iZombie: Max Wager


Ravi and Peyton seem to have gotten over their awkward “So we dated for like two weeks and then you ran to Peru but now you’re living with me” moments by sharing some eggs that had to be cold coagulated messes by now. (Do these people wake up at like five in the morning to languidly sit around eating breakfast, or do they just not have to get into work until like noon?)

The real terror is when Major comes down the stairs. He’s…he’s happy! AH! I’m remembering why this show’s been turning Major into a twisted, broken monster measure by measure. Happy Major is scary, far scarier than Rambo Major. He was in such Disney Prince mode I expected him to start singing so happy bluebirds did his chores for him.

And the source of Major’s happiness? Being back together with Liv. Which still seems like a really, really bad idea. Sure, he finally knows the whole truth (though this time she doesn’t), but that’s a lot of baggage they’re just sort of waving their hands over and pretending doesn’t exist. For now, we have scary happy Major and his singing and dancing routine.

Ravi offers to try and test to see if the zombie virus can be stopped by a condom, because he’s got nothing better to do. Which should be bloody easy to do in magic lab, but I’ll go on that rant later.

Outside of the Happy Couple Vomitorium, Clive’s being taunted by the guy from last week (who has a name now, it’s Harry Cole) who took a plea deal for his killing Telly with his bat. Because he never studied Stoolie 101, Harry stands on the police department steps while a motorcycle rolls up with two people awkwardly perched on the back. You all know what’s coming next.

Clive rolls out of the way because he’s got the dexterity of a cat – Clive Cat! It can so become a thing. But alas, Harry Cole has slipped this mortal coil. Out, out brief candle, we barely knew ye beyond – oh yeah, his gambling addiction. There goes our brain of the week.

Continuing to do actual detective work, Clive brings in Thronk (our fixer from last week), a lawyer who hasn’t been in a courtroom for nine years. That isn’t entirely surprising; there are all kinds of lawyers, not just court ones and…okay yeah, they just slapped a suit on a mountain gorilla and called him a lawyer. Thronk’s (goddamn, is that a good henchman name. I hope he winds up working for Boss just so they have to keep saying Thronk over and over) cryptic words on a phone call to the fixer’s fixer were, “Take care of Mister Sheldon.” That leaves it to poor Clive to try and track down every trace of this Mister Sheldon and connect it back to dead Harry.

In trying to get Clive to come out of his shell, he’s sharing a meal with Blonde FBI Lady while Suzuki’s wife dropped off some brains. Anyone else find it rather suspicious how quickly she jumped to it being human, while Clive just shook his head and said he had no idea, but it was in his freezer? Seems like the FBI might already be aware of the zombie apocalypse, but they have to wait a good decade before they have enough evidence to convict or do anything. And they want to see how it will go. There are a lot of video game devs waiting to see if they got it right.

While they’re on this not-date date, Liv and Major wander by, still in that sickly sweet diabetic coma stage of wuv. This is mostly so Major can freak out about the FBI being there, as he assumes it’s due to Meat Cute. But Liv tells him it’s because of this weird serial killer attacking the rich. Major seems surprised, but come on dude, you’re not killing the homeless. You’re taking out the only people the government gives a shit about. Of course someone’s gonna notice. It also implants the idea in the series that the serial killer is some anti-capitalistic nut. Quick! Round up any Bernie Sanders supporters in Guy Fawkes masks!

But, to Blaine. Oh Blaine. How they’re giving our zombie Lex Luthor so much pathos (also, I would kill to see Blaine steal 40 cakes). His dad swings by the mortuary, giving Blaine a chance to spout the great line: “I hoped your first visit here would be more horizontal.” We learn the rotted apple studied hard under the tree, as his dad first shoots mute Lenny (we barely knew ye too), then goes on a rant about Kronos. Um, yes, he ate his kids because one was fabled to overthrow him, but, you might have wanted to finish that story. It doesn’t end well for Kronos.

Eh, I’m sure it’ll be fine. Just like how Romeo and Juliet lived happily ever after.

Angus (Beef Zombie) knows that Blaine’s no longer a zombie. Seems he found the woman who does his makeup and tortured her. He threatens to turn Blaine back into a zombie, which, again, if we cured it, then how can…eh, there I go using actual science. I’ll save the rant for later. He wants Blaine to kill one of his business rival’s sons so Beef Zombie can eat his brains and learn his secrets. I’m not sure how great that plan is since Liv tries to have flashes and even hers seem haphazard at best. But Beef’s too busy being a psychopath to think things through. I bet he’s got a strong opinion on the paper used for business cards as well.

Back with our brain of the week, Liv has a quick zombie vision of Harry killing Telly. Not the freshest information aside from Telly saying, “The barber’s done waiting for his money.” Of course Clive knows who this is, because Clive knows everyone. Once off work, Clive throws massive parties that all of Seattle attends. The barber is an actual barber leading to an entertaining-by-way-of-skin-crawling scene as our titular barber, his lawyer, and the secretary (I assume that’s the guy taking bets over the phone) place their own wagers on who killed Harry. One of them throws out that it was probably the wife to collect insurance money.

