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Liar, liar, Liv’s pants are on fire on iZombie

Illustration for article titled Liar, liar, Liv’s pants are on fire on iZombie
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iZombie is full of liars. Lying is essentially baked into the premise of the show, with Liv forced to lie about her zombie status to almost everyone she comes into contact with on a daily basis. Telling the truth to someone is treated as a bigger plot point than lying, as was proven by the show-shattering way Liv’s secret was revealed to both Major and Peyton. There’s so much lying going on that it feels appropriate for the show to skewer itself a bit by having Liv eat the brain of a pathological liar and fill an episode with crazy white lies. The craziest thing? That Liv’s liar brain isn’t even close to the biggest lie being told in the episode.

Rob Thomas takes the script reins on this one, and he works with a pretty fantastic premise: While digging up that abandoned field looking for the bodies of the two drug dealers who have the tainted Utopium, Ravi and Major find another, seemingly-unrelated body instead. This brings Clive and Liv in on the case, and gives the show the opportunity to yet again tie the case of the week to the ongoing season plot, which always makes the cases more compelling. It’s a good thing this one is compelling, too—because it’s also very complicated and confusing at times.

The general gist is this: The murdered guy, nicknamed “Big Fish” for his tendency to lie and tell “big fish” stories, was working for Mr. Boss. Clive thinks a Boss hitman did the job, but Boss sends Drake to take out that hitman because Boss thinks the hitman killed Big Fish without Boss’ knowledge of consent. It’s not until Liv has a vision that she sees what really happened: Drake and Don E went to the field to find the dealers with the tainted Utopium (I think?), came across Big Fish instead, and Big Fish shot Drake and Don E killed Big Fish. It’s extremely convoluted, but it is in the episode’s favor that it is easy enough to follow the spirit of the story even if the specifics are a bit hard to grasp.

The good news about this plot development? It means Liv can find the bodies Big Fish was burying and Ravi and Major can retrieve the tainted Utopium. The bad news? It means Liv’s relationship with Drake is much more complicated than even she thought it was last week. Liv spends the episode telling amusing, ridiculous lies as she is affected by Big Fish’s brains; Liv may lie every single day of her life, but it’s comical to watch her try to navigate the kind of colorful, flamboyant lies that Big Fish preferred, and it’s a nice little subtle commentary by the show on the difference between the two things.

All this lying has a definite down side, however, and that’s when the lies get so confusing that the story itself becomes difficult to track. In the case of Drake, this is the episode where it felt like it hit that moment of not quite knowing (or remembering, if we once knew) exactly where Drake’s overall allegiances lie. He’s obviously working for Boss, and he’s also getting his brains and working undercover to an extent for Blaine, all while lying about all of it to Liv. What’s missing here right now is that one piece that ties it all together for the audience to understand exactly where his loyalties lie—and what that means for his relationship with Liv. There’s still plenty of time to flesh this out, but there was a moment during this episode where I had to pause and try to remember what Drake’s ties even were to Boss and Blaine, and that is a problem.

It feels like a bit of a small coup that the case of the week worked as well as it did this week considering how complicated it was, but it was helpfully bolstered by an absolutely great Blaine and Major story. Ever since their encounter in season one, I’ve been patiently waiting for their paths to cross in a significant way again, and it definitely did not disappoint. The great thing about this story is that the show set it up so carefully as far back as episode six of the season, by having Major send Blaine’s dad to his creepy zombie freezer. From that moment, it should have seemed obvious that Blaine and Major’s stories were going to converge, but the show smartly slow-played this convergence; first by setting up the police to think Blaine is the Chaos Killer, then having Blaine’s cronies discover Major is the culprit instead. This brings Major back into Blaine’s life at the perfect moment, right when Blaine was about to lose his entire inheritance to his awful childhood nanny because his father was presumed dead. With Major’s help (and with Major confessing his entire plan—minus the Max Rager involvement) Blaine gets his father back and puts him in the position to rescind his original will.


The plot machinations of this are extremely strong, but what makes the whole thing outstanding is how Blaine pulls it off. Blaine’s horrible history with his father has been well established in the past, and when his father unfreezes Blaine takes the opportunity to do a little payback of his own, torturing his father by making him think decades have passed since he was last awake. He does this by donning old age makeup and blathering on about the end of the world, and it’s genuinely hilarious, surprising, and yet completely fitting with Blaine’s character, and David Anders absolutely nails everything about it.

But the episode isn’t done yet. As “One Day More” from Les Miserables blares in the background and the dramatic tension rises, Ravi, Liv, and Major go to the field and find the buried drug dealers and the missing tainted Utopium. Just in time, too, because New Hope has gone from zombie again to completely dead, signaling that same fate for Blaine and Major in the future. The episode ends on a triumphant freeze frame that coincides with the final musical sting of the song and it feels completely earned, in a funny, cheesy sort of way. Now go get to work on that cure, Ravi.


Stray observations

  • Clive finally figured out that Liv takes on the personality traits of the victims! This is such a small part of the episode, but such a welcome one as it feels like Rob Thomas directly commenting back at the audience for wondering about Clive’s investigative skills in this regard.
  • Everything about the culture of Shady Plots and Don E, the Chief, and Candy was extremely amusing in this episode. Blaine’s world needed this shading desperately.
  • Ravi listening to a podcast (I think?) about Kylo Ren is a great convergence of television character and actor who plays that character, considering Rahul Kohli’s very vocal Star Wars fandom on Twitter.
  • Major is lucky to have an “I was in a mental institution!” defense for all of his questionable behavior last season, but I’m worried about where this picture of him with Blaine is heading.
  • Speaking of Major, now he is essentially working for two horrible people taking out zombies. At least Blaine isn’t requiring he kill them.