Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from all of us here alive at...

Op well, alive is optional. But Merry Christmas anyway.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

iZombie: Cape Town

Liv getting to play as a superhero, more destroying Major inside and out, Ravi geeking out, and evil Leprechaun is back! Let's get to it!

The episode opens with a set of muggers fresh off a movie set chasing down a woman with a massive purse. Generic Jon Hamm leaps off the wall and tries to save her. After bashing in our two mugger's noggins, he calls himself "The Fog." I'm guessing all the other superhero names were already taken and it was "The Fog" or "Tastesicles."

Alas, our Fog doesn't last long as his body is found in the dumpster the next day. Turns out his real name was Chris and Clive knew him because, despite being shut up tighter than Fort Knox, Clive knows everyone in Seattle. His fourth of July barbecues are legendary, every single weird person in Seattle shows up regularly.

Our Foggy Chris was also a high school shop teacher, but we all know Ravi's not getting that new spice rack. While Liv chops up a brain sandwich Ravi says: "It looks to me like you have the makings of a hero." He should be punished mercilessly for that pun by walking naked down the street reciting the pun punishment and asking for mercy from the pun god.

All is not happy in Major and Liv land (like that's something new. Have we ever seen them happy beyond a blink and you'll miss it moment?). Liv's still arguing about her breaking into his phone and her texting Rita/Gilda/Poison Ivy (I assume the last one). Major is dead right that the fight is stupid and it was all her doing, while Liv expects him to...I have no idea. Gouge out his eyes with a pin? He hasn't done much of anything, aside from keeping his whole zombie assassin job on the down low.  Which, given Liv's tendency to go off the rails at a moments notice is probably a wise move.

They try to set us up to think that after the fight Major's planning on cheating on Liv, but please. That guy's main characterization trait seems to be perfect boyfriend, also kicked puppy. Instead, he's on the zombie hunt again and tries asking a young woman at the bar for the time. But before he can invite her back for a little Netflix and toss into the freezer, an older man appears to take her away. Stick that in your mind, it'll be important later.

Liv's gone full supe while Ravi digs through the Fog's utility belt (I assume Ravi has youtube videos showing how he built his own belt). Rappelling hook (okay, you can get carbines off water bottles), marble (technically a shooter, but fine), chloroform (how the hell does a shop teacher have access to that?), and the most important part of all crime fighting -- duct tape. If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy at binding up thugs.

All of the Supeing out gives Liv a chance to throw on her best Silver Age Batman routing with lines like "I make time for justice" and posing with her chest thrust out. The actors looked like they were having a ball. Half the time I watch this show just for reaction shots. Ravi's of course is golden but so is Clive. He's always on the tipping point of getting sick of whatever crap Liv's pulling now. Is there an Emmy for reacting to wacky shit?

Clive's taking Supe Liv to visit with Mr. Boss. Turns out the two muggers were his little minions. He's playing Santa Claus, as all evil CEOs and crime bosses do. Lex Luthor did a fine turn at Metropolis' Thanksgiving Day parade until he commandeered the sleigh to ram Superman's float. It had to end with Superman snapping Luthor's neck in front of all the kids - you know, real life drama! Liv has a quick zombie vision of a hashtag because kids from the 1980s are playing tic tac toe on the fog of a car window (I assume their phones all died simultaneously). But really, most of this scene was to remind you that Boss is our newest baddy, though his line about "I don't want the kids to know the know about my being Santa" was pretty forced. He was so delightfully creepy in the episode he threatens Peyton, just keep the creepy. Don't go trying to make him the funny one. Blaine's got it down in spades.

Speaking of our favorite ex-zombie (or is he?), Don E's brought in a dying man to Blaine's mortuary finally giving us a Star Trek line: "Damn it Don E, I'm a brain dealer not a doctor." Blaine zips the guy up into a body bag and takes him to see Liv and Ravi who are trying to pick her Supe name. Our little dying guy who bares a striking resemblance to Vanilla Ice, named Drake, will be singing with choirs of machine-gunning angels unless Liv scratches him. Of course she's all hesitant for a brief second before Blaine points out Drake is the only hope they have to find the tainted utopium and create a possible cure.

