In Review: iZombie, Episode 20 “Abra Cadaver”

Great drama with the characters, but the mystery is undone by bad makeup.

iZombie, Episode 20 “Abra Cadaver” Broadcast on November 17, 2015

Written by Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker

Directed by Viet Nguyen

“Previously on iZombie,” Clive is partnered with FBI Agent Dale Bozzio, Major is killing rich zombies, Clive reveals to Dale he’s got a piece of brain and she says she can have it tested at the FBI’s lab, Blaine reveals to Peyton he knows the members of a huge crime syndicate, Major and Liv are a couple again, but if they have sex he’ll probably become a zombie.

“Heavy Petting”: Major and Liv have done all that’s sexually possible without having sex and they have a conversation about honesty. In a high rise hotel, a maid discovers the body of a magician on the floor with a playing card sticking out of his neck. Cue opening title sequence.

“Trompe Card”: Clive is in the dead man’s room when Ravi and Liv arrive, encountering a putrid smell. The victim is Sid Wicked, a goth magician. The card has a special metal edge which slit his throat. Mr. Wicked was attending the magician convention in the hotel. “Of course, Prestofest” says Ravi. “How did I miss that?” In the man’s bag is a laptop showing a recording he made to put online for his followers. The maid is interviewed and she tells Clive and Liv that there was a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door that morning, and she heard yelling inside. “I just heard him yelling at the angels.” Back in the room, Ravi has found the source of the smell, which leads them to conclude they’re going to have to interview a lot of magicians. Cue first commercial break.

Rose McIver gets to do a lot of fun things in the episode, with her overly dramatic magician speak being a high point. Now that Major’s gotten what he’s wanted, it seems he’s unsure, once again giving Robert Buckley plenty of opportunity to tug on viewer’s heartstrings. And speaking of “heartstrings”, who would have though that Rahul Kohli would have to go there as well? Debs Howard is still funny as Steph, and her getup had me give a good laugh. Also good is to see Malcolm Goodwin‘s character have some intimacy with someone, and he looks to be enjoying it. Aly Michallka had the best scenes of the episode with two recurring characters, which left me scared and sad. David Anders continues to be the character I love to hate, because Blaine is just so funny, but what a baddie! The acting was great, but sadly poor makeup ruined the story. It’s impossible not to have the story spoiled. I was beside myself at how obvious this was, and how bad this made Clive and Liv look.

The good: The acting, with Aly Michallka being a stand out, all the magician jokes, and the best use of a blender, drumbeat, and switchblade (not at the same time).

Fun lines: “Come for the illusions, stay for the slight of hand,” “Sometimes I really hate this job,” “Where did it go, you witch?”, “This is the best brain ever!”, “A ‘one off’? That’s good,” “What do you say, partner?”, “Soak in the hate!”, “Wow, you really needed a drink,” “You’re bumming me out, babe,” “Tah-dah!”, and “OCCUPANT.”

The bad: Poor makeup reveals the solution to the mystery, and that’s a shame. It’s that bad.

The final line: Great drama with the characters, but the mystery is undone by really bad makeup. Overall grade: B 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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