Will A Research Scientist's Brain Give iZombie An Adverse Reaction?
Beyond Ravi's horror at her disturbing new costume, that is.
Plot Lightning Round
As you may not recall since the last time we visited Seattle's struggling zombie community was a month ago, Ravi's cure had worn off for Blaine, and while the down side is that he's a zombie again, the up side is that it allowed him to survive having his throat slit and getting buried alive-ish. So now he's on the bus, gazing hungrily at a fellow passenger's very round head and unable to stop himself loudly saying, "I am hungry like the wolf." The guy shows this isn't his first trip on public transit when he only reacts with a little surprise and dismay. Blaine explains that it's the song that's playing, but his new friend/future snack says he thinks it's "The Reflex." Why don't you two settle this over dinner???
Meanwhile, at the morgue, Ravi's having a hard time getting it up, interest-wise, for Liv's tale of discovering Rita's secret/real identity and clocking her in the face since he's a little more focused on their latest corpse, who burned alive.
But enough about that unpleasantness. What Liv needs is a nice hearty cup of brain noodle soup.
Whose? Good question! In a rare departure from the usual formula, Clive rolls in to the morgue to exposit about the victim rather than walking Liv and Ravi through it wherever his or her corpse was discovered. So here's what happened offscreen: arson victim Eleanor Cash was doused with a flammable liquid and set alight. "Prolonged and painful," Ravi concludes, confidentially adding, "Whale ingestion, if you're curious." But even before someone SET HER ON FIRE, Dr. Cash's life wasn't going super-great: she'd been a research scientist working on an acne medication until one of the study's subjects, Annie Rosine, suffered disfiguring scars; Annie sued, and Cash got fired. "Test subject with facial scarring? The victim had her face burned," Liv recaps (which: leave it to the professionals. "A not unreasonable hypothesis is that they're--" "Connected!" Clive wearily concludes. "Yeah, I put that together." The baloney poor Clive puts up with, you guys.
No sooner have Liv and Clive headed out to talk to persons of interest than Blaine, still crusted in grave dirt and wrapped in a picnic blanket, staggers into the morgue reaching for Ravi and moaning, "Braaaaaaains. BRAAAAAAI-- [clears throat] Kidding. Kind of. I do need brains. You got any?" "You've reverted to zombie form," Ravi obviouses. "Well, if I haven't, things have just gotten...kinky," Blaine parries. Naked Blaine and Ravi are alone in the morgue when the word "kinky" is uttered? Congratulations to the slash fic writer who won the contest to write this episode and if that sounds snide let me assure you I AM HERE FOR IT.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
As Ravi produces Liv's scientist leftovers, Blaine recaps his recent re-zombification for Ravi, who is, of course, not really surprised, and in turn tells him about New Hope. "Too much for a rat suicide?" quips Blaine. Considering whom he's talking to, Ravi is pretty gentle as he informs Blaine that, based on the rodent evidence, Blaine's reversion to his zombie state will be followed by his decline and death -- but the silver lining is that they do have more tainted Utopium to use to develop a new formula for a cure...and it would be even more helpful if Blaine would give him a list of his zombie clients. Blaine reminds Ravi, "Those hungry zombies provide not only my livelihood but also the reason that no one decides to harm dear old Blaine," so since they have no further business, Blaine wonders if maybe Ravi has some extra clothes around Blaine might borrow: "Maybe something vaguely redolent of punting on the Thames?" Now they're sharing outfits? These two may currently be putting aside their natural differences only for mutual gain, but I feel like it might only take three more episodes for Blaine to move into Ravi and Major's bro-stel.
Turn And Face The Strange
Alert Type: Horribly Disfigured Victim Alert.
Issue: The most likely suspect in Dr. Cash's rather poetic murder is the aforementioned Annie Rosine, "originally from Red Deer, Alberta," the test subject who was so badly scarred by the acne medication Dr. Cash had been testing.
Complicating Factors: Contrary to the rude scream of "FREAK!" from a little boy staking out the sidewalk in front of her house, she's...not actually scarred anymore?
Inside, Annie tells Clive and Liv that she didn't get much at trial -- she makes it sound like kind of a shitshow, with Dr. Cash and her partner, Dr. Alan Benway, blaming each other for Annie's disfigurement -- but she added the settlement to lots and lots of loans and got plastic surgery. (Asked whether she ever found out why she was the only study subject to experience this side effect, she said the theory was that there was a bad interaction between the acne medication and her anti-anxiety prescription.)
