WARNING: Please note that there is some discussion of a character being “roofied” in this review.
When iZombie came back with a decent midseason premiere – one that felt awkward at times but definitely ended with its usual tension build-up that left me wanting more – I had high hopes for “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter”.
For a good part of this episode, I was on the edge of my seat, because a lot of the time this show is great at concealing who the murderer is until the very end, and “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” was definitely on par with that. It opened in a library where we met Grace, a librarian who was clearly physically ill, and her co-worker Muriel, who very obviously didn’t like Grace. I’m not sure if the scene where the kid who wanted to use the computers to look at porn was really necessary, though. In the end the fact that Grace saved Muriel from that kid pushing the bookshelves onto her didn’t seem to matter to anyone, even Muriel. It was an unnecessary plot point; Grace could have collapsed at any time, for any reason, and I’m sure Muriel would have called an ambulance regardless of whether or not she liked Grace.
In fact, paring that scene down a bit could have given them more time to show Ravi discovering that Grace was actually murdered by hemlock poisoning, rather than having him simply tell us. I mean, showing versus telling is one of the basic tenets of writing, though Ravi’s excitement over his discovery was definitely adorable.
The biggest problem of this particular murder mystery was the fact that Clive immediately assumed it was the spouse, as he always does, while Liv continued to abide by her opinion that sometimes it’s not. Why is this a problem? Well, (SPOILER ALERT) it was the spouse. If they do a story line like this again I’m going to be seriously disappointed, although in a way it was kind of a brilliant use of this – shoot, can we call it a trope? I’m calling it a trope. Anyway, it was a somewhat brilliant use of this trope because it was one they used before and therefore I assumed they wouldn’t use it again (the first time having been in Season 1, Episode 2, “Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?“).
But the sad thing is that this wasn’t even the biggest problem with “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter”. Mainly, I am a-okay with Liv getting it on with sexy zombie thug Drake because (a) look at him (b) I don’t think he’s the worst
person zombie out there and (c) zombies need to get laid too! Plus I just don’t care for the Liv/Major relationship, but that’s another story for another time.
Unfortunately this episode takes things a bit too far. Either it was bad writing, a scene cut short, or a really awful decision on the part of this show, but the moment Liv admitted that she’d “roofied” Drake with “horny librarian brain” I had a huge “WTF” moment. As in, I went back and watched the scene again to see if I’d missed something. Sadly, I hadn’t – so far as we know, Liv gave Drake those brains, possibly even on purpose, without telling him. I would love to know if there’s been any clarification on this, but regardless, it was a faux pas that left a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter”. I know that in the end Liv sent Drake away, but I was still left believing that she’d fed him those brains on purpose without telling him and she was right in referring to it as roofying him.
And to be honest, I was already upset about the whole situation with Minor. Listen, I’m an animal person, I love dogs, have two myself. I get that Major was just trying to protect himself but WHY DID HE HAVE TO JUST LEAVE MINOR ON A BUS. That poor dog! First his owner, who clearly cares for him, disappears. Then he’s in a new home and is being treated well and his new owner just abandons him ON A BUS. I’ve liked Major less and less as this show has progressed, and this may be the final straw for me giving any shits about him at all.
Meanwhile, as if “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” hadn’t contained enough questionable content already, Peyton hooked up with Blaine. Yes, they’ve been teasing it, and yes, I wanted Peyton’s ‘dry spell’ to be over too. (And okay, that was probably the only good part of the back-to-back scenes of Liv and Drake and Peyton and Blaine, since earlier in the episode Liv and Peyton had a conversation about their coinciding “dry spells”.)
Yet I still kept hoping that this whole Peyton/Blaine thing wouldn’t happen. Because of who she is and what she does and the fact that if she ever found out who he was and what he did it would not be good for her. I suppose it’s good that the writers were decent enough to wrap that whole question up before the end of this episode, but then Peyton’s comment about how “You sleep with someone, you think you know who they are, but they could be anybody” was heartbreaking of its own accord, but then Liv returned to her bedroom and Drake was in the bed…and the look on her face showed that she was obviously not okay.
On the other hand, that doesn’t worry me so much as Bozzio’s future. I hope that she’s not being set up for a tragic death for being too nosy (or something along those lines), because I’d love to see more of her, and see her interact with Liv more, as well (ha, Live more…). But the fact that Blaine is still out there and knows where she lives doesn’t bode well. And while I suppose they could always take the zombie route with Bozzio, I don’t really like that option any more than the idea of her being fridged.
“Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” could have been a good episode, but it was marred by what I feel were a lot of bad writing choices. Please, iZombie, you’re better than this!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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