iZombie: “Twenty-Sided, Die” is the best episode

“Twenty-Sided, Die” is by far the strongest episode of the season so far, and it’s probably my personal favorite episode of iZombie of all time. It’s got a good case of the week along with some excellent big picture plot development, and Liv gets to DM a D&D game for her friends. Spoiler: It’s glorious.

**Real spoilers below.**

Last week’s episode ended on a tense note, with Ravi going alone and unarmed into a meeting for the local zombie conspiracy theorists, and this episode starts with showing us how that goes. Fortunately, it’s not as awful as it could have been, and Ravi gets out intact, but it’s definitely a meeting full of bad news for Seattle’s zombies. Harley Johns has identified Floyd Baracus as a zombie, and he’s got files on numerous other people he suspects. He’s also got a plan to kidnap a zombie and starve it, then publicize it in order to convince the public of the existence of zombies and to highlight the threat they pose. Thinking quickly, Ravi reveals his identity and claims to be working on a zombie vaccine, urging Harley and the others to delay their plans. At the end of the episode, however, we find out that even Ravi’s sensible urging of caution isn’t enough to stop Harley and his brother from capturing a zombie at the first opportunity. They’ve collared a berserk Don E. and brought him straight to Ravi thinking that Ravi might have a tranquilizer that would calm Don E. down.

Don E. is going berserk, of course, because he’s gotten into Blaine’s new product: the brain of a WWII veteran and ladies’ man that has been soaking in Ravi’s blue memory serum liquid for twenty days. After Tanner enjoys the experience after eating a tiny sliver of the blue brain as a test, Don E. takes a much larger piece for a spin, and it looks like they’ve discovered the potential downside of the product. Too bad Blaine isn’t around to know about it. Riding the high of the initial successful test of blue brains, Blaine heads out to the well where he dumped his dad last week to have a nice, long gloat. Too top off the list of things Blaine doesn’t know about that might derail Blaine’s optimism, the episode ends with Mr. Boss coming back to town, an unexpected development that doesn’t bode well for pretty much any of the main cast and adds yet another subplot to an already packed story.

This week’s murder mystery is a weird one. A dungeon master running a weekly D&D game night is poisoned, and his circle of gamer friends—including police sketch artist Jimmy and IT guy Vampire Steve—come under suspicion for the crime. However, as Liv and Clive slowly clear each member of the group, they stumble upon a hidden room at the DM’s apartment that houses some advanced looking computers tied to Russian power plants. It’s weird, and it’s even weirder when the case goes unsolved by the end of the episode. Apparently, it’s a situation that’s enough about Liv and Clive’s pay grade that the FBI takes over, which offers a chance for Dale Bozzio to come back and break Clive’s (and our) heart all over again. It’s unclear so far whether this is the end of this case and the final nail in the coffin of the Clive-Dale romance or if this is yet another new story thread being woven into the mix, but it seems awful late in the season to be bringing back not one, but two characters that it seemed we’d seen the last of so long ago.

The highlight of the episode is Liv on dungeon master brains. Sure, her dice-rolling outside the game setting is odd and leans a little too hard on supernerd stereotypes, but Liv pressing her friends into service so she can run a D&D session in an effort to trigger a vision is everything perfect about this show. Of course Peyton is the kind of player who asks why they can’t just kill the quest giver for the reward instead of going on the quest. Ravi resuscitating Peyton’s character to keep her in the game was hilarious—and of course Ravi is an engaged and knowledgeable player despite mocking this particular kind of nerdery. Obviously Major plays a paladin. And even more obviously, Clive is the guy who isn’t into it until he is and then he’s really into it. It’s a scene that is clearly written and filmed with love for the game and deep knowledge and care of the show’s characters, and everyone in it seems to be having so much fun it’s infectious. I would definitely watch this group play D&D Critical Role-style, is what I’m saying.

Miscellany:

  • After the meeting at the beginning of the episode, Ravi meets a photographer named Rachel, who I’m curious to see more of. She wants to photograph a zombie, but it also seems like she could be a possible new love interest for Ravi.
  • Ravi hiding all Major’s hatemail is very sweet.
  • Major inviting this Shawna woman over sight unseen is just weird. (Also just plain ill-advised.)
  • Not as weird as how totally fine Major is with Liv dating Justin. He’s even giving Liv his stash of brain tubes so she can be herself with Justin.
  • It’s also not as weird as Liv being much more girlfriend-y with Justin than has really been established so far. This show has never been a romance-heavy program, but we’ve only seen them go on a couple of dates, and things onscreen have been decidedly PG so far. I dunno. It’s fine. Honestly, I’m just worried for Justin. He seems nice, and Liv’s boyfriends do not have a great life expectancy.
  • Liv finally meets Chase Graves, and he’s intense. Also, flirting with Liv? I kind of ship it because I’m trash, but also because I’m firmly on Team Protect Justin.
  • Peyton is getting increasingly suspicious about the dominatrix murder case, especially when her boss Baracus tells her to drop it and then Liv tells her that Baracus was one of the dominatrix’s clients.
  • Best line delivery of the episode: Clive shouting, “Where is the lich?!”

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