iZombie, Season 1, Episode 9: “Patriot Brains”
Written by Robert Forman
Directed by Guy Bee
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
The end of last week’s episode brought the startling revelation that Lowell’s breakfast consisted of Jerome’s brains, and that his supplier was none other than Blaine himself, as Liv discovered both facts via flashback. This realisation also brought Liv to the closest she’s ever been to Blaine’s operation, giving her an idea of what exactly he’s been doing. This week’s episode sees her delve more deeply into the mechanics of Blaine’s actions, and come to a decision, while Lowell himself faces the scarier aspects of being a zombie, in a compelling episode.
Lowell’s arc over the course of the episode makes for a fascinating watch. It’s understandable that many zombies would only be concerned with self-survival, especially the ones that Blaine turned, and while Liv seeks out the victims’ lives to find their cause of death and atone for eating their brains. Lowell’s actions and thoughts this episode, however, provide an interesting alternate perspective, and his guilt over what he has become and the diet he needs to sustain himself shows that Liv’s situation is not a unique one, but the way she tackles it is. Her in-depth knowledge of Blaine’s operations, as well as Lowell’s death, open up a number of avenues for Liv. She can no longer sit on the sidelines, as her actions prove this week, but she’s also unable to take decisive action against Blaine, or atleast be as ruthless as he is. Knowing that Blaine needs to be stopped, but being unable to do it by killing him, puts Liv in a tricky position. She’s left with very few options at this point, and nothing that doesn’t put her in immediate danger, which means she’ll have to figure out a course of action to stop Blaine that doesn’t bring harm to anyone else, and fast. The death of Lowell also leaves Liv without a zombie ally. Not only does it make her fight against Blaine more dangerous, it also isolates her once again, as she doesn’t have anyone who understands her situation from a firsthand perspective anymore, nobody who can help her navigate being undead. How Liv deals with these situations will say a lot about who she is now.
Lawrence Kaiser’s proposition to Blaine is also an intriguing plot twist. Blaine’s been shown to only turn people with a degree of money or influence into zombies, like Suzuki, but many of those people didn’t get to where they are by being meek. Thus, it’s perfectly understandable that some of them would take control of the situation by appealing to Blaine’s one weakness, money, and it’s also understandable that some of them would try not only to make the best of their situation, but willfully try to get certain memories. The idea of custom-ordering brains opens up a dangerous new avenue for Blaine’s operation. If he decides this is a lucrative avenue, there’s very little stopping Blaine from offering custom brains for a higher price, and given his clientele selection, there’s very little stopping them from paying for what they want. While Blaine’s operation is already a threat, this new opening makes it a bigger threat to all humans, not just those below a certain social standing, and it’ll be worth watching to see how far Blaine is able to take things. While all it takes for Blaine is to give a scratch to ensure anyone would be on his side, which makes planning easier, going after high-profile targets makes him more open to exposure. The disappearance of famous people will also cause more of an uproar than the disappearance of homeless children, making the whole situation more of a threat to the empire Blaine has built. If he tackles these scenarios successfully, however, he will become that much more dangerous.
Overall, this is a very compelling episode, and one that serves to reinforce the stakes of the world of iZombie. It’s sad to see Lowell go, and the character will be missed. Major’s storyline continues to be interesting to watch, and his run-in with Julien helps both bring him closer to the truth, and alienate him further from those around him. Despite his discovery of human brains, the idea of a zombie infection has yet to enter Major’s brain. However, the revelation seems nearly inevitable, and how he handles this change, as well as the possible follow-up revelation of Liv being a zombie. With Liv wrapped up in stopping Blaine, Ravi may be the only person who can help Blaine navigate his situation at this point. Speaking of Ravi, it’s good to see that the bite from the zombie rat didn’t turn him after all, and that the good doctor lives to try and find a cure another day. His potential discovery of a cure could go a long way towards helping free Blaine’s victims from his stranglehold, as even people like Kaiser would clearly prefer the cure to even custom brain orders. This week’s episode unwittingly also displays how detached Clive Babineaux is from the main storyline. Hopefully this doesn’t remain the case for long, as he is certainly capable of being a valuable asset in Liv’s fight against Blaine. How Liv’s feelings towards Blaine change in light of Lowell’s murder, as well as how Major and Clive learn of the existence of zombies, are worth watching out for as the season draws to a close.
– Deepayan Sengupta