Thursday, March 26, 2015

iZombie episode 2 Recap: "Brother, Can You Spare A Brain?"

Last week's episode brought the funny and a little bit of ass-kicking. This week's episode worked, but was not as exciting and a little too much of Captain Obvious for me. An artist dies, and the cop figures out who did it right away. Buuuut they have to follow due process anyway and investigate. Along the way, Liv comes face-to-face with her nightmare vision from last week's episode, and she also goes somewhere she shouldn't have - and, of course, it ended in tears.

There is one thing that bugs me - the voice-over narratives. In last week's episode, it seemed like half the story line was recited in a narrative. This week, there isn't as much of it, but it's still annoying as hell. It doesn't do anything really to tie anything together; it just seems to serve as a segue point or unnecessary epilogue. It's not very useful otherwise. The information divulged in the voice-overs are easily deduced from the scenes preceding, under, or just after it. I hope that it is going away, and not becoming a regular thing.

There are also some things that I am really, really liking a lot. The Chief Medical Examiner Ravi Chakrabarti seems to take extreme pleasure in the fact that there are actual zombies in existence. Rahul Kohli brings a great sense of morbid humor and joy to the role. I wish that he had a bigger part. I also enjoy the dialogue a lot! It's a bit too much in some spots, but can be very witty and appropriate in others.

There does also appear to be a secondary story developing fairly quickly. There really isn't a whole lot of time being spent yet on the characters' back-stories yet. Last week, it was pretty much "Here's our zombie girl. This is how she got that way. And here's the good cop, here's the bad cop who also happens to be the bad guy, and here's the zombie girl's NPC's. Have at it." This week, it's "Here's the crime victim, here are the potential suspects, and here's the jerkwad from from episode 1 building his own story. Let's see what happens."

So... shall we? Hit the jump for the recap, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Lola Abano and her husband Javier's art dealer and friend Artie Fiss come home from having dinner. Artie is complaining that it would be nice if just once, Javier would call. Lola is defending her husband's absence - "You know how he gets when he's working... no sense of time..." She calls for Javier as she walks through their home. She screams, and Artie comes running to see what's wrong. Javier is lying dead on the floor with a paintbrush through his eye.

Liv and Ravi process the body at the crime scene. They discuss the deceased - Liv doesn't know who he is. Ravi explains to her that he's a pretty big deal in the art world, and that people pay lots of money for his artwork. Liv says that it seems like it's just a way for the guy to "show off how many colors of paint he owned." She apparently doesn't like art. She notices that Detective Clive Babineaux is trying to question the widow, who is crying. The art dealer is trying to get Babineaux to back off, telling him that he can't ask her any more questions right now.

Clive goes over to talk to Ravi and Liv, asking if they have any information for him yet. Ravi babbles about the cause of death being a paintbrush through the orbital cavity - "which is kind of like hitting an 'off' switch but not really..." and puts the time of death somewhere between 7 and 8 PM. Clive asks Liv, "What about you? You getting any... psychic vibes about who the killer is?" "Boy, you're really a flip-to-the-end-of-the-book kind of guy, aren't you?" she responds. Clive says, "It's the wife. It's always the wife. Except when it's the wife that's dead - then it's the husband."

Eager to get on with it, Ravi tells Clive that they need to remove the paintbrush in order to get the body in the bag, and Clive leaves with a slight look of distaste. Liv tells Ravi, "this fake psychic thing is gonna bite me in the ass when he starts asking me for winning lottery numbers." Ravi pulls the paintbrush out of the dead artist's eye, and slides it into the bag that Liv is holding open. "Fresh brains, anyone?"


Liv eats some of the artist's brain, and picks up some of his traits - she becomes flirty, and develops an appreciation for art and music that she had never exhibited before. Major goes over to drop off some of Liv's things. She is still trying to maintain her distance from him. He cracks a joke, which falls flat. Liv's roommate Peyton walks in, griping about a neighbor in another apartment "who is NOT Zooey Deschanel" stealing her parking space yet again."There's nothing more annoying than an entitled chick in a skater dress."

