Yeah, the warning is right on top this week. We’ve got a lot to discuss and little time to pussyfoot around with generalizations and all that rubbish. You guys waited months for this episode. Was it worth the anger at the producers and writers who said we’d be glad for so much time to stew over who died? Do you feel cheated by the dual deaths? How about all that brain matter on the ground, was it too much? Most importantly, are any of us really feeling the emotion between Rick and Negan or will the directors continue leading it to an awkward place where it’s laughable?
I, personally, feel cheated out of the surprise. The producers showed their hands months ago when they continuously stated that the show would gradually realign with what happens in the comic books. One death talked about constantly is Negan murdering Glenn. Hell, someone just released an action figure featuring Glenn’s mangled face as it’s shown on the page—which is almost identical to what’s on screen for that heartbreaking apology to Maggie. Almost in the same breath as the realigning statements, TWD higher-ups denied that Glenn would die. Red flag. Red flags everywhere. It was raining them at SDCC 2016. Since then, I’ve spent the time away from TWD saying goodbye to my favorite character. So when Negan first hit Glenn, my reaction was a resigned sigh. Then profanity, and more sighing. The show which constantly states they want to break boundaries and do new things is still utterly predictable.
Abraham’s brutal murder wasn’t overly shocking either if one stops for even a minute to think as Negan would when sizing up his newest assets. Manipulation is his bread and butter. One look at Rick’s people and how they handled interactions with the Saviors told Negan everything he needed to know—kill Abe because he’s ride-or-die loyal, keep Daryl because he’s mentally fragile and can be manipulated just like Rick. This is easy for Negan. Twisting people’s minds to do what he wants is the sole reason he’s not rotting in a walker’s gut. So why would an astute audience willingly overlook this? Why, TWD writers, would you go for the two characters who make the most sense if your desire was to shock, surprise, and devastate? Anyone with half a brain who tunes in regularly knew we’d lose Abraham. Daryl sells too much merchandise. Rick’s demise would’ve been awesome, but ultimately disappointing because the lead-up to the murder scene was so lackluster and drawn-out. Killing a woman would’ve started a feminist war in the fanbase. Carl was a good candidate, but he’s got too much potential to carry the show forward now. Plus in Negan-sense, he’s a carrot to dangle in front of Rick to ensure good behavior. The remaining gentlemen, as much as we adore them, just wouldn’t have the same impact. I would’ve been more shocked by that scene if Negan didn’t kill anyone, but just as pissed off with the direction the show took for the season premiere.
I mean, since when is five minutes of Rick staring at a set we’ve already seen before gripping television? He’s supposed to have a breakdown during the whole axe-fetching scene. Okay, that’s believable. So why did it involve long shots of walkers shuffling through smoke cut with the footage shown at SDCC with Lucille and the main cast? The scene felt like something from an indie band’s music video—a lone, agonized man surrounded by the cheesiest surroundings ever, just to feel spooky. Then, to make the death scenes mean even less, they show clips with Rick imagining everyone else getting a kiss upside the dome from Lucille. Why? We already know what he’s thinking. A good actor can do that, and Andrew Lincoln is no slouch when it comes to his face betraying every thought in Rick’s head.
They wanted to come into the Negan Era with a loud noise. In order to make noise, the plot’s gotta move faster than a snail’s pace. Inertia. Ever hear of it? The ball doesn’t roll and keep rolling without a hell of a push. It took the show fifteen minutes to get to the murders. I almost turned it off, thinking they’d strung us along for yet another week, and I was done if that were the case. It wasn’t, but the scene is buried so far in the episode, it does no good other than to turn stomachs. The only reason the scene is hidden in the episode is because of the backlash from the season six cliffhanger. Many fans felt as I did; we’ll watch the opening scene for season seven to learn who died and move on to another, more entertaining show which actually strives to write coherently. In a direct thumb-nosing to the noise-makers speaking against the cliffhanger, they cut together the episode just to make us wait through a couple commercial breaks. How nice of them to ensure the show makes a buck from a group who’re pretty likely to throw out their TWD fan badges after learning who died. I’m not tossing my badge in the fire just yet because I have hope the Negan era will smooth out, but it’s a near thing after this episode.
