Sometimes an episode of television is intriguing not because of what it is, but because of how it hints at things that will be important in the future. “Dirt Nap Time” is a perfectly acceptable episode of iZombie that lays the groundwork for several things that could definitely become great, making it far more interesting than it might be without them.
The brain this week is thankfully not nearly as disastrous as last week’s party girl brain, as Liv and Clive investigate the murder of a surprisingly promiscuous preschool teacher. This leads to a lot of sock puppeteering and sticker giving by Liv, and is generally innocuous (and occasionally quite funny). The case itself was another one that felt a bit like it was going through the motions, which has happened several times this season. The killer turned out to be the husband of one of the women having an affair with the teacher, and having the woman help cover up her husband’s crimes isn’t nearly enough of a twist to keep that story very fresh. Still, if the case only gave the show the opportunity to have Clive keep Liv from pulling out a sock puppet to comfort a man crying after learning his wife was having an affair, well, that might be justification enough for it to exist. Clive reacting to Liv is, once again, the show’s not-so-secret weapon.
Other than the case of the week, the episode had a lot of pure business to take care of in the aftermath of the cure being stolen and Peyton dumping Blaine. The more logistical side of this business had Liv violently confronting Blaine about stealing the cure, then moving on to Don E when Blaine swears he wasn’t the culprit. Liv going to talk to Don E finally gives us another glimpse of The Scratching Post (along with the mercenary visit there earlier in the episode with Justin and Major to blow off some steam). Don E seems shocked the cure is stolen, which means Liv’s search has gone nowhere and there are no other obvious suspects. The plot definitely thickens, here.
Speaking of the plot thickening, the most surprising thing about this episode is probably Peyton’s storyline in prosecuting the man who killed the dominatrix from a few episodes back. Liv and Clive’s cases almost never reappear like this unless they are far more important to a larger storyline, and the resurgence of the case here—plus the very strange things surrounding it—mean something is definitely rotten surrounding her death. What looks like a slam-dunk case of blackmail and murder quickly turns into the accused killer getting a fancy new lawyer, refusing to hand over the video card he was supposedly using to blackmail people, then ending up dead in his jail cell the next day. This story could seem very, very out of place, except for the fact that we know almost nothing the writers devote time to on this show is meaningless. What exactly was on that video card that someone was so desperate to hide? This question, almost more so than who stole the cure, is a very intriguing mystery.
Also intriguing is what exactly is going to happen next in the human versus zombie struggle, now that Justin accidentally exposed the human zombie hunters to his full-on zombie form. This story wasn’t very well paced throughout the episode, mostly stemming from the fact that suddenly Major was spending an excessive amount of time with Justin. In this one episode Justin basically became Major’s best friend and biggest confidante, finding out Major’s human secret and learning all about the cure, right before Major gives Justin his blessing to potentially ask Liv out on a date. Justin is a good presence on the show and I’ve advocated him getting more to do, but this felt like a bit too much too fast. Having Major and Justin’s story end the episode with them bungling an attempt to stop the humans who are hunting them is a good, suspenseful stinger, but the pacing problems of their story throughout the ep took away some of the punch of that final moment.
And that just leaves Blaine, who remains one of the toughest parts of these past few episodes for me to wrap my head around. Tonight Blaine hit his true rock bottom, having lost his girl, then losing his business when Don E strolls in and tells him he poached all his clients, then finally potentially losing his life when one of his dad’s goons shoots him in the gut. It’s doubtful Blaine will actually die, so him hitting a true rock bottom is obviously here to serve some other purpose. Now that all of his secrets are out in the open, the writers are wide open to go wherever they want with the character—whether it be a return to being a bad guy or a true redemption. The one thing that needs to happen is that whatever they do, they need to give it enough time and space to develop so they earn it. (Or they could just let him die, but then how would we get our fix of David Anders singing in every episode? Please don’t kill him.)
- One of my very favorite scenes was Ravi, Liv, and Major in the morgue talking about Liv’s propensity to end up with dead boyfriends. It felt lived in, like how friends would talk to each other, and it was nice.
- While that scene was nice, I found Major’s easy acceptance of Liv potentially dating Justin to be a bit too sudden. I know Liv and Major can’t really be together when she’s a zombie and he isn’t, but some mourning time from each of them would seem appropriate. Maybe it’s still coming.
- Major choosing to remain a mercenary even though he is no longer a zombie is a very, very bad decision. He is good at making bad decisions.
- The nails to the head was one of the more gnarly deaths this show has done. I mean that as the highest compliment.
- Blaine’s sadness was at least accompanied by a great The War On Drugs song, which is always appreciated.
- Adam Kaufman played the lawyer representing the dominatrix’s murderer, and he has history with Rob Thomas as a Veronica Mars alum. He played Jessica Chastain’s angry artist boyfriend in “The Girl Next Door!”