Does the Zombie virus also give people diamond studded nails? She doesn't just cut a line into his tissue paper skin, but a deep gash. File your nails down, Liv! How can you even keep nitrile gloves on without shredding right through them? Drake wakes up almost instantly from the zombie magic, and Blaine wants to celebrate with mojitos. But first he zips him back up into the body bag and wheels him out - probably right to party hour.

Back to our brain of the week, Clive's brought in # because, again, the man knows everyone. Seems # sucker punched Zach Snyder, no sorry, The Fog because he was building up a Superhero team without #. (How did The Fog not wear a trench coat and run around spouting libertarian shit like Rorschach? Missed opportunity there dead guy) They bring in the entire super hero team running around Seattle: Ghost cobra, Grey area, Super fly, Mega fist, Blue swallow. I wonder how many names got tossed into the writer's trash bin.

Give me a color. Okay, give me an animal. The Green Sloth! Good, go!


You're the Green Sloth! Figure out your mighty sloth powers on the way out. NEXT!

Liv gives a heart warming super hero speech that I'm sure will pop up during one of the fifty thousand comic book movies coming out next year. This is all to learn that Fog's big plan was to intercept a gun shipment of Mr. Boss. Doesn't stopping a gun shipment seem so quaint now. Are we sure Boss is a crime lord and not just working for the NRA? Or are they one and the same now? The Super Team didn't hear about the plan part, they all thought Fog was nuts for thinking of taking down Boss and wanted no part of it.

One of the two muggers is found on top of the twenty foot high christmas tree with his throat slashed, which is apparently Boss' calling card. So, probably not with the NRA then. What's weird is they found on him a matchbook with Mary the muggie's address on it. Since the muggers knew where Mary lived and one is still "missing," Clive sends some people to check on Mary but she's already flown the coop. No word on the state of her shower curtain or if there's a lasagna in the oven. One day we will get answers for that shower curtain!

Liv and Ravi swing by the mortuary which is probably considered normal protocol for morgue doctors and talk to our newest zombie. Drake seems a little bit shocked about the whole getting shot but not dying thing. Turns out Blaine's massaged the truth a bit about getting his hands on the tainted utopoium right that very second. Seems that it all came about because Drake's old high school buddy swallowed a few condoms full of the stuff, then got shot by Mr. Boss' goons for trying to scam him, and his body is buried somewhere out by the water tower. Drake was a great help, thanks for that Blaine! Though he's still on the hook for needing brains and some other dun dun DUN later.

Don E's hot pockets explode in the microwave because he set the timer for 30 minutes, and Liv has a zombie vision of Boss' goons playing with some anti-aircraft guns (use it for duck hunting). This of course puts her into straight on Supe mode to bust Boss. Clive points out that they have protocol, need probable cause and all those other pesky constitution things. Not to mention the FBI has probably been looking into Boss along with the DA for a good decade and are trying to get him on tax evasion.

Speaking of, has anyone seen Peyton in awhile? I'm starting to think she's gotten locked inside her DA office/ancient classroom and is stuck eating her shoes to survive. For living with Ravi, and Major, and Liv now as well, she's never around. Though, given the tendency for Liv to yell at Major, maybe Peyton wakes up at 4 AM and beats feet before the theatrics begin.

After a day stalking the zombie woman, Major's ready to take her out. But when he turns the corner he spots plastic sheeting and her pointing a gun to her head. He tackles her, but she goes full zombie and holds him down until he confesses that Max Rager is forcing him to hunt zombies or they'll kill his girlfriend. The overwhelming Perfect Boyfriendness™ is enough to tame the zombie in the woman and she lets Major up.

While talking over cocoa, we learn that the woman used to be a call girl before she ran into Blaine. He turned her zombie just so she would service his clients in exchange for brains. Her savings are gone and she doesn't want to suffer the indignity of trading sex for food, so she planned to kill herself. After her sob story, Major shows he's not just a pretty bland face and knows that after he finishes with the list Von's going to just kill him and Liv anyway. He hopes to find some weakness in Von, but apparently the man's gone full messiah with the handful of remaining energy drink users in the world.

