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REVIEW: iZombie 02×09 “Cape Town”

Written by Brian Corliss

Of all the superhero names you could have, “The Fog” isn’t the worst, and if you want to dig deep enough, it’s either a subtle remark or total allegory towards the internal struggle going on in that gelatinous grey mass in Liv’shead!

Not sure if you folks are the right demographic for The CW, but they occasionally do shows featuring superheroes–the latest episode of iZombie is one of those times.  Save for a few examples, television depictions of comic superheroes don’t take themselves incredibly seriously, there’s a sincerity in their actions though by the same token they’re hamstrung to the universe. If soap operas had a budget. This is why I love this show, the self-awareness to take the layman’s view on television superheroes shows and make it fun for those of us that are in this world and that enjoy them, it’s a great break in the pace. And, furthering the point hammered in from the first season, shying away from the “Z” word is not apart of the show’s dictation, don’t play dumb to your audience.

Finally we are getting back to Utopium and the zombie problems plaguing the Seattle streets. And all those rivers flow though Blaine’s funeral home, as far as we can tell at least. Max Rager is part of it, but the zombie version of the energy drink needs the Utopium–but who is at the head of production? Can Vaughnhave his hand in both products? Perhaps Blaine’s frozen father Angus had something to do with it–he seemed (seems?) like the old-money type who’s pedigree began in half legal or fully-illegal matters.

We also get great deal more about this man Mr. Boss,the creepish man from the Ocean’s trilogy, who seems to be the head bad brain of the underground. Certainly he sounds like he is in with firearms, but is he the Golden Goose of Utopium? But what is his end game? One of those watch-the-world-burn folks?

I do enjoy him quite a bit. Reminds me of Blaine.

“Cape Town” has been continuing the latter half of this season’s trend of having an enjoyable Plot B to go along with the over-arching narrative. The murder of The Fog has caused Liv to fall into a bout of vigilantism. Rose McIver plays the part excellently; it’s hammy but earnest and so far out of the physical character that it only makes this week’s personality more fun for the viewers. You can tell with her “assault” on the warehouse, the crew was taking a bit influence from old shows like Batman and having a good laugh. Again we are graced with Rage-Liv, but again, why does she have control over it when other times it seems bestial, unhinged. A small factor, I suppose, but if there was some dialogue or anything about it, it would be a great tool to flesh out Liv’s character.

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Liv and Major’s relationship has now gone back into the pits thanks to last week’s stalker antics, though the roles seem like they have switched with Major dogging around the bushes and garage of Natalie. She’s a lovely woman who enjoys a drink, some Christmas tunes, and yeah, is a zombie. She helps shed a light to Major of the difficulty of being a zombie in this world, but it all felt very tweeny–as though the writer’s wanted to spell out to anyone that “this is what is happening in their relationship, in case you’re having trouble keeping up.” Plus the immediate warmth the two have together is a bit eye-rolling. Now that our sweethearts have ended their relationship again, all I have to ask is what was the entire point? They are exactly where they were at the beginning of this season: walking around, hands unsure asking what are we to do? How odd of a couple are we? Either give them new love interests–which we may have–or kill one of them.

Another relationship that’s tanked is the one Liv has with Clive. While the above scenario can be groan-worthy, this one feels on the nose–Liv went out on her own breaking several laws, and the law-i-est lawman through the law-book at her, more than that it was a complete breakdown of trust between the two. I believe this one.

The biggest scene we get in this episode was that Ravi’s cure isn’t a cure after all, leaving a handful of re-zombie’d folks walking about Seattle who are probably pissed about it and are undoubtedly “hangry.” Recapping off that: Mr. Boss is a cool cucumber working behind the scenes, and quite a lot in front for a mastermind; Blaine’s drug dealing business hasn’t taken off like he wished it had; Liv and Major are back to last season Liv and Major; and Clive is Clive, just a way more badass version.

Now my final word before sending you all off for the holiday break: this season is good but struggling, and the reason for this is because of this season’s length. It was recently announced that The CW had ordered six more episodes of iZombie which is incredible, however this decision was probably something that troubled the writing staff as they were likely not told how long they would have to make their story. Having this rather lame-duck episode as a strange midpoint is evidence to that hypothesis, as well as why some episodes seem as though they are nothing but padding. To conspire for a moment, iZombie was probably a bigger hit than The CW ever thought it would be and now they are doing what any sensible producer would do–have more, which of course is hell on the actual production team. But not all is lost, the final six episodes are set up with enough to have each hour knock it out of the park and for the third season to shine from head to toe, as the first season.

Notice: iZombie returns with new episodes on January 12th

Final Grade: C

+Liv as the embellished superhero

+The cure that really wasn’t provides potential for the final parts of the season

–All the plot so far has added to zilch as of now

–Another episode where nothing really happens

–Liv and Major’s relationship is boring frankly

Extra Thoughts:

–While I gave you a pretty good chunk about what I think so far, the show is still good, however I do not want this season to suffer behind the scenes and see those projected onto the final product. That can only spell danger. I hope that the team can rise up through the crap that is making network television.

What do you folks think? Am I talking out of my ass? Let me hear it in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Brian Corliss