Resolution: In addition to the fact that, as she says herself, she lost her motive to kill Dr. Cash, she was working the graveyard shift at a cannery the night the victim was murdered. You know -- the graveyard shift at a cannery, where all the beautiful women work when they're not posing for photo shoots for the Anthropologie catalogue.
Spoiler: Clive's going to want to double-check that alibi.
Really Bizarre Love Triangle
Who called the meeting? Du Clark.
What's it about? First, a quick brag about the amazing properties of SuperMax -- "My mental energy, it's like, it's off the charts, and physically? Forget it! Ask the Air Gaul flight attendant how many petites mort she morted last night, go ahead....SIX!!! YOU'RE WELCOME! SAVED YOU THE EMBARRASSMENT!" Or, to quote Ilana Wexler: he's coked a lot of this. Du Clark then informs Major that he's got some new names for him to look into/go after: "We're constantly monitoring hot sauce, hair dye, and fake tan spending in the Pacific Northwest; we would not want any zombie-come-latelys crashing our party, would we?"
How'd it go? It's bad. Major is never exactly thrilled to get more names of people to kill, even if he's only putting them in suspended animation. But in addition to that, there's that awkward moment he just had when he "met" Liv's roommate "Rita," since he'd sort of thought that being Du Clark's zombie assassin meant Du Clark would leave Liv alone. "Everything we have you do and it's a privacy issue which gets your panties in a twist?" I guess the mention of panties reminds Major of his follow-up: "Was having Rita seduce me part of the madness?" Du Clark:
"You didn't know," Major guesses. See, he's not that dumb! "That you were doing the featherbed jig with my daughter?" Du Clark replies. "Mmmmmmno." It's at this point that Gilda enters with the new list. While Major digests the news that Du Clark is Gilda's father, Du Clark drawls, "So, sweet child o' mine, who's always telling Daddy not to sleep with the help...?" "Really, Major?" she sneers. "I didn't figure you for the kiss and tell type." Du Clark is, naturally, curious about why she has her giant sunglasses on indoors...
Du Clark sees Major's involuntary show of respect for Liv's right hook and interprets it as proof that Major's her assailant. Immediately, he starts Max Raging at him, hurling a Magic 8-Ball at his head and screaming reprisals while Gilda tries to hold him off and explain what actually happened. In conclusion: not the most productive meeting one might hope for.
Moooooove On To A Different Hypothesis
At the cop shop, Bozzio tells Clive that a search of Blaine's dad's cabin revealed human brains in the fridge. Clive thinks it's just going to turn out to be cow brains like last time, but Bozzio is sure she's right based on the size of the sample, and calls her pal back in the FBI lab to back her up on how small cow brains are compared to humans'. In the course of the conversation, he mentions the human brain he analyzed for her a while ago...but the report they got said totally otherwise! OMG they are dealing with human brain eaters maybe! ...We know. But nice to see these two getting slightly closer to knowing as much about shit as we do.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Liv's new research scientist brain is almost as paranoid as the stalker brain, but a lot more careful (read: sneaky). Before Drake even comes to pick her up for their date, she's acquired a burner phone to hide in his car so that she can keep tabs on where he goes -- for thirty hours, anyway, until it runs out of juice. And when he arrives, because she needs to collect more data on what his deal is, she asks to go to the bar where he works as a bouncer. Because he's really a good dude, he couldn't be more proud to walk in there with his arm around Liv -- adorable -- and though her findings are still inconclusive...
...the early data seem promising. PHEW!
Dr. Blackbeard, I Presume
Name: Alan Benway. Age: Late 40s. Occupation: Former research scientist disgraced along with Dr. Cash by Annie's disfigurement and lawsuit; current waiter in pirate-themed restaurant Heave Ho's. Goal: To continue plodding through his miserable existence until he can rest forever in death's sweet embrace -- and also to shit-talk Dr. Cash when the opportunity arises, like when Liv and Clive stop by and he tells them she was in charge of the clinical interaction studies, but for Annie to have suffered the effects she did, Dr. Cash had to have faked her results. Sample Dialogue: Asked where he was when Dr. Cash was killed: "Home. Alone. Weeping!"
Ahhhhhh, Refreshing, Thirst-Quenching Science
Who called the meeting? Clive and Liv.