What was surprising about this heartbreaking moment between the two of them was that the call girl wasn't treated like the dead hooker trope, albeit an undead one in this case. She wasn't just there to show how seedy the city was, to be killed because lady that likes sex is dangerous. She enjoyed her work before, she talks about visiting places all around the world with the money she made. It wasn't until Blaine got a hold of her and took away her autonomy that her world crumbled. It's a far more nuanced look at sex work than one would expect from a zombie show.

I know I joked about the reaction Emmy, but it's a little sad to know that because iZombie can be rather lighthearted at times and it's in the spec/horror genre, it'll never stand a chance to be looked at. Rose McIver throws her all into each brain, a bit like another sf/f Orphany show that also gets ignored. And Rahul Kohli has comedic timing that would put any sitcom *cough*Modern Family*cough* to shame. But because the industry doesn't like the new or different, off beat things fall through the cracks.

Anyway, my point is this little scene should tug at your undead heart. Now back to Liv. She's gotten herself a superhero costume from the all night Cape Store you know Seattle has to have and is staking out Boss' place.
We quickly get closure on our brain of the week while Liv's going full Supe. Clive brings in the last mugger and Carlos confesses that the so called mugging victim actually hit one of Boss' casinos (do you just get given a casino or two when you fill out your crime boss paperwork?) and stole $50K. The two "muggers" were chasing her down to get it back when Fog popped out of nowhere and beaned them. Except, Mary turned around and killed him. Clive asks if Mary killed off the muggers for being witnesses, but Carlos scoffs that it was Mr. Boss. For being on the chopping block next, he doesn't seem to give too many shits.

While we know that it was Mary who offed the Fog, Liv's working in a few more Christmas references. She runs into a nutcracker that all shady warehouses have strategically placed to warn them of invaders. This alerts the guards (just go into sneak mode and wait it out in the back, Liv) and we finally figure out what that marble shooter was for as Liv CGI hurls it into a guy's forehead. She whacks a guy with a plastic reindeer (which I assume was filled with gold for how he goes down) and then she puts chloroform on a christmas themed oven mitt? (they were running out of ideas) to leap on top of another guy and gas him.

Because attacking people Home Alone style is stupid in real life, Liv gets shot in the back. Of course the guy wants to gloat, giving Liv time to go full zombie. Yay! Another zombie knife fight! Okay, it's nowhere near as awesome as zombie knife fight because nothing can be as great as that. It is still fun to watch tiny Liv leaping like an enraged wolverine all over the bad guys. He freaks out and asks her what the hell she is. Full Supe Liv says "I'm the nightmare before christmas" and takes him down.

Then she spots Mary all tied up because they were waiting until tomorrow to kill her? They ran out of cement shoes? Thugs just aren't what they used to be. Of course Liv frees her because she sees helpless citizen, and gives Mary her phone to call the cops. Mary whacks Liv in the back of the head which is the only way to immobilize zombies, I guess. She's about to shoot Liv when Boss shoots Mary from behind.

After obligatory Major put the zombie lady into the freezer scene, we cut to Ravi waking Liv up. All the guns and thugs are gone. It's just her and dead Mary left on the warehouse. Boss phones the police after he shot Mary who was about to kill Liv. Liv's still full of righteousness and demands that Boss be arrested for his minions. Creepy leprechaun does get in the great line "My minions? I'm a CPA, I'm not a super villain." See, stick with the creepy. And then we learn that Drake, Blaine's last ace in the hole, is working with Mr Boss. Which means that Mr. Boss shot him in the gut, leaving him to die, knowing that Blaine would turn him into a zombie. So he knows about the zombies and possibly even the tainted utopium as well. Dun dun DUN!

Clive's rightly pissed as hell at Liv who just set back who knows how many investigations and her storming in to nearly get herself killed. There's some regret mixed in with the sick of her shit from her getting injured because of working with him and Clive dumps her from the force. Did the writers finally realize that the brain of the week storyline is kinda boring and no one cares? It's been getting pushed more and more to the background as the rest of the world opens up, so...oh wait, mid-season finale. We have to shake everything up before the world resets in January.

