iZombie‘s hot streak continues as Liv (Rose McIver) and Major (Robert Buckley) try to take their relationship to the next level.
Let’s bitch it out…
Case of the Week: Building off of last week’s case, ‘Max Wager’ opens with Harry Cole (Ray Galletti) getting gunned down in front of Clive (Malcolm Goodwin). The reveal that he was murdered by hitmen because he was blackmailing his old College friend Calvin Owens to pay his gambling debts continues the show’s trend for underwhelming reveals. If the case isn’t the most engaging, however, it is more than justified because it introduces us to a great new character: Seattle bookie, The Barber (Steven Williams). Williams’ (currently also doing great work on The Leftovers) bemused reactions to Liv’s gambling addict is a highlight. He’s a fully-fleshed out character right out of the gate and the recurring joke involving his lawyer’s attempts to dodge incriminating statements are amusing. Here’s hoping Liv revisits the shop for additional underworld information later because I would love to see The Barber become a recurring character on the show.
Mr. Boss: Another side character that makes a big impression is Mr. Boss (Max Perlich). Perlich has made a career of playing small stature characters who wind up playing big roles (think of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and his more recent run on Justified). ‘Max Rager’ is no different; introduced as simply a creepy figure at the barbershop, Mr. Boss quickly asserts himself as a baddie to watch out for when he visits Peyton (Aly Michalka). Boss is so confident and secure of his position in the city’s criminal underworld that that he actually helps re-arrange her Carrie Mathison-esque vision board of his empire before threatening and bribing her. It’s still early days for the character and this subplot, but judging from Perlich’s performance, Mr. Boss is an intimidating and powerful figure. Looking forward to seeing what he does next.
Daddy Issues: Another powerful figure, Angus DeBeers (Robert Knepper) tries a similar intimidation tactic when he visits his son Blaine’s (David Anders) workplace to assert his authority. The quick reversal of fortunes casts Blaine in a compromised position, which is something we haven’t really experienced before. Traditionally Blaine is three steps ahead, but he’s clearly unbalanced by his more dominant father. Blaine’s plan – killing his grandfather with the intention of eating his brain in order to outsmart his father – is actually kind of genius because it adopts elements from Angus’ original plan for his business competitor. Ultimately, however, Blaine needlessly kills his grandfather when Angus goes missing as a result of Major’s nocturnal “training” sessions.
Risky Business: The fact that Major is actually faking the deaths of prominent zombie businessmen is one of the better twists of the episode. It reinforces that our initial emotional feelings for Major – that he is a good guy – remain on point. This latest development also lays the foundation for the point later this season when Major’s duplicity is inevitably exposed (obviously now we’re just going to be waiting for those bodies in the freezer to wake up and escape, at which point Gilda will know that he’s lying).
Major’s secret is just one form of risky behaviour. The opener, when he descends the stairs in the best of moods to the horror of Peyton and Ravi (Rahul Kohli), is a great way to explicitly confirm that he and Liv are making a go at a relationship. For the duration of the episode the pair can barely keep their hands off of each other, much to the concern of Ravi, whose sole role in the episode is to test the rate of infection of zombism with condom-use. As much as I appreciate that Liv and Major are moving forward, including the steamiest webcam session in recent memory, there was never any way that they two were going to end up DTF. If part of the series’ cultural currency is built on the idea that being a zombie is a burden (as Liv insists it is to Blaine when he laments his cure), then Liv can’t have her cake and eat it, too. A non-sexual relationship with Major is possible, but there’s no way that the series can possibly let Liv have everything she lost when she converted to an all-brains & hot sauce diet. Otherwise there’s simply no show…
- What a rousing game of cyber-strip tease. One question: why were we denied the image of Buckley wearing a G-string?! Where.Is.It?!
- On the menu: Oyster brains. Those look icky.
- Clive is still seeking a concrete storyline of his own (the Suzuki brain is chilling in his freezer, along with any progress in this subplot). Still, his flirtatious relationship with FBI Agent Dale (Jessica Harmon) is developing nicely and his banter with Liv remains witty and, if possible, more sarcastic than ever. I like that her recent dabbling in sports-related brains has helped to bring them closer together.
- Strange coincidence: the use of the word “hypothetically” was used as a repeated punchline twice last night – here and on Scream Queens. I’d argue that the dry use of the word on iZombie by The Barber’s lawyer is more amusing, but it is hard to fault Jamie Lee Curtis’ delivery on Scream Queens, which remains one of the sole amusing aspects of that show.
- Major (when Ravi asks if they’ll always be so nauseous): “Suffer bitch”
- Dale (when Major introduces himself): “You certainly are”
- Liv (channeling her trash talking gambling alter-ego): “That is the sound of a man’s sphincter shrinking.”
- Clive (after Agent Dale suggests A Fish Called Wanda): “Does anyone else have any movie plots that may apply?”
- Liv (mocking Major for suggesting stripping makes him feel cheap): “Hey come on everyone knows that’s how you paid for College”
Your turn: what did you think of Liv as a gambler? Did The Barber make a memorable impression on you? What about Mr. Boss? Should Blaine regret his hasty decision to get back at his father? Are you surprised that Major has been killing mannequins and hiding zombie popiscles? And were you sad that Liv and Major couldn’t get it on? Sound off below.
iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on The CW