iZombie – Season 1 Episode 10
It’s hard to believe that iZombie is only 10 episodes in. All of the rich world building and character development makes me feel like I’ve been watching this show for years. Like Liv with brains I crave more whenever I’m finished with one.
Last week was an important episode for Liv as she learned enough information to know that Blaine was someone who needed to be stopped as well as suffering a personal loss that she is at least partly responsible with the death of Lowell.
Lowell’s death informs a big part of this episode as Liv has to get on with the business of living. She reacts by throwing herself back into her work -which meshes perfectly with the case of the week formula- and consuming the brain of an alcoholic reporter to help numb her feelings through drinking -which feeds perfectly into the brain of the week formula- while giving her a reporter’s skills.
The formula is clear but it’s used to great effect in keeping the story momentum going. Liv seems to spend most of the episode in a sort of voluntary denial. She jumps right into eating the reporter’s brains knowing that it’ll spiral into a complete loss of self control but having a case to work on does give Liv a real sense of purpose that she probably needs right now.
As always Rose McIver nails her performance by coming across as realistically drunk whenever she needed to. The writing manages to tow the line between Liv acting amusing and tragic. I found her quite pitiable most of the time as she struggled to suppress the pain she was feeling. Seeing Liv be so self destructive was an interesting challenge for McIver and she managed to nail it without coming across as over the top. There was a real subtlety to the performance and an impressive undercurrent of melancholy. She also completely nails the insensitive reporter angle as she badgers people until they talk.
Seeing Liv be so vulnerable is something new and I like how each of the characters attempted to comfort her in different ways. Ravi’s part in that was handled really well as he had the difficult task of being both Liv’s friend and her boss. Out of respect for Liv and Lowell he holds off on dealing with his body until Liv decides what he should do with it. He asks her permission to sign it off as a suicide and cremate the body so that he doesn’t risk infecting anyone else. Ravi was patient and understanding here which was just what Liv needed at that point. When she finally breaks down and cries over Lowell’s body it’s allowed to happen because Ravi is her friend. I do wonder where Peyton was this episode, this would have been a good one for her to be involved in.
Major offers Liv comfort here as well. Their moment where he comforts her on the bed as she lies there drunk and unable to process her thoughts is probably the first tangible example we’ve seen of the connection we’ve only been told about over the course of the season so far. Major has really taken leaps and bounds as a character over the recent episodes.
His side story investigating the missing kids is handled really well this week. Considering that all evidence points to the fact that nobody broke into his house then Major starts to conclude that he needs psychiatric attention. He doesn’t have the knowledge to explore the zombie idea yet so assuming that there is something wrong with him mentally is a pretty logical line of thought. Liv’s reaction is something I don’t quite agree with though. Ravi makes the case that Major’s curiosity puts him in a position where he tries to get himself killed all the time because he doesn’t understand what’s really going on. He pleads with Liv to tell Major the truth so to stop what this is doing to him but Liv doesn’t want to. If he goes for treatment then he’s safe for a few weeks but goes on believing that he’s insane. I can believe that Liv is only saying that because she’s drunk and emotional right now and I hope she sees sense over the next episode or so. Major starts to get on the zombie path in this episode anyway so it’s only a matter of time.
As far as cases go this was probably the best one yet. Liv finds herself investigating the Max Rager corporation who seem to be keeping a few too many secrets on a larger scale than originally thought. It seems like they are covering up a product they made being responsible for some really violent things. It turns out that the Max Rager product was around at the party where Liv was turned into a zombie. This ties the case of the week neatly into the overall mystery of what exactly happened that night. It also gives Liv a personal connection to it as things start to get closer to giving her the answers she has been looking for.
I really liked the Sebastian (Matthew MacCaull) character as he seemed wonderfully off the chain He always felt like a credible threat to Liv and the way he tasted her blood was suitably creepy. I really liked the action sequence on the boat. It was full of urgency and genuine peril.
Having him turn into a zombie should only intensify his menace. He seems to enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on others so having a criminally insane zombie running around to contrast Blaine’s more suave villainy could be an interesting diversion for a little while. The fact that Liv is his sire -sorry Buffy terminology there- gives her a sense of accountability for him albeit accidentally.
It’s a shame that Clive only seems to be serving the plot in so far as asking questions of people and helping Liv get access to information that she otherwise wouldn’t. Malcolm Goodwin gives Clive lots of personality just by being who he is but the past couple of episodes have sidelined him in a way that he’s starting to feel like a background character. I’d like more development for Clive before the season ends. He did have that moment of decency where he feels that Liv has gone too far with her drinking after letting it slide once but I’d like to see more focus on him.
Another really solid episode that builds on the cliffhanger from the previous one and keeps the consequences the narrative focus throughout.
Liv deals with Lowell’s death by throwing herself into her work and consuming the brain of an alcoholic reporter in order to dull the pain of loss. She goes into a sort of voluntary denial rather than face the magnitude of her feelings. The fact that she knows what she’s doing but does it anyway is an interesting thing to watch.
Rose McIver’s performance as drunk Liv manages to feel painfully real. She is more to be pitied as she goes for being fully self destructive. It’s very painful to watch but McIver juggles this perfectly without being over the top. She does have some amusing drunk moments but again it’s all very tragic to look at.
Having her friends support her in different ways really strengthened the narrative. Ravi had to juggle being her friend as well as her boss but gave her the time she needed to make the decision over what to do about Lowell before he signed off on it. He gave her the space that was necessary and waited patiently like a true friend would.
Major comforting her gave us probably the first indication of a tangible connection between the two of them. We have always been told about their great love but never really seen evidence of it until this episode. It felt natural and was a nicely tender moment.
Having Major admit that he’s probably got mental issues as all evidence points to him imagining his encounter with Julien. Obviously we know he didn’t but since he still doesn’t think zombies are real then it’s logical that he might be more willing to believe insanity. The fact that Liv lies to him despite Ravi pleading for her not to is something I don’t agree with but it could be her alcohol dependent brain talking rather than any sort of rational thought. It does seem like Major will be investigating the zombie possibility pretty soon though.
I like that the case of the week tied into the overall world of the show. The fact that it links back to the party that had Liv turned into a zombie in the first place gives the case a lot more weight than they normally get. I’m interested to see how this all develops.
I’m glad the Sebastian character was zombified and will be returning. He’ll be something of a wildcard since he’s a bit criminally insane. The fact that Liv turned him into a zombie accidentally should provide some interesting consequences for her in subsequent episodes.
Clive really needs some more character development. Malcolm Goodwin is really charismatic but doesn’t have a lot to work with most weeks. He did have a solid moment where he took Liv off the case when he felt that she had gone too far but there’s not enough of that to sustain his development. Let’s hope for more soon.