iZombie: Season 2, Episode 15 - "He Blinded Me... With Science"

J.M. Suarez

Even as the series covers so much information in the episode, it never feels rushed and it always makes room for the lighter moments.


Airtime: Tuesdays, 9pm
Cast: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Steven Weber, Leanne Lapp, Eddie Jemison, Greg Finley, Jessica Harmon, Ali Liebert
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 15 - "He Blinded Me... With Science"
Network: CW
Air date: 2016-03-22
"Yep. Back on the brain gang. Dang."

-- Blaine

And we’re back. After another short hiatus, iZombie returns for the last run of episodes of the season. "He Blinded Me… With Science" picks up very quickly from the last episode, and it's confirmed that Blaine (David Anders) has reverted back to his zombie form after Mr. Boss (Eddie Jemison) tried to kill him in "Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind". As with all dramatic opportunities for Blaine, he revels in his reverted state, at least until Ravi (Rahul Kohli) tells him that death is most likely imminent unless he can manufacture a new cure ("Enjoy! I'll just be here. Alone. Gazing unblinkingly into the face of death that inevitably awaits us all!"). The Ravi/Blaine dynamic is a gem that never fails to delight.

Blaine’s fear of death leads to his many preparations for continuing the brain business in the case of his untimely demise. The scenes in which he professes his gratitude to Chief (Andre Tricoteux) and Don E (Bryce Hodgson), and explains his plans, are especially amusing for several reasons. Chief and Don E’s reactions are priceless -- they’re confused and unsure how to interact with this version of Blaine -- and as always, Anders is wonderful in his delivery, as he takes particular joy in Blaine’s distress.

Tying in nicely is this week’s mystery plot of a murdered scientist, Dr. Eleanor Cash. Not only does it give Liv the opportunity to approach things much more logically in a way that many of her previous brains haven’t allowed her to do, but her new scientific mind also helps Ravi to brainstorm possible reasons why his attempts at a cure have failed so far, and offers possible solutions. The show does a fine job of visually representing Liv’s (Rose McIver) scientific analysis while in progress, and Ravi's mixture of annoyance and reluctant acknowledgement of her currently impressive scientific mind is a treat.

In addition, Dr. Cash's death is also directly tied to Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber) and Max Rager when it’s discovered that she worked in his lab, albeit under the name Dr. Erving. This connection leads Liv to pose as a potential new employee (in a pre-zombie Liv disguise) and discover the existence of a secret basement lab only accessible to the Super Max team. She tries to access it and is caught by Du Clark, but it only furthers her interest in discovering what's in the lab.

Du Clark’s increasing obsession with Super Max leads to his own overuse ("This is what boundless energy looks like, Major! This!"), and his willful ignorance to its potential disastrous fallout should it go public. The show slyly references a classic pro-gun argument when Du Clark states that the only way to stop an aggressive Super Max drinker is through another Super Max drinker.

As with all things Du Clark, things in the basement lab are extreme, aggressive, and quickly out of control. While monitoring a zombie subject on Super Max, Du Clark provokes her enough that she attacks his current scientist as well as his daughter Rita (Leanne Lapp). It’s a moment of real reckoning for Du Clark, in that he unapologetically saves himself and leaves his daughter to the zombie. She’s eventually able to escape the lab, and the scene in which Rita pounds on Du Clark's office door, begging to be let in, while he ignores her, is both expected and telling. Du Clark is clearly shell shocked, but he’s lost any chance at gaining sympathy, and ultimately, it's a moment that reinforces how self-serving he really is.

Liv’s curiosity this episode also extends to Drake (Greg Finley) and how he spends his time when she’s not with him. She puts a tracking device on his phone and eventually discovers that he’s working for Mr. Boss. Of course, the viewer knows that he’s undercover in Boss’ operation, but Liv now feels betrayed, and the eventual fallout of that knowledge could potentially put Drake’s investigation, and Drake himself, in jeopardy.