The violence in the episode really struck some sour notes across the fandom. Every complaint I see is met with a laugh. Fans derided the writers when there wasn’t enough undead violence. They scream for blood anytime a character or group disrespects the main cast. Yet the bad guy, who we’ve been warned about constantly since the show began by fans of the comics, comes in and does exactly what he’s supposed to, and it’s suddenly too much for the delicate flowers planted on their couches. Take up gardening if you can’t handle fake blood on a show centered on how messed up humanity is without actual rules to govern it. Were the close-ups too much? Possibly. I’m not one to judge. Horror and gore are my jam. I only started watching TWD to see what KNB FX could do with extended time to develop creatures and death gags; they’ve yet to disappoint. I will state that wanting a show built on the premise of killing things in order to survive to shy away from gruesome murders is like expecting a unicorn to lick away your tears while curing cancer. It won’t happen.
For the most part, we already knew what’d happen plot wise: Someone dies, Rick and Negan have a long moment to deal with Rick’s stubbornness, the Alexandria crew is absorbed by the Saviors, and Maggie wants blood, but she’s in no position to even walk, let alone lead a war. Daryl as the cause of Glenn’s death was the lone surprise for me—as I stated, I saw the death coming, just not how it’d happen. We’ve waited since Merle’s death for Daryl to be relevant to the plot again and now I want him to be the next big death on the show. Why? Because Daryl knew dang well that someone else, not him, would die for that single punch. They all knew Negan’s M.O. by that point. Abe died because of Rick’s hubris, yet that wasn’t lesson enough for everyone’s apocalyptic savior? Yeah, no. I’m beyond done with their failed attempts to make Daryl into an actual character. He’s been a two-dimensional promotional tool for so long, they’ve forgotten the character has a brain.
Now that the clunky season opener is behind us, maybe the ball will roll through season seven better. But, wait, we’ve still got a whole ‘nother group to introduce over at The Kingdom. If that episode is as awkward and poorly timed as the Negan/Rick glare-downs in the RV, I don’t know how much longer they can continue to pretend they know how to produce a show, let alone write one with so much potential for real depth and ability to shine a light on the massive problems in today’s society. They keep dropping the ball. I’m tired of waiting for someone in the TWD production office to finally pick it up and run it in for a touchdown. It’s time they returned to giving fans entertainment of substance instead of shilling the Walking Dead name and filling their coffers.
Team Zombie rolled into San Diego for Comic-Con 2016, looking quite sharp, I might add. Wardrobe aside, the gang was down a man. Robert Buckley couldn’t make it. However, newly-christened series regular Aly Michalka joined the cast, along with show creators Rob Thomas and Diane Russiero-Wright. They were in good spirits, despite the usual chaos at the con. For a good reason, they began filming for season three this week. Matter of fact, I think I saw Rose McIver post a video from the set on Wednesday with Buckley in tow. The zombie ball is rolling. But how are they going to deal with the fallout from the season two finale?
We said goodbye to our main Big Bad. His company was taken over by Vivian Stoll and her undead army. Rob Thomas said Stoll comes into the show in a unique position. “I’m not sure I file her under Big Bad” Going into season three, Stoll is a reactionary presence to the impending zombie problems once the public finds out. Only, instead of having a standing army to defend humans, this army is made from the undead to carve out a place in the world for them once the truth flies. Power like that can be corrupted. It’ll be interesting to see which side of the fence Stoll lands on, or if she can carefully navigate the line between and remain lawful neutral. Adding so many new zombies to the mix poses some ethical questions for Liv. An example given later in the panel pits Liv’s shocking white hair and pale skin against Stoll’s brood who strive to always blend in, covering the very thing which makes Liv unique.
Team Z will regroup stronger than ever. Liv is determined to keep everyone on the same page. No secrets. Out the gate, they dig into Stoll’s company. Some B-stories aren’t following through right away. The Boss story line will take a back-burner to establish new characters and dynamics. Major will search for Natalie and fulfil his promise to her. Not sure if that’s a solo mission or not. I’d assume not since they finally have everyone on the same page. We’re not done cleaning up the Chaos Killer mess, either. There’s one more Popsicle to defrost. Robert Knepper will return as Angus DeBeers in episode one this season. I’m thrilled. The DeBeers family reunions are a things of beauty.
The creators promise a shift in the story style. Season three will play out more like episodes of Law and Order, where Liv and Clive catch the bad guys, Peyton prosecutes. It looks like more of the crimes will tie into the zombie thing, at least from the way Thomas phrased the style rundown.
