Thursday, April 23, 2015

iZombie, Season 1, Episode 6: Virtual Reality Bites

Major is not dead! And Ravi is helping patching him. It does seem odd that he would go to the morgue and not the hospital but he explains that as a social worker he has terrible medical insurance so it’s far better to get patched up by your pathologist house-mate.

Liv arrives to critique and take over (with snark of course). Liv lectures Major on the many dangers of being a vigilante. More snark as well because they’re all such fun together.

To the crime scene this week! Simon Cutler died on some stairs and it took a while to find him – and he is now very very very smelly. In between trying not to vomit, Clive explains that Simon was a shut in who never left his home or met people. He also assumes because Clive was fat, led a sedentary lifestyle and ate unhealthily that it’s probably a heart attack. Oddly for as friendless shut in, they also find a birthday card. And confetti.

The neighbours are ghastly, including taking selfies with a body bag. Classy.

And at the morgue, Ravi reveals that the guy didn’t die of a heart attack – which means it’s rotten brains on the menu for Liv. Ravi suggests deep frying. She is even more put out when Clive reveals Simon is a troll and hacker and hated on the net and received many death threats so it’s almost certainly murder – brain goo is definitely on the menu.

Looking at a website dedicated to his death they learn he’s generally a terrible person. And has a severe megalomania issue.

So Liv sucks down the guy’s brain and ends up craving doughnuts which leads to a vision of Simon taking epinephrine for a food allergy. Possible cause of death is presented. Except for the lack of food in Simon’s system. But between them Clive and Liv realise that the card – sent waaay before Simon’s birthday – was used to fling peanut powder into Simon’s face.

Liv has another side effect from eating Simon’s brains – agoraphobia. Which also ruins her chance for a date with Lowell. At least Lowell being a zombie means she can be honest about her reason.

Major returns to his work as a social worker for kids and is duly mocked for his saviour complex which is not entirely inaccurate, if not entirely fair, criticism. Still the kid does have lots of videos of the skate park for Major to analyse.

Meanwhile, Blaine’s customer Jackie loses control and murders a delivery driver for the sweet sweet brains. Unwisely she calls Blaine and complains about her brain delivery not arriving then rethinks and backtracks when she remembers she killed and ate the delivery boy. This seems… cross purpose.

In a nice bringing things together, the kid’s disposed body ends up on Ravi’s slab – and he’s suspicious that an 18 year old street kid would have a stomach full of really expensive food.

Because Liv can’t leave her flat, Ravi takes Simon’s computer to her where her brain-acquired muscle memory easily gets the password and launches an MMO which is super popular (and well known to Ravi). Ravi nicely fends off her contemptuous snark. Naturally she logs on and Ravi presents a somewhat dubious motive that someone may have murdered Simon because of losses he inflicted in an MMO. So he encourages Liv to play using her brain-acquired knowledge and skill.

And Ravi plays too. Of course he does.  And yes he loves it

Mid game Liv’s mother comes round to take care of her sick daughter (her excuse for not going to work) and while Liv’s passion and scathing contempt during the game isn’t exactly shiny, her mother’s kind of happy just to see Liv passionate about something.

When she finally reaches her enemy she decides to question him without the game – and finds she’s questioning a 14 year old kid who didn’t even know where Simon lived. Ravi is deeply depressed by this dead lead –or that the 14 year old kid is better at the game than he is anyway.

Lowell drops in with handy pills – having eaten a brain with PTSD he has an idea what Liv is going through. Which is all sweet and stuff though Liv quickly makes it clear to Lowell that she did have a fiancĂ© not too long ago and she’s not over it – points for honesty.

While at Major and Ravi’s, Ravi desperately flounders to stop Major going over to Liv’s in between watching all the youtube vids looking for his attacker – he tells Major Liv isn’t alone. Major is niceluy mature about it.

Lowell and Liv share zombie origin stories, how Lowell eats (a funeral home) and how he doesn’t play in public any more because the adrenaline rush sends him to full-on zombie mode. It’s very emotional and kind of beautiful. Even the awkward miss read signals and him backing away from almost kissing her. Alas the police case ends the evening early and awkwardly.

Clive, meanwhile ends up in Blaine’s high class charcuterie investigating the death of the delivery boy. He questions Blaine who denies everything and has his minion the excellent chef prepare to kill Clive – but Clive is saved by his squeamishness that puts him off going into the back (and seeing hacked up human corpses and becoming one of them). That and Liv calling him with a lead.

Liv’s lead is a doughnut shop Simon put out of business with a scathing review (because their non-nut doughnuts contained nuts which, frankly, I think is deserving of a whole lot of scathing reviews and being shut down. Carelessness with allergens isn’t a minor thing). Still they seem to be innocent.

But Clive has an idea and it leads them to another doughnut shop whose employee records the brain-enhanced Liv hacks into. She also has another vision – and struggles into the police station under the influence of many many pills and reveals her suspect connecting a few of the clues they’ve found so far.

Simon viciously attacked and destroyed his sister’s life and drove her to suicide. Sean then did his best to hunt down Simon

This does inspire Liv, in a round about way, to go find Lowell and kiss him.

Blaine goes to see Jackie – with a drill. Bye Jackie.

And Major finds a picture of his attacker – standing in front of Blaine. He shares the picture with Ravi who shares it with Liv.

For extra drama – Liv’s mother patronising Blaine’s shop and takes an application for the newly vacant delivery boy job for Liv’s brother.

While Simon is pretty stereotypical when it comes to geek or gamer – it’s also established that Ravi and Major are equally geeky gamers so I’m unbothered by that. Yes, the depiction of an MMO as a motive for revenge (simply because I can’t imagine an MMO which has such devastating or enraging PVP penalties) is highly dubious, but then I’ve seen some Raid Leaders when a rival raid gets a boss down before them so I’ll go with it.

I think more could have been explored with the agoraphobia rather than making it a quirky little gimmick that could be overcome with a quirky handful of pills. It was pretty dismissive

Similarly, I’m not fond of them making a point about Simon’s weight then making Liv crave doughnuts and do nothing but eat unhealthy snack food

Especially since putting the two together could have been an interesting element – stress or emotional eating, the difficulty of having an active lifestyle when you can’t leave the house and have to have all food delivered – these could have been very pertinent points. Or they could have just depicted a fat person without then spending an episode pushing the junk food meme.

I don’t say this about many, but Liv and Lowell have amazing chemistry. They work.

I was glad to see Clive a little more involved in the actual investigating