iZOMBIE S2 E9 "CAPE TOWN" REVIEW!
By Jarrett Kruse
iZOMBIE ends the first half of their second season with a bit of a cliffhanger and even more grey skies above the clouds of Seattle. It was a bit of a dreary episode that I was hoping would be a little more fun in its final act considering the episode is called "Cape Town" because it focuses on local vigilantes that dress up and roam the city at night seeking justice. However, the second season of The CW's iZOMBIE has been a "cult hit" (I hate that expression because it seems every cult hit is mainstream and the real cult hits are the shows NOT being written about) for the first half and I have enjoyed each episode immensely. I particularly love the formula they have where it is basically whatever brain Liv is on, then that is the personality she is going to be inheriting. So for the duration of the brain that she is on, usually lasting until the investigation is over, we know that Liv is going to be whatever eccentric or crazy character that was unfortunately offed that week. However that is just one of the facets of the show that I really enjoy. Their are these layered story arcs that are continuously running in Liv's world where she is the center and a lot of arrows are pointing out from her name with a slew of characters and lot of zombie activity in the Pacific Northwest. Tack on clever dialogue, very likable characters and a lot of interpersonal relationships, iZOMBIE really does have something for everyone. Several Junkies have told me that they feel like THE WALKING DEAD is a little too redundant for them at this point and "they get it" already but iZOMBIE is more of an easier tempo to follow if you aren't looking for major gore. I think I come back every week because Liv genuinely intrigues me and she is in a unique predicament that is an untenable situation despite her efforts to make it normal. However, this mid-season finale's ending really makes the viewer realize that as much as we want things to work for Liv, it just might be impossible.
The episode opens with a very cliched scene we have seen 1000 times on procedural cop shows--a seemingly helpless woman is running down a blind alley screaming for help being chased by two thugs. When they catch up to her, it appears to be a mugging for the woman's purse until costumed hero "The Fog" intercepts the criminals. His catchphrase is, "I am The Fog, and tonight I am thick with justice." Catchy! Anyway, the next morning, "The Fog" is dead inside a dumpster in the alley. Apparently the rescue did not go as well as I thought. Clive immediately knows who the victim is but Ravi and Liv are not aware of the costumed underworld in Seattle. Ravi especially is quite fascinated since he is a bit of a geek and would definitely be a member of AFJ in real life. As it turns out, "The Fog" was one Chris Allred, a shop teacher by day and a wannabe superhero by night. Clive believes that their is a good chance that one of the muggers is their best bet as a suspect. I should mention that before Liv left the house, she had yet another fight with Major apparently remnants of the stalker brain from last week's episode is still lurking inside her cerebellum. Major is pissed because Liv went through his phone again by using his fingerprint while he was sleeping. Liv comes back with, "How do I know you didn't call from a landline?" Without missing a beat, Major says, "Because it's not 1987!" Their relationship is most definitely on the rocks.
Back at the morgue, Ravi confirms that Mr. Allred is a mess and the cause of death was blunt force drama to the head. Liv is excited to be on a poser hero brain because she has had enough of this stalker brain. However all I was thinking was, maybe Liv really is going over the edge with her jealousy over Major. Speaking of which, since he was pissed, Major wants to make sure his game is still in check and approaches a foxy number at the bar but when she starts talking, he gets the heebie jeebies where his arm hair stands on end meaning one thing---ZOMBIE!! Great, now Major has to off yet another zombie and this one is exceptionally cute. Ravi is super impressed with The Fog's utility belt as someone that has actually made one of his own! A while after consuming Mr. Allred, Liv is now ending her sentences with punchy comic book-like statements and is walking around with her hands on her hips. Mr. Boss, the heaviest of Seattle's crime bosses is dressed as Santa Claus giving out presents to kids but unfortunately Boss knows nothing about The Fog and is of no assistance at this time but my Spidey-Sense says he's mixed up with all of this. Suddenly, Liv gets a vibe and sees a fight that The Fog had would another underground vigilante by the name of Hashtag. Clive has heard of him and the way to get him to come to you is to simply Hashtag Hashtag.