Other random tidbits dropped during the panel include a promise from the creators to McIver that they will not kill Liv’s next romantic interest, even if it is Major. This isn’t Supernatural. The hot lead actor can’t keep dying and coming back via some miracle.
Yes, there’s a love triangle with Ravi, Peyton, and Blaine. No, none of them know where it’s going. Though the cast joked about making it an open relationship, including Clive, and dragging Liv along as the fifth wheel.
Don’t get your hopes up for a working cure. Thomas said if Ravi creates a cure, the show is over. He also enjoys writing Blaine’s memory loss too much to give up cure 2.0’s side-effects and move on to 3.0 just yet.
We learned that McIver got to veto one potential brain for season three. From a list of about fifty. Then the night before the SDCC panel, they informed her she would get to play dominatrix this season. Guess that one isn’t up for negotiation. It better be the most integral part of the story this season or I’m going to roll my eyes at yet another excuse to dress Liv down in any way.
The new zombie blood will shake things up for the show, along with a new story format. If they keep the momentum from the finale rolling through the first couple episodes, it should be a fun ride. iZombie returns to CW in October.
This is one character who will always be made the butt of the joke. Just when things get serious, she finds herself in a strip club white girl bouncing her butt at Peyton in hopes of sparking a vision. Why not, you know, go to the dead woman’s house to trigger something? Track down the ex-boyfriend and talk to him? Surely the dead woman wasn’t a walking, disrobing, stereotype.
Oops, cat’s out of the bag. Yes, Peyton makes another return to the show, filling her place as Liv’s roommate. There’s a change in their relationship now that Peyton knows about zombies. I’m not sure I like it. Cassidy, the dead stripper, was ready to turn in her boyfriend Nick. He just so happens to work for Boss, and she just so happens to have accidentally found a stash house where the empire bags drugs. A lot of drugs. Peyton needs the information in her bashed-in head. Liv is the only key to unlock it. Their interactions after Liv goes dumb on stripper brains turns from friends to boss and underling. Liv didn’t even want to eat the brain. She’d picked out another, safer, brain for lunch. I get Liv pushing herself to be useful and utilizing the powers she’s gained to remain relevant, but why would Peyton use her friend like she’s one of those psychic quarter machines? Yes, she’s desperate. If Boss isn’t put away soon, he’ll send someone after Peyton. But that is no excuse to use a friend with no regard to her motivation behind constantly exposing herself to brains which make her completely looney. Solving murders is what makes Liv tick post-zombiehood. Peyton isn’t concerned with the murder at all, just the information she can pry from Liv and Cassidy’s brain. They do eventually figure out who did it thanks in part to actual police work—running credit cards and known customers through the system with a vehicle description—and help from our favorite weatherman, Johnny Frost. Liv’s big help for the murder case was a vision leading them to the sole eye witness capable of IDing the vehicle.
Things aren’t looking up for Blaine after taking the emergency-only cure Ravi provided. Sure, it made Blaine human again, but he can’t remember anything. Seriously. Tell him a color and two minutes later, he has no clue you even spoke. Don E. and Chief try to keep it under wraps. They pass off his odd behavior when Liv and Peyton visit to discuss his missed meetings as him being confused because he’s out of the loop or tired. Eventually when Blaine doesn’t recover himself, they take him to Ravi to run tests. There’s a glorious moment where David Anders is utterly brilliant, showing how terrified Blaine is not having a memory to solidify his identity. His goon squad will not help matters. Don E. and Chief see a gap in the drug trade—Blaine buried their business, literally, and Boss just lost a major stash house thanks to Liv’s visions. It’s a gap they want to fill. Don E. even goes so far as to turn zombie as insurance policy against assassination. Not the pair’s brightest move. They’re rats sinking a sinking ship. If Ravi can’t reverse the cure’s effects, they’ll need a way to make a living anyway.
