iZombie: Patriot Brains

iZombie: Patriot BrainsThese recaps are a goldmine of spoilers, but if you didn’t watch this week’s episode, really don’t read this until you do. Don’t worry. I’ll wait. *taps foot*

Done now? Okay, good.

After a “Last time on iZombie,” we’re back with Liv in the Willy Wonka glass elevator. She tries to hide her face in her hoodie as Blaine gets on. Hoodies are the CW answer to disguises; despite her clearly being stark white and acting weird as hell, she’s incognito. Try to ignore someone who cinched a hood around their head and is covering their face with their hands. You can’t. It screams, “Please look at me! I’m about to do something weird!”

Back in the lab, Ravi’s taking notes after his zombie rat bite. I was hoping we’d skip over the needless, “I can’t tell you I may have contacted zombie rabies, so I won’t worry you” drama, but it was not to be. Rather than come clean with Liv, Ravi bumbles a bit and wipes his research off the table. Liv’s in a state from realizing her boyfriend is eating the brains of murdered teenagers. She rants to Ravi about finding Blaine and his “zombie meals on wheels program,” giving the guy plenty of opportunities to NOT TELL LIV ABOUT THE ZOMBIE RAT BITE!

You have one trustworthy zombie you know right there, but you won’t tell her because…?

Major, having gotten himself a gun from the back of an SUV that was also moving counterfeit Girl Scout cookies, is prepping by watching YouTube vids about shooting. Oh Ken Doll, only you would think that watching people to learn how to aim is better than actually going to a firing range. I’d half expect him to trap his thumb in the firing mechanism the first time. Whenever he’s on screen, I want to pat him on the head and say, “Oh you!” I’m impressed that his face still looks like hamburger. It’s rare to see such lasting bruising over three episodes – and probably more since this guy cannot stop getting his ass in trouble. But we’ll save that for later.

Suddenly, we’re at paintball. For a brief moment, I was afraid the remote flipped over to NCIS: CSI: Law & Order: Hobby Edition, but this is the start of our brain of the week. One of the manly men walks around a corner to find our dead body and he gives the most shrieking scream, practically pinwheeling his arms as he runs away. Perhaps a bit on the nose with the juxtaposition of serious paintball man with a “housewife saw a mouse” scream upon confronting a real shooting, but I laughed like a loon at it. Bravo, iZombie!

Enough of that barely-a-footnote, we’ve got Zombie Mafia to get to. Liv, rightfully angry, confronts Lowell about Blaine. Our YA heartthrob drops a bomb that Blaine also made him a zombie. The viewers know that Blaine’s been scratching up his own army, but Liv ignores that information as if it’s not odd at all that the same man created both her and Lowell’s zombie state. Seems like that, as well as the brain delivery system, should be a sticking point, but maybe she’ll ruminate upon it later.

She tears into Lowell for not knowing that his food is grown in deplorable conditions because he didn’t want to know. He’s a bit combatant about it, and tries the “I love you” trick to get her on his side, but it doesn’t work. Liv’s shaken but isn’t backing down on this. She says, “There is no us. There’s only me and this guy who eats the brains of murdered homeless kids. You’re damn right I only came for his number.”

Even knowing our heartthrob’s fate, applause all around. Your emotional blackmailing isn’t going to work here, YA heartthrob, as opposed to every other piece of literature where our angry heroine would swoon for the hero’s sudden emotional outburst and “I wuv u’s.” But Liv doesn’t exist only for love. She wants justice for the murdered kids and isn’t taking any excuses on the matter. I’m sure there are some who would call her a nag, killjoy, or whatever else they dubbed Skyler on Breaking Bad for not bending to a man’s whims, but Liv’s right and accordingly storms out of Lowell’s life (kinda).

Back to our brain of the week; turns out he was an ex-Marine named Everett who had an ex-wife who dumped him while he was over in Afghanistan. Because that isn’t enough red herrings, there’s also a troubled youth who a violent man with PTSD was Big Brothering. I see nothing wrong there at all. He could even let the kid (I think named Iris? I dunno, I can’t keep up with wacky kids’ names these days) play with his guns for free. Win-win!

