Wednesday, November 11, 2015

iZombie 1.04: "Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues"

“Love ain’t always enough.”

“Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues” was an especially good episode of “iZombie.” There was some emotional stuff between Liv and Major, and while I have never been a Liv and Major shipper, it was very well written and performed, and it was affecting. The mystery of the week was also constructed especially well. Two seemingly disparate cases came together at the end in a very unexpected way that confirmed the random nature of life (what can I say, I’m a bad Presbyterian, not believing in predestination and all that jazz). I think this might just be my favorite episode of “iZombie” thus far. Nothing since has left me as emotionally wrecked as season 1’s “Patriot Brains” when Lowell is killed, but this was definitely a solid effort. I will be very interested to see where the story goes next.

As the episode opens, three young boys (tween or young teen age) are goofing off around the neighborhood when they find a random gun. One of the kids, of course, decides to try firing it into the air. Miraculously, nobody dies. I thought that’s where the story was going to go at first. We also learn from a television news report that a convenience store clerk in a ritzy neighborhood was shot to death, and there is a manhunt for the killer. Peyton watches the news story while at the gym, which is where Liv finds her. Liv wants to thank her for the birthday cake, and they have a really sweet reconciliation conversation. Peyton has had enough time to recover from the shock of Liv being a zombie, and now she wants to support Liv. Plus she wants to learn all about what it’s like to be a zombie.

Major wakes up next to Gilda (the Max Rager minion who also happens to be Liv’s roommate). Major gets a text from Ravi and rushes home. Apparently he was supposed to drive Ravi to work, but he’s too late. Ravi already called Liv for backup. Liv and Major still are seriously awkward around each other, which shows just how much of a downward spiral Major is in. Before the awkward can really marinate, though, Liv and Ravi get a new case. Because of the big manhunt, there’s only a skeleton crew working the case Babineaux has been assigned. The victim is named Lacey, and she was a country music fan and musician. Liv makes a very important discovery before she even eats Lacey’s brain. Lacey had a whole stash of letters she worte to her boyfriend, Sue (got a chuckle out of the “Boy Named Sue” obvious reference), while he was in prison. The letters were all returned unopened.

Back at the police station, Babineaux is introduced to FBI agent Dale Bozzio, who is going to be working on high profile disappearances like the disappearance of Terrence Fowler (the husband of the victim in the previous episode). Babineaux then pays a visit to the morgue, where Liv has had her fill of Lacey’s brains and is a little bit country now. The pair decide to start their investigation at the pawn shop where Sue works. At the pawn shop, Sue tells them that Lacey cheated on him while he was in prison. He also uses his boss as an alibi. He’s a prickly one, for sure. As she is about to leave the shop, Liv buys a guitar. When she gets home, she starts writing a song, which will eventually tell the story of Lacey and Sue.

That evening, Ravi has a date night at home with Stephanie, his current girlfriend. They are making out on the couch when Peyton shows up and interrupts things. She says Major told her she could crash at the house while she is waiting for her new place to be ready. Which is, I think, supposed to be another example of how Major is losing it. The meeting between Ravi’s current girlfriend and ex is awkward, but not as awkward as it could have been. Stephanie congratulates Ravi on dating someone as hot as Peyton and seems to mean it. Meanwhile, Babineaux and Liv go to Lacey’s former workplace, a country bar, of course. The manager, Rick, mentions that Lacey owed someone money. A frequent bar patron says he heard a very heated argument between Lacey and Rick not that long before she died. While Babineaux and Liv are talking with the patron, Rick goes out to his car and takes off. While still at the country bar, Liv has a vision of Rick trying to hit on Lacey in exchange for a cash advance. It’s pretty gross.

Across town, Blaine and his goons talk about how now two of their customers have died. Blaine is pissed because those two customers were a very lucrative income stream. One of the goons says he has found Gabriel, the Utopium dealer from the boat party who stumbled upon the zombie-making recipe. He now seems to be preaching or leading NA or something (or both). Blaine confronts him and tries to finally get the tainted Utopium formula out of him, but Gabriel refuses, even when Blaine resorts to violence. Meanwhile, Peyton is trying to negotiate a plea deal with anyone who can get her information on Mr. Boss, and it’s not going well. Everyone is too scared to spill anything about the crime lord.

Rick and his pregnant wife show up at the police station so that Rick can give a statement. The wife thinks that Lacey was in love with Rick and that it wasn’t reciprocated. Babineaux and Liv force Rick to admit the truth to his wife, although Rick still insists that he didn’t kill Lacey. The damage is already done, though. The pregnant wife is pissed, and an attempted slap fight ensues. The wife says she doesn’t know where Rick was on the night Lacey was murdered, and he didn’t get home that night until midnight. Rick is immediately arrested.

While Babineaux is trying to get paperwork done, Agent Bozzio is trying to befriend him. Her way in is asking him for the best place to get food within walking distance of the station. The conversation is interrupted because Rick’s wife is ready to give a statement. She agrees with everything Babineaux says, even when he makes up details, so he knows she is lying. Meanwhile, Liv goes back to the country bar to perform the song she has been writing. While she is singing, Babineaux leaves her a message. He had to let Rick go, but he now suspects Sue, because his alibi didn’t hold up. Sue, of course, happens to be watching Liv’s performance. While Babineaux is leaving the message, the mother of one of the kids from the opening scene stops by the station to turn in the gun her son found. Babineaux shoos her off to a coworker.

Singing the song makes Liv want to go see Major, but Sue stops her in the parking lot. At first the encounter seems threatening, but Sue just says he likes the song, and he’s sorry he screwed things up with Lacey because he loved her. Liv ends up telling major that she will always love him, but it’s over for good. Major just shuts the door on her. Liv isn’t going to take that, though. She gives him a piece of her mind before finally leaving. The next morning, Ravi comes home to find Major on the couch playing video games with the door open and their dog missing. Understandably, Ravi is pissed. Meanwhile, Blaine is still trying to get the tainted Utopium recipe. He is keeping Gabriel in a coffin, and when Gabriel continues to refuse to give up the recipe, Blaine has one of his goons turn Gabriel into a zombie.

Blaine pays a visit to Peyton, where he offers to tell her exactly how Mr. Boss imports all his drugs, including Utopium, in exchange for immunity for any crimes he is about to admit to. Peyton takes him up on the offer. Later, Peyton pays a visit to Liv, and they have some girl chat. Peyton expresses her dislike of Liv’s new roommate, Gilda, and suggests Liv should do a background check. She also mentions she met someone at work. Does Blaine have to destroy everyone in Liv’s life? Speaking of Blaine, when Gabriel is fully zombified and still won’t give up the Utopium recipe, Blaine kicks hi out on the street.

Babineaux and Liv are at the station when Babineaux’s coworker who took in the gun is being congratulated. It was the gun used in the convenience clerk shooting, and it was found near Lacey’s neighborhood. It turns out that the shooter was trying to evade police, and he ended up in Lacey’s house. While there, he strangled her to death. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. At home, Ravi has found his and Major’s dog, and he yells at Major for not taking better care of it. Major, hitting a low point, goes and tries to score Utopium from one of the kids he used to work with at Helter Shelter. The kid laughs and offers Major a free hit. Liv is brooding and writing a new song when Major stops by. Crying, he says he needs help. She gives him a hug, which turns into a make-out session. This can’t possibly end well.

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