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iZombie, Ep. 1.06: “Virtual Reality Bites” sets up the Liv-Blaine conflict

iZombie, Ep. 1.06: “Virtual Reality Bites” sets up the Liv-Blaine conflict
Malcolm Goodwin, Rose McIver

Malcolm Goodwin, Rose McIver

iZombie, Season 1, Episode 6: “Virtual Reality Bites”
Written by Gloria Calderon Kellett
Directed by Dermott Downs
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW

The discovery last week by Liv that she and Blaine were not the only zombies opened up a new world of possibilities for her, while also giving her someone new whom she could relate to. Blaine’s own operation, however, and his abduction of Jerome led Major to go searching, bringing the latter dangerously close to Blaine’s burgeoning empire. This week’s episode sees Major continue to dig into Jerome’s disappearance and try to find the man wearing his shoes, while Liv and Lowell get better acquainted, in another entertaining episode that shows Blaine’s operation on the verge of exposure.

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Blaine’s story continues to be intriguing. While the building of his empire was likely to get noticed sooner or later, this week’s episode brings two separate forces down on him, as both Clive and Major sniff around his activities from different angles. How Blaine deals with the possibility of discovery is a storyline with promise. This episode proves that Blaine is likely to be ruthless in cutting down threats, whether they’re external ones like Detective Babineaux or internal ones like Jackie. However, the way he handles the danger posed to his organisation by Jackie also suggests that he values secrecy above all else, which will necessitate working quietly. How he handles the oncoming threats will thus say a lot about how dangerous Blaine is, both to Liv specifically and to the world at large, especially now that Liv is bound to provide a third prong of investigation after seeing the results of Major’s search. It’ll also be interesting to see what happens if Blaine becomes the public’s first impression of zombies. Liv has kept her undead status secret from most, for fear of how they’d react to her desire to eat brains. However, if there’s anything worse than that impression, it’s the idea of people Liv care for associating her with Blaine and his mass murdering operation. While other zombies have popped up in the world of iZombie, from the Lieutenant to Lowell, they have all kept their identity secret, opening up the possibility of Blaine being the public’s first exposure to zombies. How Liv, and everyone else, deals with this potential situation will thus be worth keeping an eye on.

Rose McIver

Rose McIver

Liv’s interactions with Lowell this week are also nice to see. Liv’s attempt to lie badly to Lowell, followed by her realisation that she can tell him the truth, is not only a wonderful moment, it’s a great illustration of the importance of Liv having someone she can relate to and who understands her situation. The reveal that Lowell became a zombie from a scratch at a party and ostensibly gets his brains from the morgue goes a long way towards not only somewhat moving away from the possibility that he’s a mole sent by Blaine, but also helps expand the world of iZombie a bit more, both in showing other options to get brains than what Liv and Blaine do, and in expanding the possibility of how people can become part of the undead. Lowell’s decision to give Liv anti-anxiety medication to deal with the agoraphobia is particularly fascinating, as it shows one more thing Lowell and Liv can share; information on how to handle their respective conditions. With the duo having had to figure out the basics independent of each other, it’s likely that both of them have come up with tips and tricks to deal with things that the other doesn’t know about. Sharing that kind of information is bound to affect Liv’s life for the better, and help her better cope with the new personality traits she’ll have to deal with every time she consumes a brain.

Overall, this is another entertaining episode. It’s good to see Liv’s family poised to play a bigger role in the central storyline, and hopefully the writers find a way to give Peyton a larger role to play in the events as well. The past couple of episodes have done a solid job of giving Major some characteristics beyond simply “Liv’s ex”, and his transition into a fleshed out character is a welcome one. If the character continues to walk down this path, he’ll manage to not be a dead weight as the show progresses past the missing children and Blaine’s brain operation. Ravi continues to be a delightful character, and it’s good to see his enthusiasm for gaming not only get expressed once again this week, but form a a key aspect in helping solve the case. The cases of the week, however, are starting to get a bit tiring in hitting familiar beats on a weekly basis, most notably in the fact that the takeaway from each case for Liv is that she needs to embrace life more fully, in some form or the other. This is a minor complaint, however, as the show is still in its relative infancy, and Liv’s awareness of how Blaine is acquiring brains promises to swiftly more the main storyline to the forefront. How things play out, especially with Liv’s mother and brother now seemingly in the path of danger, will be exciting to see over the next few episodes.

– Deepayan Sengupta