Last week we got a killer not brought to justice, and this week, we got a sympathetic one. Halfway through the season, iZombie has settled comfortably into its identity, slinging snappy dialogue and gore willy nilly and daring the audience to sympathize with a thoroughly disgusting victim of the week.
Our brain of the week, belonging to one virtual reality mogul Sim Reaper, is disgusting both inside and out. Having rotted in a basement for two weeks, it’s not the most appetizing meal for Liv, and any insight she got into his mind was further sickening. Sim Reaper, an agoraphobic who never leaves his home, nevertheless manages to impact lives around the globe through his massive, terrorizing online presence. He trolls unchecked and, perhaps magnified by his physical impotence; he has no compunction in using the Internet to ruin real lives. In one incident, his allergic reaction to a donut causes him to spam the mom and pop bakery with fake reviews, destroying their reputation and running their business into the ground. In another, when confronted with a customer service representative, he threatens to ruin her. His Gamergate arrogance, entitlement and lack of empathy allow him to dox the representative so relentlessly, she commits suicide, thus providing the motive for his demise. Coming from such a personal victim last week, this interesting sidestep exploring a sympathetic character exposes an interesting impact of the narrative. Whilst this is a common concept to explore in any other procedural, iZombie shades it with Liv’s insight into the victim’s last moments. Feeling the fear, agony and helplessness of our victim, no matter how reprehensible allows from some empathetic consideration. Does any man deserve to die so much we can justify going vigilante?
The intersection of tragedy and obsession in the murder case spills over into Liv’s personal life. While she is still not over Major, she starts to understand the importance of moving on. Lowell, as distractions go, isn’t a terrible eyesore, and the insight he has into Liv’s new zombified reality is refreshing. It was great to see Liv drop the bullshit halfway through making excuses for canceling on their date, and simply acknowledge that they are on the same page. Sweeter still, was Lowell sharing his coping mechanisms and anti-anxiety meds, some much needed camaraderie. Ravi may be firmly on Team Liv, but the everyday reality of being a zombie isn’t something she can always share with him, something that was driven home when Lowell explains why he gave up performing live. It’s always a great moment when we get to see how much Liv has actually lost beyond her romance with Major, and this emotional beat develops the connection between the two into what I think we were all hoping would happen when Blaine first appeared on the scene.
Speaking of Blaine, his operation may be running up against some logistical difficulties sooner rather than later. When his brain delivery to Jackie runs a little too close to the belt, she hulks out and kills the delivery boy for brains. I love the line iZombie balances, running from comedic quips about polish trolls to shocking sudden impalement I a beautiful apartment. The coloration of Blaine’s scene is always so interesting as well, adding an art house quality to Jackie’s sequence. Trying to cover her tracks, she abandons the decapitated corpse, which of course ends up in Ravi’s lab. Though he didn’t have a very large presence this episode, Ravi ends up doing most of the legwork on our season long conflicts, identifying the delivery boy’s work history by the contents of his stomach, leading Babineaux straight to Meat Cute.
Since he lives with Major, Ravi is also party to Major’s efforts trying to find the people kidnaping youths under his charge. His work as a social worker (a welcome glimpse into his day to day) leads him to YouTube skate park videos, where he gets a clean shot of The Candy Man who beat him up. And who is lurking behind him, none other than Blaine who Ravi immediately recognizes and informs Liv. Now that they know of Blaine’s criminal brain enterprise, though maybe not the whole deal, how will they confront him? Perhaps the added entanglement of Liv’s mother, who stops by Meat Cute to pick up a job application for Liv’s brother, will secure her complacency.
It would have been ridiculous to draw out the separate storylines what with Ravi living with Major. So I’m glad they are converging sooner rather than later, forcing Liv to consider which side she falls on before she even figures out how to really adjust to being a zombie. Major also gets to move out of vanilla love interest everyman, and into some complex plotting, and Robert Buckley manages to instill his character with a humble nobility that’s going to be interesting to test a little bit. Balancing these conflicting interests is going to be exciting to watch, and with the added tension surrounding Lowell’s very convenient presence (he’s rich and a zombie and doesn’t that sound like Blaine’s target market?) I can’t wait to see how they propel this further. They may be only halfway through their run, but iZombie is proving itself through it’s deft handling of the morality of how people end lives in conjunction with how Liv is choosing to live hers.
Episode Rating: 8.5/10