete up. Jim spikes the yoghurt, and joins Vicky in the freight elevator to beat everyone down to the ground floor.
- Clive Babineaux. Seattle’s best and most overlooked detective.
- It turns out it really was just a prank. And now Cheryl has managed to mess their lives up even worse by dying because of them…
- At the apartment block, Major sees Natalie on the balcony and makes his move. Natalie drags him inside the apartment and Natalie tries to tell him how much trouble he’s in. Major, literally with nothing to live for at this point, isn’t having it.
- Security arrives and Major gives her the cure syringe Ravi gave him. She’s delighted until he tells her the side effects…
- At Peyton and Liv’s place, Peyton explains that if this is the last night she has with this Blaine then she wants to take advantage of it. They start to make out and, brilliantly, Blaine explains why they should stop. They do, and leave it one more night…
- Major is deploying, for real…
- At the lab, Liv is going through the transcript of the zombie hater board. She finds a post from Harkey Johns, a user with ties to a local gun range which is advertising a Zombie Hunter course…
- At Liv and Peyton’s place, Blaine’s alarm goes off. No change. Peyton leads Blaine to bed and closes the door…
- At the gun range, Clive and Liv question Wesley Johns. Wesley is a white supremacist nationalist scumbag and a near perfect suspect. Despite this his alibi checks out. Johns explains he knows zombies are real because his brother showed him a photo of one.
- His brother is the lab tech whose severed arm they used to hack into MaxRager.
- And his brother is very interested in vengeance…
This is the episode where the stylistic gear changes for season three really start to kick in. The show has, quietly, and definitively, been seriously overhauled and it’s all to the good. However, this episode those changes jar just a little.
First and foremost there’s the newly serialised nature of the show. This episode picks up almost straight after the last one, with Ravi giving Blaine his first post injection check-up. The consequences of Ravi’s catastrophic conversation with Peyton the previous night echo up and down the episode, as does Blaine and Peyton’s budding romance. It’s a strong character arc and one that gives Rahul Kohli a lot to do and it’s nice to see the consequences of events lasting more than one episode, especially in US TV where the reset button is never far away.
Likewise Major’s quest for Natalie, which is a massive plot thread from the previous season. Here, that is neatly combined with Major being something of a terrible person by him getting Ravi into serious trouble, lying very badly and then doing something very sweet and very stupid. Like Ravi and Peyton this is a plot that’s been building for a long time. Like them too, it’s given the room it needs to breathe and that helps the episode immensely.
The problem comes with the episode plot itself. The brain of the week plot is now, in a sense, the episode’s C plot. We have Major and Ravi trying to deal with their respective issues, the ongoing investigation into Wally and his family’s deaths and then a surprisingly light-hearted murder of an office gossip. It’s still great fun, and this is one of those episodes that reminds us Clive Babineaux really is one of the best detectives in Seattle. But at the same time, this feels more than a little like the episode is running in place. It’s good, but the other stuff is better. Especially as this episode we get another interesting suspect in the Wally-and-his-family case.
So, this is where iZombie is. It’s still partially the show it always was but is not quite the show it will become. Both of them are great, but for the first time this season they get in each other’s way a little here.
- The “AHHHH!” eureka moment Liv and Clive share when they find out Cheryl as a gossip is adorable.
- The wide variety of “OH GOD KILL ME NOW!” faces Ravi makes this episode is adorable.
- “Please keep your rebuke to a dull roar.”
- “I hate sex slavery as much as anyone but I don’t feel like going out in public at the moment.”
- “He’s in the endowment biz.”
“OHHH, a Bond villain… good.”
- “You’re the brainy sidekick! The guy with answers as sharp as his wit is dry!”
- “What did that poor chicken ever do to you?”
“Cross the road. And me.”
- “Klan rally?”
“We prefer the term picnic.”
- Like we say the pacing is odd this week. The Johns scenes in particular seem slightly truncated.
And The Random:
- This week’s brain seems to be cooked in surprisingly good-looking canned chunky chilli soup.
Review by Alasdair Stuart