iZombie – Season 1 Episode 5
“Flight of the Living Dead”
It was only a matter of time before a case came up in iZombie that Liv has a personal connection to. I’m glad that it’s taken this long because if it happened every other week it’d start to feel a little played out.
Of course the underlying premise means that Liv always has a somewhat personal connection to the cases after she eats their brains but I liked the concept that she knew the victim before her death. It added a level of personality to the case that gives Liv an opportunity to reflect on her life before becoming a zombie.
It turns out that she was in the same sorority as the dead girl but hasn’t spoken to her in years due to some unpleasantness. It turns out that Holly was voted out of the sorority for apparently setting a bad example with her colourful personality and activities. Upon reflection Liv starts to see the wonderful things about Holly and actually appreciates her innate zest for life. She died skydiving which was only the latest in a long line of death defying stunts that she would frequently be involved in. She might be dead now but arguably she was more alive than Liv ever was.
There’s a sense of regret within Liv who sees her decision to vote for Holly to be thrown out of the sorority as a big mistake. The reasons for doing it feel small and petty at this point so Liv owes it to her friend to get to the bottom of this.
Initially it looks like a pretty cut and dry case as she is found impaled on a branch with her parachute deployed. Naturally it is revealed that there’s something suspicious about the circumstances. It’s revealed that there was GHB in her system which heavily suggests that the intention was to murder her and make it look like an accident.
The investigating brings an introduction to some cool new characters. Veronica Mars fans will obviously recognise the familiar face of Ryan Hansen playing Carson. It’s a very similar character to Dick Casablancas so feels familiar to see him. It was good to see him and I do hope he returns.
In terms of new characters the focus will be on Lowell (Bradley James) who serves as a love interest for Liv. Turns out he’s a zombie as well but the circumstances of his change are as yet unclear. He definitely seems to fall on the “good” side of the zombie spectrum and has great chemistry with Liv. I loved the scene where he mixed the spiciest drink ever made as he flirted with her. The penny drops for Liv and the audience as he outs himself. I thought Liv’s attempts to keep her secret up until it was hopeless was done well and it was a solid reveal.
Giving Liv a love interest is a good idea and it’s even better that she has one that she can actually have. I’m really not interested in another retread of the “I love you but we can never be” nonsense that seems to be everywhere these days. This could blossom into a realistic relationship between two people that are very similar in a key way. There’s no sign of a love triangle with Major yet so that’s a really good sign.
Having Lowell turn out to be a zombie is a good example of effective world building as well. It shows that they come in all sorts of varieties and aren’t all “evil” like Blaine. At least that’s how it seems so far. We also find out that Clive’s boss is a zombie through the hot sauce he keeps in his desk so it begs the question of where he fits in. I wonder how many zombies are out there and what other positions in society they occupy. It’s an interesting question and leaves plenty of room for development.
I really like how this show handles Clive. He’s torn between his desire to help and the questionable reputation he has with his colleagues over his propensity to break the rules. He is reminded that homicide detectives only get to work when there’s a murdered body so his investigation of Liv’s dead friend is seen as pointless because it doesn’t appear to be a murder. Similarly his investigation of Jerome’s disappearance is seen as not his problem.
Clive’s not that sort of guy though. He stands up for what he believes in and his sense of common decency gets in the way. He likes Liv so wants to do favours for her and has a personal connection to Jerome so really wants to get to the bottom of that to. It’s good that he lets his morality win out over his job and helps further the plot thread of Clive being a compassionate person who likes to help people.
The Jerome story lets Major have something to do beyond being Liv’s rejected fiancé and brings him into a more productive narrative. He’s a good character and seems to be a really nice guy so I felt sorry for him when he got badly beaten just for looking out for his friend. I look forward to seeing how this investigation develops.
Liv absorbs the personality of Holly this week and it gives us more fantastic examples of Rose McIver’s acting ability. She doesn’t become the person she ingests and keeps her basic personality but parts of it get enhanced. In this case she becomes more daring and more appreciative of life. The scenes of her being all flirty and giggly were pretty adorable to watch and always remained entertaining. There was also a nice sentiment when she said that she wanted to enjoy this time she had left with her friend. I just love how well she embodies these character shifts and can’t wait to see what will come next.
Liv’s growing friendship with Ravi remains one of the most wonderful parts of the show. Any scene where they just play off each other is absolute gold and there’s a real sense of trust growing between them. Ravi has to deal with a lot when Liv gets going and he handles it well, like Clive he has a real desire to help people and feels a real sense of loyalty to Clive.
The personal connection to the case helped the character story move along nicely but in terms of the investigation it felt somewhat by the numbers. I found the murderer pretty predictable and the reasons for doing it were unsurprising as well. I didn’t really mind it as I enjoyed everything else but taken simply on the merits of the case there’s no real surprises there.
Liv finally gets a case that she has a close personal connection to. It’s good that it’s taken this long as it would feel very quickly played out if it happened every week.
The added complication of Liv’s last encounter with the deceased being not on the best of terms adds some real depth to it all. It allows Liv to reflect on what she considers a big mistake involving a decision she made for petty reasons. Beyond that she manages to reflect on the opportunities she missed out on to really live her life. Holly acts as a shining example of living life to the fullest and not doing the same is something Liv regrets.
She gets to experience some of that when she eats Holly’s brains and takes on her more daring personality traits for a while. Liv states that she wants to enjoy this time she has with her friend which comes across as a nicely genuine sentiment.
Clive is proving to be an interesting character who continues to be engaging because of his desire to help others even if it makes him unpopular at his job. To him doing what he can for others is more important than his job as shown by him breaking the rules twice to help his friends on cases that might not go anywhere.
The introduction of Lowell is a nice touch for the series. It develops the overall canvas of the zombies in this world and gives Liv a solid love interest that doesn’t have any angst informing it so far. The actors have great chemistry and I look forward to seeing more of them together.
In a lot of ways the case of the week seemed a little standard. Ignoring the personal connection the reveals and twists felt a little by the numbers and didn’t really manage to survive. It wasn’t bad just not all that creative. The character beats more than make up for this though.