“Method Head” gets meta, gets funny, while skillfully pushing forward the series' increasingly complex storylines.
iZombieAirtime: Tuesdays, 9pm
Cast: Rose McIver, Rahul Kohli, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley, David Anders,Steven Weber, Leanne Lapp, Jessica Harmon
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 10 - "Method Head"
Air date: 2016-01-12
It's been a few weeks, but except for an extended "previously on…" sequence, iZombie barrels ahead without missing a step. We're quickly thrust back into the big reveal from the end of "Cape Town", as Ravi (Rahul Kohli) breaks the news to Major (Robert Buckley) and Liv (Rose McIver) about the cured rat having reverted back to infected rat. This opens up a whole new set of problems, namely the worry that Major and Blaine (David Anders) could both return to their zombie state with little warning and very little understanding of how another transformation could affect them.
Because this is iZombie we’re also brought into a murder-of-the-week that involves an actor, Jordan Jason Marsh (Markian Tarasiuk), from a zombie show, Zombie High, killed on set. It's exactly the right kind of story to both offer some relief from the larger darker picture, as well as the series taking the time to poke a little fun at itself. Ten episodes into the season, and "Method Head" plays like a tongue-in-cheek parody of itself, all the while maintaining a low-level foreboding throughout.
Apart from the many opportunities for iZombie to go meta when setting the crime scene on the set of a zombie show (Zombie High extra: "You know what’s be fun? A zombie show where the zombie’s the star". Clive: "That’s dumb".), the episode also focuses on reuniting Liv and Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) as partners after their falling out last episode. Clive’s reluctance to have Liv help pretty quickly morphs back into their standard skeptic professional/excited zombie dynamic. Here at least, Liv’s unabashed love for, and knowledge of, Zombie High makes her an obvious asset. Plus, Ravi’s outright dismissal of the show for all its scientific inaccuracies is endlessly funny, particularly because he’s eventually sucked into binge-watching the series.
Another highlight of the murder storyline this week is Liv’s personality shift into that of a method actor who takes himself much too seriously. Pompous, in-character Liv is a delight, and McIver and Kohli are clearly having a great time making fun of the ultra serious actor cliché. Clive on set is also amusing as he’s quickly seduced by the lure of all the free food at craft service, as well as visibly creeped out by zombies.
In addition to all the behind-the-scenes drama at Zombie High, "Method Head" also brings back Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber) and Gilda (Leanne Lapp). Major’s attempts to cozy up to Vaughn are obvious to Gilda, but when she warns Vaughn, he's skeptical ("Vaughn Du Clark, smartest main in the world until you stroke his ego. Then he’s like all the rest".). Gilda’s warning does lead to Vaughn testing Major's loyalty, and almost getting his latest zombie doctor killed, yet Major is now positioned as an insider and confidante, making his role as Vaughn’s zombie killer further complicated.
Adding another complication is Dale Bozzio's (Jessica Harmon) continued investigation of the missing men. She’s found a link to Blaine through calls from two of the missing men to his funeral home. As always, Blaine plays it cool -- it’s always a pleasure to watch Anders charm and smarm all at once -- and Agent Bozzio seems satisfied to move on. It’s only at the end of the episode that a chance glimpse into Clive’s case of the Meat Cute explosion links Blaine again and now Agent Bozzio is convinced he’s responsible for both. It remains to be seen how Blaine will manage to escape arrest this time, as even killing Agent Bozzio doesn’t guarantee anything now that Clive’s also aware of her suspicions.
"Method Head" continues to push forward all the increasingly complex storylines that at this point seem closer and closer to coming together. The many secrets at the heart of this season still simmer beneath the surface of all interactions, but even with their eventual discoveries looming, iZombie still offers moments of genuine friendship and affection between its characters, and finds ways to inject levity in unexpected moments. It’s what the show does so well, and this episode reinforces how skillfully it’s done.