iZombie – Season 1 Episode 7
iZombie passes into the second half of the first season with an episode that has Liv ingest some maternal instincts as she looks into the case of a murdered pregnant woman.
Thankfully the baby is fine, the show hasn’t become that grim quite yet but Liv’s experience of taking on maternal instincts for a time becomes an important development point for her in the context of the show. The most important lesson for her here is an appreciation of all the things her mother has done for her in the past and how difficult raising children would be for her.
Having Liv tapped into these strong emotions also provided some laughs as she fixed Ravi’s hair, spit cleaned Clive’s tie and encouraged Evan to smarten up his appearance as well as find a sense of responsibility. Evan’s reaction is to be irritated and confused since Liv never acts like this but it’s interesting to see the perspective of someone being pushy as a character begins to understand why being pushy is sometimes necessary. There were also plenty of moving moments as Liv felt connected to the baby, even going so far as to call it “our baby” showing how strong a connection she feels after eating a brain. As always Rose McIver plays the new personality perfectly and successfully layers it over the already established characteristics associated with Liv. Week on week her performance cannot be faulted at all.
Other great character moments existed in the episode as well. Clive’s anecdote about his first stakeout ending with him storming a coke den on a sugar high covered in white powder from the donuts he’d been eating. It was a funny story and said a lot about Clive’s learning curve as a police officer.
I like how this case opened a can of worms that ultimately tied into the overall arc of the season so far. Having it turn out that the pregnant girl was part of a string of missing persons cases where people were being kidnapped and used for human sacrifices for reasons that are only clear to a religious cult was an interesting yet twisted revelation. It made for a cool case with enough reveals to keep the whole thing moving but it was how it tied into the bigger picture that made it most interesting.
Last week the audience found out that Clive’s boss was a zombie but left it ambigious as to his agenda and allegiance. This episode subtly gives more information on that and proves a connection to Blaine. When the sacrificed bodies were found he makes sure to mention that the missing kids from the skate park were among them in an effort to get Clive off the scent. This won’t be the end of it but it’s interesting to see that Blaine’s plan extends to having people in positions of authority covering his tracks so carefully.
Of course Major’s part of the investigation seeks to undermine this completely. He tracks down the “Candyman” and finds a human brain in his car as well as gets himself arrested. “Candyman” passes it off to the police as a calf brain and Major’s position isn’t the most trusted so it delays this all coming out for a while. Major is on the right track though and it’s only a matter of time before he learns that zombie’s exist. How he’ll react should be interesting and I wonder what he’ll do when he realises that Liv is one of them.
Something I really enjoyed in this episode was how Clive suffered consequences for what he has been doing. The catalyst for this is when a reporter hears him dismissing Major when he calls but it’s been coming for a while given his cavalier attitude to the rules. Having him put on paperwork duty as punishment makes a lot of sense and really tests Clive’s morality in the face of sticking to it possibly ruining his career.
I really like how Liv’s relationship with Lowell is progressing and the problems of them both being zombies presents a clever twist on relationship complications. Lowell eats the brain of a gay guy which means that he comes across as cold to Liv when she tries to behave intimately towards him. In other shows this would be mixed signals or a lack of interest from one side but here it’s simply a consequence of what they need to do to survive. Due to the fact that they have to constantly eat different brains and therefore absorb different personality traits they can never truly be themselves. It’s an interesting consequence and it looks like the show is already having fun playing with those possibilities. Bradley James and Rose McIver have amazing chemistry and their scenes together are so much fun to watch.
It’s good to see the progression on Ravi’s experimenting to try and find a cure to being a zombie. Testing it on rats makes sense and the results were pretty horrifying to say the least. I wonder how many people that zombie rat will end up infecting since containing it seems nigh on impossible. It’s yet another example of world building in an organic and character focused way. I love how this show’s story world is slowly being built in an organic way.
The case of the week formula is what always brings the show down slightly. Having it tied subtly into the overall season arc was clever but the resolution felt a little too predictable. It seemed obvious who one of the guilty parties was as soon as Clive and Liv were talking to her. It doesn’t really undermine my enjoyment of the episodes in any way but the cases are definitely the least interesting parts.
Another clever episode that provides a lot of entertainment through Liv’s unique ability to absorb the personality traits of the murder victims.
Having her take on some strong maternal instincts this week was great fun and provided lots of laughs as it presents itself in really awkward ways around people she knows. It was best exemplified by her brother who was both irritated and confused by Liv mothering him to the point of seeming pushy. It had the added benefit of allowing Liv to gain a greater appreciation of what her mother went through raising a child. It’s amazing how this ability allows for so many laughs as well as great character development.
Using Clive’s boss to tie the case of the week to the overall season plot by adding the missing skate park kids to the bodies dug up was a clever twist. It tells us that he’s working for or with Blaine and that Blaine has people in authority covering his tracks for him.
Major’s side of the investigation will likely be what disproves that as he finds out the connection to Blaine’s business by discovering who “Candyman” works for and seeing that he has a brain in his car. It’ll be interesting to see how Major reacts to the whole zombie thing once he inevitably finds out.
I like that Clive’s maverick attitude in order to uphold his morality is met with punishment in this episode. He’s put onto paperwork duty and generally finds himself untrusted by those around him. It’s a great test for his morality to have pursuing it met with so many negative consequences for him.
Liv and Lowell’s relationship takes an interesting turn this week when Lowell eats the brain of a gay guy and finds himself not the least bit interested in Liv as a result. It’s a good subversion of standard relationship tropes and I like the idea that the circumstances of who they are mean that they can never be truly themselves around one another. It’s an interesting playground for the show to mess around with and should give their relationship some entertaining twists.
Ravi’s experimentation on rats in search of a cure for Liv and Lowell’s situation is the next logical step and it presents a really interesting if gruesome situation judging by how the episode ends when focused on that rat and the trail of destruction in its wake.
The case of the week structure remains the weakest part of the show. In a lot of ways it’s unavoidable and it’s a testament to how good the characters are when the actual plot of the episode is the thing that undermines the random character moments that are so much fun to watch. It’s never bad just comes across as slightly weaker than everything else.