Mark Watches ‘iZombie’: S02E04 – Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues

In the fourth episode of the second season of iZombie, Liv finds a little country within her, and EVERYTHING HURTS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch iZombie.

Trigger Warning: For drug addiction

My god, this show really knows how to break a heart.

There’s a Little Country in Everyone

Unlike the past few episodes, there’s no parody or humorous prodding at the heart of “Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues.” Instead, the writers do this incredible thing: they make the plot of this episode a country song, and it’s played incredibly straight, and it’s done so well that I didn’t even notice it until the final scene.

WELL PLAYED, iZombie. That’s some good writing, y’all. The common themes of country music – infidelity and faith, loyalty and betrayal, the tragedy of the human heart, and even the nature of tragedy itself – are perfect for this show. Hell, this season’s story fits this remarkably well, and I appreciated how the writers managed to further the plot while respecting the country influences. It also helps that Rose McIver’s singing voice is great, BUT LET’S TALK OF OTHER THINGS.

I found it bold that this episode did not feature an ending of the main case that was all that satisfying, and it’s such a good fit for the general tone of “Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues.” This was a story about a lack of closure. When you think about it in that context, I believe it’s easy to read everything that way. Blaine hasn’t resolved his Utopian-mixing problem. Right as Peyton resolves her issue with Liv, a new one crops up. (ONLY SHE DOESN’T KNOW IT’S A PROBLEM. HELP.) Liv’s attempt at getting closure with Major fails SPECTACULARLY. (That was honestly one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen. CHRIST.) And then there’s Major, who… you know what, let me just talk about each of these characters separately. I HAVE FEELINGS.

Blaine

This show really has tapped into the whole “charming and funny guy who is actually a complete monster” type with Blaine, and I’m just in awe of David Anders. It’s like he was born to play Blaine. I’m also impressed with the way that the writers have set-up these dueling plots involving the creation and destruction of zombies. Blaine wants more, but has no idea that Major is offing his client list. Yet this episode is all about demonstrating Blaine’s lack of empathy and his savage nature. I can’t ever forget how awful and careless he is, no matter how funny he might be at times. He tortures Gabriel, the guy who mixed Utopium the night of the boat party, and he does so without remorse. He wants what he wants. THE END. NOTHING ELSE. And it’s scary to watch because… what the hell is gonna happen when he figures out what Major has been doing?

Plus: I have a hard time believing he isn’t going after Peyton on purpose. There’s no way he doesn’t know that she is friends with Liv. IT’S A TRAP, PEYTON.

Reconciliation and Realization

Aside from the twisted turns in Lacy’s case, this episode mostly tracks Liv’s realization that she has to let Major go, that she’s been hoping for an idealized version of their relationship. Which is what she had! But after all the ridiculous turns of the last year, that’s not the world that exists for her anymore. Again, this fits beautifully into a country song, and I’m super into the way that her confrontation unfolds. It sounded poetic, you know? (Don’t even get me started on the song she sings in The Slow Roll. I WON’T BE ABLE TO STOP.)

It was a significant moment in her character’s development, and I was impressed that she was able to be so mature about it. I understood why she told Ravi that she found clarity, and she certainly sounded like it. She knew that she had to discard the idea that she would ever get back with Major, so she told him to his face that she was letting him go. AND IT WAS SO GREAT AND HEARTBREAKING AND HONEST. I thought that she’d find closure from it, at least in the sense that she could finally move on from him instead of waiting around until he felt like talking to her again.

And initially, I understood why Major was cold to her. He made a good point early on: no matter how often he communicated that he needed space, Liv couldn’t seem to give him that. And that’s fair, y’all. Despite that I like both of these characters and would love to see a real reconciliation, there has to be a respect for boundaries in place. At the same time, the audience knows more about Major than Liv does. His drug addiction is part of the reason he behaves so apathetically towards Liv. Hell, throughout this episode, he barely holds it together. (Though I’ll argue that he absolutely does not hold it together when it comes to Minor and Peyton. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU MAJOR.)

It takes a disturbing interaction while he tries to score Utopium for him to finally realize he’s gone too far. But what does that mean? Is that the start of reconciliation or is this the start of rehabilitation? That’s an important distinction that these characters need to make, but I’m not sure they can. They’re both so wrapped up in each other’s lives, their emotions are entangled, and perhaps making out right then and there is not the best judgment?

Ah, I need more. MORE. What’s next??? How will iZombie ruin me again?

The video for “Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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