“I’m the nightmare before Christmas.”
Every reality adjacent mystery series tackles superheros at one point or another; in fact, I’m fairly certain that it’s right there in the network contract, if only for the frequency which it seems to occur. Psych, Castle, Buffy, House, Warehouse 13, Eureka, and Supernatural are just the series I can think of off the top of my head that have hit this particular nail. Ah well, when it rains it pours.
For the most part, the episode plays with superhero tropes in a mostly cynical way; but it remains surprisingly honest. The superhero stuff being pulled in to the real world is quite silly, and the gag does allow for funny moments, mostly thanks to Ravi’s enthusiasm for Liv’s new brain and some jokes relating to the superhero world clashing with the mundane aspects of ours (“I work at a cold press juicery.”) What ends up setting it apart from other “superhero stories” though is the tendency for the direction to take the personality of a superhero story. Lots of hero shots and monologue spouting finds its way in the episode and fits in to the story to create a mostly solid genre-blend. Added all together it’s mostly a joke, but there are a few points with high quality action and a surprisingly profound identity reveal for the killer that really put it a cut above.
The most outstanding aspect of the the episode though comes from a surprise perspective from a former “client” of Blaine’s that is simultaneously enlightening for the mythology and presents a unique point of view that rehumanizes the plight of the zombies despite actually doing the exact opposite in the last episode. The scenes between this new character and Major reveal a totally new approach to the zombie story than has been showed before, and it ends in such an appropriate way that I can’t help but applaud its inclusion.
Final Word: Daring superheroics, cheesy dialogue, and silly costumes are all present in this week’s superhero themed episode of iZombie, though these are all aspects of virtually every superhero themed story. What iZombie does differently though is what sets it apart from the rest of the sea of superhero lampooning mysteries on tv. It ties the superhero aspect ideally into what is already occurring in the show’s timeline with Mr. Boss, and continues to forward individual side plots to keep the main conflict engaging. Mostly though, it takes the time to develop a new and emotional perspective that wasn’t there before, and the value in that adds yet another layer of depth to an already great episode.
“Cape Town” gets a 9.2/10. The superhero stuff works most of the time, but a significant emotional arc, a pickup of the “utopium storyline,” and an ending that brings the episode’s themes crashing back to earth, while brilliantly utilizing contextually relevant direction to convey the sudden drop in tone, perfectly punctuates the episode’s overall theme of the hero’s fall.