The huge news for the show is what’s going on with Ravi and Major. It all ties back to that freaking dog. The morning newspaper has a story charting the Chaos Killer’s victims. One photo is the dog and its owner, which triggers another round of, “Where did you get him? Where did he go?” Which leads to Major failing to convince Ravi that the dog they once housed and the dog in the picture are different. At some point, Major had to consider Ravi’s access to the police and his ability to charm anyone. Bothered by their morning talk, Ravi asks Bozzio about the dog. In return, she asks if he can ID the man in a surveillance picture from Blaine’s. Ravi lies, of course. He won’t say anything until he can find proof. First stop? Breaking into his roommate’s safe. It takes a while, but Ravi uncovers Major’s Chaos Killer kit. Later, he confronts Major with the evidence. Still, Major cannot tell anyone about his link to Max Rager. Pushed to the brink of panic, the adrenaline rush triggers Major’s reversion to zombie. Before he attacks, Ravi doses him with the same injector gun he uses as the Chaos Killer. I’m elated someone finally can call Major on his bull dung Long Ranger idea. Instead of alerting Liv to danger, he hid it from her. In doing so, he put everyone in danger. If Du Clark learns that Ravi has been testing zombies on his own, Ravi will either end up working in an underground bunker until he’s no longer useful or he’ll be murdered to keep the zombie information zipped tight. Either way, exposing Max Rager’s schemes to Team Zombie personnel means everyone in their little friends circle has a target on their forehead. Du Clark sent Janko to nab his own daughter. He won’t hesitate to take out the team.
I am growing tired of our Big Bads for the season. Boss is a tiny man with anger issues and not much substance other than freaky. Du Clark’s threats have been so vague when it comes to the core characters, each time he orders a new death, it’s not surprising and lacks the impact death should have. My hope is these last episodes will wipe out both problems, introduce a few new ones, and finally let Clive in on Team Zombie’s existence.
Someone messed with the screws holding up a window-mounted A/C unit in the apartment above Leslie’s coffee shop, Positivity, and when she went outside to check out the chalk art her daughter mentions, the A/C unit drops on her head. There’s the usual suspects dragged into the fray thanks to Liv’s dead-end visions. We meet Pam, the loud-mouth inmate from Liv’s short stay in jail, as she’s holed up in the bathroom of the apartment puffing on a vape pen with cannabis oil. Leslie’s ex husband, Stan, is likewise waved as a red herring. As is Gilbert, boyfriend to Leslie’s daughter, Cher. Gilbert swears he’s this ultra deep French guy, but really he’s the son to a real estate agent. An agent with access to the apartment above Positivity. Gilbert would do anything to make Cher happy, even let her talk him into taking the fall for the murder after one stolen kiss in the police station. Cher gets away. Liv gets the jitters from her caffeine habit.
While Liv and Clive catch one half of the murderous duo, Ravi works on the cure now that they finally secured the tainted Utopium samples. Major hovers a lot of this episode—his only other bit to add to the episode involves finally outing Rita/Gilda to Liv as a spy, prompting Liv to hit Rita and kick her out. Hovering won’t make the cure happen any faster. Matter of fact, not much will at this rate. The replica of the cure which worked on Major and Blaine turns a test rat into a Romero zombie. They’re going to need that cure sooner than later if they plan to save everyone attached to Team Z.
Turns out, Boss isn’t the only bright cookie in his organization. His debt collector remembers Blaine from his days as a street level dealer nicknamed Chinatown. Not because he worked that district, but because he took the district by force. Seeing the potential for Blaine to be the one behind the new drug ring, Boss orders a hit. Blaine is kidnapped, half nude, from his funeral home. They drive him to the woods, slit his throat, and bury him alive. The next day, Blaine wakes looking like he needs to drink every drop of coffee in Positivity and stumbles away from his grave behind a Girl Scout troop. Guess trauma like that will negate the cure. How long until Blaine either croaks or stops being so picky about his meals?
The longer we deal with Drake, the more I want to not like this random man they’ve shoved in Liv’s bed for sake of giving her a male shoulder to cry on after bombing her previous relationship with the dreaded sexually transmitted disease dead horse. Thing is, they’re finding ways to make Drake vital to the overall plot, which happens to be the confrontation with Boss this season. Drake isn’t just Blaine’s spy in Boss’ camp, he’s a vice detective in deep cover spying on everyone even claiming to push Utopium. His handlers rough him up after dragging him in in front of Boss’ guys, then they gather his intel and urge him to drop Liv.
Dating someone associated with the police isn’t just a bad idea, it’s a surefire way to get dead. Which, given the way this show goes, will happen. Major only escaped death because of Liv’s scratch and then the cure. There’s no cure for a dead zombie.
