By Greg Barton
Our hero zombie Liv Moore has been comfortable surviving on the steady supply of brains from the recently deceased sent to the medical examiner’s office where she and her friend, Ravi, work and try to determine causes of death. But this week, Detective Clive Babineaux and his team discover Simon Cutler, a person who has been dead for 10 days. His neighbors had noticed that no one had been picking up the mail at Simon’s house and called the police.
Simon had collapsed on his basement stairs, and his tongue is noticeable swollen. Because it has been so long since the time of death, his body has decayed quite a bit and this includes his brain. Liv hopes that his death can be explained away by anything non-homicidal so that she doesn’t have to do the unthinkable. No luck. Clive determines that Simon was a cyber-bully and hacker, and probably had many enemies. So Liv does her best to disguise Simon’s pungent, deteriorated brain as a milk shake and regretfully chokes it down for the good of the case.
Almost immediately Liv starts taking on Simon’s eating habits as she begins to crave doughnuts. This leads Liv to a brain flash and after putting the clues together, Liv and Clive surmise that that Simon had a violent allergy to peanuts. A birthday card had been mailed to Simon that burst out confetti laced with peanut old. This sent Simon into anaphylactic shock, and he died before he could get upstairs to an epinephrine pen. This is cool because once they quickly figuring out how Simon was killed, the episode can focus on who dunnit.
So, in what I think is a hilarious serious of events, Liv uses her memories and experiences from Simon to become an expert in on-line multiplayer role-playing games. Ravi is of course super-engergized that he can assist Liv in his geekdom universe, and logs in to help. The muscle memory she gained from Simon allows her to log into his laptop, and assume his role in the game. Then she starts binge eating on snacks and drinking sodas incessantly. At one point, Liv barks at another player in the game saying “I will crush you. I will drive you into the sea and hear the lamentations of your women.” This is just as Liv’s Mom walks in the room, confused, but glad to see Liv so engaged.
Another side effect of taking on Simon qualities is that Liv experiences agoraphobia. She finds it too difficult to leave her house right when she has a date with her new boy-interest Lowell Tracy. She met Lowell in last week’s ep while solving the mystery of a college friend’s death. Lowell, being a zombie himself, already had a similar experience with a brain previously, and thoughtfully stops by to bring Liv some anti-anxiety medication.
Lowell and Liv spend some time sharing zombie origin stories. Liv, though, explains how she is not ready to move on from her relationship with Major even though she feels she can’t be with him. Lowell, who is really into Liv, shares that he can no longer play guitar for crowds because the adrenaline rush before concerts sends him into “full-on zombie mode.” (For the zombies in this show, the eyes turn red, they get super strength, and can lose control over their brain cravings.) Lowell’s story engenders compassion and empathy from Liv and in the moment he leans in for the kiss. Liv draws back and this sends Lowell awkwardly out the door as Liv returns to the investigating the case.
Liv’s reaction to Lowell’s kiss attempt is confusing. Earlier in the ep, Major had come into the ME’s office and was having his wounds from last week stitched up by Ravi. When Liv takes over the stitching, Major tries to calm Liv’s outrage at Major recklessness by saying “Who’s your buddy? I’m your buddy.” That kind of made me think that Major has already put Liv in the friend zone. And later, Ravi has to stop Major from dropping in on Liv by revealing that Liv is with Lowell. Major doesn’t seem to be bothered by this so I guess I have to say no more “Team Major” only “Team Lowell.” But just as I think Liv seems to be holding on to something with Major, she later plants one on Lowell and the mixed signals even have me confused.
By the end of the episode we find out the entire gut-wrenching story with Simon Cutler. A young women had taken Simon Cutler’s phone call to a customer service department. He went on a tirade during the call because he had to wait 45 minutes before someone was available to help him. The customer service rep posted the irate call on her home page and Simon, in retribution, used his hacker skills to destroy her life. He bullied her, hacked her tax records, stole her identity, put her on no-fly lists, added her to sex offender lists, and systematically caused her to lose her job and her relationships. After a year of this, she took her own life. Her brother set out to find out who did this too her sister and worked tirelessly until he was able to get employed by the very dough nut shop that delivered to Simon’s house. This gave him the opportunity to exact his revenge.
My sentiments were reversed this week. This time I ended up hating the victim and felt sorry for the perpetrator. Simon Cutler may have been an overweight, agoraphobic slob, with a peanut allergy, who guzzled gallons of soda while playing on-line games, but he had no right to use his computer skills to make life hell for other people. He was so good at covering his tracks, there was no way to get justice for the young woman. In my opinion, he deserved what he got. The sad thing is, that the women’s brother traded his whole life to get revenge on Simon, and will probably spend the reset of his life in jail.
On other fronts, Jackie, Blaine’s customer and lover, gets her brain food delivery messed up. She loses control, kills the delivery boy and eats his brain. This sends Clive to Blaine’s butcher shop to investigate. Blaine tries to lure Clive into an ambush in the back room, but a phone call from Liv calls Clive away at the last minute. The added attention from the police annoys Blaine and he responds by putting a drill through Jackie’s head (which is apparently how you get rid of the undead permanently).
Major’s investigations of his missing wayward teens, reveal a picture of Blaine next to the guy that beat him up. Liv now realizes that Blaine is not grave robbing for his craving, but taking people off the street. But unbeknown to Liv, Liv’s Mom stopped into Blaine’s shop and ask for a job application for Liv’s brother, Evan. That’s getting too close for comfort, and Even may be in danger very soon.
This show is so entertaining. It’s makes you laugh, pulls on your heart strings, makes you hold your breath in anticipation, and leaves you caring about the characters. I also think the writing in this ep is so spot on. At one point, Liv says that she uses a “SQL Injection” to hack the web site of one of the doughnut shops to get a list of employees from a database. They definitely did their research on this one. This is a common attack on poorly secured web sites containing forms that may be tied to a back-end database.
Everything keeps me coming back for more. Can’t wait to see how all of this plays out? Keep watching.
iZombie airs Tuesday at 9/8c on The CW.