iZombie – Season 1 Episode 8

May 6, 2015 | Posted by in TV

“Dead Air”

iZombie still continues to impress after 8 really impressive episodes of solid character development and world building.

Liv’s brain of choice this week is that of a radio talk show host who specialises in sex and relationship advice with a really aggressive twist. It’s the kind of trash that I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to and judging by the way it was portrayed here, neither would writer Aiyana White. Liv finds herself at a bit of a crossroads in her relationship with Lowell as it has progressed to a profoundly physical one and she starts to feel guilty about being happy about it. Her relationship experience is informed by her circumstances surrounding her breakup with Major who was absolutely her perfect man before her becoming undead made a relationship possible.

Liv’s big issue is that she’s engaging in a sexual relationship with a man she really doesn’t know all that well and has comparatively little in common with. Beyond them both being zombies they are very different people and Liv seems somewhat afraid of how much she enjoys that. Before this point she had it in her head that a partner should be your best friend. I can see her point and I like the fact that her view is fairly naive in that respect. She’s learned a lot about people since becoming detached from them and the workings of a more casual connection has become her next lesson.

Consuming the brain of this radio host has opened her mind to some serious introspection but she not only feels compelled to analyse herself and extends that to those around her. I found her analysis of Ravi to be the most interesting as it was the thing that had the most impact. Ravi’s thing in this episode is that he wants to make a move on Peyton who -to Liv’s mind- is out of Ravi’s league. She gives ample justification for this which unfortunately makes Ravi feel like she’s crossed a line. The episode doesn’t try to paint this any other way either, what Liv said was profoundly insensitive and completely hurtful to someone who has completely stuck by her through all of this. Liv recognises this but points out that knowing that a brain is influencing you doesn’t lessen the instinct to give into that influence.


Liv and Zombie Rat

It’s what I love most about this show I think. Rose McIver is such a talented actress that she consistently manages to layer new personality traits on top of Liv’s. It’s always recognisably Liv but the difference is that she’s pulled in a very particular direction by the brains that she eats. In this case she becomes a bit of a bitch but Liv’s personality stops her from going too far over the line.

I like that the show is playing with more unlikeable personalities being brought into the mix and giving us murder victims that are a little more difficult to sympathise with. It always works because nobody really deserves to be murdered but it’s an interesting take to see a victim where you can understand why someone might want to kill them. In this case, Sasha is definitely not a nice person and that’s immediately apparent through her needlessly shocking radio advice to people. It’s all this usual crap about empowerment and general insensitivity that only really makes problems worse rather than solving them. It’s plain to see why she’s not liked.

It becomes more apparent as Liv has visions. It turns out that she did a lot to wrong others from sleeping with their boyfriends/husbands to ruining careers. It turns out that she’s ruthless and a hypocrit which leaves Liv absorbing some really unpleasant characteristics for a while.

The way she looks to analyse people says a lot about that. She suddenly feels the need to meddle and “fix” other people’s lives. I think my favourite of these after Ravi was when she tried to psychoanalyse Clive and he skillfully deflects the attempt under the cloak of privacy. Nice going Clive and as with Ravi, Liv has this coming. She isn’t entitled to know everything about everyone and nor should she expect people to simply open up to her because she wants them to. Her tact with everyone leaves a lot to be desired as well. Basically it’s a lot of fun to see Liv explore this new personality and learn some lessons about herself.

Her ultimate conclusion is that it’s fine to have fun once in a while and not everything needs to have a deeper meaning attached to it. There’s nothing wrong with her relationship with Lowell as it’s just different to what she is used to. Different isn’t wrong and she’s starting to realise that. She has a lot in unlife to be thankful for at the moment so it’s good to see her starting to embrace that.

Beyond Liv’s intricate character story there’s lots of work done establishing the background plots as they make their way into the foreground. Major gets let out of prison on a technicality thanks to Peyton’s shrewd legal work and isn’t prepared to give up on his investigation. He doesn’t accept the neat explanation given by the police as to the circumstances of Jerome’s death because it doesn’t mesh with the information that he already has.


the Lieutenant talks to Blaine about his carelessness

Major started off this season as something of a boring “can never have again” for Liv but his side story has become something truly compelling. I like that he’s got some information about what’s really going on but is missing some really significant pieces of the puzzle. He knows that the Candyman has human brains but he doesn’t know why and he knows it’s part of a bigger operation but he doesn’t know what. Given that he has no evidence of zombies he won’t make that connection until he knows they exist but he’s nearly there and Liv won’t be able to keep him at bay for long.