Meanwhile, Don E. brings in a friend of his to Blaine's (where's he been?) that has just been shot. In a way that only Blaine could explain, he tries to tell Don E. that this is not the place where they bring shot bodies but only the dead bodies. They rush the guy to Ravi and Liv's at the M.E.'s office who are not equipped for a GSW and a victim that is bleeding out. With barely a heartbeat, Blaine tells Liv to scratch him and make him a zombie and that will insure that he "lives." As it turns out, the guy bleeding out is the only person that supposedly knows where to find the balance of the tainted Utopium that Ravi needs to make the zombie cure. Against her better judgment, Liv scratches the guy and Blaine wheels him right back out the door but says to come by his place later for news on the tainted Utopium. As much as I love Blaine's character, being out of the zombie brain business is bad for his bottom line.
The Hashtag comes in for questioning, in costume I might add and says that The Fog was assembling a Justice League type of team of wannabe heroes because something big was supposed to be going down soon. However, The Fog did not ask Hashtag to join this super-group so he sucker punched the late hero. When Clive presses Hashtag for more intel about this "big deal," it is clear he does not have anything else. At Blaine's, the newly minted zombie guy comes to and Blaine explains to him again as only Blaine can that he is now a zombie. David Anders as Blaine is probably the only actor that can pull off this speech about becoming a zombie and make it sound like its not going to be that bad despite having to eat brains. He makes it sound, dare I say, appetizing. The new guy is very hungry and seems to understand Blaine's intro to zombies 101 speech, takes it well and says, "tell me what I have to do to get these brains." Blaine comes back with, "I love that can do spirit!" How can you not love Blaine? Besides the kidnapping of homeless teenagers for their brains last season, he is simply a hard character not to like. A far cry from his character on ALIAS years ago.
The hot zombie girl that Major spotted at the bar is now the next victim on his hit list and is inside her garage watching her garden and presumably waiting for nightfall. He is hooded up in a zip up hoodie and looks like Elliot from E.T. but is clearly getting emotional about his future victim when he starts to thumb through her scrapbooks and photo albums. Can he really keep doing this and keep it from Liv? Speaking of Liv, she is now peaking on this new hero brain. I made that word up for when Liv gets to the highest point on a brain where she is completely engulfed in the characteristics of the original owner. I think it works! Anyway, Liv has brought in five ridiculously costumed vigilantes by the name of Blue Swallow, Superfly, Ghost Cobra, Grey Area & Megafist and tells them all to think of Clive as their "Commissioner Jim Gordon" much to the by the book cops chagrin. Megafist spills that The Fog got wind of a large gun shipment for none other than Mr. Boss and he bowed out when he heard it was for him because of the danger involved. Detective Cavanaugh ducks his head in to let Clive know that Mary, the original mugging victim, one of her muggers has been found dead at the top of a giant Christmas tree. Throat slashed, Boss' calling card. In the muggers pocket was Mary's address, probably so he could off her because apparently Mr. Boss has a habit of killing his men that do jobs for him so they can never talk. This Mr. Boss, I'm still trying to process that this is the little, sweaty guy from Ocean's Eleven, Twelve & Thirteen that was the most non-threatening character you'd ever seen on film. But seeing Eddie Jemison as Mr. Boss is a revelation and truly speaks to the craft of acting and how it really is an art form.
We find out at Blaine's from the new zombie that supposedly their are two bodies buried in a shallow grave by a specific water tower in Seattle whose bodies are filled with condoms filled with tainted Utopium. How it is tainted, I really do not know. Obviously the drugs these two morons were trying to smuggle to Ibiza were Mr. Boss' and they took the hit for stealing them. In fact, that is why this guy got shot with to start, he was digging for the two guys corpses around the water tower hoping to find and extract the Utopium. My question is this--why would someone shoot this guy for poking his nose in that area when at the end of the episode he is--DAMN! I gotta wait to tell you. Yes you, the reader....
