iZombie Episode 2: Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?

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When we last left Liv Moore, she was haunted by a bad dream that indicates that she is not the only zombie that survived the party. Now, she wants to find him.

In the meantime, an artist is murdered and she is called upon to help solve the murder with her “psychic” abilities.
To make matters more interesting, she will finally meet that zombie in her nightmares.

Okay, that’s the episode, you can go now. Gaw ‘head. See you next week.

Still here?

*sigh* Fine. I’ll fill you in on the details.

Every time Liv eats a brain, she takes on the talents and the persona of the former owner. In this episode, she becomes an artist. She sees everything with an artist’s eye, going into artsy descriptions of who she sees. Even more, she can now draw, much to the chagrin of a police sketch artist, who tries to help her with a drawing of the other zombie, the one she sees in her nightmares.

The point here is that with every victim, Liv will change her personality. She will act and speak as the victim would have. So, every episode will give a different view of Liv. She will not be the same person (zombie?) every episode.

I am finding Rose McIver  to be quite versatile. Having to play a different person, complete with dialog and mannerisms befitting the them, makes Liv more interesting than the standard TV character that uses  the same catch phrase every week. McIver does have experience in TV series as she portrayed Tinker Bell in “Once Upon a Time” and the Yellow Ranger in “Power Rangers RPM”, but I would imagine that the role of Liv Moore is much more challenging.

yellow ranger

Go, go Yellow Ranger! You Mighty Morphin’ Zombie Raaangeeeer!

One of the best performances is given by David Anders, who portrays zombie Blaine DeBeers, who not only supplied the drugs at the party that turned everyone into zombies, but scratched Liv, causing her to turn. There is also a possibility that whatever he cut the drug with caused the zombie outbreak. Stay tuned as that develops.

DeBeers is charming, glib and, apparently, sincere. He claims that he has changed since his “death” and has distanced himself from all the “poisonous people” in his life. Of course, nothing is further from the truth. Not only does he kill to get his brains fix, but through him, we find out that sex with a zombie causes the partner to become a zombie. He then, becomes a pusher of brains to keep these undead partners from going to “Full Zombie Mode” (that’s when the eyes go red and the zombie part takes over).

David Anders is no stranger to the life of the Undead. He was a star in the movie “The Revenant”, in which he portrayed a zombie cop, who with his living partner, takes down drug dealers. For this performance, he received the Best Actor award at the New York City Horror Film Festival in 2009. He also portrayed Dr. Frankenstein on “Once Upon a Time” and did 13 episodes of “The Vampire Diaries”, not to mention a stint on “Heroes”, “24” and “Necessary Roughness.”

There is something going on with this character, as well. A check of IMDB finds Anders absent from the cast lists of all but the first two episodes. Yet, the trailer for next week’s show has him on it.

It seems that the ongoing conflict between Liv Moore and Blaine DeBeers may be kept a surprise for viewers.

 

spike

Had I watched “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, I could mention that DeBeers has a passing resemblance to the character Spike on the show, but I didn’t watch “Buffy”, so I won’t mention it.

 

The show is also driven by dialog. There is all manner of witty repartee between characters as well as from Liv’s narration. She refers to herself as a “fake psychic zombie trying to do her part,” and mentions that there is nothing worse than “a zombie having a bad zombie dream.”

In an information sharing scene between Liv and DeBeers, he refers to the morgue as the “brain automat.” An automat, for those of you that don’t know, is something that your parents likely went to when they were kids. Imagine a large room where the walls are filled with little clear door. Behind each door is something to eat, normally, lunch time faire. Sandwiches, apples, pie and rice pudding await the hungry customer. You put your money in the slot and you can open the door. Now, imagine that there are fresh brains on the other side of each door. You get the picture.

The sarcasm and the references, as well as much of the humor are reminiscent of “Moonlighting”, which prided itself on clever turns of phrase and funny asides. “iZombie” seems to have taken a page from their book. When DeBeers begins to push brains to his newly-turned zombie lover he remarks “the first rule about Brain Club is we don’t talk about Brain Club.” When Liv describes an artist’s model that she saw in a vision to Detective Babineaux, in terms more arousing than helpful, he remarks to her “maybe you can have a vision less like late night premium cable.”

So, here we have a show that has characters that stretch their muscles by taking on a new persona every week, an unknown adversary whose presence in an episode is being partially hidden from the viewers, and humor that does not depend on one syllable responses and slapstick. The show appears to be well acted, well scripted and well presented.

Guaranteed, it will only last one season.

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About Ernie Fink

Ernie Fink has been a fan of film, mainly in the genres of horror and mystery, in equal parts, for over fifty years. His love of horror in the cinema begins with "King Kong" and in literature with Edgar Allan Poe and Bernhardt J. Hurwood.  With mysteries, he skipped from the Hardy Boys right to Hercules Poirot, only to find John Rebus and Harry Hole waiting in the wings. He has been known to read subtitles extensively, and rarely leaves a theater until the lights come up.
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