This week’s episode was called “Abra Cadaver,” a pun so good I almost feel like the title inspired the episode. Which is fine, since this was proof that magicians and murder go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Spoilers...

This season has been very heavy on the season-long arcs and short on stand-alones. Not the case this week! It was nice to spend a bit of time on a case that wasn’t tied to any of the various balls (Major, Blaine’s family, the drug task force) in the air.

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The murder victim/meal this week was Sid Wicked, a Criss Angel-inspired goth magician, found murdered in his hotel room by a maid. No one else is seen coming in or out, but the dead guy definitely has a razor-sharp playing card in his neck.

And there’s a lot of suspects in the magic community, which is in town for a conference. Sid’s preferred method of revenge was to use YouTube to reveal people’s signature tricks. There’s Houdina, hs ex-fiancée, who broke up with him and lost her trick. And then there’s the older magician who rejected Sid’s request for an extra 15 minutes on his stage. And finally there’s the Penn and Teller expys, Smoak and Meers (iZombie is a show that runs on nominative determinism).

It’s a very clever ruse the show pulls with those two. They’re so obviously Penn and Teller, that I dismissed them as a throwaway joke. Even Meers’ silence is perfect, since it’s actually hiding a secret that isn’t based on Penn and Teller. Meers is actually a woman, which makes hiding amongst a crowd after a trick a breeze. She was the maid and she killed Sid for threatening to expose their greatest trick.

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The great denouement of the investigation is Liv, channeling the showmanship of her brain of the week, to explain the crime, complete with a reveal of a witness under a sheet. What’s so hilarious is that Liv’s magician showmanship is right out of the Agatha Christie playbook—put her in a drawing room in period clothing, and the whole thing works just like a Poirot ending.

In arc-related stuff, Babineaux and Dale are both doing the sex and investigating what happened in Meat Cute last season. Blaine and Liv are also on the case of the missing zombies—Blaine’s figured out that all the missing are zombies, since their disappearances are hurting his bottom line.

Liv and Blaine team up to break into Dale’s place to find out what she knows, which is less than they do, actually, since at least they know about zombies. One of the files that Dale has does have the dog of one of Major’s victims—which is bound to be a problem for him.

Liv and Blaine also intercept the analysis of the brain Suzuki’s wife brought Babineaux, and Liv doctors the report to say that it was cow brain, which takes the wind out of Babineaux’s sails a bit.

Every time Blaine is paired with one of the more moral people, he’s great. He calls himself the “one who doesn’t play by the rules” when Liv accurately points out that he’s the one who “abducts and murders teenagers.” He also has a brief scene with Peyton where she warns him that Boss showed up in her office. She says “For a little guy he’s...” And Blaine interrupts with “Incredibly scary?” It’s perfect. Plus, he sang “Danny Boy” and caps it off by saying he got the number one tenor position as a kid by “accidenting” the old number one.

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And we’ve got Ravi breaking up with his semi-girlfriend, who pulls a giant Britain-themed surprise on him. She’s sweet. but annoying enough to sort of justify Ravi breaking up with her. Not that it means he gets back with Peyton, who shuts him down but good. “A Hare Krishna gave me a pamphlet on karma that I should go read,” is Ravi’s fair assessment.

“Abra Cadaver” was a such a tightly-plotted episode, with enough hints about future plotlines, that it really showed off how good this show is.

Still image credits: Katie Yu/The CW.


Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.