I know Ravi and Liv work for the morgue and all, but they’re usually not the ones to find the bodies, let alone report them to the police. While searching yet again for the murdered Utopium dealers with the tainted batch, Major and Ravi unearth a body far too fresh to be their prize. There’s no ID on the mystery dead guy, but he does have a gun and a coaster with a phone number scrawled on the back.
Clive seems to buy Ravi’s geocaching explanation when he asks how they found the body. He still takes Major aside for a private conversation. Not about the body nearby, but the Cute Meat incident. Using the good ol’ crazypants excuse, Major dodges the questions. It’s only now that Clive sees the really weird stuff; first Major’s connection in part to the brain and Julien DuPont and then later in the episode Clive question’s Liv’s personality changes reflecting the homicide victims they’re investigating. Funny how they managed to write around this for so long, it’s almost ludicrous they’d attempt to clue in Clive about Team Z.
The coaster yields its secrets, leading the team to a woman IDing the dead guy as Corey, no last name. They’d hooked up a while back at a place called Possibilities, but Corey never called her again. Gee, would that be because he was busy feeding the ecosystem in a field? The girl also dropped a bombshell; Corey said he was FBI. At Possibilities, the bartender has great things to say about Corey “Big Fish” Carp. Namely, his ability to lie his way into the pants of any woman he set his eyes on. No lie was ever grand enough for Corey, who in reality worked for an arcade game company repairing machines and collecting quarters. Boss just so happens to own this guy’s company, too. Is there anything happening in the city not supervised by Boss? Does he check everyone’s pee to make sure they’re hydrated, too? This show puts too much on their Big Bads in order to simplify the plot.
There’s a few red herrings, some tail-chasing. It all leads to another murder case with Terrell Johnson as the primary person of interest. Liv gets a few visions magically connecting Big Fish to Terrell and later Fish’s connection to the murdered Utopium dealers planted somewhere in that accursed field. Basically, Fish killed the dealers. He then kept an eye on the field to make sure they remained buried. When Don E and Drake, of all people, started digging, Fish shot Drake. This all ties back to the night Liv made Drake a zombie. I’d call it clever story weaving, but they reached so far to make this plot tie together, it doesn’t make sense unless we’re willing to forget how heavily they rely on Liv “accidentally” discovering everything. Also, Liv seems way too okay with Drake lying to her. She still calls him her boyfriend after the vision connecting him and Don E to the murder she’s investigating. A similar lie from Major would have caused three episodes of angst.
Speaking of Major, where’s he been after helping Ravi dig up the body? Well, you could say he’s helping Blaine comfort test caskets. Don E and Chief are called by a client who trapped Major in their panic room after he went to add them to his ice cube collection. Blaine and Major eventually strike a deal—Major takes care of the zombies Blaine wants and frees Angus McDonough in exchange for living outside a six-foot deep casket. Seems fair to me. They put the partnership to test with Jimmy Chu, Blaine’s newspaper inside man. Chu is high-maintenance, something Blaine cannot handle in his sources. Major drugs Chu with no incident. Later he returns Angus to his son. Blaine has some fun, dressing like he’s aged at least thirty years. Fresh off the defrost cycle, Angus is slow to figure out what’s happening. He even begs Blaine to help—a refreshing turn in the relationship for the son since he was always the one begging when his caretakers abused him. Once Angus is more himself, he thinks to outsmart Blaine. One step ahead, Blaine brings in Chief and Candy, both of whom have suffered thanks to Angus. Blaine is assured the will, currently drafted to give his abusive caretaker the entire inheritance, will be changed soon.
The point to this episode is to finally find the bodies with the tainted Utopium. Well, they found them. Everything else is fluff. There’s no change in the case with Boss. Blaine’s personal beef takes him from the conflict with the main bad guy and the FBI. Peyton is MIA in the episode. Drake vanishes after running an errand for Boss, so there’s no emotional resolution after Liv finds out he’s deeper in Blaine’s business than she thought. The whole episode was simply to get to that discovery moment with the Les Miserables soundtrack playing. Way to have storytelling goals, guys.
I honestly thought we were past the time where everything associated with erotica was followed by a not-so witty reference to a novel/movie franchise I need not even mention because it’s right there in the title for this episode, though the erotic novel within this episode has no resemblance whatsoever to the referenced franchise. So why would they use the name? To boost ratings by using the promise of a nude lead actor—in this case, Liv—and further undermine her place as a productive member on Team Z.