When Peyton sees Major, she asks if she should not be there. Major tells her that he was just leaving. He tells Liv that he has a closet full of engagement gifts, "so let me know if you want anything. Except the panini press... which I've already used... and broken... and repurchased..." Peyton says, "We'll take the juicer!" Major says he'll bring it over, and leaves. Liv and Peyton have a brief conversation about Major being there. Liv doesn't want him to come by. Peyton still appears to be frustrated with Liv's apparent lack of compassion for Major, and her seeming inability to connect with people and move on with her life.

"What's more meta than a zombie having a bad zombie dream?" When Liv gets to work that night, she runs database searches for anyone who may have survived (or "survived") the boat party. She had a nightmare, in which the jerky guy who hit on her at the boat party was sitting on her bed. She rambles on to Ravi that she's searched all the pictures on the Facebook accounts of all the survivors who were at the party, and all the Instagram accounts of survivors, and she can't find anyone who looks like this guy. Ravi says maybe she needs a break. "Chill out... get your mind off it." He tosses her an issue of 'Trendstyle' magazine. Liv reads from the cover, "Hotter sex tonight... Five easy steps?" Ravi gives a little shrug. "I stole it from the dentist's office." Liv explains in a voice-over once again why she and Major can't be together.

As she holds the magazine, Liv gets a vision of a woman in the middle of an intimate encounter. She tells Ravi that Javier was having an affair. Liv goes to the precinct and tells Clive. They go to Javier's home to talk with his widow again. When they get there, Artie meets them at the door and takes them through the studio into the gallery. Lola is embracing another woman, in condolence. Artie announces the detective, and the women break their embrace. Liv tells Clive that the other woman is the one from her vision. Clive asks if she is sure. She affirms it, and they enter the room.

Lola introduces the young woman as Tasha, "my husband's favorite lover." Liv gets a strange look on her face. Lola invites them into they room, and they all sit while Tasha prepares drinks for everyone. Clive starts to ask Lola questions about her relationship with her husband, and all his lovers. Clive asks if they ever had kids. Lola says that Javier never wanted kids. Tasha serves the drinks, then sits down on the sofa next to Liv. Lola expresses her mild offense that Clive doesn't take her relationship with Javier seriously. Their relationship is a fairly open one, and Lola was okay with that. Meanwhile, Lola and Tasha make flirty faces at each other.

As they are leaving, Liv is saying that it couldn't have been Lola. "How can that be incriminating? She said that she didn't care who he slept with." Clive explains, "Naw. That's just something they say. Plus, I might have been paying closer attention than you. You seemed a little distracted." Clive gets an e-mail on his phone from Ravi that says the angle of the paintbrush is consistent with a likker who is right-handed, and who was 6'2" or 6'3" tall." Liv gets snarky. "Does that mean Javier had two wives? Since Lola's around my height, wife number two is the tall one?" Clive starts walking away. "Wait... I'm being totally serious now. If you find a pair of foot-high stiletto heels in Lola's closet, can you ask her where she got them?"

When Liv gets back to the morgue, Ravi is waiting with a police sketch artist named Jimmy to draw the zombie dude she is looking for. Liv describes the guy to the sketch artist, vacillating between flowery adjectives and stronger ones to describe his facial features. "There was something... historic about his chin." She looks at the drawing in progress. "The nose needs to be more... alert."  "I thought you said it was soft and gradual, like a sand hill - " "But with an alertness," says Liv as she takes the pencil and sketchbook from Jimmy. 

Jimmy gets fed up. He snatches the book and pencil back, tears the drawing out of the sketchbook and throws it on the floor. Ravi watches with a mischievous grin as Liv picks up the sketch from the floor and Jimmy walks out. He gleefully extends a pencil to Liv. "Am I right in assuming this is a new skill?"

