One of the more controversial storylines in iZombie Season 4 has been Clive and Bozzio’s decision to remain together as a human/zombie couple by having an open relationship. Many die-hard iZombie fans are also die-hard Clive/Bozzio fans, so watching them get back together last season, after they broke up at the end of Season 2, only to have Dale’s transformation into a zombie complicate matters yet again has been compelling but also frustrating. After dealing with Liv and Major’s romantic turmoil over the past three seasons, viewers understandably wanted something more stable, a couple they can latch onto and root for, and while both Clive and Bozzio remain likable characters that we enjoy spending time with on a weekly basis, each new development in their relationship this season keeps getting sadder and sadder.
Clive swiping through Tinder and trying to pick up women at the bar with Liv and Ravi as his wingmen starts off as a fun, light B-plot in “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Brain.” It’s a perfect side adventure that directly ties in with Liv’s brain of the week (Max Roberts, an arrogant, shallow wingman for hire, who “taught” other men how to seduce women) and provides ample opportunity for comedy, from Clive oversharing about the grisly details of a murder case to Liv telling Ravi she could catch “some serious D in this place,” joking that the humans she’d sleep with wouldn’t be so human anymore”when I’m making them brains for breakfast.” There’s also a nice callback to Clive’s conflict last week with Michelle, when he wasn’t open and honest about his and Bozzio’s situation. This time around, though, he fills in every woman he talks to about their arrangement because he doesn’t want to lie to them like he did with his new co-worker.
Ultimately, though, things take a heartbreaking turn when Clive visits a prostitute he knows (probably from his time working vice) and sleeps with her, unintentionally staying for the whole night. When he arrives at the station, Bozzio confronts him, asking him where he was and why his phone was off; she even calls out his behavior, saying that spending the night at a person’s place indicates a deeper emotional connection. When Clive tries to explain that there was no emotion involved with his one-night-stand and counters by saying that he doesn’t ask for details about the guys she’s been with, Dale confesses that she’s only been on a couple dates and made out with one guy before stopping because all it did was make her miss Clive. Unlike him, she hasn’t slept with anyone else.
This entire scene, which is brilliantly acted by both Malcolm Goodwin and Jessica Harmon, is a gut punch because it catches both Clive and the audience off-guard. Given the bits of information we had and what we had seen in previous episodes, such as “Brainless in Seattle, Part 1,” we all assumed that Dale was enjoying the “open” aspect of her and Clive’s relationship. However, it makes sense, both for Bozzio’s character and for the reaction she gave last week when overhearing Clive’s conversation with Michelle, that she hasn’t gone that far yet, that this transition into having sex with other people is just as difficult for her as it is for Clive. The fact that neither of them knew what the other had done or was currently going through, though, showcases a bigger problem in their relationship: miscommunication. Drunken one-night-stands won’t be what causes Clive and Bozzio to split up but being unclear about what they want, the actions they plan on taking, and how they feel about the others’ choices could create enough issues that the two of them call it quits, realizing that no matter how much they care about each other, their current situation is just too hard. I’m hoping, like I’m sure many iZombie fans are, that Dale somehow gets her hands on one of the cure vials that Blaine has before Season 4 ends. But before she does that, she and Clive need to sit down and be open and honest with each other again; they need to refrain from faking excitement or encouragement and express their authentic emotions, no matter how complicated or confusing they might be. That’s the only way Clive and Dale move forward from this and head into a better, more positive direction as Season 4 continues.
As Clive and Bozzio fear their relationship might be coming to an end soon, Liv appears to be starting up a new relationship of sorts with Levon, the filmmaker from Mama Leone’s team. Obviously, there’s the simple equation of attractive zombie plus attractive zombie most likely equals a zombie couple, but this connection between the two of them is more than just surface-level. With Liv’s new mission to carry on Mama Leone’s work, it makes perfect sense that she would be drawn to Levon, who was one of Mama Leone’s closest allies and who has shown faith in Liv as a new leader in this fight for life. Meanwhile, it’s also believable that Levon would start falling for Liv because (well, because she’s Liv, obviously) she is taking charge of this operation in major ways, whether it’s orchestrating the mission on the docks in last week’s episode or stealing the materials needed to make fake zombie IDs during this week’s hour. Levon as a character himself still feels a little plain, a little vanilla; there’s just not much personality to him at this point. However, a romance between him and Liv feels natural and believable in a way that not all past relationships on iZombie have, such as Peyton and Blaine or even Peyton and her bland lawyer boyfriend from this season’s premiere (Speaking of, whatever happened to that guy? Peyton’s now with Ravi but she never mentions breaking up with someone in either last week’s episode or this week’s).
From Liv finally meeting Angus, aka Brother Love (and learning he’s Blaine’s father), to Peyton walking in on Liv forging the fake zombie IDs to Major’s undercover plan to get the unruly Fillmore Graves mercenary to trust him, “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Brain” serves as a table-setting episode for the back of the season, establishing new conflicts that will hopefully be resolved by the time the season is over. Fortunately, it’s an hour of setup that’s also sprinkled with iZombie‘s signature blend of humor, heartbreak, and horror, making it an entertaining if not exceptional installment of The CW’s very best show.
- iZombie has not shied away from real-world politics throughout Season 4, but the newspaper office scene with Major is a genuinely unsettling reminder of what the future of the press in our country could be like if certain politicians got their way.
- Ravi’s unabashed excitement over Clive’s romantic life will never get old. “Clive! Tinder!”
- While Clive is a Game of Thrones fanatic, his Tinder profile reveals that he’s not a weekly viewer of This Is Us. “It’s emotionally manipulative,” Clive explains.
- I’m not sure what’s better: Liv and Chase Graves’ little back-and-forth moments throughout the episode (“Looking good, Liv Moore.” “You wish”) or the fact that she texted multiple people in the middle of the night, including Levon and Cavanagh, asking them if they were “Down to duck.”
- Which of Liv’s hats is your favorite? I think, like Clive, I’d have to go with the fedora.
- Best comic-book title card of the night: “The Chat in the Hat.”
- Liv and Ravi’s Frosty the Snowman conversation is easily the funniest exchange of the entire episode:
- Ravi: “I was hoping for a Frosty the Snowman moment. And the instant we gave him the hat, he’d come full of life. He’d have swagger. He’d be cackling with sexual magnetism.”
- Liv: “What kind of perverse version of Frosty the Snowman did they show kids in England?”
- “His condoms were poisoned.” “Not a bad way to go. Who’s with me?”
- “Yay! No sign of neurosyphilis.”
What did everyone else think about this week’s iZombie? And what are your thoughts on Season 4 as a whole right now as we reach its midway point? Comment below and let me know.
[Photo credit: Jack Rowand/The CW]
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