Essential Plot Points:
- Liv is remarkably cool about the whole cure thing. She is however murderously angry at Blaine, to the point where she all but plans to beat a confession out of him. Ravi tries to calm people down. Peyton is basically ready to hold Liv’s coat while she beats Blaine senseless.Which she does.
With one punch.
Liv is going full zombie and choking the life out of Blaine. Through sheer force of will, and Ravi talking her down, she doesn’t kill him. She really, really wants to.
- Elsewhere, at the case of the week, a cheery kindergarten teacher called Mr Brennan enjoys the last day of his job. It’s all going well until in short order his girlfriend shows up and it becomes apparent someone has been very VERY unfaithful.
- So unfaithful that he’s killed with a salvo of nails. From a nail gun. To the brain.
- Clive is devastated to see Liv is still a zombie but needs must. One peanut butter and jelly (and brain) roll up later she’s on the case.
- They go and question Jamie’s principal and the brain is already in effect. Clive questions her as LIv helps search for the school guinea pig. She admits Jamie was a womaniser, who had constant and multiple affairs with the women from his class.
- Piper, his girlfriend, is up first and makes it clear just how massive a womaniser Jamie was. The suspect list on this one is not going to be short…
- At Peyton’s office, the lawyer for the killer in the dominatrix case is arguing how flimsy the case is. Peyton doesn’t believe him. Until he points out his client has mental health issues. They work out a plea bargain and agree to go see the suspect together…
- At DA Baracus’ place, Justin and Major are wrapping up having dinner. Justin realizes Major has taken the cure, and is excited both for his friend and about there being a cure. Major points out that Seattle thinks he’s a serial killer and he’s unemployable. Justin agrees to keep his secret.
- At the case of the week, the latest suspect, Macy, reveals that her alibi is dependent on her husband. He reveals that they had an open relationship and, a lot of the time, he’d watch them. Clive and Liv are…yeah.
- Peyton talks to James, the dominatrix killer, offering a plea deal in return for the memory card from the camera. James confesses that the card is the only thing keeping him alive and…Harry Thorn, a far more senior lawyer sweeps in and takes over the case. He shuts down the plea bargain, tells her the memory card doesn’t exist and they are done. And Payton is not happy…
- Suspect 3! Her husband is a fisherman often away for months at a time.They break the news that they have to tell her husband the truth in order to verify her alibi. They do and he breaks down, sobbing. Liv, on full kindergarten teacher brain, ties too use a sock puppet to cheer him up and Clive just heads her off at the pass.
- Meanwhile, Major, Justin and Team Bro find the zombie speakeasy on a night out. The price of admission is eating a ghost pepper, one of the hottest on the planet. The zombies down them like it’s nothing. Major is just about to be forced to choose between possibly actually dying from eating a ghost pepper or coming clean when…Don E arrives, recognizes him and lets them all in.
- Justin asks Major if Liv is available and…
- We cut to Liv and Ravi being briefed by Major. Who, because even though he is a human dumpster fire made of terrible decisions and hair product, rather sweetly attempts to wingman her and Liv. They sing a song about team work, Liv gets a vision of Piper at Jamie’s front door on the night of the murder and…she goes to get Clive.
- They question Piper, who says she saw an odd black car parked further down the block. They don’t quite have her yet but there’s something more going on…
- Peyton is visited by James’ lawyer. He wants her help filing an official complaint about Thorn. Peyton doesn’t understand why until he tells her. James hung himself…
- Liv, in the middle of explaining her new sticker reward system to Clive, has another vision about the car as Clive researches it. Clive realizes STD-36, a phrase that they found on the fridge, is a partial license plate. The car is registered to a PI business. But who hired the investigator?
- That night, Liv and Justin investigate the speakeasy and Justin flirts, adorably, with Liv. Liv questions Don E about the theft and he swears he’s innocent. He does this very very loudly and in the most Don E way possible. he makes the point, and it’s a good one, that if he did have the cure then he’d be rich by now.