Clive has Artie Fiss at the precinct for questioning. Clive asks about where he was and what he was doing that night. "You say you were at the restaurant with Lola from 6 pm until 9:30 pm. Three and a half hours for dinner is kind of a long time," says Clive. Artie shrugs. "Not really, We spent a big chunk of that time waiting for Javier to show up. I'm more than just his art dealer. We've all been close friends for years." Clive asks, "how close were you and Lola?" The implication of infidelity hangs in the air. Artie responds, "She's my closest and dearest friend. Nothing more than that. Not ever." 

Artie tells Clive that Lola was dedicated to Javier. Clive tells him that Lola mentioned that she had "dalliances." Artie gets a little upset. "Dalliances? With who?" Clive shrugs and says that Lola didn't mention names. Artie tells him that he's having trouble processing that because Lola loved Javier unconditionally, and she dedicated her life to Javier while he slept around with every model in Seattle. "You don't sound like a big fan of his," remarks Clive. "Oh, I'm a huge fan! Some of the best times I had were with Javier. Great artist! Not a great husband." Clive asks him how tall he is. Artie says that instead of grilling Javier's friends, maybe Clive should focus on the various jilted ex-boyfriends of the girls that Javier slept with. Clive asks again how tall he is. "I'm 6 feet 2 inches."

At home, Liv has a conversation with Peyton about a painting hanging over their couch. Peyton doesn't understand why Liv is all of a sudden acting like an art critic, but Liv can't explain. She goes out and buys art supplies and an easel and starts painting.

Back at work, Ravi had made flyers of Liv's sketch and distributed them. The bait brought in the fish they were looking for....

Blaine gets up off the table. Approaching Liv, he asks if the pale skin and chalky hair are style choices. He asks her what she wants with him. Liv says that she wanted to meet him, because she had a nightmare about him chasing someone through an alley - "you were about to open his skull and eat his brain. He wound up here after being in a DUI accident, and I ate his brain. That's how I got the vision." Blaine is impressed. "You get your brains on the job. Well played." She asks him how he gets his brains. He says he gets them by grave-robbing. "Super fun." 

Blaine explains that the guy he was chasing was trying to rob him. "He came at me, so I.. raged out, or whatever. What do you call it?" Liv says, "Zombie mode...  actually, full-on zombie mode is what I call it when that happens." They continue to converse casually about how much they miss tasting real food. Ravi comes in and sees Blaine. He tells Liv, "You really nailed the historic chin! Bravo!" He walks over to Blaine and hands him a sample cup. "We are THRILLED to have you here, and if you haven't used the facilities yet, a urine sample would be lovely!"

"D'ya mind if I just look in your ear?"

They chat about what happened at the paty that night, and Blaine says he had no idea how this happened. He says that he was super high at the party. He asks Liv how she became a zombie. "Did it happen the night at the boat party?" Liv says, "Yes. You tried to sell me Utopium, slapped my ass, went all rage zombie and slashed my forearm." He looks at her in disbelief. "Oh... wow. How do I even begin to apologize for something like that..." He seemed genuinely contrite. "If I wasn't like, 95 percent sure I would survive, I would throw myself off a bridge right now..." He gestures, and accidentally knocks a tray of instruments onto the floor. This triggers a vision for Liv.

She sees Tasha and a guy in an argument. The guy is throwing stuff around and breaking things. Tasha is apologizing for hurting him. A man is telling the guy to calm down - "We're all adults here..." Back in the present, Ravi and Blaine are watching her. Blaine asks, "Did you just... Where'd you go?" Liv tells Blaine that she has to go do something, and that he should go. Ravi starts to protest, but Blaine gets it. "She doesn't want me here alone with you." Blaine leaves.

Liv catches up with Clive at the precinct. "It wasn't Lola who found Tasha and Javier fooling around, it was Tasha's jealous boyfriend!" Clive points to a line of men in a hall. "Tasha's jealous boyfriend, huh? Looks like he may already be trying to deflect attention from himself." Liv looks at the men in the hall and recognizes one of them. She points him out to Clive, describing him with romantically artistic adjectives. "How 'bout you just tell me what color shirt he's wearing," says Clive. Liv nods. "Cerulean."

