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REVIEW: iZombie 2×14 “Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind”

How would that be for a twist? Major turns into a flesh-rotted hyper zombie and he and Liv must have a battle for the fate of humanity on top of the Seattle Space needle? Or something.

Hey! It’s Oscar Nunez! Usually this sort of celebrity involvement stinks immediately of suspicion–he did it right? He had to because what’s the point of shelling out the fee to get them on set for a few days. There were a few bigger names this episode too, day-players sure, but faces: Chad Riley, Enrico Colantoni.

Well, this episode goes back to being a procedural, murder-of-the-week with the death of Leslie the ultra-plucky and completely zenned cafe entrepreneur, crushed by an air conditioner. That’s…ice cold. The brain that Liv munches on this week is a laid back one, almost to a total snooze, but her idioms and manner are quirky on the mom/dad joke level that it’s charming. Nothing exciting, but it is a new look for Rose McIver. Really what this does is make for Ravi to stand out with probably the most dialogue in one script he’s received in any episode this season; they cram his scenes with great one-liners but he’s also incredibly smart and versatile as clue-chaser.

“Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind” however suffers the same problems as the other single serving ensemble murders as the others in this show: they aren’t exactly brain-teasers, often relying on the hop-skip-and a jump method to landing their bad guy. The occasional last second shade being thrown over your eye if they telegraph their move too soon. You don’t need True Detective, but there’s no way to jazz it a bit?

What is the biggest bombshell of the episode is that bad-boy who is really a good boy playing bad, who is really a cop submerged into the seedy underbelly of Seattle’s criminal world, Drake has turned into quite a character, possibly one of the finest of the show–that is if there was a bit better acting on the part of Greg Finley. I believe him when he plays the earnest sympathetic, but I do not buy his “hard” side, even with all the working out he does the gangster side is underwhelming–he just doesn’t pull dichotomy off well. He is so close to having a perfectly “rounded” character. But even so, this revelation has certainly made him one of the most interesting, and the potentially biggest player coming into the last five episodes.

 

Major dropping the line on Gilda exposing Liv to her treachery, coming to a head with Liv slugging her in the face was one of several “oh hot damn” moments of the last ten minutes or so. With the “bad-guy,” Leslie’s daughter Cher getting away with the entire murder because her naive boyfriend took the entire fall for her, Clive didn’t get his man–or woman, because he did get a man, but anyway–which they unfortunately had to cut short to fill in other (deserved) narrative plots.

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Mr. Boss actually went and slit ol’ Blaine’s throat while he was still getting out his last hot-lipped line. Talk about being cold-blooded. And Blaine would know better than anyone right! Look if you honestly thought they were just going to have him go out like that and not in some terrific blaze of glory, you don’t know Blaine–of course he’s a zombie again! Ah, the best Blaine; immortal, cocky, angry; the shot of him rising from the grave had me giddy, much like last week, he had the standout moment of the episode to remind us that we may just love him the most.

But what does this all mean? Well, much like last week, some key plot points were pushed forward the problem being that they created so many with their extended season that the resolutions are going to come in flurries and chunks. Annoying but with less than a cohesive plot, it is the best the writers can do without just dumping random threads nonsensically into the final episodes. We saw Mr. Boss make his move on Blaine, Major is beginning his rebellion against Max Rager, Ravi’s cure has hit a snag though he has plenty of materials to test new vaccines with, and Drake is known to be an undercover.

What we don’t know is where Liv fits in the big picture of everything, as the side characters seem to have a larger impact on things happening around her. This time around, the conflict is too big for her and will likely come to a head at the loss of one or more close to her–that way they push her hand into the conflict. Also, the question remains if Blaine turned into a zombie because of the failing of the vaccine or otherwise, and what does this mean for Major who is already having a crisis of self. The continual absence of Vaughn keeps his intentions in the dark, though from what we know, he floats between Dr. Jekyll shelling energy drinks and Mr. Hyde being, well…lethal.

Final Grade: B-

+ Blaine is a zombie again!

+ Lots of mic-drops in the last ten minutes

+ Drake, the undercover zombie with a heart

– Slow episode for the majority of it

– Liv’s character was pretty boring

– The meatiness was back-ended but only made me want more

Extra Thoughts:

– So this week was a slower episode that really had nothing doing until the end. That being said there was a lot to be had and coming into the final five episodes, it gives me hope that this final arc will be an excellent way to cap off the second season–particularly for those whom have stuck through the entirety of it.

Seriously–did you think that Blaine was dead? There was just no way, and yet I was still pumped when I saw it. Let me know what you thought on Twitter!

About the author

Brian Corliss