Liv has a zombie vision where Everett attacked Penny’s (his ex-wife’s) new husband because Everett refused to let them take his daughter away to San Fransisco. Which led to Penny chasing after him with a chef’s knife. Clive goes off to do real detective work, pointing out how weird it is that no one filed a report. Maybe they knew Everett had an in with an MRA judge?

Supposedly, Liv’s got PTSD from eating Everett’s brain, but aside from one random zombie vision/dream, it barely shows up aside from an excuse to have her go paintballing. I get that there was a lot going on in this episode, but after tackling agoraphobia, it seemed disingenuous to introduce the idea and have it handwaved away with, “well, I can overcome it by shooting paint at people!” It’d have been better if they didn’t bring it up at all. Just give Liv a need to go super soldier in the woods.

While it was fun to watch her take out all the guys (while using pink paint – nice touch), she mostly stopped by to find the bullet casing. Apparently, the entire police department is Clive and a bunch of iPads on roombas? No one thought to pull out the ol’ metal detector and find the casing? It throws off the calculations by the lone CSI guy who’s actually an accountant by day but they let him moonlight. Turns out their shooter had to have been 15 feet tall. (I’m guessing the soldier’s brains also gave Liv super geometry powers)

Ravi’s dancing around the rat biting by not-so-subtly asking Liv how she knew she was a zombie when she first woke up. Her response: “Craving brains didn’t really speak to werewolves.” She’s growing a bit suspicious, but Clive intercedes to ask if he can borrow her. Ravi quips back, “I’d sign her permission slip, but my hands are covered in viscera.”

Because Major is seriously trying to fridge himself, he walks into a gym and starts asking random trainers if eating human brains will pump him up. Of course, Lenny hears this secondhand from the trainer who’s just shaking his head going, “What the hell?” Major, stop messing with the zombie mafia. That guy is going to wake up to find his own severed head in bed with him at this rate.

Clive and Liv’s field trip was to check out Everett’s house. Because the entire homicide department is one guy, they put off investigating it for a few days until Jerry the Janitor could get off work. Liv has a vision of the creepy little brother playing with a gun in Everett’s bedroom. She pokes around under the bed (fingerprints? What fingerprints?) and discovers a sniper rifle. You can take one home with you after leaving the service? Is there an army doggie bag or is this like the Oscar swag bags?

Our creepy Iris? Kid is doing his best to red herring it up, but even Clive thinks it’s a dead end. Sorry kid, no matter how much you like to doodle, I just can’t buy it. Instead, Clive’s chasing any lead on the ex-wife he can find, which only digs up a noise complaint from the neighbor. This guy must be the neighbor from hell, because he took Shawn and Penny to small claims court over Everett driving over his lawn. He also thinks his house is possessed after the case because Shawn is a 10th level high-tech wizard.

The “ability to remotely turn on someone’s sprinklers” (very House of the Future! from 1950’s expos) points the finger back at Shawn. His company was working with a drone delivery service called UFreightEz (which has to be run by a zombie because of that horrible pun) and since Everette was shot at 15 feet up….

Clive does some good detective work again, has a warrant, and finds plans for a 3D printed gun and drone instructions on Shawn’s computer. For being a tech wizard, he couldn’t be arsed to password protect anything apparently. “I put it in the recycling bin, that means it’s gone forever!”

But enough of our brain of the week (who was only around to give Liv sniper powers) – Lowell’s banging on Liv’s door. She refuses to let him in, but he passes over a brain in a ziploc bag. I guess that’s the zombie equivalent of apology flowers. He dug that brain out of a corpse (mimicking Blaine’s original lie about his source of brains). But he didn’t just find an old grave, he watched a funeral and heard people talk about the life of the man he was about to chow down on.