Clive and Liv are questioning Tasha's ex about the night of the murder. His name is Tito Rivera. He says he was home alone. With a flirt on her face and in a lilt to her voice, Liv asks, "how did THAT happen?" Clive winces uncomfortably as he takes a swig of his coffee. Clive asks him how tall he is. He says he is 6'3" and Liv interrupts again as Clive starts to ask another question. "Do you have any Native American in your ancestry... because those cheekbones - " 

"Ms. Moore!" Clive exclaims, exasperated. Liv apologizes. Tito answers her anyway. "I'm a quarter Cherokee." Liv has a big mushy grin on her face. "Yeah, you are," she purrs. Clive has had enough of this crap. looking at Liv pointedly, he says "Do I need to ask you to leave?" She backs away from the table, and Clive resumes questioning. "When did you first find out about your girlfriend - " Tito corrects him. "Ex-girlfriend." Clive continues. "- your ex-girlfriend and Javier?" Tito says he doesn't remember. Clive finds it hard to believe that he would forget about something as important as catching his girlfriend and Javier fooling around. Tito says it was a while ago, and he doesn't dwell on things. "Besides - she got what was coming to her. Javier dumped her months ago for a younger version. That's the kind of guy she left me for. Someone who'll bang his best friend's 18-year old daughter." Clive looks for clarification. "Artie? His manager's daughter?" Tito nods. "Becca. Not a too well-kept secret around the art community, but you didn't hear it from me."

Meanwhile, Blaine is at a bar. He finds a woman there alone, and offers to buy her a drink. She tries to put him off, saying that she's really not into the age difference thing. They make some small talk, and she ends up giving him some attention. Blaine ends up going back to her apartment with her, and seduces her. Apparently he has ulterior motives. Gee.

Major goes over to Liv's to drop off the juicer, and is surprised that Liv is painting. "Heeey, pod person who's taken over Liv's body... Really should have done your homework because nobody's gonna buy this." Liv apologizes. "Sorry - I was in a zone..." She tells him it's a hobby she's just taken up. Major is confused by that, because Liv had always tried to get him to give up his hobby of building outdoor furniture. He notices that she's listening to jazz, and is a little frustrated by that. "I tried for years to get you to listen to jazz. I even went through the trouble of picking the perfect music and making you a mixed CD." She nods. "I think this is that CD." She flirts with him by putting her hand on his shoulder, and he seems confused by it. He tells her that if she really likes jazz, he's got some awesome stuff on vinyl that he would be happy to put on CD for her. "I would love that! You're awesome!" She impulsively kisses his cheek. He gets very uncomfortable with the situation, and leaves.

Blaine shows back up at the morgue. He asks where Ravi is, and Liv says he's out on a call. "I wasn't going to eat him," says Blaine. "You understand why I'm not ready to kiss and make up, right?" says Liv. "Yeah. I get it. I turned you into a zombie. You saw me almost kill a guy..." He explains that he's not the same guy that he was the night of the boat party. "At least, I'm trying not to be. I mean, it's not like I'm ladling out soup or saving puppies... but I'm actively not trying to be a sleazebag." He says that he's not dealing drugs anymore ("much to the chagrin of my former employer") and that he's cut all the poisonous people out of his life. She asks him why he's telling her all this. "Who the hell else am I gonna tell?"

Then he says that he needs her help. "Look... I get that you work here at the brain auto-mat. But for the rest of us - meaning me, procuring brains is somewhat of a massive undertaking. I was hoping that from time to time, if you would be so inclined as to help a brother out?" She thinks a moment, and agrees. "But I can't just go handing out brains in the police morgue. I'll have to meet up with you later." He tells her that he hangs out a dog friendly internet cafe called the Mutt-Bowl Surfers. (Props to the writers - I nearly missed that reference!) She says she will meet him there.

Later, Blaine is hanging out in front of the internet cafe. A car pulls up, and a punk looking guy calls him over. Blaine approaches the car. "Hutch! Dougie! What brings you to this fair part of the city?" Dougie gets out of the car. He tells Blaine that the boss has been looking for him. "Tell him I'll be by the club tomorrow night." Dougie tells him that the boss wants to see him now. "Yeah... Now's not so good for me," says Blaine. Dougie threatens Blaine. "Are you really gonna make Hutch get out of the car?"