Pumping Liv with “horny librarian brains” gives them a blanket pardon to sell their floundering product with cleavage and numerous make-out sessions. Jumping on the bandwagon with the episode title is like a rocket pack strapped onto the show’s pet shark. If Liv isn’t in bed with someone, they don’t know what to do with her emotionally. She’s either the postal child for bipolar, riding hard on each brain she eats, or she’s sex-obsessed and weeping. There’s few middle-ground moments where she remembers herself. They tried to establish control over the brain in this episode, but given the big picture, it isn’t effective. She still ends up in bed with a hot guy—Drake the newly undead zombie, who also happens to be a double agent for Blaine in Boss’ drug ring.
It’s all so predictable. As is the case’s conclusion.
If you follow this show regularly, you’ll notice a startling trend to their crime-solving tactics. Inevitably, the murderer is actually the first solid suspect in the case or the spouse—Often, they’re one in the same. Occasionally they’ll pull a Shyamalan, leaning hard on the plot-twist gimmick and convenient case solutions. Yes, this is a dramedy leaning harder on the comedy side at times, but there still has be natural tension resolution and variety in the cases they cover. Most episodes, we know who did it not long after they find the bodies just by following their simplistic pattern.
Long story short: All writers are petty and jealous, but not petty enough to kill. Meanwhile husbands are equally petty and jealous and they do indeed kill. The only way they managed to stretch Grace LeGare’s case to the episode’s end was to make Grace’s husband, Andy, physically handicapped and therefore not an obvious threat. His original questioning with Clive is glossed over by Liv’s incredibly raunchy day dream featuring Andy’s home care assistant, furthering the vain attempt to obscure the writer’s sole solution to any woman’s murder on the show. In the end, Andy went to a lot of work destroying his wife’s chance at a career writing erotica, then pinned the murder on Grace’s library co-worker, Muriel—who also happens to be a writer, but she pens crime thrillers. Why? So people wouldn’t think he is less of a man.
Blaine goes from having an awesome week to a not-so-awesome week overnight. Bozzio and Clive dig deep and discover his real name. No, not the one we’ve heard all the time, but his really real name. The pieces fall in Clive’s lap at last. They waste no time scooping up Blaine and hauling him to the police station for questioning. For a guy who’s had his junk metaphorically kicked twice in a row, he’s pretty smug. In comes his knight in shining armor—armor he’s seen up close and personal after drinking and sleeping with Peyton in her office the night before. Blaine is a key witness against Boss and therefore has immunity. Clive lays out what kind of guy he thinks Blaine is to Peyton. She still gets Blaine out of the handcuffs, but then turns to Liv for verification about who Blaine, John to her, really is. It breaks Peyton.
A lot of dead-ends for Bozzio and Clive in this episode. They finally get the GPS tracker in the missing guy’s dog turned on. Major overhears this plan and panics, downing a Max Rager and parkouring his way to the groomer where he left the dog. He lies to the groomer, telling her he rescued the dog from an angry cop and if the cop comes around to find him, she has to lie. Major panicked, and stupidly abandoned the dog on a city bus, for no reason. The GPS chip is in the dog’s tags, which Major ditched after he originally kidnapped it. Most heart-breaking, Major lies to Ravi about the dog’s whereabouts, saying he gave it back to the family who lost it.
It feels like they’re trying to tie up loose ends by continuing the age-old tradition of bone-headed moves by the lead characters. They want us to like Major, yet he continuously perpetuates animal neglect. Liv only has personality with a man in her bed. Peyton is set up to die soon given how deep she’s gotten in the Boss case. And Ravi? He’s keeping to himself, searching the field of woes and missing the dog which shouldn’t have been.
Ravi may be the only character fans connect with anymore.
The fans don’t want braindead Liv, jonesing for relationship bliss more than stability in her life. They want intelligent Liv who makes great strides to accept herself while remaining a vital part of the crime-solving team. While they did try to make that happen in this episode, eventually the effort becomes too much and we lose Liv to the brain’s influence. It’s annoying. I shouldn’t have to tune out the lead character to enjoy a show. Why would the writers think we want to see one of few female-lead shows on TV centered around yet another weakly-written woman obsessed with who she’s going to marry? I honestly expected more from them.
