While last week’s episode of iZombie allowed Liv (Rose McIver) to explore what life can be like when one is overwhelmed with lust for it, this week’s episode, “The Exterminator,” gave Liv an unsettling glimpse into life devoid of all compassion or interest. When Liv eats the brain of a sociopathic hit man, she stops feeling basic human empathy. She does, however, start having visions implying that the hitman’s death was no accident. When the district attorney arrest an innocent homeless man for the crime Liv’s brain committed, she stops at nothing to find the truth.
And isn’t that determination telling? Throughout this episode, Liv is worried what this hitman’s brain is turning her into. She doesn’t care that Major is seemingly moving on with his romantic life. She doesn’t care when her meddling derails the case for her lawyer best friend, Peyton (Aly Michalka), and roommate. (Though, to be fair, keeping an innocent man out of jail does seem more important than Peyton’s career.) She just doesn’t care. The ironic thing is: Liv could easily stop herself from going down this sociopathic path any further. All she has to do is eat someone else’s brain. But it is her deep-seated determination to save an innocent man that keeps her going. Even when she has inherited the traits of an apathetic killer, her basic goodness shines through.
The dynamics between Liv and Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) and Liv and Ravi (Rahul Kohli) continue to be the best parts of this show. The former work incredibly well together, even after only a few episodes. Clive’s trust in Liv is tested when Liv asks him to risk his pissing off his bosses based only on one of her “psychic” hunches. He does. But it is really the relationship between Liv and Ravi that holds the most interest in this episode. Ravi has always found Liv’s zombie-ism more fascinating than fearsome, but that distinction is put to the test when they find another zombie, Marcy (a former co-worker of Liv’s who was on the boat with her the night she turned), feral in an abandoned dump. Ravi wants to try to return Marcy to a more human version of herself, but a trigger-happy, hitman-inspired Liv just wants to put her down. When Ravi falls into the pit with Marcy, Liv kills Marcy to save her friend.
This isn’t a particularly likable moment for Liv, but it is an incredibly compelling one. First, still imbued with the apathy of a killer, Liv just watches as Ravi calls for her help. Eventually, she comes to his rescue, but goes into full-on zombie mode to do so. Ravi sees it all. Most sane dudes would go running in the other direction. Ravi just assures Liv: “This brain, it’s not who you are.” That might be true, but she is a zombie and Marcy’s pathetic existence could be what eventually happens to Liv (not to mention the rest of the human race) if things escalate, which they very well may given what Zombie Blaine is up to. You know that lack of tonal depth I lamented in iZombie’s pilot? Yeah, this show doesn’t have that problem anymore.
Though charming villain Blaine doesn’t get as much screen time in this episode, he still makes an unsettling impression. When he comes to confront Liv about standing him up for their scheduled brain drop-off last episode, Liv admits that she doesn’t trust him and they part ways. But these two are destined to meet again, given that Blaine seems to be building his own horde of zombies. Is it a coincidence that his latest victims, two at-risk youth, know Major? Is Blaine going after people Liv tangentially knows to make a point? Turning penniless youth doesn’t seem in-line with Blaine’s plan to make millions by selling brains to desperate zombies. Does he have something even bigger planned?