Blaine tells Dougie that he's not going with them. They go back and forth about it, and Dougie tells Blaine to get into the car now. Liv happens to be approaching the area, and she sees Blaine hand something to Dougie. Assuming Blaine lied to her about being a changed person, she leaves. Blaine hands Dougie a matchbook with an address to give to the boss, saying he will meet the boss there later. Dougie threatens Blaine again, demanding that he get in the car. Blaine gets into the car, and there is some discussion about the night of the party and how people thought he was dead. Blaine tells them that he won't make the same mistake when he's running the town. Dougie laughs. "Yeah? What mistake is that?" Blaine takes a breath. "The mistake of underestimating the little guy." He eats their brains.

"Yay! No king! No king! La-la-la-la-la-la!"

"Idiots! I will be king!"

Blaine goes to the apartment of the woman he seduced and turned. She opens the door, and stares blankly at him. "Hey - you changed your hair!" The woman continues to stare. "That's a joke. Can I come in?" He walks in past her. He makes a comment about how well she must be doing for herself financially. She asks him what's happening to her. "Oh. Yeah. Sorry - buried the lead. You're a zombie now. Like, for real. I know - shock, confusion... disbelief. Welcome to Team Z!" He calls her Jackie, and starts his sales pitch, telling her that he can help. "For a mere 25k a month, I can give you what you need to keep all your pistons firing!" He holds up a container with a brain in it. "Did I mention this batch is super fresh?" Jackie reaches for it, and he pulls it away. "Uh-uh. First rule of Brain Club - you don't talk about Brain Club. There are some things worse than death." Jackie calls for someone named Tina to bring her checkbook.

Back in the morgue, Liv is cleaning up. Ravi comes in, and asks if she has any way to contact Blaine. He wants to do some more tests. Liv tells him that's not such a good idea. Ravi tells her that he appreciates her efforts to keep him safe. She says, "I think he's a liar... and a phony, and I think he's just using me for my brains. Well... THEIR brains," she adds as she gestures to a cadaver. She tells Ravi that she doesn't trust him and thinks he's dangerous.

Clive comes in to the morgue. He asks if Liv is free that night to go with him to a thing at Javier's loft for his work. He explains that he got some information from the waitress that served Artie and Lola that night. The waitress said that Artie left the restaurant that night. He attempted a withdrawal at an ATM just down the street from Javier's loft. That puts him in proximity of the crime scene during the window that Liv gave for the time of the murder. Ravi asks what Clive meant by "attempted withdrawal." Clive explains that Artie wasn't able to get any cash because he has none - it goes beyond insufficient funds. So now Artie has no alibi for that time frame, and he has possible motive. "Why would Lola cover for him?" asks Liv. Clive says that's what he plans to find out. Ravi says he should probably come along - "to help with the art... and the open bar. And possibly the models."

The group arrives at Javier's loft, and there are a lot of people there. They overhear a conversation between a man and woman discussing the prices of Javier's work. The man remarks that dying is the best thing an artist can do for their work. Clive tells Liv and Ravi that it's also the best thing an artist could do for a broke art dealer. Clive goes to look for the waitress that he wanted to talk to. As they walk, Ravi asks Liv what it is exactly that she does to get these visions. "Should I find you some things to touch. or...?" She says, "I kind of just walk around and hope something sets it off... and that sounds kind of lame, now that I actually say it out loud." Ravi disagrees. "Nope. Not at all. You're on a quest. A... VisionQuest, of sorts, you could say..." Liv tells him to stop having so much fun. "It's unseemly." She leaves his side to search for clues.

Clive runs into Lola, they have a chat. Clive asks her why she didn't mention before that Artie had left the restaurant. She says she must have forgotten. He asks her how long he was gone. She says maybe 20 minutes. He asks her how long it takes to get from the restaurant to the loft. Meanwhile, a model approaches Ravi, thinking that he is a cop. She asks him for help with her ex-boyfriend, who is in violation of a restraining order by being there. She said if he didn't leave, she would have to. Ravi tells her to stay put and he'll get it sorted for her.

