Hello, zombie fans! It’s time to review episode two of iZombie, “Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?” In this week’s episode, Ravi, Liv, and Clive try to solve the murder of a promiscuous artist, which gives them a plethora of suspects, including wives, managers, models, boyfriends… Side plots include:
- An answer to the question “Are there other zombies around?” (it’s yes, by the way)
- The slow building of an ominous zombie empire
- More time spent on the relationship between Liv and her ex-fiance
- Liv being protective over Ravi
- A little mythos exposition about full-on zombie mode and the types of character traits that Liv and her zombie cohorts absorb from their victims
There wasn’t as much comedy as the first episode, but it was still a serviceable, entertaining installment in the CW’s latest show. Let’s focus on the best parts.
First up is David Anders. Now, there are few things I enjoy more than a well-written paragon of moral ambiguity, and David Anders’ Blaine DeBeers really fits the bill. I spent most of the episode wavering between “He’s nice!” and “HE’S NOT NICE,” because he honestly plays both sides so well. I look forward to seeing more of his character.
And secondly, Rose McIver. She continues to make deadpan entertaining (rather than flat), which is a very rare talent. And despite the amorphous shifting in Liv’s personality (she absorbs the traits of the brain she’s eating), McIver has handled the changes well. If her talents ever stop manifesting offscreen, Rose could bring a wide range of abilities to her role. We’ve already seen her speak Romanian and paint six strokes on a blank canvas. Maybe we’ll get to see more.
This leads us to another interesting facet of this episode. In 1×02, Liv absorbs the dead artist’s insatiable libido, as well as his desire for beauty and his talents at art. She takes up painting, flirts with everything in sight, and tries to rekindle a few old flames.
Liv’s family and friends are perplexed by her behavior. They aren’t terribly encouraging either, which makes it difficult for Liv to recover. In short, the very things that make Liv’s life worth living again… make Liv’s family uncomfortable. It’s an interesting dichotomy, one that I am very eager to see played out.
On the downside, there is a final facet to this episode that I don’t really want to see again. Ever.
Remember how Liv took on the artist’s libido? She also takes on his passion for beautiful women. There were a few endless monologues about the artist’s lovers unfolding like flowers and so on, and the whole thing was majorly squicky.
Besides the ‘leaking’ of two people’s very intimate moments, we also got a bizarre mix of queerbaiting and comedy. “Haha, Liv likes women now, isn’t that hilarious?”
Um, no. Not really. Queer people exist, and they aren’t jokes, and for iZombie to kick at a marginalized group like that was… grosser than eating brains, honestly. There was also an odd undertone in Liv’s sex-driven scenes, like I was supposed to laugh at the expression of her sexuality. I didn’t like that. Women like sex and sometimes women like sex with other women. This is a fact. And to knock that concept around without bothering to examine it?
It was lazy.
I don’t like lazy writing. If Liv’s sexuality gets turned on and off like a switch, depending on which brains she has eaten that day, it’s not really her sexuality. It’s at the mercy of cosmic forces. And that’s ridiculous.
Hoping for better (and real) representation, for Liv to reclaim her own sexuality, and for plots to continue to build in the future.
See you Tuesday for episode three: “The Exterminator.”
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