“Clive? What’s George R.R. Martin up to right now?”
The Hurt Stalker steps through familiar territory with expert efficiency. The easiest way to describe it is “Liv eats the brain of Clive’s obsessive ex.” Like iZombie itself though, explaining things easily leaves out all the spice, and that is exactly what puts Liv’s most recent adventure above the grade.
Clive is expanded as a character, and analyzed through the comedic filter of the Ravi and Liv investigation team with hilarious results. The best part of the episode is how well Liv’s weekly snack ties in to the already present reservations about her relationship with Major. It naturally starts out as a gag, but it then shifts in to a mature perspective on how Liv’s personality fluctuations affect all of her relationships. We really understand how much Liv struggles with her identity under the influence of the brain, and Major displays emotional maturity and patience while maintaining realistic levels of weariness over the effects of Liv’s condition. Equally impressive is how well he conceals his secret. It’s so rare to see a character seem like a convincing liar to the audience that even Liv struggles with it.
The episode also performs the impressive feat of the shattering the delusion of Liv being in control of her zombieism by showing her at her hungriest yet. Depsite her zany personality changing abilities, Liv is essentially a monster and the Hurt Stalker reminds us just how thin the line she walks actually is.
Final Word: Some superficial details about Clive are revealed that make him a more interesting character, but it’s Liv’s constant war with the insecurity inherent in this week’s brain that chews the hell out of iZombie’s emotional angle. This is a more vulnerable side of Liv than we’re used to seeing, and it opens up valuable insight in to how present her own personality is under the influence of brains. Another understated mystery makes things simple and elegant, and Ravi and Liv taking care of the investigation for a change injects the right amount of humor to break up the drama, without undermining its significance. There’s a little more information revealed about Max Rager (“God, their like drummers for Spinal Tap.”), but for the most part everything is kept condensed and contained to tap in to the best character drama possible.
“The Hurt Stalker” gets a 8.9/10. Terrible title aside, it’s simple, entertaining, and personal. This episode lets the character drama speak for itself. No Blaine is a bit of a bummer, but Liv’s “Full-on Zombie Mode” and domestic trouble means that acting is in the spotlight and Rose McIver rises to the challenge and then some.