Liv finds her way to Javier's studio. In a voice-over, she comments that Javier left more than his art behind - he left a piece of himself. She wonders what would have happened if she had died at the lake that night. What would be left for her family and loved ones? As she looks around the studio, she hears a door close behind her and turns around to see Tito at the top of the stairs. He has a leer on his face. "I don't know if it's ironic or brilliant. Javier would have loved you... but now he'll never get to lay a hand on you, will he?" Tito advances on Liv, and she sees the painting of an ultrasound that Javier did. She gets a vision of Artie's niece Becca getting an ultrasound and telling Javier that they are going to have a son. She tells Tito that she is someone he doesn't want to mess with.

She pushes past Tito, and he grabs her. Liv goes into zombie mode, and punches Tito in the face. She manages to get out of there. Meanwhile, Clive is talking with Artie. Clive mentions that he knows Artie left the restaurant to get cash from the ATM. Clive tells him that he knows Artie is broke, and that's considered motive for murder. Artie tells Clive that he's wrong, and attempts to disengage. Liv finds them, and says that maybe Artie killed Javier because Javier knocked up Artie's 18-year-old daughter. Artie says that Javier was like an uncle to Becca, and that there was never anything else there. He doesn't believe what he's hearing.

Ravi notices Liv standing on the dais, and that Artie is standing on the floor. He goes over, and does an impromptu re-enactment of a possible scenario. "The murderer could have been standing here," he says as he points to Liv. "That would explain the angle of the entry wound and the blood on the stairs over there -" Ravi points to the steps behind Artie. "Javier would have stumbled back four or five steps. The killer would have been this size," he says as he indicates Liv.

Clive asks Liv if she's sure about the ultrasound. He confronts Lola. "You told me that Javier never wanted children. You never mentioned whether or not you did. You weren't covering for Artie, were you?" Clive tells her that the waitress at the restaurant wasn't sure what time she arrived, only that Artie left to go to the ATM. He accuses Lola of killing Javier. "You murdered Javier before you even got to the restaurant. You found out that he was going to have the baby, and start the family that he never had with you." Artie says, "you knew about this and never told me?" Clive says that 20 minutes ago, Lola confided in him that Artie left the restaurant long enough to have been able to commit the murder.

Lola gets defensive. Artie is angry now, and says that when he got back from the ATM, there she was. She was 30 minutes late, and hyperventilating. He wiped what he thought was red paint off her cheek. Artie says that when they found Javier's body, she somehow knew that he would cover for her. "You used me!" Lola tries to rationalize. "He was leaving me to start a family... with an 18-year-old girl." Clive arrests her for the murder of Javier Abano.

Just as Clive finishes reading Lola her rights, Tito comes charging into the room, looking for Liv. "You little albino tease! Look what you did to me!" Clive clocks him in the face, knocking him cold. "There's a second pair of cuffs in my car," he says to Liv. "You mind getting them for me?" Liv tells him, "I guess you were right. It's always the wife."

Liv goes home, and eats some more of Javier's brain. She wants to keep the feelings she got from Javier. She doesn't want to ever lose that. She paints passionately for a while, then goes over to Major's house. He invites her in and starts to make small talk. She asks him to sit with her - she wants to hang out. He sits next to her, and she kisses him passionately. Major pushes her off - he is angry and confused. She says that she can't take another second of not being close to him. He gets upset, telling her that he spent the last six months trying to deal with her behavior and hoping for something that will never happen. He asks her to leave.

Back at home, Liv and Peyton take down the old horrible painting that Liv hated, and put up the one that Liv just painted. In a voice-over, Liv reflects on her life. She remarks that she wasted so much time not really living... she was basically already dead, and didn't even know it. Javier's brain gave her a passion that she didn't know could exist - a passion for life. She hopes that she can hang on to that, and find life even though she's dead.

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