As a character Major is growing in some interesting ways. This episode signifies him hitting rock bottom after being arrested. He has been badly beaten then loses his job and his girlfriend in a single day so it’s not a good time to be Major. What makes it more interesting is the fact that this doesn’t stop him. His loyalty to Jerome and his own sense of justice means that he won’t let this go and is willing to go to some really dark places to figure all of this out.

Blaine is becoming careless as evidenced by his discussion with the Lieutenant revealing that he covers things up in exchange for brains. The Lieutenant points out that it’s getting harder to cover up all the destruction Blaine leaves in his wake and is annoyed at how careless he’s becoming. It’s also revealed that Liv is important to his plan for some reason that will soon become clear I expect.

Lowell getting his brains from Blaine makes sense but I wonder how he manages to afford them. I wonder if him mentioning a “meet cute” earlier in the episode was supposed to be foreshadowing or just a happy accident but either way it’s cool how that tied in. Liv seeing Blaine bringing the brains to him was something I didn’t expect and seems to move up the timetable on the inevitable confrontation.


Ravi is bitten by Zombie Rat

The closing moments of the episode were really well done in general. The contrast between Liv’s positive monologue and the shots of Ravi being bitten by a zombie rat, Major buying a gun and Liv eating a brain that turns out to be Jerome’s was really effective. Liv now knows who is responsible for Jerome’s death and I imagine she won’t waste any time using that information. I wasn’t expecting Ravi to become a zombie and maybe he still won’t. If he does I wonder what direction this will take the show in.

As always the investigation elements of the murder were the least effective aspect of the show. Again it wasn’t bad at all but when stacked against everything else that this show does right it falls a little short. I know that I harp on about this every week but it’s genuinely the only thing that brings this show down at this point. The case of the week structure works to enable the character development but I find myself forgetting the victim’s name half the time.


  • 8.5/10
    Dead Air - 8.5/10


Another really strong episode with clever writing and really solid character beats throughout. This show is developing the story world wonderfully from week to week.

This week Liv eats the brain of relationship/sex advice radio call in show host and subsequently becomes something of a meddler. She feels the need to attempt to fix everyone around her by doling out her sage advice but it doesn’t go down too well with most people. Ravi and Clive in particular react negatively to this and in the case of Ravi it puts a dent in their friendship.

I like that the show is experimenting with victims who have unlikeable personality traits that become part of Liv. The fact that she is a good person stops her from fully crossing a line but for a time she does become a little insufferable. It’s great to see that and it’s a testament to the writing as well as the acting that it can be pulled off without compromising the main character as a result. I also like that the murder investigation is centered around a victim that arguably deserved what they got. At the very least the reasons for doing it are understandable.

Liv learns important lessons about different kinds of relationships in this episode. Her main lesson is that a more casual connection isn’t bad but just different. She’s nervous about it because she’s not used to it and ultimately decides that it’s fine to have some fun once in a while. These lessons are important for her as it aids in her growth as a person should she ever be cured.

Major’s story is becoming more compelling as he closes in on the truth. He has hit rock bottom after being released from prison but it doesn’t stop him. It’s only a matter of time before he learns that zombies exist and pieces it all together. I like how dark his story is getting and his driven nature to find justice is nicely handled.

Other twists like the revelation that Lowell gets his brains from Blaine were pretty unexpected and Liv eating a piece of brain that happened to be Jerome’s was another surprise revelation. The story will definitely pick up pace after this. I was also genuinely shocked when Ravi was bitten by that zombie rat.

As always the murder investigation aspect of the show needs a little work. I find myself forgetting the victim’s name often and generally losing interest in it by the end. It’s because the show sucks me into the character dynamics that I forget what’s causing them to happen but it’d be nice if this slight weakness could be in some way enhanced.

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