Thursday, April 2, 2015

iZombie, season 1, Episode 3: The Exterminator

Kids playing in an abandoned property – someone has to get eaten for this. Especially when they decide to investigate when they hear spooky noises. The gene pool demands they be eaten

They take a picture of a figure they call a zombie and post it online to be spotted by Ravi and Liv who are gloriously snarking back and forth. This raises Liv’s fear of a horde. Liv is also angsting over Major having recognised that she hasn’t been the best person to him and she’s sent him an apology. RFavi does question how appropriate a texted apology is and she quips about eating his head.

She muses on how much hunger utterly consumes a zombie and Blaine drops in kind of pissy that Liv didn’t meet with him as she planned. He rather creepily points out just how hard it is to get your hands on brains when you don’t work in a morgue. Liv makes it clear she’s not a fan of his and still thinks he’s a drug dealing groping arsehole

Time for some of Liv and Peyton together – about time. Peyton is a lawyer handling her first big murder case and wants to celebrate and practice with Liv. Unfortunately seeing picture of the dead man triggers Liv’s memory flashback after eating a brain that morning – suggesting the brain she just ate belonged to the murderer. Not the guy Peyton is prosecuting. Awkward.

She takes this to Clive who would rather not deal with it, he’s certainly not going to interrupt a high profile trial of as tech guru for the sake of the accused – a homeless drifter (who stole the dead man’s wallet and shoes) and accusing some random guy, Marvin Webster, instead. As part of her brain eating, Liv also gains some gun insight. She, rather unfairly, accuses him of wanting an innocent man to go to jail rather than throw away his career on the words of a psychic. But as she walks away she realises her harsh arrogance was another symptom of brain eating

Yes, she ate the brains of sociopath – or, rather, someone with anti-social personality disorder as her newly fact addicted mind throws up.

That emotionless state helps her deal with Peyton’s revelation – Mason kissing another woman on facebook. She feels nothing – so she takes the chance to examine Peyton’s casefiles instead.

Time for Ravi and Liv to go zombiehunting while Liv describes how disturbing the emotionless-brain is. They find the trapped zombie – and she is a zombie, Liv’s friend/co-worker Marcy who was supposed to have died at the boat party. Ravi expects Liv to be devastated to see her friend and fellow zombie reduced to a rotting, shambling monster but the hit-man brains are still working. Ravi decides to experiment – feeing Marcy brains and seeing if she can come back from this level of rot.

Liv is still on the murder case and drags Clive to a cop bar to speak to ex-cop and book-maker Frank Smith who Wally, the dead man Marvin murdered, owed a lot of money. Liv is sure they’ll blend into the cop bar, Clive is less sure and describes the places as “white Whitesville.” It’s also quiz night with  stylised Genie from I Dream of Genie – and Clive has some sharp insight about a room full of men whose ideal woman was one you could force back into a bottle when she gets “uppity.”

While Liv aces the trivia, they interview Frank who tells them that yes, Wally owed him money but the man was selling his company and going to pay him back. Something he can’t do now he’s dead. He also knows Clive’s boss and drives him off – but as they leave Liv sees pictures on the wall of Marvin the hit man, in the bar the same night Wally asked for an extension on his loan.

They go to Marvin’s house where they find a silenced pistol – the evidence Clive needs – but Liv also has a vision of the hit and run that killed; it was deliberate murder.

Of course, Peyton isn’t happy with her case completely destroyed. Peyton is outraged that have months of complete apathy, this is what finally encourages Liv to wake up – of course Liv doesn’t handle this well with her emotionless brain.

Liv thoroughly hates herself for it because she can’t even make herself care. Avi points out she could eat another brain but, if she did so she would lose the visions and not be able to find the murderer. Liv, again, sees the logical ethics while feeling nothing.

