iZombie: Patriot Brains Review

iZombie raises the stakes with a heartbreaking character death, setting the stage for an eventual zombie showdown between Liv and Blaine.

Holy moly! iZombie just upped its game in the final moments of this week’s episode, apparently killing off Lowell — aka Liv’s hot, British zombie lover. It was bad enough having to watch Bradley James die on Merlin. Did we really have to go through it again so soon? The answer is yes. Lowell’s death at Blaine’s hand (notably, the second time this has happened) gives Liv an even more personal reason to take Blaine out — one that works as well on the audience who, like Liv, was initially left in the dark about how much Lowell knew when it came to Blaine’s brains operation, only to discover in the last horrifying seconds of Lowell’s undead life that he really did find Blaine’s business worth dying for. This is how you raise stakes, my friends: by killing off the hot British dude in the same episode where he admits to being in love with your protagonist. Well played, iZombie. I am truly gutted.

This ending will also no doubt result in some delicious moral quandaries for Liv. Did she make the right decision in not shooting Blaine herself?  Liv wouldn’t be Liv if she didn’t value human life. This is what sets her apart from Blaine. This is what makes her human, even if she is a zombie. However, if Liv had taken out Blaine, then Lowell and no doubt countless others (including at least one astronaut) would be safe from his machinations. Blaine’s actions are not on Liv, but she’s probably going to go into a guilt spiral with Lowell’s death regardless — and I kind of can’t wait. This will be sad, but it will also make for a great thematic turn. Now, Liv is even more motivated to take Blaine down — in whatever way that may entail. And, even better yet, she is a few steps ahead of Blaine in some regards for the first time ever. He doesn’t know that she knows about his operation. I am so ready for Liv to go on the offensive.

Of course, Lowell’s death wasn’t the only thing that went down in this episode. There was the murder-of-the-week plot that, though it featured Wallace from Veronica Mars, felt even more disparate than usual. This was no doubt due to the major stuff that was going on in the serialized zombie storyline. No one wants to spend time solving a drone murder when Liv and, by extension, us viewers, have much bigger things to worry about. iZombie could include Liv’s inherited-traits (this week, she leveled up with sniper skills) without dwelling on a murder every week. Just saying. Unfortunately, with Clive still in the dark about zombies, this would mean less tie-ins for his character, which would be sad. But, given the way his character has been underutilized in recent episodes, I’d rather iZombie figure out more creative, character-building ways to integrate him into the plot and Liv’s life anyway. Clive deserves better.

Good news? Ravi is not a zombie. Bad news? Major has waded even deeper into the seedy underbelly of Seattle’s zombie community. I mentioned last week that Major has become iZombie’s Iris West — i.e. the character who is put in danger because of the secrets his friends are keeping from him. Ravi and Liv know that Major is making dangerous choices in his quest to hunt down Jerome’s killer, but still haven’t discussed just telling him the truth — a discovery that seems inevitable given Major’s determination. As it stands now, their silence puts Major in even more danger. Because, as much fun as Major’s undercover gym investigation was to watch, Major wouldn’t have had to do it if Liv and Ravi came clean. Therefore, Blaine wouldn’t have sent his goon to take Major out. Furthermore, if Liv and Ravi came clean about zombies, then Major would know how to protect himself when a zombie does come calling. That three shots to the chest thing didn’t really work.

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Overall, this was another solid installment of iZombie, with perhaps the most movement on the zombie plot we’ve seen yet. Lowell’s death at the hands of Blaine was heartbreaking, but serves to kick this narrative into high gear — not only further motivating Liv to take down Blaine, but serving to make Blaine even more intimidating than he already was. Though iZombie continues to struggle with integrating the supporting characters in its cast (where were Liv’s family members and roomie in this ep?) and still insists on clinging on to the relative useless murder-of-the-week element, I can’t wait to see what happens next.


4 out of 5