Clive has always been a good character. As Liv’s partner he’s capable, intelligent and strong willed; the perfect balance to the typically reckless and brain infected Liv, who’s at the mercy of whomever she’s embodying at any particular time. But it’s when the writers decide to break his harsh exterior and show a more sensitive side, one that’s caring and a little less stoic, that Clive becomes great. In light of the horrific discovery in the previous episode, ‘Zombie Knows Best’ gives us one of just a few peeks into that lesser seen part of him, though the strong characterisation shown here is lessened by a muddled and often confusing timeline.
The episode starts in the present day, with Clive being pulled aside by Detective Cavanaugh, who quizzes him about the past he shared with Wally and his mother, Anna. Throughout the episode, we flash back four days earlier, which is where this week’s murder case takes place, and back even further to when Clive first meets Wally, and ends up protecting Anna from her abusive husband. These moments are really affecting, and make the impact of their horrific murder even harder as we learn how close the three of them became.
It’s a shame, though, that the structure of the episode makes it difficult to follow the chain of events, at least initially. An “x days earlier” flashback is fine and can be really effective when used appropriately, but coupled with the trips down memory lane with Clive it didn’t really gel. By the close of the episode things made a lot more sense, but the journey there was a little convoluted. I get that Clive’s interview with Cavanaugh was a seemingly sound way to give us a glimpse into his past, but considering how fantastic the story machinations were last season, I’d like to think that there was a neater way to get there.
In any case, the murder of a father and daughter this week provided a lot of laughs, at least where the victims' personalities were concerned. Liv on supportive Dad brain was pretty great (particularly her little heart to heart with a down and out Ravi), but it was Major on teen girl brain that gave us some of the series’ best gags to date. The highlight for me was that brilliant locker room scene. It could so easily have crossed the line into a tacky gay joke, but the script and the delivery were pretty much perfect.
Those moustache jokes made me like Wally almost as much as Clive did.
I hope we see another double murder case again. I liked the idea of both Liv and Major getting visions to help solve the case together.
What was with the weird IT guy?
Clive’s face when Liv and Major tucked into those messy hot dogs was amazing. I said it in my review of the previous episode, but I’m so happy he’s in on their zombie secret now.
No Blaine or Peyton.
Wally’s neighbour accidentally provided the anti-zombie community with their home address, which opens up the number of murder suspects exponentially, though I still think Vivian Stoll has more to do with it than she’s letting on.
He Said, She Said
Soldier: “Can I help you with something, newbie?”
Major: “Your abs make me want to kill myself.”
Major: “I cannot stop taking selfies. I just stare at them and criticize myself. I mean look at this, I look like ass in every picture.”
Looking like ass and looking like an ass are very different things.
Liv: “If they want to eat brain mash, let them eat brain mash. But in this house we eat whole brains and we solve murders.”
So Liv's a zombie purist.
Ravi: “I think I have a new understanding of what it must be like to not be able to control what goes on inside your own head.”
As confusing as the flashback structure was, ‘Zombie Knows Best’ was a nice blend of both comedy and character driven drama, giving us more of an insight into the person Clive was, and continues to be in the present. Hopefully we get to see him broken down even more as the season goes on, especially considering his strong personal ties to the season’s biggest plot thus far.
3.5 out of 5 tubes of brain mash
Originally posted at PandaTV.