Her being so compassionless is probably not a good time for Major to visit with one of his clients (he’s a counsellor and also runs a shelter); Jerome, one of his clients, wants to report his room-mate missing. They’ve come to Liv and, through her, Clive because the police are indifferent to a run-way/delinquent who has been missing for four days. Of course Clive asked if he just left, but Eddie ran off leaving his Ipod behind. He also talks about a creepy guy handing out utopian (which Blaine dealt in) to lure Eddie and other guys like him

Back to the hit and run and things get confusing – the guy who bought the car to run Marvin over was also a major investor in Wally’s (the man Marvin shot) company who is paying a huge reward to anyone who brought forward evidence of who killed Wally.

They bring the guy in for questioning and he tries to throw out his fame and fortune (and the fact the man he killed was a murderer) to dodge responsibility because he’s just so important

This guy needs his brain eating though his smugness may be worse than the sociopathy.

Time to follow Clive’s investigative skills to different scenes to prompt a memory flash which digs up a witness

Liv also goes with Ravi for their Marcy research – her chilling voice over fully prepared to destroy Marcy if necessary. Marcy is still a zombie and Liv says, simply “we have to kill it” even while Ravi corrects her “it” to “her.” Liv looks for a big rock while Ravi, horrified, recites the Hippocratic oath to her. Ravi falls in the hole trying to sedate Marcy and Liv watches, curious as he screams and fights to escape the zombie. It’s pretty chilling. She eventually comes to her senses, looks completely horrified before leaping in to wrestle with Marcy – and when Marcy grabs her neck, Liv goes Full-On-Zombie and beats Marcy to death. Ravi is now in a hole with another lethal zombie but she returns to her senses with Ravi’s calm reassurance.

Liv is considerably more traumatised by the fact she almost let Ravi die than Ravi is – he focuses more on the fact that even high on sociopath brains she still saved him; the brains don’t entirely define her.

Back to the case and more interviews with the arsehole whose name I can’t remember and don’t care to. I shall call him Smug. They don’t have a witness but are very cunning at pretending they do with Liv’s visions and, with Peyton’s help, get him to sign a plea deal. He confesses

There’s still a twist left – Marvin has nearly left Liv’s system but after what she did to Marcy she’s afraid of what it will be like to feel again. She resists and throws the brain away – because it’s cowardly and cruel to not give Marcy the respect of her emotions.

She also has a friend moment with Peyton over the facebook video

Sadly among all this no-one has noticed Jerome’s case as he continues to hand out fliers. And he falls into Blaine’s clutches. Well we know where Blaine is getting his brains

It was a small moment, but Clive mentioning how white the bar was is very rare in the genre- not just having POC characters, but openly addressing race (as well as openly addressing gender discrimination). Not even having a great big “rawr this is a villain who is racist and misogynist so you know they’re a villain” simplistic moment. Not, it’s addressing more subtle elements like being the only Black man in a room (contrast with Resurrection and “do you see anything different about me”) or what the chosen sexy costume implies. This kind of commentary is really rare in the genre

Then we have Jerome’s case and, I think, an opening to some class and race analysis there – no-one, certainly not the police, care about “delinquents” and “runaways”. It’s easy to cast them as easy victims – and certainly what Blaine is targeting – but the episode made a point of showing people cared, or showing Jerome as a person and. I think this goes well with the depiction of sex workers as victims in a past episode – again, a group that is very vulnerable and often used as stock victims, but also a point was made

Seeing Marcy, as much as I would have liked to have seen her developed more, was a poignant depiction of the consequences of not feeding. I was pretty surprised that feeding her brains doesn’t bring her back to humanity- it shows there is a terrifying, permanent consequence to eating brains. I also liked that Liv refused to keep not feeling pain in part in acknowledgement of what Marcy went through

While, at the same time, eating Marvin’s brains showed us the terrifying consequence of continuing to eat brains. Last episode showed us the power and joy of it, this episode went far the other way with some really terrifying (and excellently portrayed) possibilities. It’s a difficult choice to make.

On top of that, Ravi, Liv and Clive really work well together (we still have an element of Liv replacing Clive’s detective skills but his detective skills aren’t completely non-existant). In all, I’m pretty happy.