iZOMBIE S2 E6 "MAX WAGER" REVIEW!
By Jarrett Kruse
iZOMBIE continues its tear in its sophomore season proving to be another solid hit for The CW. The buzz for the show continues to grow and gain an audience and Junkies continue to discover this gem that is far lighter than say The Walking Dead but in my opinion way more fun. Liv Moore even already has her own action figure from Diamond Select and I have a feeling that that is just the beginning. If I had to guess, I think that Liv and company are the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Its a bold statement but the shows writing is top notch and the narrative continues to get better and better. This week, we finally get to meet the Seattle crime lord Mr. Boss and it is totally not who you would expect!
The show opens and you can just tell what is going at the Ravi's place as he and Peyton share breakfast in the kitchen. Major and Liv both come downstairs exceptionally happy making it clear that the pair are officially back together. We'll come back to that later but down at the courthouse, Babineaux is looking pissed on the steps of the courthouse when degenerate gambler Harry Cole from last week is thrilled with the sweetheart plea deal he just copped. However, as he is walking away from Clive, a crotch rocket rounds the corner and machine gun fire hails as Nelson is gunned down. Dead as a doornail.
Meanwhile at Blaine's mortuary or funeral parlor or whatever you call it, his evil pop shows up. He tells his son that he knows that he is no longer a zombie and that he will be taking over the operations that Blaine is running out of his business. He then gives Blaine an assignment to kill one of his business rivals sons on vacation in Mount Rainier. As a period on just who is in charge, the bodyguard kills Blaine's muscle with tap to the head. Turns out that Harry's funeral is at Blaine's establishment and Liv and Clive show up to investigate. Still keeping her secrets from Clive, Liv pays a visit to Blaine in the basement who is gorging on food and wine talking about how much he misses being a zombie. Although he is definitely a "bad guy," Blaine has a likable, affable nature but is clearly someone you do not want to cross. Same kind of gravitas actor David Anders had on Alias years ago. But he likes himself much better as a zombie and tells Liv so while she reminds him to stay in the basement because Clive will recognize him in a heartbeat from the MEAT CUTE sketch.
Attending the funeral is former NBA pro Calvin Owens (real life NBA star Rick Fox) who just happened to be Harry's NCAA basketball star roommate in college. Clive being an NBA fanboy, has goo-goo eyes for his sports idol and he and Liv approach the ex-pro to ask some questions about the now deceased Harry. It is nice to see Clive let loose just a little bit as he quickly moves the subject to basketball. He is like a kid waiting at batting practice desperate for his favorite player to sign the ball he brought from home. It is a refreshing side of Clive that we have yet to see and it would be nice to see more of. When Calvin shows Clive and Liv his NBA championship ring, Liv gets a major vision that almost knocks her out.
It was now that the duo can put together the information they gathered earlier at "The Barber's", Seattle's leading bookmaker who just happens to be a barber. Inside the barbershop are several types including a lawyer, a low-level bookie taking bets on his cell and a man getting a shave talking very calmly and firmly. Whatever he is saying, you just take in as being correct; it was strange. It turns out that Calvin was supporting his old roommates gambling habit but had given enough money in the vision Liv had despite Harry saying they were going to kill him. After some investigation and a not so subtle hint from The Barber, Calvin Jones was shaving points back in college with Harry pulling his strings and being extorted during and after he made it big in the NBA. Calvin had to get rid of Harry whose brains Liv has ingested and is hysterically acting like a degenerate gambler the few times she visits The Barber. Its when she goes to collect and sees the man getting the shave from earlier in the chair again solving a hypothetical problem before exiting. I recognized the actor right away but who he was was an even bigger surprise. It is Ocean's Eleven actor Eddie Jemison who is playing Seattle crime lord Stacey Boss that we have heard so much about.
The very next scene, Boss is in Peyton's office and you would never think that this is the same actor who sweated his way through three Ocean's movies as a nebbishy tech nerd. Boss is scary. Boss carries weight. He never raises his voice and tells Peyton who is surprised to find him there moving pictures of criminals around her Utopium board. He makes a veiled threat to Peyton as ADA but nothing that can be remotely admissable in a court of law. It is so very obvious that Peyton is clearly unnerved by the exchange. It is such an odd casting choice to pick as Seattle's number one untouchable but wow, does it work. I cannot wait to see what happens next. It was also cool to see Liv, Peyton and Clive work together to take down NBA star Calvin Owens who confesses to hiring a former Serbian teammate's cousins who was the hitman on the motorcycle.
I said earlier that it is great that Liv & Major are back together again but their is one slight problem--how can they get their freak on with Liv being a zombie? So in this episode, Ravi's assignment is to painstakingly test all 102 brands of condom on the market to see if the zombie virus could get through any of the jimmy's. When Ravi comes home and sees clothes on the floor, he fears the worst as he barges in on the couple in bed and breaks that bad news that the zombie virus is so small that it will get through any condom on the market. Kind of like opening door number three and hearing, "wuh-wuh." Since coitus is out, Major says he has late night training sessions anyway. Late night training sessions? Hmmm, I smell something.
Here's what I did not get before we bring this home. Blaine goes to visit his grandfather at a hospice type place and after a few minutes of having a one way conversation, he smothers his grandfather with a pillow killing him. Was this to get back at his father for pulling him back into the zombie life of making him go kill some rival of his on Mt. Rainier? Either way, later back at the mortuary as he is scooping out grandpa's brain, an associate comes in and says that Blaine's father has been kidnapped and has disappeared. Problem solved!
It is the last part that is so interesting. Blaine's father appears to be sedated and in Major's trunk--late night training sessions. He double taps one bodybag and throws him into the river and then drives elswhere to a warehouse type place and puts Blaine's pop on ice with two other bodies that are pretty damn frosty already. Why is he freezing the bodies before he kills them? We know that Major is under Vaughn Du Clark's thumb as Seattle's #1 zombie killer but how long can he keep this from Liv? I read somewhere that he is not killing zombies but isn't freezing them and then double tapping them and throwing them in the river killing? When Liv makes the discovery, things are gonna get real super fast. Another zinger of an episode that is an easy 4-stars that I watched three times. The narrative is airtight as far as I can tell and believe me, I am looking for slip ups. Just watch the show and thank me when you can.