Major has now moved to the main house of the hot zombie chick and it is very homely and Christmasy with songs of the season being played by the lit tree. But their is also plastic everywhere like in American Psycho and the woman raises a revolver to blow her brains out. Major stops her just in time and she immediately turns into a snarling zombie. However, she turns back and Major explains his predicament about having to kill zombies so that they won't tell Liv. Apparently amongst the zombie community, they are calling Major "The Bogeyman" since their kind has started to go missing. She then divulges her story of how she was a high end call girl, making great money and traveling the world but after one evening appointment, she woke up the next morning hungry for brains. I'm not sure who but I'm guessing it is Mr. Boss or one of his people explained how the new deal works and that she now has a pimp and is literally a zombie hooker working for brains now instead of cash. Although she seems very pleasant and sweet, she wants to die because she is either being controlled by a pimp or the brain she is on and has had enough. She asks Major to shoot and kill her after he explains his whole deal and why he is doing what he is doing. The woman is actually pretty shocked that he has not told Liv and asks him why. I think that his answer said a lot about his character. He believes that if he told Liv what he was doing, she would find it reprehensible and never want to be with him again. Major also thinks that even if he does finish off everyone on Du Clark's list, he still may kill him and Liv. Man, now that I think about it, their are so many friggin' balls in the air right now on iZOMBIE that I am not even sure which storyline I am digging the most.
The second mugger is being questioned by Clive and as it turns out, we have had it all wrong. This mugger and his partner were running security for one of Mr. Boss' card games when the supposed victim, Mary, ran in and took 50 large. That's why she was being chased down the alley; she was never being mugged, she was trying to make a clean getaway and it was The Fog that stopped that. Mary killed The Fog!! However after a vision of Boss' big gun shipment, Liv decides to go rogue because of the brain she is on and infiltrates the warehouse where the deal is supposedly going down. No backup, no Clive, no probable cause. Just Liv suited up with a domino mask and the equivalent of a superhero outfit. She manages to intercept the gun deal and turns all white and zombie-ish managing to break up the whole thing while Mary is tied to a chair, presumably a hostage. Liv has no idea that Mary is a murderer and knocks Liv over the head for the suitcase of hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting out. However as she is grabbing it, Mary is shot by...none other than Mr. Boss himself.
A while after, Ravi wakes Liv up from the bump on her head and there is nothing in the warehouse that would indicate any kind of foul play or big gun deal. Mr. Boss, being the good citizen that he is, phoned in what was going on at his warehouse and is back at the station being questioned by Clive who is irate because he has to let the diminutive crime boss leave. As he is leaving, he tells his new "valet" to come with and its the new zombie from Blaine's! Why would he want a guy he had shot for looking for two bodies to steal Utopium that may or may not be inside their corpses to now be his driver? I didn't really get that because I thought this new guy, if anything, was going to be working for Blaine and his crew. Its strange because Blaine smartly also fears Mr. Boss greatly so I don't know how this guy got so quickly into cahoots with the alpha dog. Clive is beyond furious with Liv and explains to her that whatever it is that they have, this crazy partnership or whatever, is now over. The only explanation Liv could come up with would certainly not pass muster with by the book Clive. She can't just say, "No Clive, its the brain I just ate because I am a zombie and I take on the traits of whoever's brain I eat!!"
Before Major heads home, he takes the nice zombie hooker to his freezer where he keeps the important zombies of Seattle and injects her with some kind of serum that apparently keeps these people alive while frozen. Kinda like Han Solo in carbonite freeze. The woman says that if he doesn't find a cure, then to please let her die. I think that their was something between these two but she's on ice for now and hopefully her zombie pimp won't track her down. At home, Liv walks in to Major who after his encounter with the zombie hooker, says he wants to be more empathetic and starts talking about the possibility of synthetic brains, etc. But Liv is pissed and says if she is going to eat brains, it is going to be the way she has been doing it, by solving murders simultaneously. Then she drops a bomb on Major and says, "you love the woman I was not who I am now." The day to day changes, the no sex, she says that they should both be with their own kind which prompts Major to ask, "Are we breaking up?" Liv says they have to but Major says that it is temporary and that Ravi is going to find a cure before walking out.
The thing of it is, we all thought that Ravi was close to a cure but back at the lab, he is recounting into a voice recorder that the cured zombie rat he had went back to being a zombie after 162 days without any warning signs meaning that the cure he had may just be a temporary band aid. The last shots are of Ravi looking for the two dead bodies by the water tower with a metal detector. A real wave of sadness kind of washed over me because it really sucks that these relationships cannot move forward because no one can be honest with one another. If the five of them all sat down and spilled, they could probably work something out. Liv needs her partnerships whether it is Major, Ravi, Peyton or Clive; she cannot function without another half working things out with her. I hope that 2016 brings brighter days on iZOMBIE because this was a fun episode until it became overwhelmingly sad and that sucks because now I gotta wait till next year to see how they're gonna make things nice again