Saturday, June 10, 2017

iZombie 3.09: "Twenty Sided, Die"

“I can’t believe grown adults play this for hours at a time.”

So, I need to preface this post with a confession. I most definitely play Dungeons and Dragons. Specifically, at the moment, I play a Level 4 elf ranger named Auriel. She likes to shoot things, which makes her fun to play. Anyway, I for the most part enjoyed this D&D themed episode of “iZombie.” There was one scene in particular that I found ridiculous (I’ll get to that later), but for the most part, it was fun. I especially enjoyed Babineaux’s fondness for the game. He brushes it off as childish at first, but after he plays a session, he’s super into it and wants Liv to continue as DM even after the case they’re working on is over. The episode was a lot of fun, although the juggling too many plots problem became even more problematic. I’m just hoping that Rob Thomas (that Rob Thomas . . . not the other one with the Grammy!) and company have a cohesive way of bringing all these plots together.

The episode opens with Ravi at a meeting of the anti-zombie hate group. Billy the security guard from the Max Rager party is there, and he does speak to the group, but he seems to be a little freaked of by the vehemence of the zombie hate. Ravi also meets a new friend named Rachel, who also seems a little more chill than most of the zombie haters. Johns, addressing the group, announces that he wants to kidnap a zombie and broadcast it for all to see. Ravi intervenes by saying he’s a doctor and that he is working on a zombie vaccine. He wants the group to hold off on the kidnapping until he has a few more weeks to work on the formula. Rachel ends up giving Ravi a ride home in her massive RV.

Meanwhile, Blaine announces to the Scratching Post staff that the establishment is under new management, and Don-E is going to be his right-hand man (which doesn’t seem like the best choice to me, but whatever). He is playing around with Ravi’s blue juice that enhances memories in brains eaten by zombies, and Don-E’s toady volunteers to try it out. The toady reports back that it took five minutes after eating the piece of brain to have a vision, and the vision lasted for two hours. When everybody else leaves the room, Don-E takes his own, rather large, piece of blue juice brain and starts having visions immediately (visions of a WWII veteran, to be precise). Don-E ends up going completely crazy at the bar, using the taps as guns, and then he runs off. Johns and one of his minions eventually finds and captures Don-E, and they bring him to Ravi.

Next we move on to the case of the week. A group of friends (including our own Jimmy the sketch artist) are playing a session of Dungeons and Dragons. The DM, Dan, seems to have a flair for the dramatic. At a particularly crucial point in the story, Dan suddenly chokes and dies. Of course, it’s our team that’s investigating the murder. They figure out pretty quickly that Dan died due to a rare poison that was in the wine he was drinking. Eating Dan’s brain has turned Liv into an uber-DM. She wants to narrate everything dramatically. Babineaux is not impressed by this. Nerding out for a minute, I’m not sure why Liv said a dice roll she made was sufficient to let her join Babineaux in his investigation. I could have sworn I saw her role a two. She certainly didn’t succeed on that roll – she just barely avoided a crit fail!

Babineaux and Liv first interview “Vampire Steve,” and they learn that all the players’ characters had died in the previous week’s session due to a situation involving poison in a cave. There was a dispute over the effectiveness of the absorption stone Steve’s character possessed, and he still seems sore over it. Liv takes Dan’s side on that dispute, naturally. Liv roles a D20 and has a vision of all the players being really upset when Dan says their saving throw failed and they all die. They had level 15 characters, so I’m thinking they had put quite a lot of time and effort into this campaign. Their next stop is to a comic book shop where Zoe, another of the D&D party, works. When Liv and Babineaux interview her, Liv has a rather disturbing vision of Zoe and Dan having halfling cosplay sex. Now I’m a nerd, and I’ve been known to cosplay and identify with halflings, but that just grossed me out. They also notice that some cover art Dan had been missing was for sale in the store. Zoe says he lost it in a bet.

Jimmy the sketch artist is next up to be interviewed. It turns out he was also into Zoe. Babineaux and Liv find naughty sketches of both Liv and Zoe (and Jimmy) in Jimmy’s sketch book. It turns out that even more of the party was into Zoe. Jimmy says that Steve used to be a blonde, but he turned himself into a “vampire” for Zoe. A second interrogation of Steve happens, but they don’t get much useful out of him. Liv has a new plan. They’re going to have a D&D session to see if it will trigger another of Liv’s visions. The D&D session itself is awesome and hilarious and involves Ravi’s character giving Peyton’s character mouth-to-mouth. The best part, though, is how into it Babineaux is when he finally tries it. He wants Liv to keep running campaigns by saving a bit of Dan’s brain to eat each week.

Liv does eventually have a helpful vision of a secret door in Dan’s apartment. She and Babineaux go to investigate the door, and they find it leads to a fancy computer room. One of the computers is displaying information about a Russian power plant, but it self-destructs when Liv tries to log in. Babineaux and Liv then interview Zoe about the room, and she says she knew about it. The interview is stopped short, however, because the FBI is taking over the case (Dan could have been killed by a Russian agent for knowing too much about the power plant). And, of course, the case is specifically being given to Bozio. Babineaux runs outside to find her, and they have an awkward reunion. She doesn’t want him back, and she’s not going to share any information about the case with him because she doesn’t trust him.

In other romance news, Liv has another date with Justin. They are going to a fundraiser for Barachus’ mayoral campaign. She takes “Z rations” (the stuff Filmore Graves feeds their mercs) beforehand so that she can truly be herself with Justin. Major is at her house while she’s getting ready, too, which seems like it could be all kinds of awkward. Thankfully, he leaves not long after Justin arrives. At the fundraiser, Liv meets Chase Graves, and can I say how excited I am that Jason Dohring is on the show? Anyway, he wants Liv and Babineaux to put a rush on that zombie family murder case. Also at the fundraiser, Peyton tries to talk to Baracus about the Weckler case. He tries to downplay it and tells Peyton to let it go. Later, Liv tells Peyton about Baracus’s involvement with the dominatrix, and his reaction makes more sense to Peyton. Justin tells Liv about how Chase once shot him, and Liv immediately goes to confront him. Before she can, though, shots are fired and Baracus is hit trying to protect his son. Liv has to work really hard to keep Baracus calm so he doesn’t go into full-on zombie mode.

Let’s wrap this up with some of the more minor plots of the episode. Major finds out that Ravi has been hiding all of his hate mail, and he’s started reading it now. He finds one sympathetic letter from a woman named Shawna who says she has also been misunderstood. By the end of the episode, Shawna is coming over to Major’s house, and that seems like it can’t possibly end well. She seems exactly like those women you hear about on TV who were obsessed with killers like the Menendez Brothers. We also see Blaine talking to his dad, who is still in the pit. He reads an article about Baracus trying to save his son. All is not going to be rainbows and unicorns for Blaine much longer, though. Mr. Boss has returned to Seattle, and he wants what’s his.

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