iZombie: Sucking The Marrow Out Of Life

iZombie, Virtual Reality Bites
Cate Cameron/The CW

The idea of “sucking the marrow out of life” (living life to the fullest, taking chances, seizing the moment when it strikes, other clichéd turns of phrase, etc,) has already become something of a motif in iZombie. Last week, Liv recalled being told by her adventurous friend Holly (who was killed while skydiving) that she (college-aged Liv) needed to start “sucking the marrow out of life.” In this week’s “Virtual Reality Bites,” Liv echoed the same phrase at the end of the episode, when she considers whether an old woman on the morgue gurney looked as though she’d accomplished an adequate amount of marrow-sucking in her days. And in “Virtual Reality Bites,” Liv absolutely did a lot of moment-seizing and marrow-sucking of her own.

One of the strengths of iZombie is its self-awareness and its restraint, and this week’s episode demonstrated those qualities in full force. When the show began (only a few episodes ago, though it feels much longer thanks to the show’s immersive universe), Liv was morose, withdrawn and unhappy with her admittedly dark predicament. Luckily, the writers didn’t have Liv sit and stew in the misery for long. That would have made for a really boring show. It was a great decision to start off the story a full five months after Liv had been turned – that way, we got to skip over all of the initial freak-outs, the “oh-my-god-what-am-I’s,” and Liv’s five stages of grief for her own lost life. By now, six episodes in, Liv is relatively comfortable in her zombie-life, and the show avoids a lot of the genre’s clichés and the hokey-ness that the girl-becomes-zombie backstory could entail.

Side note: a great example of the way the show consistently pokes fun at itself and doesn’t take itself at all too seriously is the change of the main character’s name – Gwen Morgan of the iZombie comics source material becomes our Liv Moore (Get it? “Live more?” … Yeah, we all get it.)

This week, Liv’s pining for her old life continued to melt away. She was still a bit down about losing the life she had planned with Major (and losing Major himself) due to her transformation into one of the undead, but Liv made serious moves to get past it by involving herself with Lowell and embracing her new identity. Shortly before her date with Lowell, Liv’s comment that her death marked “a new chapter” for her was very interesting and honed in on what this saga-of-Liv is really all about: Zombie-Liv and Human-Liv (the bits we’ve seen of her human self and heard about her, at least) are essentially two different characters. She’s a new person, and this is her new undead life. The plot device that Liv gets to be a new(ish) character each week by acquiring the traits and skills of her brain-snack du jour is a clever and unique way to get a look at the new Liv juxtaposed against old human Liv.

On the subject of romance: in my opinion, Lowell is a great love interest for Liv. They have the all-important rapport, and the actors have equally nice chemistry (although I think that Rose McIver has chemistry with just about every other actor on the show). I also like that they paired Liv with another zombie. Liv’s call to Lowell when she had to cancel their date was perfection, where she began by making up an elaborate lie to get out of their rendezvous and then realized midway through the call that, oh wait, she didn’t actually need to lie to him because he’s in on the big secret/is a zombie himself. It was a great subversion of the typical (and played out) “hero has a secret identity” problems that a protagonist in Liv’s situation would usually have.

iZombie, Virtual Reality Bites
Cate Cameron/The CW

Liv’s turn as an agoraphobic, junk food-addicted, online gaming hacker was one of the funnier transformations we’ve seen for her so far. Her mid-game confrontation of murder suspect No. 1 (the ultimately innocent young teenage boy living in NYC) was so funny. The case-of-the-week format continued to be fun, too, and I think that this case was one of the better ones so far. There was a nice little twist to the murder, with Sean Posey’s revenge killing of the unlikeable hacker Simon Cutler, a.k.a. “Sim Reaper.” He was the first killer that had a bit of depth to his motive and the only one so far that I’ve felt even a tad sorry for. Although I wasn’t crazy about having Liv and Clive blatantly spelling out Posey’s motive and exactly how he enacted the murder for us. It seems like there was just so much going on in this episode that the writers ran out of time to properly unravel the mystery, so they instead just unwrapped it for the viewer in that quick scene. I think that the lesson Liv learned from Posey (not to let a tragedy ruin your life) was an important one, and it made the murder case featured in this episode a clearly integrated and central part of the overall plot.

From the Morgue:

  • The fact that Blaine’s meat shop/zombie-business headquarters is called “Meat Cute” continues to amuse me every time there’s a shot of the sign outside the store.
  • Major is still boring, and I find his side of Blaine’s “Zombie, Incorporated” subplot to be one of the least engaging parts of the show. I just don’t know where they’re going with his character and honestly I don’t really care. Lowell and Blaine are so much more interesting, both as characters on their own and even as potential love interests for Liv. Sorry, Mr. Lilywhite. And the blonde runaway teen (Tom, I think?) rightly calls Major out on his major (hah) messiah complex. Well-said, blonde kid!
  • Major should just step aside and let Det. Babineaux handle the missing kids case. Clive continues to be awesome.
  • I don’t know how I feel about the show’s visual interpretation of agoraphobia (the tilting walls and warping vision). I personally have never experienced agoraphobia, so I’m not sure how accurate it is. What did you all think?
  • Blaine kills Jackie! (Probably.) I was surprised. I thought that Jackie would be around at least a bit longer to cause some trouble or to be an eventual partner-in-crime to Blaine, mostly because she was featured more than I expected a bit-character to be featured. But Blaine’s quick dispatching of Jackie, paired with his equally swift, no-nonsense “dismissal” of the muscled lackeys of last week, really underscores his personality. He’s a ruthless jerk and a great businessman, for sure.
  • And, last but not least (arguably the most important development of all): Liv and Ravi finally found out that Blaine is involved in the runaway teen disappearances. I’m glad they aren’t dragging this out! And I wonder how Liv will confront Blaine.

Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below! Where do you guys see the Liv/Blaine confrontation going? Do you think Liv’s mom and younger brother will become collateral damage in the zombie-crossfire, now that Mrs. Moore has gone and gotten them both involved in the Zombie, Inc. subplot?

iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW and is available on Shomi in Canada.