Our YA heartthrob is cracking. He can’t stand the idea that they’re eating people. He doesn’t have the, “Well, I’m helping them” to fall back on of Liv. All he sees are the snuffed lives feeding and keeping him undead. This is what I love about the mindless monsters being replaced with thinking and feeling people. There is so much grey within this zombie world (which is, funny enough, still reflecting our own consumer world a la the original Day of the Dead themes). In order to survive, they have to consume brains; brains that come from people. They can subsist upon dirt cheap ones dug literally out of the ground. Or they can use their wealth and privilege to farm their own brains, as one wealthy hedge fund manager intends.

I kid you not, a few hours before iZombie started, I was speaking with Xjaeva on Twitter, and she suggested this very same plan of club-owning Kaiser. He’s tired of the murdered kid visions and wants Blaine to get him not just any fancy visions, but specific brains full of astronaut ones. We’ve already seen how the rich zombies literally feast upon the poor and forgotten dregs of society. Now the super rich are at the organic, free-range kobe beef portion of their brain feast. I suspect grad students could spin a thesis out of the contrast and comparisons of our current agriculture practices with that of the zombies in this show, but that’s not me. I have to make more fart jokes!

Liv falls for Lowell’s apology (Okay, I did too. Dude seemed completely crestfallen), and in bed she insists he explains how Blaine’s operation works. I have to say, for being a Zombie Mafia Don, dude takes his work very seriously. Every week, he sends his clients a not only gourmet list of meals, but it’s on the fanciest graphic menu. Every week?! That takes dedication and pride in one’s work. Is this the zombie equivalent of leaning in?

The sniper brain has Liv hopped up on “Gonna kill Blaine juice” and she has Lowell call him to set up the opportunity. Lowell admits he’s scared as shit about it. Liv points out that she met him when he jumped out of a plane (which Lowell seems to keep forgetting) and she doesn’t think he’s a weenie. This causes Lowell to respond with, “Remember that when you’re looking through a rifle scope at the puddle of urine at my feet.” (God, a love interest that’s self deprecating and willing to show emotion. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DO INCOMING SPOILER, SHOW?)

In the morgue, Ravi’s sniffing brains trying to see if he wants to eat them when Liv catches him. “Everett’s brains came with stealth mode.” He says good news, the zombie virus can’t cross species lines (which is actually some damn good science for a show about zombies. It’s very, very rare for that to happen. Like worldwide pandemic “Kill off Gweneth Paltrow in a movie” kind of rare and dangerous. Let’s not talk about it not actually being a virus, though.) Liv’s understandably upset at him holding back this information and tells Ravi he needs to come to her because she’s got his six.

Major’s fridge attempts finally pay off as he comes home to find his lights won’t switch on. Rather than go check on the damn fuse box blowing, he walks into his kitchen to find a sledgehammer sitting on the table. Lenny threatens to smash Major’s hand until he admits who he else he told about the brains. It’s an odd threat, seeing as how the few people Major did tell ignored him and thought he was crazy. But after the beating in jail, Major’s learned to not narc; instead he uses his keys to stab Lenny in the leg (on first viewing, I thought he stabbed him in the crotch and am sad that wasn’t right. If anyone needs a house key to the balls, it’s Lenny).

Rather than run out of the house, Major heads for his bedroom so he can fumble trying to load his gun with bullets. He pumps three rounds into our lovelable oaf, sending Lenny crashing to the floor. In true horror movie fashion, Major approaches the supposedly dead guy. When he turns to vomit from the experience, Lenny lashes out, grabbing his ankle. Major, I swear, shoots Lenny in the head.

But, when he calls Clive to investigate, our Lenny zombie is long gone. There isn’t any blood (which does raise a few questions about how zombies heal. I guess they’re not truly dead and must have some white blood cells at least). Despite finding three spent bullet casings, Clive questions if Major’s on or off any medication, blowing off his concerns. This show should be called Gaslighting Major for how little people are willing to believe him.

