iZombie: Virtual Reality Bites Review

iZombie gives us another enjoyable yet lackluster murder-of-the-week, while the meaty stuff goes down in subplot mode,

Tonight’s iZombie was another of its entertaining, yet ultimately underwhelming efforts. “Virtual Reality Bites” was a lot of fun with moments of gory brilliance, but by focusing too much on a self-contained murder-of-the-week plot and making the zombie drama the B plot (again), it made for a somewhat lackluster outing.

When Liv eats the brain of an agoraphobic hacker, she and Clive spend most of the episode trying to hunt down the doughnut shop employee that killed him. The setup has its moments, but if the murder-of-the-week plots are not going to be connected to zombie’s personal life (as in last week’s episode) or have some larger connection to the zombie drama, then they should do some interesting stuff with Liv’s inherited traits. This week, not so much. Liv’s hacking ability and propensity for computer games make Liv helpful in solving the case, as well as lead to some adorable Liv/Ravi friendship moments, but they do little in terms of character development.

Now let’s get to the good stuff: Blaine’s brains empire. Everything happened in subplot mode this week, which made for frustratingly sporadic Blaine time, but what we did see of this scheming villain was suitably creepy. When Jackie snacks on one of Blaine’s delivery boys, he takes a drill to her face, suggesting that Blaine’s rich zombie clients extend well past Jackie. Otherwise, would Blaine be so willing to take out a client for the death of one of his nobody delivery dudes?

Speaking of the “nobodies” Blaine has been quietly and steadily pulling into his brains business, the pummelling Major took in last week’s ep has done nothing to damper his determination in finding his missing at-risk youth: Jerome and Eddie. He spends the episode scouring footage of the skate park, eventually identifying Blaine as The Candyman who has been snatching the people he thinks nobody will miss to supply the brains for his business. When he shows the photo to roommate Ravi, who has seen Blaine in the context of Liv’s small zombie social circle, our coroner besties finally make the connection.

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And perhaps the slowness of this revelation was another reason this episode was a bit underwhelming? As viewers, we have known for more than a few episodes that Blaine is behind the missing persons from the skate park. We know he is up to some serious villainy. And we know that his thirst for more money and power could easily threaten the “life” of Liv and the lives of her loved ones, effortlessly destroying the fragile post-death existence Liv has managed to cobble together for herself in the past few months. With the attack on Major at the end of last week’s ep, I was hoping that tonight’s episode would see Liv and Ravi quickly putting the pieces together — or at least making the missing persons mystery more of a priority. Instead, we got an Internet troll with a peanut allergy.

One of the things that worked better for me in this ep was the blossoming of the Liv/Lowell romance. Their bonding sessions over life as a zombie tell us more about the rules, logic, and potential moral quandaries of zombie existence within this fictional universal. Also, and I hate to say this, but I am totally expecting for Lowell to have some serious ulterior motives. His story about how he turned zombie — waking up in a drunk tank after a night of bachelor party shenanigans with a scratch on his leg and no knowledge of how it got there — is suspicious. Could he be working for Blaine? Blaine has taken Liv’s dismissal of his offer of zombie friendship suspiciously well. Something tells me he might have other plans to bring Liv into the fold — whether she wants to be part of the brains business or not.

Could one of those plans involve Liv’s family? So far, the show hasn’t seemed to know what to do with Liv’s brother or mother. Both have only appeared once since the pilot for unmemorable and thin storylines. Tonight, it was Liv’s mother’s turn, her only interesting scene coming when she visited Blaine’s brains business front, Meat Cute. Did Blaine lure Mrs. Moore to his business intentionally? And will he accept Liv’s brother’s application to work as a delivery boy at Meat Cute?

iZombie is moving all of the pieces into place for a messy collision of Liv and Blaine’s relatively separate universes. Though I wish the show would move the pieces a little faster, I am still enjoying the ride — and think the inevitable climax of this season will be well worth the wait.



2.5 out of 5