Erik Fattrosso ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Not only was “Zombie Bro” the funniest episode in a long time, it also started to shed some light on the main story arcs for this season. As with last week, Blaine DeBeers (David Anders) and Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley) are the highlights from a story perspective. But even they couldn’t beat out Olivia ‘Liv’ Moore (Rose McIver) as the frat bro. McIver continually impresses and this week was another great example of her talents. From drawing on Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti’s (Rahul Kohli) face, to her behavior at the frat party, this might be the most memorable brain yet.
On the topic of parties, this episode had more than just the one. While both the frat party and dance club had plenty of comedic elements — Ravi and Major’s difficulty in finding drugs was great — the dance club was also meant to push the story forward. Ravi taking the initiative to go out and try Utopium was a little out of the blue, but it worked. It also introduced Major to his new vice. It’s getting difficult to tell if Liv or Major is living the more unfortunate life at this point. The two of them could both be named Stark and it would make a lot of sense. Liv may have the whole zombie thing, but Major’s zombie hunter predicament — surprisingly not touched upon much here — and new drug addiction look to be leading into much darker places. He is still alive after all. His behavior towards Liv is completely believable, which made his scene with her in the bathroom even more emotional. It would’ve been too much for him to be with another girl as the ending seemed to be implying, so the whole drug thing was a good surprise. Good in the sense that it fit, not that it’s a good thing.
Blaine had his fair share of screen time this episode as well. His plan seems to have more thought behind it than it initially seemed, although it’s hard to follow why he thought he’d be able to get away with selling Utopium the way he was. The real take away from him this week, though, was his father. His line in last season’s finale about daddy issues seemed to just be a joke, but it ending up being his driving force here was pleasantly unexpected. This show seems to use the Vince Gilligan route of using every piece of the buffalo. It’s rare that things happen here unless they have some reason to, even if that means episodes down the line.
And we can’t forget about this week’s murder case. It was more enjoyable than last week’s, if only because we haven’t seen anything with quite this many people before. Its resolution was a satisfying mix of surprise and heartbreak. It’s a testament to the show’s writing that the zombie heroine has a habit of being the last interesting character on display. Liv was absolutely hysterical and loveable as always this week, but Major and Blaine are still the highlights. That’s not a problem in the slightest, quite the opposite. Having every character’s arc be as interesting as the lead allows the show more freedom in showcasing the other characters. Time spent with characters besides Liv doesn’t feel like the kind of downtime that it would in most other shows. Instead, it’s time used to further draw the viewer in. This season is off to a really strong start, and we can only hope that it keeps this pace up in the coming weeks. A few minor issues here and there don’t detract much from the episodes overall quality.
“Real Dead Housewives of Seattle” helped to start to raise the stakes in the iZombie world, and it proved that the show can achieve success without Blaine. The focus is very much on Max Rager and all the things that they’ve been up to. It’s working well thus far, and Vaughn Du Clark (Stephen Weber) is starting to make a lasting impression. He may not quite be up to Blaine’s level of great villain, but he’s on his way. The writers are also doing a great job of tying all the different plotlines together in a believable way.
The show has a couple different arcs going on at this point, and they all coexist. First, Blaine is trying to take control of the Utopium trade. At the same time, Major has a growing Utopium addiction and Peyton Charles (Aly Michalka) is back in town leading a task force against the drug. Max Rager is actively working towards a, still unknown, end goal, while at the same time having Major hunt down zombies. Clark’s daughter (didn’t see that one coming), Gilda (Leanne Lapp), is also Liv’s new roommate. It’s difficult not to be impressed by the seeming ease that they’re able to bring this many things together.
Speaking of Gilda, she’s a great addition to the cast. She has a sort of undeniable charm, even as she’s in the process of tearing down our hero. She’s incredibly convincing as a friend of Liv’s, which is just going to make the reveal even more brutal. Liv is in desperate need of friends, and while Peyton being back is definitely good news, it may be hard for Liv to get over being betrayed by one of her only friends now. Time will tell, but in the meantime, she’s busy dealing with Major. The housewife fueled argument with Major was a few episodes coming, and it was satisfying. It had the right amount of humor while also still clearly being important. Major’s hookup with Gilda seemed a little out of nowhere, but between his new job as a hitman and his recent Utopium addiction, his mental state is clearly off.
The case this week was cleverly written to both make for an interesting episode and contribute a fair bit to the plot at large. The housewife persona was completely unique from any victim’s in the past, and it absolutely brought its share of laughs. It’s almost at a point where Rose McIver’s talent doesn’t even need praise anymore. Every episode is a stellar performance radically different from the last. The most engaging aspect of this case, though, was how it led back to Max Rager. While the zombie doctor reveal from Clark was a solid cliffhanger, it didn’t quite have the impact of Major’s drug usage last week. That being said, this is clearly leading to someplace huge.
As mentioned before, the lack of Blaine was surprising. The episode definitely didn’t need him (which is a good sign for Clark and Max Rager as primary antagonists), but at the same time it wouldn’t have hurt to get a little bit more of his game plan. Blaine has to have a few interactions with major characters coming up, and it’s up in the air which will be more impactful. On one front, Peyton is now gunning for his business even if she doesn’t know it yet. On the other, depending on what Max Rager does with zombies, Blaine can very easily get involved with that. There are few things in this world that seem like they would be better than a conversation between Blaine and Clark. Hopefully, the writers give the viewers one. It’s hard to think they’d pass on such a great opportunity.
As always, this was a great episode. It had an enjoyable case of the week that also tied pretty heavily into the overarching conflict. Peyton’s return was a pleasant surprise, and Gilda’s continued deception towards Liv is getting better and better. There hasn’t been a bad episode yet this season, but this might be the best thus far. In an interview, the creator’s mentioned that episode nine was a big one. There’s still plenty of time before that, but the stones are clearly being set in motion.
iZombie airs Tuesdays, 9/8c, on the CW.
“Zombie Bro” Episode Grade: A
“Real Dead Housewives of Seattle” Episode Grade: A