iZOMBIE S2 E7 "ABRA CADAVER" REVIEW!
By Jarrett Kruse
Even when iZOMBIE takes a less than super serious episode like "Abra Cadaver," it still manages to succeed with ease. This weeks episode follows the underground world of professional magicians and "Prestofest," a low-level convention being held at a 3-star hotel in Seattle. What I liked so much about this episode is that it manages to continue to push the narrative forward despite not taking itself too seriously. To me, that is the sign of a great show and one that can balance multiple genres simultaneously in the span of an hour. Drama, comedy, light horror all mashed up into one big brain smoothie. Although you wouldn't expect it to be, its pretty delicious.
After last weeks bummer news that Liv and Major cannot get their freak on or they will both become the undead, we open with them in bed doing "everything but" I suppose. I don't think that Liv is looking for a way out of the relationship but she warns Major about how different she can become depending on what brain she is on that week. The best way to compare it is by saying, "Sometimes I'm 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' Britney, sometimes I'm shave my head and throw a garbage can through a windshield Britney." Major assures her that he thought that both of those Britney's were hot and that they are going to be cool. Still, I got the impression that Liv was still not certain that Major "got it" as far as just how extreme she goes when on a new brain. I also got the vibe for a moment was thinking, "how different could she be?" It was not until the next morning over coffee with Ravi and Peyton when Major asks just how different Liv is when she is on a new brain. They make it sounds like it is not that bad but then again, they are not dating her.
The prime murder that Liv, Clive & Ravi are investigating this week is at the aforementioned magic convention, "Prestofest." A magician that looks like a heavier makeup wearing Criss Angel by the name of Syd Wicked. However here's the rub--according to the surveillance, no one was seen entering or leaving the room except for the maid that discovered the body. Sid's throat was cut with a deadly razor edged playing card--cool way to go if you are a magician I guess. The note that was left was "enjoy the decay" but it turns out that that was from a former magician that the deceased did not get along with. Since the hotel tapes show nothing, a hysterical cast of characters, all magicians, make up the possible cast of eccentric potential murderers. The first thing I wrote down in my notes was, "this feels like an episode of PSYCH not iZOMBIE." And I stand by that because this was a very Scooby-Dooish episode with the murder being totally secondary. Ravi is having a blast though because now Liv has become a master magician. When she pulls an impressive card trick on him at the M.E.'s office, he has the line of the episode with, "This is the best brain ever! I almost want to start killing magicians so it never ends!" Classic.
Since becoming a regular person and not a zombie, Blaine has become one of my favorite characters on the show. He is damn funny and really does not engage in his old ways of kidnapping and killing teenagers and taking their brains. Its like he's a totally different guy especially now that his evil pop is missing. He shows up at Liv's workplace to let her know that of the five wealthy Seattle-ites that are missing, three of them are zombies. And paying customers of Blaine's. We knew it was inevitable but Blaine needs Liv to partner up with him and stakeout the home of FBI Agent Bozzio to see what she has on the supposed zombie killer. I was psyched for the team up of Liv and Blaine and the witty repartee that was sure to ensue. However their first try is a non-starter as they peer through the window and see that Clive and Bozzio are definitely going to miss the movie they had scheduled as they begin to get it on. Way to go Babineaux! Nice to see the one expression cop let loose with a fine looking woman like Agent Bozzio. Liv & Blaine try the next day and enter Bozzio's home easy peesy with all of her files sitting nicely on a table. The back and forth between the two is hysterical with clever repartee flying all over the place. A clink at the door and something comes through the mail slot turns out to be the brain results of what Suzuki's wife found in their garage freezer. It says human brains but Liv CANNOT let Clive see this and decides it is best for all to change it to "Bovine Brains" or whatever the technical term is. The pair have to do anything to throw the FBI off the scent of MEAT CUTE and put it in the rearview mirror.
Ravi, who earlier in the episode was concerned about his girlfriend Steph becoming a little too clingy. (She changed her Facebook status to "In a Relationship" startling the Brit) He comes home to his home looking like the heart of London and her in costume as one of those guys that guard Buckingham Palace. Overwhelmed, Ravi downs a pint and realizes it is going to be a long night. In the morning, he brutally breaks up with her in classless fashion making you lose just a little bit of respect for the Medical Examiner. Ravi definitely still has it bad for his now roommate Peyton and my theory is proved correct later in the episode when he mistakenly tries to make a move on the comely ADA and fails miserably. However, Peyton does make a social call to Blaine's mortuary to tell him about her encounter with Mr. Boss and how frightened she was that such a small man could carry such weight. Even Blaine admits that Mr. Boss is downright terrifying and gives Peyton his card should she get surprised and spooked by him again, give him a call. It was pretty obvious though that Peyton showed up to make a personal, non-work related visit veiled as one. Peyton has the hots for Blaine--wait till she tells her best pal. If she can disclose that kind of thing...
Liv is nervous back at home and tells Major that someone is killing these really rich zombies. Obviously she does not even suspect that it is indeed Major that is Seattle's leading zombie killer and is under the thumb of drink magnate Vaughn Du Clark who we have not seen for a few episodes. Liv is genuinely worried that she could be next but Major assures her that she is safe. Of course he can guarantee her safety, he is the one killing these wealthy zombies!
Meanwhile the dead magician looms at "Prestofest" and Clive & Liv interview the rising stars "Smoak & Meers," doppelgängers for the Vegas act "Penn & Teller." Like I said before, it all ends out in the open on stage with Liv tearing off the mustache of Meers that turns out to be....the maid Irina who found the body! (Could this get any more PSYCH or Scooby-Doo??) However, like I said in the beginning, the murder this week was a backseat to the rest of the story which basically has the core characters all lying to each other or telling the truth but leaving key elements out. Liv has the report of "human brains" changed to "bovine brains" with the help of Ravi and drops it through the slot at Bozzio's house making it look to be official. Across the street though is an African-American woman watching intently but I could not figure out just who she was. Later, in bed, Clive seems very bummed as he reads the report that it is indeed cow brains and nothing else that was in Suzuki's freezer. Bozzio notices and says something like, "you seem disappointed?" And I genuinely think that Clive is a little disappointed at the doctored report. If it had said human brains, he would have something to go on. Instead he has just hit another wall putting MEAT CUTE even further in the distance. The woman in the car across the street is now almost in tears as she approaches Bozzio's house. She is about to ring the doorbell but decides against and leaves a mailer envelope on the doormat that simply says "Occupant." Who is this mystery woman? A bill collector? A jilted lover or ex-spouse? Who knows but it has me really curious how she is related to the narrative.
When Major comes home and the Prestofest murder case is officially over and Liv is still fooling around with tarot cards and dark magic stuff, he seems fed up as he walks past her and upstairs. Liv barely notices that he is even home and this certainly answers Major's questions from earlier in the episode about how deep into it does Liv get when she is on a new brain. The answer is that a new brain consumes Liv's life for the duration of the case and even afterwards. There seems to be only that small window in between brains where Liv is regular old Liv. That may not be enough regular Liv for Major on top of everything else he is dealing with in the zombie world.
Overall, another very enjoyable episode of the series that is starting to make some nice buzz on social media and such. I think once people stream that first season, they will love it and catch up on Season Two because the show is sharp. Sharp writing, sharp acting, clever direction and one of the best narratives in prime time. For those tired of The Walking Dead, iZOMBIE is really the exact opposite with a mashup of genres and sprinkles of comedy that you will never see on TWD. Definitely a lot of cool strings and storylines that have me very intrigued on how things turn out in the Emerald City.