Speaking of that, Major's making spiced apple cider because he's freaking Martha Stewart in an athlete's body. (okay, that might just be Martha Stewart period. Do not mess with that woman) We get it, he's the perfectest boyfriend to ever perfect the boyfriending, so much so that he's been trying his damnedest to put up with Liv's ever shifting mental state and the whole no sex thing (I assume we're going with the Clinton definition of sex here). He's so perfect it has to be Liv who finally pulls the plug.

"You love the woman I was before, you tolerate the woman I am now. We belong with our own kind."

This would probably be a bit more impactfull if we hadn't already seen this a couple times before. That's the problem with the on again-off again relationships. By the third breakup people aren't going to care. Oh they'll just Ross and Rachel it again, whatever. For Major's sake, I kinda hope this one sticks. Dude needs a hug, a puppy (hey whatever happened to Minor? Is he living with Peyton in the negative zone?) and years of therapy.

Still, Major clings to hope eternal. As he leaves he says that Ravi will find a cure and then they can be together again.

But, we ain't done with the drama bombs yet! While in the lab, Ravi walks past Hope and sees our little rat has gone back to being full zombie. Which means in a few dozen days or so Major and Blaine are probably going to return to their undead state. The episode ends with Ravi all alone searching for the buried bodies musing in a voice over if a cure is even possible.

So Liv's entire zombie purpose is gone, she dumped Major just as he's about to go back to being full zombie, and a crime lord is aware of the zombies running through Seattle and probably has plans for them all. And just as the world implodes we have a month and a half long break.


See you all sometime at the end of January. For now, keep looking for that negative zone full of missing DAs and dogs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

iZombie: The Hurt Stalker

Welcome to the home stretch before the mid-season slumber. I think that's how network tv works, it's been so long since I've cared. Since we all live in a constant state of "spoilers" due to DVRs/Netflix/Bittorrent it's now possible to both know how a show ends and still get pissed about having it spoiled. Truly, it's a new day for quantum tv physics.

Liv's actually using her abandoned apartment. Due to her always being with Major, and Rita having her own life and one of a dozen flats, I assume a friendly family of raccoons have moved into the abandoned one. Since it's Seattle, they already have an Etsy store where they sell bits of string hand washed in an all natural river. This scene is just to establish that Rita super knows Liv's still sleeping with Major. Sadly, we don't get to see the raccoons jarring their own hand curated garbage collection and instagramming it.

Our brain of the week is the mystery woman from the end of last last weeks episode who slipped a white envelope somewhere. Turns out she's Regina Sumner, bad ass wedding planner who will fuck you up with a cake server. I'd have been checking her for super powers, because cave servers are dull as butter, but she went and got shot, so never mind. So long potential werewolf and/or Matrimonial Hulk. Turns out that she used to date/sleep with/stalk Clive. And the gun that shot her was Clive's. He seemed pretty chill about the whole thing, including her stealing his gun. Just how many do you have in the house that one goes missing and you shrug it off?

There's a quick scene of Von but, god, is anyone else really hoping that guy gets pushed off a building fast? I never want to lose Blaine, he's like watching an eccentric maestro compose a symphony backwards. But Von's been pushed so far to the "I'm awesome but can't accomplish shit" backburner to make room for Rita he just makes my hair hurt. I don't know why Rita tells her dad about her booty call woes, but Von doesn't give a shit because it's Von. This was mostly to establish there are eight dead zombies, and three innocent ones. AKA, Major shot up the ones in Meat Cute when he went all Rambo and stuffed the other three in his mannequin freezer.

They swing by the lab and the creepy Dr. Irving is gone (which I'm sad about, lady was ghoulishly awesome), but it does get a good line from Rita commenting on the eternal changing cast of Max Rager's R&D. "They're like drummers for Spinal Tap." If Super Max gets dumped into the full zombie's blood stream they go from original Dawn of the Dead shamblers to remake zombies with rockets up their asses.

Because Clive can't be investigating his own potential murder case, they bring in Detective Cavanaugh who is no longer a seemingly affable, candle loving guy. Nope, now he's just dick all the way down. I'm not really sure why. I preferred when he was this weird mix of goofy detective and scentsy mark. Going full asshole as a foil isn't breaking any new ground here. Oh well.