- The following day, Blaine arrives back at work to find Don E and his staff staging a hostile takeover. They leave, only for the thug Blaine’s dad hired to return and shoot Blaine in the chest. Blaine pleads for his life and the big guy listens…
- The next morning, Liv and Clive track down the PI who is not surprised to see them. He also gives them information that leads them back to…Macy. And her husband. Who is not in an open relationship AT ALL. Macy comes clean, admits she saw it all and…case closed.
- Peyton goes to see Ravi. She asks about James’ death and suggests Liv maybe eat some of the brain. Ravi has a cunning plan…A blue juice memory enhancing related cunning plan…
- Justin and Major talk about the ‘date’ and it turns out that it went well. To the extent that Liv, calling back to a conversation they had, passes him a a DO YOU LIKE ME? Note. Justin replies YES and Major agrees to pass it back. Then they get word about an attempt on DA Baracus’ life and gear up.
- It turns out to be Harley Johns from a couple of episodes ago. They stop him, intimidate him and it goes sideways. They run Justin over, who puts himself back together, goes full zombie and chases them off, screaming with rage.
- And they had a dashboard camera.
- Live footage. Of Zombies. In the wild.
This is another great episode in a great season. The show continually takes moments you’d expect and does something even better and surprising with them and it’s becoming a real treat to watch,
Take Justin and Liv dating, which both cleverly echoes the kindergarten setting and shows just how far everyone’s come. Even Major. There’s almost no weirdness, just three people working out romantic algebra while the world maybe starts to end a bit. What could be simpler
Likewise Blaine, who through every fault of his own is now the villain everyone thought he was once again. David Anders doesn’t know how to turn in bad work and he’s on top form here. Even minor characters like the husbands of this week’s brain’s girlfriends register as characters in their own right. It’s a small detail we know, but the guy who just breaks down crying is a really brave note in a scene that could have just been broad comedy. It’s still funny, but there’s a human cost to it and that elevates the whole plot.
Most satisfying of all this episode is the way the season’s plot strands begin to be drawn together. Major and Justin’s unit may be dull (And they are) but seeing them at Don E’s bar in the same episode that Peyton learns about the blue juice and discovers something odd about the dominatrix case does wonders for the show’s world building. This feels like a small city where everyone is falling over everyone else and that makes both Filmore-Graves’ plans and Angus’ machinations all the more terrifying.
And in among all this, izombie has officially remembered it’s a procedural show. The cases sometimes fell by the way side in the past but they’re back with a vengeance here. We also love how energized Liz and Clive’s partnership is now they have no secrets. Clive was always a great detective but both he and Peyton clearly view Liv as a vital part of their processes now. The fact they don’t view her as inhuman, or a commodity, is another element of the show that works supremely well. And is a huge relief.
Plus the brain this week is FUN. Rose McIver doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the great and completely different work she does week on week but here it’s impossible to ignore. This Liv is preppy, gentle and fun. She’s nurturing and caring and still a driven crime fighter. It’s a little like having Mr Rogers or Geoffrey from Rainbow investigating murders in Seattle only awesome instead of just a little terrifying. All in all, another great episode in a stupendously good third season for one of the best shows on TV.
- Liv being okay with Major giving the cure away is so refreshing. Any other show would have ramped up the drama.
- The ‘Getting to know you’ montage is brilliant.
- Likewise the zombie attack at the end. Really good, nasty stuff.
- There are few things as joyous as a show where a brain is doused in bright blue memory fluid.
- Although the moment where Ravi and Major find out Liv told them both they could be astronauts comes close.
- ‘UP! SCUM!’-Liv is NOT playing anymore
- ‘One nail to the head, that could be a financial dispute. But the bonus thirteen? Someone was IRKED.’
- Major and Justin’s merc buddies aren’t very interesting at ALL.
- There’s a lot of plot rendering but not quite arriving this episode. Liv and Justin’s romance, Major’s newfound humanity, the dominatrix case. It’s all interesting and fun but there’s precious little payoff.
And The Random:
- Michael Fields has directed for Veronica Mars, Third Watch and Homicide: Life on the Street among others.
- Deidre Mangan has also written for Do No Harm and The Event.
Review by Alasdair Stuart