For an episode this packed full of revelations, it still makes room for one more when Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) and Agent Bozzio (Jessica Harmon) finally learn that the brain they previously thought was bovine (as the doctored report showed) was actually human. The pieces are slowly coming together in their investigation, although how they eventually uncover the truth remains to be seen, as it requires either a huge investigative leap or actually witnessing a zombie in action.

"He Blinded Me… With Science" manages to work in a great deal of plot movement, as it consistently does episode after episode, while it also continues to set things up for a larger reveal at the end of the season. Thankfully, iZombie has been renewed for a third season, making any potential cliffhanger feel less final. Even as the series covers so much information in the episode, it never feels rushed and it always makes room for the lighter moments to come through, such as Ravi’s revulsion at Liv's "disguise" ("Literally the stuff of nightmares"), the brilliant comic transition bumpers, and Liv’s brain recipes. iZombie understands the balance that makes it so watchable, and this episode is an excellent example.


The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

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The Best Dance Tracks of 2017

Photo: Murielle Victorine Scherre (Courtesy of Big Beat Press)

From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

In June of 2016, prolific producer Diplo lambasted the world of DJ's in an interview with Billboard, stating that EDM was dying. Coincidentally enough, the article's contents went viral and made their way into Vice Media's electronic music and culture channel Thump, which closed its doors after four years this summer amid company-wide layoffs. Months earlier, electronic music giant SFX Entertainment filed bankruptcy and reemerged as Lifestyle, Inc., shunning the term "EDM".

So here we are at the end of 2017, and the internet is still a flurry with articles declaring that Electronic Dance Music is rotting from the inside out and DJ culture is dying on the vine, devoured by corporate greed. That might all well be the case, but electronic music isn't disappearing into the night without a fight as witnessed by the endless parade of emerging artists on the scene, the rise of North America's first Electro Parade in Montréal, and the inaugural Electronic Music Awards in Los Angeles this past September.

For every insipid, automaton disc jockey-producer, there are innovative minds like Anna Lunoe, Four Tet, and the Black Madonna, whose eclectic, infectious sets display impeccable taste, a wealth of knowledge, and boundless creativity. Over the past few years, many underground artists have been thrust into the mainstream spotlight and lost the je ne sais quoi that made them unique. Regardless, there will always be new musicians, producers, singers, and visionaries to replace them, those who bring something novel to the table or tip a hat to their predecessors in a way that steps beyond homage and exhilarates as it did decades before.

As electronic music continues to evolve and its endless sub-genres continue to expand, so do fickle tastes, and preferences become more and more subjective with a seemingly endless list of artists to sift through. With so much music to digest, its no wonder that many artists remain under the radar. This list hopes to remedy that injustice and celebrate tracks both indie and mainstream. From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

10. Moullinex - “Work It Out (feat. Fritz Helder)”

Taken from Portuguese producer, DJ, and multi-instrumentalist Luis Clara Gomes' third album Hypersex, "Work It Out" like all of its surrounding companions is a self-proclaimed, "collective love letter to club culture, and a celebration of love, inclusion and difference." Dance music has always seemingly been a safe haven for "misfits" standing on the edge of the mainstream, and while EDM manufactured sheen might have taken the piss out of the scene, Hypersex still revels in that defiant, yet warm and inviting attitude.

Like a cheeky homage to Rick James and the late, great High Priest of Pop, Prince, this delectably filthy, sexually charged track with its nasty, funk-drenched bass line, couldn't have found a more flawless messenger than former Azari & III member Fritz Helder. As the radiant, gender-fluid artist sings, "you better work your shit out", this album highlight becomes an anthem for all those who refuse to bow down to BS. Without any accompanying visuals, the track is electro-funk perfection, but the video, with its ruby-red, penile glitter canon, kicks the whole thing up a notch.

9. Touch Sensitive - “Veronica”

The neon-streaked days of roller rinks and turtlenecks, leg warmers and popped polo collars have come and gone, but you wouldn't think so listening to Michael "Touch Sensitive" Di Francesco's dazzling debut Visions. The Sydney-based DJ/producer's long-awaited LP and its lead single "Lay Down", which shot to the top of the Hype Machine charts, are as retro-gazing as they are distinctly modern, with nods to everything from nu disco to slo-mo house.