This whole episode was to give us a little bit into Clive's backstory, but once again the only way to crack under his skin is with a dead body. Dick Cavanaugh drops off a phone of Clive threatening Regina to leave him alone. After Liv noshes on some brains, Ravi has the thought we all did. "What if you have a vision of having sex with Clive? What if you see his O face? I bet it's super angry." Ravi's on point this episode. I think I blew a blood vessel laughing so damn hard.

We do finally learn the first name of BlondieFBI and it's Dale. I'm guessing her parents really wanted a boy. She explains what the weird ass package was, turns out Regina was a super stalker as well and would make scrapbooks pretending she was married to cops. But it was really just an excuse to give sudden hobby backstory to Clive: he plays piano, he cooks cajun, and - to Ravi's delight - he's a huge Game of Thrones fan. That's about it.

I'd say we learn more about dead Wedding Planner who wields the cake slicer like it's Excalibur. On top of having so-so photoshop skills, and actually printing out photos, she's a badge bunny and only went after cops before deciding they should be married forever. I'm more surprised at the idea of Clive meeting her at a wedding. Clive at a wedding seems a real stretch. Oh god, the idea of Clive having to be a pointless usher asking people if they're with the bride or groom and not giving a shit where he seats people.

Liv's going all super stalker to try and explain away why Regina stole Clive's gun, but seriously, dude. You dropped the ball on that one. They don't really explain when she stole it, but shouldn't that kind of thing be reported and on file? Or does he have so many he didn't notice? Never mind, the need to own and use a gun safe. We have to go track down whoever Regina was suing right now, but we're going to talk about this Clive. I mean it!

Our little zombie investigating duo is told they have to play it by the book and not get involved because that always works. Liv's teamed up with Ravi, which was freaking adorable, to try and question the couple Regina was suing. Liv tried to pretend they're fiances asking about using Regina as a wedding planner for their own fake nuptials. Clammy hands clinging tight to Liv, Ravi massively flops face forward into his improv session.

But Uma Voss doesn't see through it, as she talks about how Regina messed up their wedding, got fired, showed up drunk, then sued them. On the way out we learn that Uma's husband is a cop and Liv has her only zombie vision of Matthew throwing the same scrapbook off a bridge. Apparently Seattle co-opted that bridge hazard in Paris where uncreative people like to cause structural damage by covering it in padlocks and chucking keys at innocent fish. I mean, isn't love grand?

Ravi finds the tossed scrapbook and they notice that there's some white guy in a picture that Regina kept using. I can tell it's shopped by the pixels! It can't have been Matthew Voss that killed her because he was on call at the time, so we're back hunting.

The stalker brains have kicked in, and Liv throws a fit about Ravi's shampoo in the shower. Man takes good care of his hair. Major at first takes it in stride, but after Liv reads through his phone and finds the texts from Rita, he gets rightly angry. For some reason, now's when Liv admits about the stalker brains instead of before, but beleaguered Major isn't having it. He hides his zombie sleep drugs in his safe, but Liv's super suspicious that he even has that.

Since Major's shut down, Liv's now taken to stalking facebook, freaking out over every post on Major's wall. This doesn't seem so much like stalker brains as just jealousy cranked to eleven (I can make the Spinal Tap reference too!). Stalker would be more her reading a small moment of kindness as a sign someone is meant to be with her forever and ever. And then she photoshops her head onto a bride's and creates fake wedding invitations. It felt like it was played more as "ladies be jealous and crazy" instead of "stalkers have delusions based upon nothing you can control and can take it to dangerous and scary lengths." But this was mostly just to turn Rita's devious brain against Liv anyway. After Liv says Major called Rita desperate, you can see the gears churning in her brain.

Back to our Brain of the Week, Clive swings by the morgue with food (guys, we need to talk about you eating in the lab...beside dead people! That's an OSHA no-no, big time). Ravi's a true brit as a little spice on his po'boy knocks him down flat, and they both try to razz Clive by talking shit about the sandwiches. He sort of admits that he doesn't get them from a take out place called "Grandmas" but makes them himself.