What's it about? Since their meeting with Fenway triggered a flash from Dr. Cash's former life in which Du Clark was screaming at her like a maniac, Liv has surmised that Dr. Cash worked at Max Rager, and they'd like to get more information on that from Du Clark.
How'd it go? Probably as you'd expect given that Du Clark is involved and he has a lot of secrets to keep from (a) the cops and (b) one zombie coroner in particular. At first denying that he ever knew Dr. Cash, when they show him her photo, he identifies her as Dr. Erving, and confirms that she did work at Max Rager under that name. Asked what she was working on at Max Rager, he's obviously vague about the details, but when Clive asks if she had any issues with her co-workers, Du Clark says she did -- with him: he had her demoted for failing to meet deadlines, but he adds that he doesn't have employees murdered for that, which I guess is how Max Rager stays so close to the top of the Forbes list of America's best employers!
It's at this point that Janko enters to deliver a message to Du Clark, and when Liv clocks his Glock (sorry) (but not really), she gets an idea of who might be a great research scientist to fill the vacancy Dr. Erving's left. MAAAAAAKEOVER!
Get The Look: Extremely Professional Human Research Scientist
Clive may have specifically said he didn't want Liv doing anything crazy like trying to infiltrate the deepest bowels of the Max Rager HQ, but he doesn't need to know everything. In order to do it, however, she'll need to look the part!
Blonde But Not Too Blonde Hair: Whatever Liv paid for that wig, she got a real bargain, I MEAN IT LOOKS LIKE HER OWN REAL GROWING HAIR.
Silk Blouse And Pencil Skirt: In unobjectionably polished yet unmemorable colours (but show a little cleav; it is a job interview!).
Ravi is extremely unsettled to see Liv in her lab drag, and even though I know this is all a wink-wink at our finally seeing Liv looking so much like IRL Rose McIver, both she and Rahul Kohli are so charming that I! Don't! Care! I love it! Oh, but there's one last accessory Liv has to add before she heads out for her fraudulent interview!
Glasses: "For that professional look!"
Major's gone to Shady Plots to get a lead on where to find Drake when his telltale arm hair gets a semi; he's freaking out about being unprepared when he turns around and yelps at the sight of...Blaine.
What's the word. "Boo"?
This is you? You're a zombie again?
Yep. Back on the brain gang. Dang.
Crap. I got the impression we might have longer.
Yeah, I don't think Ravi factored in mitochondrial metabolism's effect on the interaction. ...Whoa. I'm so sorry. This nerd brain I ate is so annoying. Bottom line is--
I'm going to end up a zombie again.
Then die. That's part of it too, apparently. Heavy, right? ANYHOO, don't worry your pretty little head about it, we got our best minds working on a cure.
Plot Lightning Round
Liv or whatever she's saying is her name is nailing her Max Rager interview! All three of the nerds she meets with are very earnestly effusive about working for a visionary like Vaughn Du Clark! But when she tries to pump them for information about what Dr. Erving was like or what she'd been working on, they all shut down: she worked in the basement, and they don't have clearance to go down there. SECRET BASEMENT LAB, YOU SAY. SOUNDS LIKE A TOTALLY NORMAL AREA FOR A BEVERAGE COMPANY NOT ONLY TO HAVE BUT TO LIMIT ACCESS TO.
One tour of the non-secret, non-basement labs later, Liv asks about other equipment that might be around but that she hasn't yet seen -- like, sequencers? Might they have those in that basement where Dr. Erving worked? The senior scientist tells her again that only the members of the SuperMax team have access to the basement. SUPERMAX, YOU SAY. Liv wraps things up by asking where the bathroom is, and then sidles past it to try to poke around and figure out how she might gain ingress to THAT BASEMENT. Unfortunately...
...her former roommate has uncommonly great vision and recognizes Liv even in her "wig."
So when Liv steps into the elevator, tries getting access to the lab using her own, obviously not authorized fingerprints on the biometric pad (come on, scientist brain, you couldn't come up with some other idea that wasn't so dumb and doomed?), and causes the whole elevator to freak out at her...
...Du Clark and Jako have been tipped off and are standing outside the elevator waiting for her to get spat back up to the lobby.
Liv tries to act like she's leaving Clive a message...
