iZombie: 5.06 The Scratchmaker
It’s a Blaine-centric episode this time round as the fallout from Al’s explosive exposé leaves everyones favourite nightclub owning, brain smuggling bad boy in jail. Unfortunately while a lot of people would be happy to see him rot there forever, without Blaine there is no food supply coming into the city. Without fresh grey matter Seattle is going to be overrun with hungry zombies in 48 hours and the nuclear option will start to look very tempting to the suits in Washington. Trying to keep this a secret from the outside world becomes impossible when Dolly Durkins learns the truth and is soon tweeting to all her anti-zombie followers.
Things are complicated when, from out of the blue, crime lord Stacey Boss reappears after hardly being seen since season two and suggests a team up to Don E, cutting out Blaine but at double the cost to Fillmore Graves. The side plot this episode has Liv and Clive investigating the murder of a matchmaker, while we briefly get to see more of the plot to infiltrate Renegade’s team with the blackmailed teacher showing a zombie how to pass the tests to look human and become one of the Coyotes helping smuggle people into the city.
The Scratchmaker really lets David Anders get to shine as Blaine DeBeers. We get to see him at his weakest, wearing an ill fitting orange jumpsuit in jail, his assets frozen. Of course there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal and that’s when we get to see Blaine at his most ferocious. Things do not look good for Al when Blaine goes to threaten her, turning into a full raging zombie. In her defence she absolutely stands her ground and gives as good as she gets. Things don’t go as well for The Scratching Post’s resident imbecile Tanner as he receives the full fury of Blaine after he manages to lose the few remaining zombie cures that were Blaine’s ticket back to riches. After spending his jail time with nothing but an edited for TV version of Snakes On A Plane it is highly amusing to hear Blaine’s exclamation of “monkey fighter” used several times throughout the episode.
As well as getting to see several facets of Blaine this episode we also get Don E flexing him muscles for once. Apart from trying to cut Blaine out of the brain smuggling business he’s also very unhappy with Tanner being killed. Rebranding The Scratching Post due to the public’s now very negative perception of Blaine may be a step to far and I suspect Don E will end up in Blaine’s crosshairs before the season is done.
There is a very meta moment at the beginning of The Scratchmaker during Blaine’s monologue. As we see Clive bring a clue to Liv we hear Blaine explain that this is nothing new, Liv will eat the victims brain, have a vision and solve the case. This is of course the main building block of iZombie and is exactly what has happened in virtually every episode. As we head towards the finale however this is the very trait that is being disregarded in favour of the overarching storyline. In this episode, like the last one, Liv eats the victims brain but there is only one small scene where she exhibits any of their mannerisms. The murder case is basically inconsequential and just there to give our heroes something to do as we concentrate on the villains for once. I suspect this will happen more and more as we head into the endgame. Clues as to what that endgame will be are starting to appear as more little piece of the puzzle come together. We are shown that gun sales are soaring as residents of Seattle arms themselves against a potential zombie uprising. There are two surprises revealed as we find out that one of Major’s soldiers is the son of anti-zombie activist Dolly Durkins, and that the newly returned Stacey Boss is actually Al’s uncle.
As the episode ends Blaine makes a deal with a girl dying of Freylich Syndrome so that he can obtain her zombie curing brain when she dies. Whatever his plan you can’t deny Blaine Debeers is certainly one devious “monkey fighter”.