Liv isn’t the only character suffering from poor planning by the writers. Clive has been a great big void for personal information since the get-go. In this episode, they’re forced to disclose his entire personality, family history, and past relationships. But because there’s so much to cover, this venture into last-minute character development happens in a two-minute conversation with Agent Bozzio where she info-dumps everything vital to the case, with just enough fun tidbits thrown in to distract fans from realizing these are things we really should already know. It sours the interesting parts of Clive’s personality, making later jokes at his expense fall flatter than Rita’s sense of humor.
The woman we saw ditching a package on Bozzio’s welcome mat is Regina Sumner, Clive’s ex-girlfriend. What? Clive has a social life? Don’t die of shock. Regina finds herself dead after a man attacks her and she’s shot in the back by an unseen killer.
Clive IDs the body on the scene. He also IDs the murder weapon—his 9mm handgun, which Regina stole the night before her death. Seeing as he’s now suspect number one, Detective Cavanaugh is brought in to handle the case. Or in this show’s way of thinking, Cavanaugh is an insulting nitwit while Liv and Ravi attempt to solve the case without Clive. Because Clive is the only competent detective on the force, despite having some of the worse closing numbers because he’s caught up in the zombie weirdness. Sure. Makes sense to disregard the intelligence of an entire department just to make a character with no development until eleven minutes into episode 208 look better.
Turns out, Regina was, like every other woman on this show, completely unhinged when it came to men. She chased police officers, dated them, then obsessed over them to the point where she created Photoshopped wedding and engagement pictures, announcements, etc. She’d know how to make them look real enough, Regina boasted the title of worst wedding planner in the city. A former client, Uma Voss—who Regina sued for non-payment—was blessed to have the psycho show up to her wedding drunk. This was after Regina slept with Uma’s fiancé, Matthew. Yup, you guessed right. Matthew is a police officer. That trail runs cold. Liv chases down an SUV pictured not only in the photo album Regina made for Clive, but also Matthew Voss. The SUV tracks back to Chief Walt Price. Liv, the genius, is caught after breaking into the SUV.
Orange is not Liv’s color. Nor does jail time sit well with her dietary needs. She nearly eats possibly the most obnoxious character introduced on the show—a fellow inmate who literally doesn’t shut up for the entirety of Liv’s jail time. Luckily she’s released in the nick of time. Ravi greets her with a Regina milkshake. Yeah, because more obsessive brain is just what the fans want to see. Liv’s already put Major on high alert with her batty behavior—breaking into his phone to read texts, weeping because he won’t unlock the safe he keeps his zombie-killing supplies in, scanning his Facebook page for anyone and everyone who may be flirting with him, and the icing on the cake comes when she does half of this in front of Gilda/Rita.
The case itself runs in circles until they look at the scrapbook again. What’s this? Uma’s ring on Regina’s finger in a photo? The linchpin for the entire case was under their noses the entire time? How convenient. Uma and her brother Karl confronted Regina the night she died, intending to scare her into leaving Matthew alone and retrieving the ring. They didn’t expect her to fight back. Uma shot Regina to save her brother. Case closed.
What’s not so simple to wrap up is the production time on Super Max. Thanks to Liv’s blood sample, a new Max Rager scientist has reformulated Super Max, giving it more of a punch without the psychotic side-effects. It’s not one-hundred percent safe. Du Clark swears by the new formula, putting it to test during his workout with Major. He’s stronger, faster, and holding onto an anger issue the size of Manhattan. But it’s still a step forward. If Major doesn’t do something to derail Du Clark and Gilda/Rita, there’s going to be many, many more Super Angry people in the world.
Meet our newest corpse, Syd Wicked. It’s a stage name, of course. Syd is a magician, in town for an industry convention. His body is found in his hotel room, a metal-edged playing card embedded in his jugular. The only person seen entering the room on security camera footage is the maid who found the body and the three security guards who answered her distress call. After Liv takes her lunch break, she decides to hold a not-really-real séance in the morgue where she communes with Syd’s body and is generally, stupidly goth-weird. It’s so stereotypical, my eyes rolled across my cell on their own.