...but when she ends up back in Du Clark's office for a one-on-one, Janko tells Du Clark that she was faking it. Du Clark reviews the situation: "You came here, without the knowledge and approval of your superiors, to snoop around." Liv claims she just wanted to talk to Dr. Cash's co-workers, but Du Clark can't: "Those dorks weren't Cash's co-workers!" "Right, because Dr. Cash worked in the not-at-all-suspicious high-security basement," counters Liv. He tells her that the basement contains "secrets": "You know who else has a secret basement? Everyone. Because it's business. And businesses compete." Probably seventeen SuperMaxes in by this point, Du Clark lets his voice keep rising: "By trying to come up with even cooler new things, and you don't want someone to copy your cooler new thing before you're done, do you, so you work on it in your secret basement! I mean, FISHER-PRICE probably has a secret basement, for Christ's sake." "So, it's possible that Dr. Cash's death was related to trade secrets?" tries Liv. "If I could just talk to the people in the basement--" Du Clark gives himself permission to incinerate Liv with his mind. Fortunately for her, this is not a real side effect of SuperMax consumption...yet. He kicks her out and orders her not to come back. Caper fail! At least Liv got to look very pretty trying to pull it off.
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
Who Could Be So Heartless As To Scar A Canadian?!
Clive is still bothered by some details of Annie's story, so he's returned to the house for a follow-up. She's not there, but the "FREAK!" kid is, doing his thing. Clive calls him over to ask what he's doing spying outside the yard, but the kid -- who we now see has a GoPro mounted on the helmet e's wearing -- explains that he's made it his life's mission to get her on film looking all fucked up (I'm paraphrasing) because his friends don't believe his descriptions of the horror that is her face. Clive tells him she doesn't look so scary anymore, but the kid acts like Clive's insane: "I saw her last week. She looked like Groot." (Not sure how well that reference is going to age, but okay.)
Clive's back at his desk when Liv storms in, demanding that he get a warrant for them to search the basement at Max Rager. But Clive's kind of focused on this murder they still haven't solved, and which was apparently perpetrated using a certain specifically Canadian brand of lighter fluid. (It's like American lighter fluid but the can's only 64% the size CANADA HUMOUR.)
So back Clive and Liv go to the house to wait for Annie to come home from her job at the cannery. Which she does!
Annie looks confused as hell about Liv and Clive's questions. "Did you two plan it together, or did you talk her into it?" Clive asks. Annie has no clue what they're talking about, which is when Clive informs us all that the deed to the house is in Annie's sister's name...
...and then out the sister comes, saying, "She didn't know anything about it." Annie has a twin, Jenny, and that's who Liv and Clive met. That's also who masterminded Dr. Cash's murder to avenge not just Annie -- who'd dreamed of being a TV journalist but obviously can't do that now -- but Jenny herself, who'll never be an archeologist as long as she has to be Annie's nurse and do all her daytime errands. "You burned her alive for a mistake," Clive concludes. "NOT the mistake," snaps Jenny. "For lying about it. For running away from it, never saying or acting like she was sorry!" And then Clive arrests her.
A Gentleman Will Walk But Never Run (To Return Borrowed Clothing)
Say what you will about Blaine -- that he's a drug dealer; that he's a murderer; that he's allowing a zombie epidemic to spread.
But don't you EVER say that when he borrows an outfit, he doesn't return it, in a timely fashion, professionally cleaned and pressed. Genuine class.
A full Romero zombie, Ravi! Dr. Cash had one in captivity -- that's got to be what's in the Max Rager basement.
How do you know you didn't see a zombie in some cheesy Hallowe'en haunted house -- or on TV? In case you haven't noticed, our popular culture is quite inundated with zombies. You're a scientist...for the moment. Would your hypothesis stand up to rigorous testing.
Sure! Throw science at me.
[Entering] Throw some my way too, Doc! I got your message about this promising new cure?
He used a buffer agent.
Yeah, of course! To normalize mitochondrial metabolism in relation to cellular--
All right, all right, all right, I've had just about enough of you two dilettantes.
Ravi gives Blaine a syringe full of "an in-case-of-an-emergency-break-glass potential cure." The zombie rat is showing good results so far, but they don't know long-term effects; he's only giving it to Blaine "because of the potential of [Blaine's] death leaving Seattle's zombies unfed." Blaine: "So it's not the love that dare not speak its name brewing between us?" It is at my house. On his way out, he tosses Ravi one parting note on the clothes he borrowed: "I hope you don't mind -- I had to let out the crotch in those dungarees."
