iZombie: The Scratchmaker

“This isn't her story. It's mine.”

After a pivot back to the better aspects of the series last week, this episode sees iZombie recapture more of that plotting magic it was once known for. It’s made me truly excited about the show again.

With Malcolm Goodwin in the director’s chair, ‘The Scratchmaker’ is told from the perspective of both the now belittled Blaine, and his jilted business partner Don E, both of whom are at a major crossroads.

Blaine has suffered a massive fall from grace following Al’s tell-all article in the previous episode. Everyone knows about his past crimes and misdemeanors; The Scratching Post is barely hanging on; and his finances are completely eroded. In fact, the article was so cutthroat that Blaine starts this episode locked in a jail cell. It’s interesting that he makes a point of noting in his own McIver-esque voiceover that this is his story, since the episode shifts dramatically halfway through that it isn’t so much about him anymore, as it is about Don E taking his rightful place as Seattle’s premier brain peddler.

Before that, we watch as Blaine hits some pretty low points, like fighting to scrape the last of his pennies together to pay the retainer for his lawyer (Ken Marino, in his third appearance as Brandt Stone) and being forced into sleeping in the basement of Don E’s stepmother’s house. The highlight for me was Blaine’s failed attempt to threaten an unshakable Al, who was more than ready for him. She even bemusedly turns down Fillmore Graves’ offer to protect her in light of her role in taking Blaine down, but she may have had other reasons for feeling so secure.

I was initially taken aback by how up-market Al’s apartment was; a central penthouse with city views doesn’t exactly fit in with a reporter’s salary. It’s not until we see her surprised by a newly resurfaced Stacey Boss that we learn why she might have such vast resources to her name; she’s the crime lord’s niece. What I loved about this twist is how much it reminded me of iZombie’s imperial phase, where plots were being tied together so convincingly, and in such exciting and unexpected ways. I especially liked that it was Stacey behind Al’s expose. What a great way to take Blaine out of the picture without getting his own hand's dirty.

It is true that Blaine does manage to finesse his way out of jail, at least temporarily, but he’s still lost pretty much everything. Don E struggles with the opportunity to oust Blaine; after all, he does have him to thank for all the success he’s enjoyed over the last few months, why shouldn’t he put up with Blaine’s odd temper tantrum? But Blaine pushed things too far when he offed poor Tanner for screwing up his plan to sell off the remaining cures. Don E had no more excuses left, and decided to join forces with Stacey Boss, and claim his rightful place in the brain business he helped to grow. He even saves their asses by putting them back into play when Major finds an outside opportunity to keep the brain smuggling business alive.

It’ll be interesting to see how Blaine and Don E butt heads over the coming episodes, especially since neither party are aware of how badly they’re screwing each other over. Don E doesn’t let Blaine know about his continued role in the brain smuggling operations, but Blaine doesn’t seem in any way interested in sharing his own newfound business; selling off sick young-adults’ brains to rich zombies, desperate for a cure. His grossest bad-guy plan yet, but so very Blaine.

Plus

Matchmaker brain was fun, but not exactly the biggest part of the episode. And admittedly so.

CHICS continue to be the worst.

The scenes surrounding the infiltration of Renegade’s operations by this mysterious new villain – courtesy of Mr Moss – feel very much out of place this week. Will we learn the real reason for it all, soon?

He Said, She Said

Blaine: “We all know the drill. You eat the brain, find clues blah-blah-blah, case closed. But this isn't her story. It's mine.”

Stacey: “I respect your loyalty to Blaine, but there is serious money on the table here – and if we–”
Don E: “Screw Blaine. I’m in.”

Blaine: "So, am I a monster? Maybe I am. Because sometimes, they just don't leave me any choice."

Despite a few puzzling scenes not (yet) fitting in with the overall picture, ‘The Scratchmaker’ was full of everything I love about this series: sharp dialogue, exciting twists and fascinating character beats. Let’s hope it’s an upward trajectory from here.

8 out of 10 kitten t-shirts.

3 comments:

TheShadowKnows said...

The zombie fanatics have slipped a zombie disguised as a human into Liv's operation, presumably to act as a coyote, right? I assume the purpose is to start a zombie outbreak outside of Seattle.

Panda said...

If that’s the case its not being made very clear.
Thanks for reading :)

TheShadowKnows said...

I don't think that's been stated on the show. It's just my own guess.

In any case, it's something that requires a zombie terrorist secretly getting out of Seattle. I'm not sure what kind of terrorism a single zombie could hope to accomplish, besides starting a zombie outbreak.