Of course they want to know why he wouldn't admit it. Then Liv calls his cooking "adorable." "And that's why." Poor Clive can't just enjoy his eccentric hobbies in peace. Ravi does get one good one in by leaning close to him and asking "Clive, what's GRR Martin up to?" Through his knit jaw, Clive sneers, "Not writing!"

Anyway, dead lady. Right, should focus on that even if Clive seems pretty chill about his career ending and him winding up in prison and all. Seems some evidence has gone missing, one of the other scrapbooks that I don't remember anyone mentioning, but eh who cares. Liv, through the use of the cyclist community, has managed to trace an SUV that she promptly breaks into because she's bang up at laying low. While digging through the cleanest cop car in the world, the owner arrives. Rather than leave, Liv climbs into the bloody backseat. And then we see the new Chief Wallprice that appeared out of thin air for this episode (didn't it used to a black lady? I swear there was a black lady. The turnover in Seattle is getting impressive). Seems Regina was boning him and sent him a scrapbook as well.

Someone calls Chief Wallwiggum about the missing evidence and he pretty much paints himself by saying "If the scrapbook gets out, it'll end my marriage." Liv manages to steal one page out of the scrapbook and then promptly gets found out. Proving that no one has to follow the law in Seattle, she's thrown right into jail jail instead of county, no bail, no nothing. I'd say that violates the constitution but that seems to be the norm anymore.

She's not getting out until Monday morning, which means she's going to get real hungry. They finally figured out that Regina stabbed the shit out of someone with her cake server because there are two different blood types at the crime scene. But that may not exonerate Clive because they don't have any thermocyclers on premise and can't do a DNA comparison I guess. I don't know, I guess the Seattle CSI is a goat tied up with an extension cord. Someone buy these guys some taq polymerase because being unable to do a simple DNA extraction & amplification despite having your magic microscope that can see viruses is rather pathetic.

Despite being in jail on flimsy pretenses and having a police chief hate her, Liv can have visitors. After Ravi stops by, Major does as well. Seems he's still working with that kid's basketball team, which is nice. Anyone want to take up a fund to pay for Major's huge therapy bills when all this is done? Liv confesses the stalker brains are out of her system, which means she goes full zombie and wants to eat her roommate just as she gets released. This gives Liv another dose of stalker brains, but it's okay because, despite going to jail jail, Liv's still got the picture she stole. Do I want to know how she held on to that? Probably not.

They find it's the original picture of some white guy with Regina and can see that nice stalker lady stole Uma Voss' one of a kind grandmother's engagement ring. Liv and Ravi return to the dry cleaners where we see neck stabbed Karl is running the register. Ravi asks for a blood sample and Karl bolts while Liv and Uma just watch him. As Karl tries to start up his van for a get away in a vehicle marked with his damn business, Cavanagh pops up and plays some Karma Chameleon to our delight.

It's the same old story. Regina slept with Uma's not-quite husband which meant it was okay because there wasn't a ring on it. Uh, okay? And then she sent Uma a scrapbook and stole her grandmother's ring. Uma said the plan was to scare Regina to give up the lawsuit, but they didn't count on her having a vorpal cake cutter in her purse. So, before Regina could kill her brother, Uma shot her. (Anyone wonder why they didn't think to check for fingerprints on the gun? Just me?)

Still on the "stalker" brains, Liv tries to break into Major's safe. He opens it to show that all that's in there is her engagement ring (because Major's not stupid enough to leave all his shit out like that). He says the heart breaking line: "I couldn't stand the idea of anyone else ever wearing it." This man is like a crying clown picture crossed with a sad beagle. So many therapy bills in his future.

But Liv still hasn't learned her lesson and breaks into his phone again (dude, change your password to something other than your damn thumb!) and Rita's screwing with her. There's no way Rita doesn't know what she's doing, so expect more melodrama on the horizon.

A fun little episode that maybe moved Super Max a needle tick and gave us a few things about Clive. But, it looks like next week Liv eats a vigilante's brains and becomes the Zombie-Bat running around Seattle to beat up criminals with her undead hands. *rubs hands in anticipation*