iZombie – Season 2 Episode 11
“Fifty Shades of Grey Matter”
iZombie returns from a two week break and has Liv consume the brain of a librarian who also happens to be an erotic novelist.
One thing that iZombie consistently excels at is tone. In a given episode a number of different tones can be at play and all fit together seamlessly. In this case there’s a comedic element, emotional character drama and regular plot driven drama. These come together in a variety of ways but the characters always remain believable and carry it.
Rose McIver fully commits to Liv’s extra personality as usual and delivers an incredible performance as Liv being consumed by sexual desire. Seeing her act lewd and playful around everyone she knows while being completely inappropriate in the process made for some great TV. My personal highlights were seeing her proposition Ravi in the middle of the morgue and her curiosity over whether Ravi and Major ever wrestle. Her overactive imagination really brought lots of joy to this episode. Some of the reactions were priceless as well such as Clive struggling not to look into her top.
Some work was done to establish how profound the effect brains have on Liv. In this case she was acting on instinct before almost immediately realising that what she was doing was wrong. This suggests that Liv loses control when under the influence of a strong personality but she can be conscious enough of it to put a stop to it when she really wants to. It isn’t explored in detail but it’s the beginning of an answer to that question and suggests there will be more development of this idea.
It is nice to be reminded that Liv’s default personality is still under there and the decisions she makes are still broadly her decisions. She was able to keep her hands off Drake for long enough to suggest waiting for the brain to wear off a bit and then see how they really feel about each other. They still end up sleeping together so Liv isn’t entirely immune to being consumed by lust.
Drake and Liv have really good chemistry and the fact that he is also a zombie removes any complications over a physical relationship between them. I don’t mind the idea that he’s around as a fling for Liv for a while as it keeps the relationship angst at bay for a while and allows Liv to cut loose which is something she rarely gets to do.
I wonder if Drake’s desire to get out from under Blaine’s umbrella is genuine or if he just said that to get into Liv’s pants. He did seem sincere but he also seems like the sort of guy who can fake sincerity. The fact that he’s as much of a mystery to us as he is to Liv makes him really compelling.
Peyton makes a welcome return in this episode and makes a few mistakes along the way. She is still using Blaine as her informant which brings her a little too close to something much bigger than she realises. They have had good chemistry since they first met and the fact that they explore it in this episode by sleeping together is the natural result of that. Blaine is definitely bad news but Peyton not having all of the facts is her biggest problem. The fact that she frees him and almost instantly regrets it further complicates the issue as she is not able to trust her judgement as much as she thought. Liv’s list of every horrible thing that Blaine has done was visibly horrifying to Peyton and really makes him seem terrible when it is summarised in a matter of seconds.
It’s interesting that such a sexually charged episode ended with everyone who had sex regretting it. Peyton obviously feels disgusted with herself and her remark about not knowing someone really hits home for Liv after she sleeps with Drake. It’s not quite a warning against doing it but it definitely preaches being careful about the consequences. I find that to be quite an adult attitude especially for a CW show since that network historically glamourises being sexually active.
There was a lot of progression in Clive’s investigation when Bozzio supplies enough information on Blaine to circumstantially connect the dots and place him at the Meat Cute massacre. He and Bozzio don’t quite have enough to finally figure out the truth but I have to believe that it’s coming soon and I wonder if the revelation about the existence of zombies will come with it.
Bozzio fits perfectly into the iZombie cast and has great chemistry with Clive. Malcolm Goodwin and Jessica Harmon work so well together as shown by the scene where they put all of the information together. There was a lot of energy in there and the dialogue really worked. I really hope that Bozzio sticks around for a while longer, she should join the main cast full time but maybe a tragic death is in her future.
Major is forced to say goodbye to Minor when he finds out that Clive and Bozzio are onto him. I didn’t realise until this episode that Minor had become an important member of the cast but seeing Major leave him on the bus was positively heartbreaking. Ravi being upset that he was unable to say goodbye to the poor dog made the whole thing worse. I tip my hat to you iZombie writers for making me emotionally invested in a dog without even realising it.
The only misstep this episode took was the usual one with the case. When compared to all of the engaging character and side plot development that goes on in most episodes the case of the week usually falls flat. It’s never terrible and sometimes brings a few laughs but I’m never really that interested in who the guilty party is. A Hemlock murder is pretty cool though.
I can’t end the review without mentioning that Kristen Bell had a voice cameo reading an erotic novel. Apparently it was much hyped but I managed to avoid it so it was a nice surprise for me. It was all too brief but worked really well. Liv’s remark about feeling a connection to her was hilarious on a meta level. This show does meta really well.
An excellent episode that manages to have a lot of fun with Liv’s latest brain while developing the characters in really interesting ways. The case of the week isn’t quite as strong as the stuff going on around it but it can’t be classed as terrible.
• Rose McIver’s incredible sexually charged performance
• the great comedy as Liv is affected by the horny brain
• a really moving goodbye for Minor
• Clive and Bozzio’s natural chemistry
• a case of the week that is less interesting than anything else going on