iZombie Season 2 Episode 8 Review: “The Hurt Stalker”


“The Hurt Stalker” is an even busier episode of iZombie than the show’s previous installment two weeks ago. However, unlike “Abra Cadaver,” which did a decent job of balancing its several different storylines, this week’s iZombie struggled a bit to really find its center. It’s still an entertaining and emotional hour of The CW’s best show, but it does feature a couple of flaws that do dampen the fun being had just a little bit.

“The Hurt Stalker” wants to do a lot of things at once and tries to bring all those things together through the “case of the week,” which directly links to Clive. The murder victim, Regina, who we quickly discover had a a major attraction to cops, went on a couple of dates with Clive and was currently stalking him, and Clive’s gun being the murder weapon and a threatening voicemail he left on Regina’s phone mere hours before the murder took place make him the police’s number one suspect. And of course, Liv eats Regina’s brain before knowing that the victim was a crazy, obsessive, and paranoid stalker, and while her visions help solve the case (as they always do), her constant invasion of Major’s privacy leads to some major problems in their relationship and a heartbreaking final scene that ends the episode on a sad but strong note.

But before we get to that powerful scene, iZombie moves us through a lot of different situations; some of them, mostly the comedic stuff, work incredibly well, while other storylines fall flat. What hurts “The Hurt Stalker” the most, though, is its lack of stakes; it never once feels like Clive is any real danger when he’s painted as the culprit, and Liv’s brief stint in jail barely registers as anything dramatic, coming off like a cheesy, over-the-top nod to Orange Is the New Black and lacking any type of tension with regard to whether she would actually break down and eat one of her fellow inmate’s brains.

The main reason for all these problems, as mentioned above, is that iZombie puts too much on its plate throughout “The Hurt Stalker,” and in an effort to give the audience so much to enjoy, the episode falters somewhat, providing entertaining but significantly lighter and much more rushed sequences than we’re used to seeing on a series like this, especially throughout its tremendous second season. Liv becoming an obsessed stalker or learning more about Clive through the different photos in Regina’s scrapbook could have worked wonderfully on their own, but when pushed together in the same episode, neither story is able to reach its fullest potential.

Still though, this is iZombie, and even a somewhat subpar episode of this show is eons better than most of network television today. Everything involving Ravi, from his imitation of Clive’s o-face to his constant Game of Thrones references to his work in the field with Liv, is absolutely hilarious and brilliant. Rahul Kohli brings his comedic A-game to all of the scenes he’s in, and he ensures that every moment with Ravi in “The Hurt Stalker” leaves you laughing harder than the last.

On the other side of the emotional spectrum, Liv’s continued questioning of what Major’s hiding leads to some tense exchanges between the newly reunited couple. It’s still upsetting that Major won’t be fully honest with Liv (although I’m willing to give him a little more leeway now that we know he’s not actually killing zombies), but what helps make their storyline not feel repetitive or frustrating is the final scene of the episode, where Rita (known as Gilda to Liv) takes advantage of the knowledge she has and meddles with Major and Liv’s relationship. Predicting that Liv would be looking at Major’s phone in the middle of the night, she sends a couple of promiscuous texts before providing Liv with a full look at the lingerie she’s wearing, without showing her face of course.

That whole scene works for a number of reasons. First, it showcases how much power Gilda still has, despite the fact that she’s no longer sleeping with Major and is kept out of major actions made by Vaughn at Max Rager. Second, Liv finds some type of validation in her suspecting of Major, even though the “secret” she’s learning isn’t the actual one that her boyfriend is hiding from her. And lastly, Rose McIver knocks it out of the park, perfectly illustrating Liv’s internal conflict about whether or not to look at Major’s phone and her major heartbreak at believing that her boyfriend is sleeping with another woman, a person who can provide Major with a true sexual relationship, something that Liv cannot give him while she’s a zombie.

At its best, iZombie marvelously combines horror, heartbreak, and humor into a strong and focused television. “The Hurt Stalker” might have been a little unbalanced at times, not coming together as a fully great episode, but it delivered in major ways in numerous scenes throughout the hour, proving that even when iZombie isn’t on its A-game, it’s still one of the most entertaining and poignant series on TV.

Other thoughts:

  • We also spend some time at Max Rager in “The Hurt Stalker” and see the effects of Super Max on Vaughn, who works out alongside Major. While the new drink seems to do wonders at first, providing Vaughn with a much-needed energy boost that helps him complete his workout, it also brings out the CEO’s worst side, as he rages out and chucks a medicine ball at a person for grunting too loudly during his exercises. Those type of side effects shouldn’t be too unexpected when you’re dealing with zombie DNA, and it will be interesting to see what Major does with this new bit of information.
  • That photo of Malcolm Goodwin dressed as Khal Drago is amazing, and thankfully, iZombie writer Sara Saedi, who penned this week’s episode, tweeted out the picture so that we can all look at it if/when we need a good laugh.
  • In this episode, we learn that Clive cooks, plays the piano, and loves Game of Thrones. I love that iZombie is giving us more details about Clive’s life and interests. His reaction to Ravi mentioning George R.R. Martin was priceless.
  • Speaking of Ravi, can we have him investigate with Liv more often, please? It was so great to get him out of the lab and doing detective work, especially when it led to hilarious moments, like him trying to come up with his own name when he and Liv pretended to be engaged.
  • “It seems Regina took NWA’s lyrics literally.” Best Liv line ever?
  • “We’ll all go down.” “Like Robb Stark.”

What did everyone else think about this week’s episode of iZombie? Comment below and let me know.

[Photo via The CW]

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