Featuring a sample lifted from 90s DJ and producer Paul Johnson's "So Much (So Much Mix)," the New Jack-kissed "Veronica" owns the dance floor. While the conversational interplay between the sexed-up couple is anything but profound, there is no denying its charms, however laughably awkward. While not everything on Visions is as instantly arresting, it is a testament to Di Francesco's talents that everything old sounds so damn fresh again.

8. Gourmet - “Delicious”

Neither Gourmet's defiantly eccentric, nine-track debut Cashmere, nor its subsequent singles, "There You Go" or "Yellow" gave any indication that the South African purveyor of "spaghetti pop" would drop one of the year's sassiest club tracks, but there you have it. The Cape Town-based artist, part of oil-slick, independent label 1991's diminutive roster, flagrantly disregards expectation on his latest outing, channeling the Scissor Sisters at their most gloriously bitchy best, Ratchet-era Shamir, and the shimmering dance-pop of UK singer-producer Joe Flory, aka Amateur Best.

With an amusingly detached delivery that rivals Ben Stein's droning roll call in Ferris Bueller's Day Off , he sings "I just want to dance, and fuck, and fly, and try, and fail, and try again…hold up," against a squelchy bass line and stabbing synths. When the percussive noise of what sounds like a triangle dinner bell appears within the mix, one can't help but think that Gourmet is simply winking at his audience, as if to say, "dinner is served."

7. Pouvoir Magique - “Chalawan”

Like a psychoactive ayahuasca brew, the intoxicating "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique's LP Disparition, is an exhilarating trip into unfamiliar territory. Formed in November of 2011, "Magic Power" is the musical project of Clément Vincent and Bertrand Cerruti, who over the years, have cleverly merged several millennia of songs from around the world with 21st-century beats and widescreen electro textures. Lest ye be worried, this is anything but Deep Forest.

In the spring of 2013, Pouvoir Magique co-founded the "Mawimbi" collective, a project designed to unite African musical heritage with contemporary soundscapes, and released two EPs. Within days of launching their label Musiques de Sphères, the duo's studio was burglarized and a hard drive with six years of painstakingly curated material had vanished. After tracking down demos they shared with friends before their final stages of completion, Clément and Bertrand reconstructed an album of 12 tracks.

Unfinished though they might be, each song is a marvelous thing to behold. Their stunning 2016 single "Eclipse," with its cinematic video, might have been one of the most immediate songs on the record, but it's the pulsing "Chalawan," with its guttural howls, fluttering flute-like passages, and driving, hypnotic beats that truly mesmerizes.

6. Purple Disco Machine - “Body Funk” & “Devil In Me” (TIE)

Whenever a bevy of guest artists appears on a debut record, it's often best to approach the project with caution. 85% of the time, the collaborative partners either overshadow the proceedings or detract from the vision of the musician whose name is emblazoned across the top of the LP. There are, however, pleasant exceptions to the rule and Tino Piontek's Soulmatic is one of the year's most delightfully cohesive offerings. The Dresden-born Deep Funk innovator, aka Purple Disco Machine, has risen to international status since 2009, releasing one spectacular track and remix after another. It should go without saying that this long-awaited collection, featuring everyone from Kool Keith to Faithless and Boris D'lugosch, is ripe with memorable highlights.

The saucy, soaring "Mistress" shines a spotlight on the stellar pipes of "UK soul hurricane" Hannah Williams. While it might be a crowning moment within the set, its the strutting discofied "Body Funk", and the album's first single, "Devil In Me", that linger long after the record has stopped spinning. The former track with its camptastic fusion of '80s Sylvester gone 1940s military march, and the latter anthem, a soulful stunner that samples the 1968 Stax hit "Private Number", and features the vocal talents of Duane Harden and Joe Killington, feels like an unearthed classic. Without a doubt, the German DJ's debut is one of the best dance records of the year.

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