iZombie – Season 1 Episode 6
“Virtual Reality Bites”
iZombie continues to dazzle more and more with each episode. I can’t remember the last time I watched a show that was this much fun.
This week Liv eats the brains of an introverted gamer who is also a pretty horrible internet troll. Kudos to the show for giving us a murder victim that isn’t actually all that sympathetic. Sure it’s wrong that he was murdered but there’s an element of him bringing it on himself in the way he acted.
Unfortunately this guy has been dead for a while so he’s not the freshest of corpses and Liv has to basically drink his rotted brains in order to get into his head. It provides some really grotesque comedy as it’s made readily apparent just how disgusting that is for her. It didn’t help that I was eating breakfast at the time. That’s probably not my best decision. I did get a laugh at Clive’s reaction to being around a corpse that was so ripe. The comic timing of all the actors on this show is first rate.
The personality traits absorbed this week turn Liv into a master hacker with the drawback of being agoraphobic. Having her afraid to go outside is something that Rose McIver really manages to sink her teeth into as she seems constantly on edge. She also takes on the gamer/hacker persona with ease and feels completely at home doing so. There was some great comedy as she consumes unhealthy snacks while yelling at people over the internet. The thin line between being appalled and kinda enjoying it is expertly straddled by McIver’s ever impressive range.
Liv’s temporary personality alterations cause a few problems for her blossoming relationship with Lowell. She cancels on him because she’s spending the night gaming for “work” as well as the fact that she’s afraid to go outside. Of course this could just be added to the apprehension she’s already feeling about trying to move on from Major.
The scene that Liv and Lowell share together is especially illuminating and gives us some back story on Lowell. He definitely seems like a really genuine guy and he will definitely exist to do more than fill the Major shaped hole in Liv’s life. He’s a character in his own right and is able to help Liv along by sharing his experiences of what it’s like to be a zombie for him. It’s an interesting relationship so far and seems to be developing organically.
Peripherally the show is really starting to hang together in some interesting ways. Every character has something to do here and the ongoing plot of Blaine’s villainy is being developed nicely. Major’s obsession with the disappearance of Jerome has led him to look at videos of the kids skating and notice some recurring figures in the background. He identifies the guy that beat him up -known as Candyman- as well as Blaine who is now in the crosshairs of Ravi and Liv. It’s clear to them that Blaine is lying about where he gets his brains from and Liv is especially disgusted at the way he’s going about it. He’s definitely giving zombies a bad name.
The episode does a clever job of tying things together in other ways too. Clive checking the body of the delivery driver that Jackie killed when he didn’t bring her brains points him in the direction of Blaine’s front to his operation but he doesn’t quite have what he needs to put it all together yet. It won’t be difficult once everything comes together but for now it’s getting there slowly.
Liv’s mother buying from Blaine and taking an application form for Liv’s brother is another clever addition that should make things a lot more tense in the future. Blaine will make it as difficult as possible for Liv, Clive, Ravi and Major to stop him.
David Anders definitely has fun with this character and he’s always so impressively layered. Seeing him casually put a drill through Jackie’s skull while wearing goggles now that she’s a liability to him is really appropriate to how carefully he’s crafted his operation. The safety goggles just show that even for zombies it’s safety first.
As with previous episodes the resolution of the murder sort of fizzles out. The focus is definitely on how the characters react to the situations and how they are developed by what they find out but there’s never really enough focus given to the solution of the murder. It tends to come across as a bit “so what” by the time we get there. It’s a very minor niggle but definitely something that needs worked on.
Another strong outing for this really witty and entertaining show. Only 6 episodes in and the show has settled into a style that is relentlessly entertaining.
Liv’s personality this week comes from an internet troll hacker/game who is agoraphobic so it gives Rose McIver some really great stuff to sink her acting teeth into. Seeing her talk the gaming talk and play like a pro feels completely natural and makes for some great comedy. McIver plays the agoraphobia perfectly as well.
Having the victim be not a nice guy was an interesting twist and showed the strength of the writing on this show by having someone murdered be unsympathetic. It didn’t make the journey to the solution any less compelling and really reinforces how this show is more about the characters than the events.
Liv and Lowell’s relationship is off to an interesting start with plenty of time spent on developing Lowell as a fully formed character who will be able to help Liv deal with being a zombie. He has personal experiences that help her with similar things she’s sure to face and his back story is an interesting one. It’s good that he’s not merely a stopgap on her road back to Major.
Blaine’s villainy is nicely developed with connections back to him starting to be made. It seems that his skate park plan is about to become a lot less profitable for him as Major’s investigation puts him in Liv and Ravi’s crosshairs. Clive won’t be far behind judging by the evidence he’s getting.
As with the prior episodes the show has a bit of a problem when it comes to resolution of the murder plot. By the time it’s resolved it has been put so far in the background that I almost don’t care about it any more. More work needs to be done to find a suitable balance.