iZombie: “Wag the Tongue Slowly” hangs some decent plot progress on a slight case of the week

After last week’s fast-paced hour of watching Ravi metaphorically punch himself in the crotch over and over again, “Wag the Tongue Slowly” is a bit lighter and, for the most part, a lot more fun. There’s no particular aspect of the episode that stands out as excellent, but there are modest advances made on all the season’s important storylines so far and the murder mystery of the week is entertaining, even if it is predictable. Even still, the episode ends on something of a low note, which makes me concerned about how far and deep the overall sense of foreboding they’re building is going to go and what that means for the characters we’ve come to love over the last couple of years. iZombie has always had a feeling of tragedy about it, but that’s being explored this season to a far greater degree than ever before.

**Spoilers below.**

The episode begins and ends with Blaine still not having recovered his memories of his previous life, which doesn’t bode well for Major or, eventually, Liv, who would also like to someday not be a zombie. However, this is potentially good news for Blaine and Peyton, who are very cozy now. There’s an interesting dynamic between Peyton and her friends because of this, but there’s a problem: no one in the situation comes off looking particularly good. Peyton’s an Assistant DA, which makes her involvement with Blaine—amnesia or not—a pretty significant ethical issue. Ravi’s been a disaster over Peyton all season. Major is relatively chill, though more due to fatalism than anything else, and Liv was actually kind of monstrous towards Peyton this week, piling on a guilt trip as if it’s Peyton’s fault that the memory serum isn’t working.

It’s an ugly moment for Liv, and an interesting choice to include in an episode where Liv eats the brain of someone so unlikable, especially when it seems clear that this ugliness is all Liv. Similarly, at the start of the episode, before Liv even partakes of gossip brain, she gives a recap of Ravi’s exploits last week that borders on mean-spirited. It’s not as if Liv has always been a perfectly likable protagonist, but her friendships with other characters are central to the show and a key to its popularity. This unkindness is a sharp corner in Liv that hasn’t been explored before. There’s always been some question of how much of Liv’s personality is her and how much is from the brains she eats, and this episode presents another possibility—that the brains might (at least sometimes) act as an intensifier for Liv’s personality rather than taking over her personality.

Meanwhile, Major finally makes some progress in his search for Natalie, with Ravi’s help of course. I could have done with more of Major and Ravi hanging out together, but it’s good to see some actual movement on this storyline, even if it turns out to be frustrating. Major actually finds Natalie, who’s awake and apparently trapped by some zombie businessman who’s keeping her locked up in a hotel, although it doesn’t seem as if she’s there entirely against her will. Needless to say, she’s not happy to see Major, and she insists that he leave her where she is so he doesn’t get himself killed. Before leaving, Major gives Natalie a dose of the zombie cure and a heads up about the amnesia thing, which is, frankly, a strange place to leave things. It doesn’t explain who took Natalie or why, it doesn’t resolve Major’s hunt for her except in the most basic fashion, and leaving a syringe of the zombie cure out in the wild feels like set-up for it to be used for purposes other than its intended one. Ravi’s Don Quixote allusion is nice, as is the use of “I Don Quixote” in the background, though.

The murder mystery, as I already mentioned, is a predictable one, but it’s still fun to watch. Office gossip Cheryl is underdeveloped as a victim, and what we do learn about her isn’t flattering. It’s no surprise that she’s pissed off everyone she works with to the point that they’re willing to play a dangerous “prank” on her. It was mildly surprising that Cheryl’s death wasn’t actually intentional, but the basic method of her death was obvious as soon as they started introducing all the people she worked with and every one of them had strong motives. These fast-paced interrogation montages are something the show has done before, and I like it every time, but this time was made even better by the hilarious faces Clive makes throughout. His and Liv’s “Ahhhh!” when they learn that Cheryl was a gossip was perfectly timed and a laugh out loud moment.

The final piece of story that is touched on this week is the ongoing investigation of the murder of Wally and his family. Liv and Clive split a stack of messages from an online forum between them to look for evidence, and they find information that points them towards a local shooting range that turns out to be run by a man whose brother died at the recent Max Rager party. He claims to have solid proof of the existence of zombies—at least of the shambling type—and he’s also got a conviction that “you can’t murder what ain’t alive.” While the shooting range owner has an alibi and Liv and Clive don’t have any solid evidence against him, this surely isn’t the last we’ve seen of this fellow.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • “That can’t be the best use of taxpayer dollars.”
  • “Dude, don’t pitch problems.”
  • Ravi’s obsession with the porn actress was kind of extra gross after his behavior last week. Guess he’s just gonna wallow for a while in that hole he dug.
  • Wham Bam Gun Range. That is all.

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