Seattle’s crime scene is getting more complicated by the episode, but the thing that occupied far too much of “Max Wager” was Liv and Major’s sex life.
The murder this week barely matters. The gambling lawyer from last week’s episode gets gunned down right in front of Clive, and the culprit is obviously the lawyer’s basketball star buddy (who used to shave points off college games for his friend, then eventually killed him to keep him from revealing this).
The more relevant portion of that crime is that it leads Clive and Liv to the Barber, the local bookie. There, the Barber is actually shaving Eddie Jemison, who manages to start the episode as sort of mild-mannered and ends it fucking terrifying. Because Jemison is playing Stacey Boss, the local drug kingpin Blaine rolled on to Peyton.
(Sidenote: How fucking long is a shave? He’s there when Clive and Liv get to the barbershop, and then is still there after the two return to the precinct and then the funeral home.)
When Liv, full of gambler brains, returns to the barbershop to collect her winnings, the crew all go through their “perfect crime” scenarios. Boss’ is to convince your victim to kill themselves by threatening their family, and then kill the family anyway.
Jemison delivers this with a casualness and a shrug that convinces you very much of his dangerousness. Our villains thus far—Blaine and Vaughn Du Clark, mostly—have been pretty flashy. Boss is not. And is, so far, he’s not even a little bit a zombie.
His bona fides are further proved by his scene with Peyton, which is when we actually discover who he is. Kudos to the whole iZombie team for pulling this shot off:
It could have been overdone but, like Jemison’s performance, it’s nicely underplayed. Also, Boss points out to Peyton that she’s a sacrificial lamb—he’s been running Seattle’s crime world through four DA investigations Why has someone just out of law school been out in charge of this task force?
Plus, her information’s out of date. Coming from a source who left two years ago? Looks like Blaine’s on the chopping block.
Also killing it this week was David Anders. He had, by my count, at least four levels he had to play all episode, and he was great at them all. He had his usual comedy (“You had one job!” to the grunt who gets shot), existential despair (debating with Liv whether or not it was better to be a zombie), and then there was his entire family drama.
I haven’t talked a ton about Robert Knepper as Blaine’s dad because his skill at villains should be pretty obvious by now. I will say that he will be missed. The horrible way he treated Blaine humanized that character far more than I ever expected him to be.
Blaine’s dad realizes that Blaine is no longer a zombie and stages a hostile takeover of Blaine’s zombie-feeding business. He threatens to re-zombie Blaine, saying that Blaine’s too much of a hedonist to willingly lose the food and sex he has access to. Also, dad orders Blaine to kill the son of my rival, as well as the grandfather that Blaine actually seems to love. Blaine’s suffocation of his grandfather and preparation of his brain is the only time we’ve seen Blaine upset about anything he’s done.
And it turns out it’s all for nothing, since Major kills Blaine’s dad as part of his own personal job from hell. Blaine and Major both have a ton of assorted baggage, but man, do they seem like kindred spirits right now.
In gross news, Liv and Major. Ravi is 100% correct to say that they’re way too happy, given that one of them is a zombie and the other is hiding his job as a zombie hunter. However, it does more to make the end of this relationship feel like it was a bad thing than anything in season 1 did.
Let’s all agree right now that Ravi as a friend goes above and beyond in testing the zombie virus against every available condom for those two, okay? Running into Major’s bedroom to make sure they aren’t doing the sex? Ravi is the best friend in history, And bonus points to him for actually discovered that sex is a one-way pass to insta-zombie, too.
But if that means we’re going to get more scenes of Liv and Major having video chat sex, I will claw out my own eyes. Please no.
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