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REVIEW: iZombie 2×17 “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be”

Written by Brian Corliss

God damn, this is what iZombie could use more of, there is plenty of room for genuine drama between the cast who are completely fine to great actors and actresses. The opening scene with Ravi and Major was honestly powerful; two friends on edge thanks to a betrayal of trust in Major being the Chaos “Kidnapper,” as he put it, are finally opening up to each other. Major comes clean about being a shady man-for-hire while Ravi stands his ground instead of being the overly friendly pushover. A well-executed balance of drama and comedy makes for excellent television, the formula isn’t complicated. At least have larger chunks of heavy drama to accentuate both the emotional highs and lows.

And Liv still being a stripper bad-ass and throwing around a 300-hundred pound goon on Mr. Boss’ payroll.

See you can have your moments of serious pageantry with tears and throwing chairs and the whole nine yards, but parse them with moment of hilarity like with have with returning Frat-bro Brody Johnson who undoubtedly has a business card, the background a bikini clad woman holding a football with fireworks exploding in the distance, in Comic Sans writing it says Brody Johnson “Destroyer of Ass.” Then you followed that up with the ever eccentric Vaughn Du Clark and a little meta joke about writer/creator Rob Thomas. Terrific stuff. That being said, the amnesia that Blaine is still experiencing is starting to wear thin; if there are dozens of people talking to you like they’ve known you forever, why can’t you ask them more questions than “have we met?” Be up front that you cannot remember anything, he’s not forgetting things everyday like in Memento.

But that doesn’t mean I have no sympathy for Blaine. He had the rug pulled out from under him by Don E. and he has been more or less shrunk to a sad puppy forced to slog around Seattle being a target for thrown stones. When Ravi goes through all that Blaine has done, and now looking at what he has become, you feel worse for him.

The death of Student Body Candidate Bailey Barker, sends Liv and Clive back to college where they end up investigating one of their own, Drake’s superior in the VICE division Detective Lou Benedetto. For all his sleaze and overt sliminess, he is cleaver and knows how to work a person, even getting Liv to eat out of his hand by playing to her ambition, which is likely exactly how he played the poor Bailey–a trick that wouldn’t work on the new Liv but does on the work-crazed Liv. What I like most about iZombie is that the bad guys win a whole lot, the moral lines on who to support are often more blurred and gray; this week the “bad” guy was just a cop going around judicial standards and there happened to be collateral damage, he never personally did anything wrong in the way of murder or assault. Benedetto is just a dirt-bag, though he still got off near scot-free.

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Once again the direction of this episode was phenomenal. Veteran Michael Fields, who was prolific on Veronica Mars, Thomas’ old show, took the reigns on “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be” and brought out the acting in the entire crew. Where last episode felt more technically adept, the dramatic pieces were gripping this week. He will also be handling the finale next week, which will be the second episode during the two-hour finale.

Getting into those last few minutes, oh boy… Major looks to have an encore performance as the catalyst for the season finale, and this year in a big way. Though, the way that he was ratted out I thought was a bit ridiculous. The dog? Is that the most concrete, infallible evidence you have to put this case away? It could have been any Basset Hound, and Major’s alibi could be completely plausible because reality is often stranger than fiction. If this lady came clean to Detective Bozzio a couple of weeks ago and she began to build a case towards putting Major away, then yes, that sounds legitimate. But no, we saw that dog before so it must be Major. Putting that to the side, whoa man, a cliffhanger? Hot damn! You got me. I screamed “No!” at my television because I wanted to see Major go full-on zombie. Will he bust out of the cuffs and attack the cops that came to arrest him, Bozzio included?

Well from next week’s preview, the short answer is that he probably didn’t do much. But also from that preview, Major being in a prison seems to be the worst case scenario for everyone–the best case scenario for someone sitting on their couch watching it unfold.

The takeaway from this episode is character development, nothing in particular with Max Rager happens, and Mr. Boss is again a non-player. So the writers must feel comfortable with what they’ve laid out so far and what is to come with next week’s season finale, which makes be more nervous than excited, but you may be able to take out a couple plot threads in one swipe so maybe I shouldn’t be such a cynic. In near-typical fashion, the murder story isn’t terribly interesting, but it may have been too close to the end of the season to start introducing crazy curveballs to the plot. Nothing to write home about but nothing to get upset about.

Final Grade: B

+The ending moments

+Some wonderful dramatic scenes

+Cliffhanger with quite a bit of promise for the finale episode

–Sort of one note otherwise

–Mr. Boss is no longer a villain and they will be boring when they shove him into the last episode

–Blaine’s storyline has come to a halt

Extra Thoughts:

–Nothing much to say except that I am excited to see what happens next week. A two-hour finale to wrap up this long, long season, and the preview for next week looks to be of outbreak proportions. Maybe even a DEATH?!

 Anyone going to take 5:1 that Major gets it? Shoot us your betting lines in the comments or let us know on Twitter!

About the author

Brian Corliss