Of course, that’s the one Clive hones in on. Liv chuckles, “You and murdered spouses, Clive. Never get married.”

We only get a quick scene of Ravi confessing to buying every brand of condom available (oh God, they needed to have him say condom 30 more times. British condom is so damn adorable. Con-dome!) and showing off the balloon animal he made. Liv also makes knowing eyes at Ravi as Clive drags her off the Harry’s funeral. I had no idea what the eyes were about until they show up at Blaine’s mortuary (apparently the only one in Seattle, which, okay, I’d believe Blaine burned the others down, in retrospect. Continue).

Blaine is nine shotgun blasts to the head drunk and sulking downstairs, where Liv sent him because Clive’s looking for him and she doesn’t want her little empire to crumble. Why is she worried about Blaine again? Is it trying to protect Major? The existence of zombies in general? He has almost no connection to the cure after killing Jesus Gabe. Eh, Liv never was one to think much past herself so I suppose anything’s possible. Blaine mostly taunts her about how she must love being a zombie because it makes her feel oh so important and special.

She does leave an idea in Blaine’s brain as her parting words about how much she despises being a zombie from the visions, never knowing if you’re going to feel the last brain’s owner die. You can practically see his eyes light up. I’m surprised he didn’t stroke his chin and then smoke on a pipe as she climbed the stairs.

Back at the funeral and our homicide (you forgot about it, didn’t you? It’s okay), Clive is starstruck by a basketball player introduced in the back half of the episode. You all know what that means. Watching Clive stan over Calvin was great. (Anyone else picture Gruncle Stan when anyone uses that term? Just me?) He’s practically drooling over the man, and manages to find out Calvin and Harry were old college friends. Finally, he works up the courage to ask to see the ring.

This triggers our second zombie vision of Harry begging for money from Calvin, and Calvin refusing him. Dun dun dunnn!

Liv’s little gambling brain paid off, and she’s back at the barber shop to collect her winnings. It’s a scene that’s only there to introduce us to a murderous leprechaun. While the other guys – barber, lawyer, secretary – are discussing the perfect ways to murder someone (Strangers on a Train gets thrown out, because everyone in Seattle is addicted to Hitchcock), a tiny man in the chair getting a haircut speaks up. He says the real trick is to get the guy to do it himself. Skype him with a gun to his wife’s or kid’s heads and then tell him to kill himself or else. The gamblers are all rightly freaked out, but one asks, “What about the wife?” Creepy leprechaun just shrugs his shoulders, “collateral damage.”

And why were we introduced to that freaky little ball of murder? Why, because he’s our illusive Stacey Boss. (It is Boss! I saw it on the big board of crime) He pops up to threaten Peyton in her tiny office that looks like it’s part of an old school.

Four times the DAs tried to bring him down, and three took major payouts then retired to roll around in their bribe. The fourth, well…how does someone have a creepy shrug? I have no idea, but murderous leprechaun pulls it off. He rightly points out that turning a 27 year old assistant DA on him means the District Attorney really doesn’t give much of a shit. He’s also quick to note that whoever gave her his information is about two years out of date. Does that paint a bullseye on Blaine? You’d think quite a few old drug runners would come and go out of the bottom. Actually, it’s a bit surprising how much old loser Blaine on the low rung of this drug empire learned about the top.

Back to trying to figure out the case, Clive has Thronk’s turtle sitting on his desk. Some assistant was coming to feed the turtle, but got scared away by the cops. So, Clive slaps on a pair of gloves and carefully lifts poor Mister Sheldon up to see if he’s sporting any hidden messages. It’s just a turtle. Wash your hands after and refrain from licking him, and you’ll be fine. Turns out that the turtle was also one of the greatest cocaine smugglers since Yertle the Turtle got into the Oxycotin game. But the fact that the turtle’s castle is full of a bag of Bisquick means that Thronk didn’t kill Harry. Don’t ask me how that works; I guess people are only capable of one crime at a time in Seattle.

Back at the gambler’s barber shop, Liv swings by to collect her winnings and then promptly put it all on the tip she got from Calvin. She drops his name and our Barber turns cold: “He would know about betting on basketball.” Clive finishes his detective work and finds out that the dumped motorcycle in the harbor was owned by two Serbian nationals who beat feet back home. Liv jokes about how infiltrating the Serbian crime syndicate would be easy. While Clive’s reading off the names, Liv realizes their surname is familiar.

And here’s our connection back to Calvin. Seems he was on a team with their father/relative, who got caught pulling a knife on a team flight and fled back home to start his own little assassin hit gang. Back in his college days, Calvin would feign injuries so that he and Harry could pump up their income. And yet the NCAA will come down hard on a starving player who accepts a hamburger for free while missing one making bucko bucks from his friend’s betting. Priorities!

