“Wag The Tongue Slowly” is one of those episodes designed to inch everything just a little bit forward. Typically these are considered place-setting episodes, there to set the stage for events to come in the future and not much more. Somehow, this episode manages to feel like not just place-setting, even when that’s almost exactly what most of it is. iZombie has a way of inching things forward while still keeping it entertaining.
Last week dropped a big bomb on the brewing Ravi, Peyton, and Blaine love triangle situation, and this episode doesn’t shy away from the aftermath. Ravi spends most of the episode alternately hungover, depressed, and angry, but the show somewhat wisely uses his misery as a source of humor rather than really asking the audience to feel sympathy. It turns out angry, sad, hungover Ravi is pretty funny, especially when he’s interacting with Major. (At this point, anyone interacting with Major is at least 33% funnier by association.) Liv also gets the chance to stick up for her best friend by not letting Ravi off the hook for his bad behavior, while still being a friend to him by not being too unkind.
While Ravi wallows in misery over his own poor choices, Blaine and Peyton spend most of the episode together, conveniently forced into proximity so Peyton can monitor Blaine for potential side effects of the new serum Ravi administered in last week’s episode. Ravi’s story might have been fairly emotionally straightforward, but Blaine and Peyton’s is fraught with complexities and landmines, which get fairly good and thorough discussion here. At the heart of the issue is an almost philosophical question of what makes someone a bad person, and if a formerly bad person can truly be redeemed. Blaine doesn’t remember all of the bad things he’s done—and explicitly states that he doesn’t think he wants to remember—so does that mean he can and should be forgiven, as long as he stays on the side of right? It’s a question Blaine asks himself, and one Peyton wrestles with as well as she tries to decide between her feelings for the man Blaine became once his memories were erased versus her apprehension about who he used to be.
In all of these questions, it’s far easier to understand Blaine’s conflicted feelings than it is Peyton’s, no matter how well they are articulated in this episode. For all Blaine is now, we as the audience have seen all of the terrible things Blaine has done from the beginning—which includes killing children, for heaven’s sake—so to see a principled character like Peyton be inclined to look past this so easily is a little tough to swallow. It’s this portion of Peyton’s story that makes Ravi’s reaction to the coupling make sense for his character, even if the way he approached the situation and treated Peyton in regards to it was completely out of bounds. Even Liv takes a moment to remind Peyton that while Peyton is fighting for Blaine to maybe not get his memories back, if he doesn’t it means they’ll also lose Major as they know him. Between this and her scene with Ravi, the writing strikes a careful balance with Liv by letting her voice her opinions to her two friends while not judging either of them too harshly just yet. When Blaine’s memories don’t return and Peyton decides that she wants to move forward with the man Blaine is now, it’s complicated and tough, and personally sits pretty horribly with me—but I can easily see how someone could argue Peyton’s side as well, which makes it a compelling story to tell.
One character I still can’t quite get a beat on this season is Major. He spends most of this episode searching for Natalie, despite all of the danger to himself when he gets in the crosshairs of Natalie’s captor. This is completely in character for him, considering how he spent the entirety of season one, and him handing Natalie the cure that Ravi gave him in case of emergencies (or did he?) is something right in line with his self-sacrificing past. Despite all of this feeling in character, it still sort of feels like his storyline isn’t quite clicking yet. In season one, Major had an incredible arc, and season two’s was very good as well. This one feels a little less focused so far, ostensibly all wrapped up in Major’s uneasiness that he could die or lose his memories at any moment, and yet somehow that immediacy doesn’t feel quite immediate enough. Now that Natalie maybe has the cure and Major can’t easily save himself, however, that immediacy could definitely come at any moment.
The case of the week involves an office gossip who gets poisoned by Utopium, and while the brain isn’t necessarily all that memorable, the case itself does have a few shining moments. The best part is how the case turns out to be a low-level Ocean’s Eleven plot gone wrong, as a group of coworkers tried to play a prank on a woman that wasn’t very kind to them and it backfired. The plot is complete with Clive figuring out all of the angles and narrating it to the perpetrators over a fun flashback sequence straight out of a fun caper movie. It’s a very slight case overall, and the brain isn’t the flashiest for Liv to play, but buoyant enough to be a good connector to the rest of the episode. Sometimes that’s exactly what the case needs to be.
- Clive and Liv find a conspiracy message board poster who turns out to be the brother of one of the Max Rager lab technicians, and who definitely believes (or basically outright knows) zombies are real. I don’t know yet if that specific person will be pertinent to the story, but it ending with him saying “you can’t murder what ain’t alive” is certainly chilling for the inevitable zombie vs. human fight that’s to come.
- The show’s affinity for interesting music choices continues here, with the cheeky-yet-perfect use of “I Don Quixote” from the musical Man Of La Mancha, when Major is “tilting at windmills” by searching for Natalie.
- The most amusing part of this week’s brain is Clive not understanding why Liv is being such a busybody, then both of them simultaneously cluing in when one of the murder victim’s coworkers calls her a gossip.
- I feel like having Ravi be obsessed with the porn actress wasn’t a super great look for him after having such a rough week last week. The humor of it didn’t land quite as well without the necessary distance from what came before.
- “And we know you’re good waiting in cars!” Burn, Major. Burn.