Oh, is that what you’re full of?

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“Dead Air”, last night’s episode of iZombie, was a “typical” episode, with a case of the week and subplots concerning the seasonal arc. It didn’t do anything significantly different than before. But, somehow, the elements all just clicked this time around, making for one of the best episodes of the show yet.

The episode begins with some effective setup. We get a glimpse of Liv’s life as it is now – while getting a post-coital foot massage from Lowell, she ignores a call from Major, who spent the night in prison. (Ravi and Peyton end up being the ones to pick him up, introducing a subplot where Ravi wants to ask Peyton out.) Liv’s reaction to the foot massage is practically orgasmic – she reflects that she’d forgotten how nice it is to be touched. In the morning, cheerful, she listens to an advice guru’s radio show, though Ravi judges her for it. All of this is interesting because, of course, the guru is the one who gets murdered this week. She’s electrocuted while Liv and Ravi listen in.

Maybe what works about this is how effectively the various plots are weaved together. Although Liv doesn’t have a personal connection to the victim (which is what made “Flight of the Living Dead” work), the case impacts her personal life when she begins to overanalyze everyone’s relationships. She annoys the hell out of Ravi by discouraging him from asking Peyton out, unsettles Clive with her “insight”, and freaks out when she realizes that her relationship with Lowell has no basis in friendship. All of these threads feel relevant to a larger story about relationships, and how to approach them.

01977880d5e_09f8_1280There also isn’t a single thread that bored me, so that certainly helps. The usual suspect, the case of the week, actually turned out to be entertaining this time around. That might have been because it didn’t seem like it was taking up time that could have been spent on other things. But it even had a nice twist at the end. There were really only ever two suspects to choose from, and the plot pulls a sort of double red-herring on us, which managed to actually surprise me.

Peyton is another character who’s usually a weak link, but she’s actually tolerable here. She’s not meddling in Liv’s personal life, which is a relief. She’s just doing her thing as a lawyer and a friend. You can see why Ravi would be attracted to her. I also really enjoyed Ravi’s role in this episode vis-a-vis Liv: he holds his ground, confident in his eligibility as a bachelor, and calling Liv out on her advice guru-inspired bullshit.

Meanwhile, the Major/zombie/Blaine stuff was actually the weakest aspect this time around. Every episode, I think something is being introduced that will actually shake things up next time, but that’s never the case. Major is as determined as ever (as if we hadn’t caught on by now), and is getting close to the truth about zombies. And Lowell is one of Blaine’s clients – I can’t believe I didn’t see that coming. This is definitely going to throw a wrench in Liv and Lowell’s relationship. It looks like Liv and Major are endgame after all.

There was no mention of Liv’s brother possibly applying to work at Blaine’s Meat Cute, which has had a two (three?) episode build-up at this point. At this point, I don’t think any of this will matter until it’s all wrapped up in the finale. Somehow, I don’t even think Ravi will become a zombie, even though he got bitten by the zombie rat. It’s too bad, because that would be a dramatic mixup to the show’s formula.

So for now, I guess we’ll have to just enjoy this show for what it is, not what it might be. If they keep it up with episodes of this quality, though, I’ll be okay with that.

 

iZombie Review: 'Dead Air' Is Full Of Life
Rating9.2
  • All cylinders are firing: this was a standard episode where everything just worked together well.
  • The show's progression feels glacial. I have lost faith that any developments will impact the status quo very much.
9.2Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
90%

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I saw 'Mars Attacks!' in theaters when I was five. I still think it's the greatest horror movie for five year olds ever made.