Harry needed Calvin to keep paying off his debts, but he finally refused. So, terrified of Harry blackmailing him, Calvin called in some Serbian nationals to take Harry out (Calvin watches way too many Bond flicks). There’s something almost tragically poetic about Harry killing Telly with a Pete Rose signed bat while his old college friend shaved points off games so they could win money from betting. This concludes all I know about baseball.

But who cares about the brain of the week, we’ve got some tasty tasty bits at the end that’ll make you sit up and go “WHAT?!”

We find Blaine visiting his elderly grandmother. Seems her son/his dad also took the business away from her. Blaine’s plotting revenge, but he needs her help, of a sort. It was when he called his dad accepting the offer that I realized what was coming. Even then, it was brutal to watch Blaine suffocate his grandmother, who he seemed to love, just so his father would suffer from zombie visions watching her die. Darkness runs deep.

Liv and Major continue to be horny bunnies, leading Ravi to rush into their bedroom and shout that the zombie virus is 100X smaller than any other virus and condoms can’t stop it. Okay, time to put on a scientist hat. If this magical zombie virus is actually 100X smaller than any other virus, then HOW THE SHIT COULD YOU SEE IT IN A MICROSCOPE? One that can, at best, magnify eukaryotic cells and some bacteria. Some. There’s no way you can see a virus on it. For that, you need an electron microscope, not some little glass slide, fixer, twist the knob one.

But, ignoring the fact that shows never get microscopes right and turn them into magic devices that can do anything (sonic microscopes?), if Ravi already knew the virus was so damn tiny, why would have have to check every single condom brand? You already know it can’t be stopped by latex, they’re all made the same way, why bother? This should have taken all of two minutes. Check the size of what virus is blocked by a condom, compare to zombie virus. Done!

There’s another problem with this supposed cure as well. I’d been operating on this being a “virus,” aka it’s not really a virus-virus, that’s just what they call it. Actually, I prefer to think of it as a zombie mycoplasma, because those things are complete death in cell culture. Here’s the quick and dirty science: viruses are not bacteria. Bacteria are alive and can be killed by antibiotics that attack their cell walls (mycoplasma don’t have cell walls, hence the really really sucking part). Viruses exist in a strange nebulous not dead but not alive state that keeps philosophers busy and out of the lab. You can’t just inject someone with magic “Make it all better juice” and cure them the way antibiotics knock down bacteria colonies. And a vaccine sure as shit wouldn’t help.

What one needs is an anti-viral to help fix the current batch of zombies AND a vaccine to protect everyone else. These are two different things. In theory, if Ravi and his magic microscope already have access to the zombie virus, he could begin working towards a vaccine (the next trick would be convincing the hipster and special snowflake parenting crowd in Seattle to actually take the damn thing). That vaccine could protect countless lives from the zombies if and when they turn.

The other reason I harp on this is that, assuming Major is cured because his body produced antibodies to destroy the virus, then he and Liv can bone like rabbits to their heart’s content. Viruses come equipped with double jeopardy — you get sick once your body learns how to protect itself and takes down any virus. It’s the entire backbone behind vaccines. Bacteria, however, are more nefarious, and your body has to fight hard to take those down because they’re alive and can overwhelm your own cells. Now, it’s possible that the zombie virus destroyed Major’s immune system, but that’s a whole other ball of wax to tackle, and seeing as how he’s running around without pneumonia, probably not.

My point is that everyone is doing science stupid and medicine super stupid, and I bet Ravi just wants to keep the truth to himself because he can’t stand Happy Major and Liv any more than the rest of us.

Since it’s cruel to leave on a science rant, we still have more from Blaine. While he’s processing his grandma’s brain for his dad, Don E runs in to show his boss that Angus mcBeef Zombie got himself kidnapped by the anti-business serial killer (who needs a good nickname. Maybe something like the Hood or the Vigilante? Nah, those are both stupid).

Surprise surprise, Major got him but…it isn’t Angus he pulls out of his trunk and shoots, but something else human-shaped and stuffed inside plastic bags. Instead, we see Major return to a warehouse that specializes in freaky mannequins and chest deep freezers big enough to hold a dozen human bodies. And that’s just where he tosses Angus, into the deep freezer. Good thing Major knows zombies can survive being frozen and…okay he doesn’t, unless maybe Lenny told him about the time Blaine threw him in there for few weeks. Lenny could be so chatty.

So Major hasn’t been killing the elite and wealthy, but is stuffing mannequins into the black trash bags, shooting them, and hurling those into the river. A good plan…until there’s a news report about a massive clog of mannequins in the river and Rita figures it out. She’d probably make Major kill himself. Oh, I know a creepy leprechaun who can make it happen!

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