Guns are loud. Really really loud. Neighbors will have heard. Shit, an entire block will have heard that. Major will have gun residue on his hands. There are spent casings but no bullet holes. Come on, Clive. I know you’re mad at the guy for ratting the shitty police out, but you’re better than this. I have no idea how Major’s survived this long. If he doesn’t get zombified soon, they’re going to find pieces of him scattered across Seattle.

Back at Lowell’s place, after stealing Everett’s sniper rifle (because Jerry couldn’t be arsed to collect anything for evidence), Liv’s lining up a shot to take down Blaine. At first, he hides behind a torch blocking Liv’s shot (damn it, Sidonus!), but Lowell cleverly moves it out of the way.

But, because we can’t kill off our Mafia Don with four more episodes left in the season, Liv can’t do it. She pulls that whole, “I won’t become the monster I’m hunting yada yada yada.” It’s clichèd as hell, but after what happens next, I have hopes there might be a much greyer payoff than what we usually see.

After Liv texts him to say she won’t kill Blaine, Lowell has a vision of Jerome about to be killed by Blaine and Lenny. He mimes to Liv that he loves her, grabs a fork and tries to stab Blaine. But our zombie mafia don dodges out of the way and, without remorse, shoots Lowell dead in the brain while Liv watches.

I shrieked when it happened, having grown used to American “everything’s back to normal at the end of the episode” TV. When shit actually goes wrong and characters behave the way they’ve been portrayed, it surprises me. Lowell wasn’t my favorite (at least we saved Ravi), but he was a new and interesting twist on the love interest. He was mostly forthcoming with Liv, didn’t get pushy, and was willing to admit his faults. For starting as the YA zombie British musician heartthrob, he grew into so much more before getting cut down.

Let’s pour a brain and hot sauce Bloody Mary out for him.

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4 thoughts on “iZombie: Patriot Brains

  1. I was laughing when Major’s hand was on the table with the sledge hammer held at it because I remembered your comment about him not stopping til he was in traction. I was really pissed at Liv with the whole morally berating herself. Yes! Kill him! Kill him! I hate this trend of ‘good guys’ being so morally superior. Kill the bad guy so they stop hurting people. Within this dynamic which has been clearly set, to not take the shot was a big failing. Almost all the other issues I could overlook. Almost. I definitely agree about your assessment with Lowell. It was shocking things didn’t go back to status quo at the end especially since they were so unwilling to kill off zombie-maker.

    Oh, and the whole ‘that’s why he made me a zombie’…am I wrong in thinking this is the first time we know this? I really think that’s something I would have noticed before.

    I swear to god that Major’s third shot was a head shot!

    Until whiteface zombienail figures out how to raise humans with perfect brains, I guess he’ll have to start going after astronauts. But if the show turns into looking for perfect brains for much higher prices that might be interesting. I could see whiteface zombienail’s clients turning other rich people into zombies, referring them to brains-to-go and taking a kickback.

    • I think we knew why Blaine was making zombies but it’s kinda the first time Liv knows, or would be exposed to the obvious.

      I’m really hoping Liv feels guilt for not taking the trigger and we don’t get everyone saying “No no, you shouldn’t become the monster” blah blah blah. Keep it grey. The ends never justifying the means is a trite saying that doesn’t hold water in the real world. Please explore it.

      I have a working theory that Blaine being subject zero is the only one who can turn people into zombies by biting or scratching them. If not, you’d think other zombies would be doing the same as him, even if it’s just on accident.

  2. Is it bad that I’m enjoying watching Major come completely unglued? The YouTube video almost killed me. Seriously, dude. If you won’t go to a shooting gallery at least get yourself a remote-location fence and some empty cans.

    RIP Lowell. I’m surprised by how sad I was at his death. Like you said, they did a really good job of taking him beyond the dreamy-YA-musician-boyfriend stereotype he was when we first met him.

    • I really hope they don’t spoil all the buildup with the next episode. I know it’s key time for a funny one, but that’s a lot of heavy shit to shove away with some drunk humor.

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