Well, I laughed.
On The Menu
What's On The Menu At Shady Plots?
Blaine comes back to the funeral home from the morgue in a philosophical mood, just as Don is commenting that he can't believe Blaine (after coming back, in Ravi's clothes, and catching them up on that whole thing where Stacey Boss thinks he's dead and it's in their interest to let him continue thinking he is and not mess with Boss business) is going to make them bury a coffin filled to the actual brim with Utopium, when every day they see the dead bodies of people who lived exemplary lives: "What's the point of being good if it doesn't pay off in the end?" Ready to share his wisdom on this subject, Blaine sits down to his lunch. What's being served?
Brain: ...Guess that one's obvious.
Hot sauce: Ditto.
Red wine: Getting a little maudlin in his cups, Blaine tells Don there is no point in being good, which is part of why Blaine can still enjoy the scam they're pulling, selling all this unnecessary funeral nonsense to their customers: "You want to know the crazy thing? Even though I know it's a scam, I went and picked one out for myself today. Royal Windsor mahogany. Blue silk trim." He picked a plot, too -- one near a pond with a swan. "And for what? The view? Proximity to the swan? It's just as well I'm dying. Turns out I'm a sentimental patsy just like all our customers." He pulls out the syringe to say it could cure him, or it could kill him: "You didn't see Gabriel die. He just sort of...melted, from the inside, after he gave himself one of Dr. Chakrabarti's injections." So with that in mind, Blaine's put all his affairs in order, and hands Don and Chief each a dossier of everything they'll need to know to carry on the business in the event that he dies for real and permanently, and makes them promise to keep it up. "Sure, boss," says Don.
Very responsible! He also tells them, before Don can even get the whole question out, to avoid the Utopium business, since Stacey Boss will outflank them in every possible way. But he can't get too forceful in his warning because he's overcome by a coughing fit, AND WE ALL KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MOVIE OR TV CHARACTER COUGHS.
Mistakes Were Made
Who called the meeting? Dr. Lockett.
What's it about? The incredible results of testing SuperMax on the basement's resident classic shambling zombie!
How'd it go? Mixed? Dr. Lockett says that SuperMax "magnifies the effects of adrenaline exponentially"...but that also means it's dangerous. Gilda, unimpressed, tells him they've factored into the budgets the lawsuits they'll definitely have to settle after SuperMax drinkers start having violent episodes of the sort that drinkers of regular Max Rager do, but Dr. Lockett says this is going to be on another level: "Now, these manic episodes will be committed by super-strong, super-fast, tireless SuperMax drinkers." "I got news for you," smirks Du Clark. "Everybody's going to be drinking SuperMax. The takeaway is: the only thing that can take down a bad guy having a SuperMax freakout is a good guy chugging a SuperMax!" Du Clark then decides to see if he can get even more pep out of his zombie by zapping her with a cattle prod, and he does, to the tune of about three more miles per hour....
...but then the jolt turns out to be enough to get her yanking her monitoring/restraining cords right out of the wall, loosing her to go TO TOWN on Dr. Lockett. Gilda tries to fight her off, but she's not exactly skilled in this arena in general and the fact that she's in heels doesn't help. Before long, she decides flight is a better option than fight. Her good old dad, of course, came to that conclusion a while ago...
...and it's every literal man for himself.
Wrap It Up
Liv's getting ready to confront Drake about the fact that it really, really looks like he's a criminal -- and, as advised by Ravi, she's going to do it in a public place with lots of exits. Turns out the pirate joint is good for something other than providing employment for disgraced former researchers!
At Shady Plots, Don is disgusted at the sound of Blaine's dry, death-rattle-y cough, while Blaine himself looks at a website about...muscular dystrophy?
Drake sits in his truck in the Heave Ho's parking lot, patiently suffering through whatever his mother is talking at him about.
Blaine decides to take a chance and shoots himself up with Ravi's maybe-cure!
No sooner has Drake finally managed to get his mother off the phone and leave his truck than he's set upon by Major!
Seemingly stood up, Liv sadly pays her bill! It's definitely the saddest anyone's ever been near a drink served in a coconut!
Major carefully lays Drake in his trunk! I know Major's a trainer and everything, but damn, he must have a lot of functional strength to be able to lift up Drake! He's pure muscle!
And Liv leaves Heave Ho's, confused as to her next move! PLEASE LET IT INVOLVE A PEG LEG!!!