Blaine interrupts the tête-à-tête. Thank goodness. Maybe. Seeing as Blaine doesn’t shamble amongst the half-dead anymore, he comes to Liv for a little zombie mojo to help figure out who’s kidnapping the rich zombies in town before Agent Bozzio puts the insane puzzle pieces together herself and exposes not only Liv, but Blaine and his business. That’s if she has everything she needs to track them down. Only one way to find out. That evening, Liv and Blaine stake out Bozzio’s house. They wait for Clive to take Bozzio to the movies. The couple have other plans for a randy night in. Drat. Gotta come back the next day. This time they successfully make it inside Bozzio’s house. Wouldn’t you know it; the files are all organized on the dining room table. Convenient. Liv suggests they divide and conquer the files. Mistake. Blaine flips past a picture of Miner, the one clue which would have solved the case. It’s a cheap misdirection; kinda like the worm in Labryinth leading Sara away from the path directly to the castle beyond the Goblin City. The only productive part of the break-in is when they intercept the report on the mystery brain from Suzuki’s fridge. Liv takes the report, doctors it to say the brain is bovine, and returns it to Bozzio’s house.
Back on the magical murder, Clive has an army of potential suspects to weed through. Turns out, Syd was kind of an a-hole. Anytime a fellow magician snubbed him, Syd took to Youtube and exposed their signature tricks. Two notable names are Houdina and The Magnificent Magnus. Houdina was on stage during the murder. Magnus, well, the old guy still has gas in his tank and had a lovely red-headed companion occupying his time—though he cannot remember her name. Houdina raises their interest later in the episode when Liv has a vision starring Houdina, wearing a wedding dress and throwing a diamond ring at Syd. Then they learn she may not have been on stage when they thought, according to Mr. Smoak of magic duo Smoak and Meers. Houdina exposes the secret ending to her show—she uses a disguise to vanish in plain sight, posing as a clueless waitress after pulling a vanishing act.
Liv’s observational skills do not fail her, for once, and she spots eerily familiar handwriting on a message board in the maid’s break area at the hotel. Meers, a mute performer, uses a specific ampersand when he writes. The now-missing maid who found Syd’s body used the same ampersand to note missing items on the message board.
With lackluster flair, Liv exposes Meers’ real identity and her partner’s involvement in ensuring the other suspects in the case didn’t have an alibi. Ta-da! Yawn. The only intriguing part of the episode is a mysterious woman at Bozzio’s door. She hesitates for a while before dropping a package on the welcome mat and leaving, obviously torn over whatever is in the envelope.
This is a poor mid-season episode. There’s not even humor to keep it going. Liv isn’t just annoying with her death-obsessed brain, she’s stuck on the notion that she and Major cannot have sex. Like it’s the end of the world if they can’t do it all day, every day. She harps on the idea so much, if I hear the word sex from her or Major one more time this season, I’ll swallow razors. Can we request her next working lunch be from an a-sexual person?
We are back once again to bash myths Zombie Survival Crew style. Our researchers wracked their brains to gather this knowledge so you, loyal brigadiers, don’t end up with your bones as toothpicks for the undead.
Myth: Zombies prefer to chow down on grey matter.
Fact: Well if that’s the case, I know more than a few people that will be perfectly safe once the Zombiepocalypse kicks into high gear… [RC ducks a crossbow bolt] I’m kidding!
The zombies we know and see most often on film and in television shows are based on George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. In that film the word “zombie” never once occurred. The undead were called ghouls.
What are ghouls? Ghouls stem from Arabic folklore. In those tales, ghouls were demons that took the form of animals to lure victims in and devour them alive. Alternative tales state that ghouls assumed the form of their last meal, often appearing as human-munching children. Still more stories tell us that ghouls prefer to haunt graveyards and eat freshly interred corpses.
The main theme through all of the variations of the term ghoul is, of course, devouring flesh. Which is why Romero used that term for his animated corpses. At the time, it fit far better than calling them zombies. Zombies had been something solely derived from magical means in movies like White Zombie.
So where the heck did the masses get the idea that a zombie is only interested in our brains? Five words, my friends: Return of the Living Dead. That one movie became such a cult classic that the myths they created to tell their version of the zombie creation process seeped into popular culture. “Braaaiiins” is something easy for people to remember—a quick way to let someone know that their buddies were doing their best zombie impersonation… that didn’t involve an abstract interpretation of the Thriller dance.
Brain-eating zombies took off in popularity for a little while, but we’re seeing the reemergence of the ghoul-like zombie. I prefer to think of the former as picky eaters. Be adventurous, grab a leg and gnaw away. Don’t turn up your nose at an “inferior” cut of human. You can’t be picky during the Zombiepocalypse.