Season 2, Episode 3 - "Real Dead Housewife of Seattle"
Cast: Rose McIver, Rahul Kohli, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley, Steven Weber
Regular airtime: Tuesdays, 9pm
US: 20 Oct 2015
In “Real Dead Housewife of Seattle”, the third episode of iZombie’s second season, things become further complicated and connected, particularly as it relates to the connection between Liv (Rose McIver), Major (Robert Buckley), and Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber). Liv’s secret is becoming common knowledge among most of those closest to her, as well as to those who wish to do her harm.
Major is actually at the center of much of the episode’s action this week. He is getting more and more pressure to continue the Vaughn-mandated elimination of Seattle’s zombie population, leading to another killing. His obvious distress at having to carry out these orders is well played by Robert Buckley, and he’s now acting out in different ways—last week he uses Utopium and this week he has sex with Gilda (Leanne Lapp) at the gym. What further complicates things is the reveal towards the end of the episode that Gilda is actually Vaughn’s daughter, making her involvement in the larger story as Liv’s roommate even more diabolical.
One choice that’s been paying off in terms of Major’s own story is in the use of music. The finale last season made excellent use of After the Fire’s “Der Kommissar”, as Major set fire to the freezer he’d been locked in, and similarly, this episode uses ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” to drown out the pleading of the zombie he kills. The songs add an effectively ominous tone that further conveys Major’s state of mind. They work especially well because of how out of place they initially seem.
The return of Peyton (Aly Michalka) further cements the Utopium drug trade story (although Blaine [David Anders] is noticeably absent in this episode), as she is assigned as the Assistant District Attorney leading the task force to bring it down. Peyton’s unexpected appearance, through a televised press conference no less, immediately brings the events at the end of last season back to the fore. Her disappearance has left a void in Liv’s life that this episode in particular focuses on, both to great comedic effect, as well as to some heartbreaking moments.
“Real Dead Housewife of Seattle” has a great mystery in the murder of rich housewife Taylor (Ona Grauer). As the suspects vary widely and keep the pace brisk, this episode’s crime contains yet another direct link to Vaughn, in that he was having an affair with Taylor. When Taylor’s husband, Terrance (David Starzyk), learned of the affair with Vaughn, he planned a hostile takeover of Max Rager as payback. Unfortunately for Terrance, Vaughn takes his threat seriously and quickly disposes of him as a meal for Dr. Holland (Brian Markinson), his resident zombie doctor on call.
Liv’s new housewife persona is entertaining, partly because even though she’s vain and shallow, Taylor isn’t a dummy, and partly because Liv’s own feelings of isolation from those closest to her lead her to seek out friendships with Taylor’s friends. When it seems like she may have found the beginning of a real friendship with Terrance’s personal shopper, Bethany (Jazz Raycole), it’s revealed that she’s the killer. It’s a genuinely sad moment when Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) delivers the news by phone to Liv because it only reinforces the fear that she’ll never be able to have someone like Peyton in her life again.
Liv and Bethany get into a physical fight (at the brilliantly punny clothing store, Hauter Than Hell—rivaled only by The Meat Cute), and it brings on Liv’s zombie state, if only for a moment. It remains to be seen whether she’s finding it easier to control that side of herself, or whether she wasn’t sufficiently worked up enough to go “full-on zombie”.
What is becoming increasingly unbelievable is Clive’s willingness to overlook Liv’s personality changes, some of which can be quite extreme. They become especially problematic when they shift so frequently, yet Clive is content to never question them. Though Clive is presented as doggedly focused on his work, often to the exclusion of any personal interest in others, the ruse will only withstand so much time before it becomes ridiculous. At this point it’s noticeable and sometimes ludicrous, but if it continues it could certainly affect the tone of the show quite negatively.
Peyton’s return not only sets up her storyline with the Utopium task force, but it also allows the show some quieter moments between characters that felt especially effective when placed among all the action of the episode. Peyton’s talk with Ravi (Rahul Kohli) is welcome, coming on the heels of his assurances to Liv that her disappearance mattered little to him, as they’d been dating for only a short while. It may have only been for a few weeks, but the obvious affection between the two comes through when they talk about Liv and who knows her secret, as well as their own relationship.
Obviously, the real connection is between Peyton and Liv, and though we don’t see them reunited in this episode, Peyton is making an effort when she leaves a birthday cake for Liv at her apartment. It’s especially touching because everyone else forgot or didn’t know it was her birthday; the reveal brings Liv’s uncertainty throughout the episode to light in a new way. Plus, Peyton’s return prompts Liv to say, “A long time ago, we used to be friends”, offering a shout out to Veronica Mars fans in perfect Rob Thomas fashion.
“Real Dead Housewife of Seattle” continues to expand and connect all the different threads that run through iZombie. The season is decidedly dark, and unapologetically so, but it never becomes depressing or maudlin. The use of humor (such as Liv’s nail polish being named Sorry, Beyonce), and the commitment to maintaining the core relationships at the center of the series, makes the episode another solid outing in the show’s second season. So far, iZombie’s second season is off to a very strong start.