In 2×08 ‘The Hurt Stalker’, a murdered stalker helps to uncover the inner workings of several of our main characters. Let’s bitch it out…
Case of the week: In our cold open, certifiable stalker Regina Sumner (Natasha Burnett) is attacked and murdered by a pair of assailants in an underground parking lot. The case is a bit slight, so the reveal that the murderer is the wife of one of Regina’s Badge Bunny flings is hardly surprising (although the confession about the real reason behind the murder is a nice change of pace and heightened emotionality). Like so many of iZombie‘s cases this year, the case is window dressing to highlight character development in our core cast. For once, this includes not just Liv (Rose McIver), but also Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) – the team’s most enigmatic member.
As a character Clive has been a bit frustrating for most of the series’ runtime. Early in the series he was far too bland and seemingly only existed to facilitate the procedural aspects of the series until exec producers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright could prove to The CW execs that the series was worthwhile. In the second season Clive has become far more dynamic, with snappier dialogue and a burgeoning relationship with FBI agent Dale Bozzio (Jessica Harmon). But what do we really know about Clive? ‘The Hurt Stalker’ sprints through some of the stuff that would have merited from a slowed pace, but at least Clive’s personal life is starting to come into focus. Because our primary lens is with Liv, we’re unlikely to ever spend a night in Clive’s shoes, but for now just learning about some of his non-police related hobbies is encouraging. Plus: if The CW needs content to tie over fans during the holiday break, I’d be down for webisodes of Clive playing the piano, cooking Cuban food and cosplaying Game of Thrones while lamenting George RR Martin’s slow writing.
Stalker Liv: Obviously the real meat of the episode is courtesy of Regina’s “stalker brain” and how easily a few small suspicions unravel Liv’s revitalized relationship with Major (Robert Buckley). The temptation to view every interaction through a jealous gaze is a common struggle for lots of couples and it wouldn’t be as problematic here if Major weren’t legitimately trying to hide something from Liv. Alternately when she uses her boyfriend’s own thumb to scroll through his texts, it’s a complete invasion of privacy and Major is right to be upset. When he subsequently hides his zombie killing mechanism in his closet safe and refuses to open it until he has swapped it out for her old engagement ring, he’s confirming every paranoid thought that Liv has. Naturally it’s easier to focus on the sexual rivalry presented by Gilda AKA Rita (Leanne Lapp), whose texts turn up in Liv’s cursory investigation and whose fetishized body prompts Liv’s tears in the final scene. Let’s be real, though: we all know that Gilda isn’t a threat for Major’s affections. Unfortunately even after stalker brain wears off, the damage that Liv’s snooping and Major’s lies have caused will remain.
ZITNB (Zombie Is The New Black): Of course the other big development is the one given the shortest shrift. After Liv is discovered lurking in the vehicle of Chief of Police Walt Price she lands in jail, which should be one of the biggest developments the series has ever done. Like all of the classic horror types, there are certain scenarios that complicate the mythos to the extent that most genre vehicles strictly avoid them. Locking up a hungry zombie in jail definitely falls into this category since Liv’s confinement immediately puts her in a situation where her natural desires could initiate an apocalypse. The possibility of a full-blown outbreak is certainly broached, but ultimately dismissed far too quickly after a few conversations with Ravi (Rahul Kohli) and Major and one near miss that is conveniently resolved when she is granted early release. It’s a disappointingly rushed affair that tantalizes the prospects of exploring an unintentional zombie pandemic and while that’s clearly not iZombie‘s main narrative interest, this extended passage ultimately feels too much like a tease that the writers never fully committed to.
Super Max Rager: The return of Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber) after a four episode absence (he was last seen in ‘Real Dead Housewife Of Seattle’) suggests some big developments on the horizon. Initially it seemed that he was setting up his daughter as his test subject for the revitalized Super Max drink that has an unsettling effect on zombie test patients. After all he does encourage Gilda to drink the samples in his office. During his training session with Major, it becomes clear that he is actually testing the new product on himself, which is clearly a mistake considering he hulks out on the shoulder press and tosses a medicine ball at an overly vocal gym bunny. Obviously the technicians haven’t worked out the side effects yet, a fact that doesn’t bode well for the CEO. Perhaps Gilda’s vision to redecorate her father’s office after his death will come to pass sooner than we imagined. Provided Liv doesn’t kill her first, of course.
- I hadn’t realized that we’ve met Detective Cavanaugh (Robert Salvador) in previous episodes (‘Love & Basketball’ and ‘Even Cowgirls Get The The Black And Blues’). He didn’t make a huge impression on me before, though I certainly enjoyed his general oafishness and Ravi’s mockery of him after he’s assigned to Clive’s case tonight.
- Other interesting facts we learn about our colourful cast of characters in this episode: Ravi uses a shampoo called Sinful Diva.
- Finally, ‘Karma Chameleon’ is the song playing on the radio as Karl (Primo Allon) the killer from Karma Cleaner, tries to drive away. Depending on your sense of humour, that either a little too on the nose or absolutely perfect.
- Gilda (commenting on the constantly rotating roster of lab technicians): “They’re like drummers for Spinal Tap.”
- Cavanaugh: “If this case were any easier, I’d have slept with it in college”
- Ravi (joking that Liv might see Clive having sex in a vision): “You might see his O face. I bet it’s super angry.”
- Ravi (when Liv reminds him that they know Clive): “At this point anything is possible.”
- Ravi (after Clive confirms that Regina was Badge Bunny): “I have a badge.”
Your turn: what did you think of learning more about Clive’s personal life? Did you appreciate how Regina’s stalker brain complicates Liv and Major’s relationship? Is Gilda S2’s sexual and mental Big Bad? Were the jail scenes too brief? And how long before Liv discovers a) Major’s secret moonlighting gig or b) that Gilda and Rita are the same person? Sound off below.
iZombie airs its fall finale next Tuesday at 9pm EST on The CW