iZombie: “Method Head” has a little of everything I love about this show

An uncharitable viewer may call “Method Head” overstuffed and disjointed, but I think I can say, without being entirely uncritical, that this episode managed to include basically all of my favorite things about iZombie. Sure, there’s a lot going on, and one of the major gut punches from the winter finale is resolved far too easily and quickly, but this episode seriously has everything. They even managed to squeeze scenes with Vaughn and scenes with Blaine into one episode, which almost never happens. Even better, in spite of all its moving parts, “Method Head” mostly works, although parts of the very meta case of the week fall a little flat.

The episode picks up the morning after Liv and Major’s breakup and Ravi’s discovery that their rat had reverted to being a zombie. All things considered, Liv and Major seem to be doing alright post-breakup, and they continue to be friendly throughout the episode, so it’s really Ravi who has the truly unfortunate news to share. Definitely the rat, New Hope, is back to being a zombie, almost certainly Major (and Blaine) will go back to being zombies, they’re right back at square one on the cure front, and they are out of tainted utopium. The only bright side here is that they know where they might be able to get more utopium—their search area is still a hundred acres, though. It’s a new raising of the stakes for the show and its characters and a renewal of the urgency that marked the series’ first season, which is nice, especially as the case of the week format has gotten a little stale.

I like the way this episode made use of title cards to move things forward in time, and it did a decent job of showing what everyone was up to over the remainder of the holiday season. It was a little sad watching Liv trying to get back into Clive’s good graces, but my complaint here is actually that the passage of time wasn’t enough. In the most generous reading of things, Clive was only mad at Liv for about two weeks, and by the end of this episode their status quo seems to have been restored.

This is especially disappointing after Liv’s very convincing devastation over it in the winter finale. This week she seems to have gotten over it relatively quickly, and we don’t see much of her sadness or stress or how she’s been emotionally affected by either her falling out with Clive or her breakup with Major. Certainly, I don’t expect Liv to sit home moping and eating pints of ice cream, but her arc this week was a very sharp turnaround after her apparent grief back in December.

The case of the week deals with the murder of an actor on the set of a show called Zombie High, which Liv apparently loves, and there are some fun moments, but I don’t think this idea was used to its maximum potential. There are some funny moments, but nothing that sticks in my mind even just a few hours after watching it. The one line I do remember—a teen actor suggests a show starring a zombie, and Clive replies, “That’s dumb”—is just too on the nose, but most of the rest of the Zombie High stuff is highly forgettable. The investigation does get Liv and Clive back together, but I would honestly have rather seen that drag out for a couple of episodes at least. It would have been interesting to explore who Liv is without that aspect of her life, and it would have given Clive some room to be developed as something more than just Liv’s way to play police officer.

The biggest surprise this week, for me anyway, was that it was Major’s story line that was the most interesting thing happening. Usually Major is the worst, but his scenes with Vaughn were excellent, even if I totally called it that the “whistleblower” thing was a loyalty test. It was predictable and obvious, but it worked, and I’m very interested to see how deep Major is willing to go down this rabbit hole.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  • Dale and Clive have a very cute relationship, but I wish we got to see a little more of it.
  • “Hair color: white as snow.” I kind of wish the writers hadn’t wasted that Santa murder. They could easily have gotten a full episode of puns out of that.
  • Gilda/Rita and Vaughn are an incredible amount of fun to watch together. They hate each other so very, very much.
  • I was genuinely concerned for Dale when she went to talk to Blaine.
  • Looks like things could get real interesting for Major in the next week or two if Dale tracks the dog down to his place.
  • Peyton is missing in action. Again. Still.

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