iZombie: Flight of the Living Dead
April 15, 2015 3:16 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Liv reluctantly eats the brains of her recently murdered sorority sister Holly to help gain insight into her murder. This case takes Liv and Clive into Holly’s world of extreme sporting where they meet professional snowboarder Carson McComb, a murder suspect who appears to be hiding a secret. Meanwhile, Liv has a strange connection with one of the other murder suspects and Major voices his concern to Clive over a young boy’s disappearance.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich (20 comments total)
How was their first question to zombie!arthur not "where do you get your brains??"

The plot actually had me going please don't let that be Major in the body bag, but it's at the same time too clear that zombie!Arthur is one of the undead rich clients.

The reveal with the grumpy police captain was great though.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:46 PM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

They would really be pushing the boat out if Major got killed, but I also wondered if he might have gotten scratched by the zombie thug and was about to be zombified himself.

Also, how is it that every other zombie has discovered hair dye and pancake makeup but not Liv?
posted by briank at 5:18 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

They seem as bored as I am of the procedural part of the show at this point. So bored, in fact, that the perp was arrested offscreen. So bored.

Also, can we assume at this point that every character is/will be a zombie? Because it seems to be headed in that direction. Like turning everyone in VD into a vampire.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:20 PM on April 15, 2015

This has to be the most efficient show I've ever watched. It continually lets me get right to the point where I'm about to bail on it. Then it expends just enough story energy to make me go "okay, that was interesting, I guess I'll keep watching a little bit longer."

It's brilliant at doing the absolute minimum required to keep me watching, and never a bit more than that.
posted by Naberius at 8:17 PM on April 15, 2015

What's working for me is Rose McIver's portrayal of Liv, especially, and Rahul Kohli as Ravi. And their scenes together are very, very natural and easy to watch. David Anders as Blaine is also very good. And I have hope for serialized story and character development, though it's still mostly a promise.

Also, there's scenes like the one where Carson makes the drink for Liv and the reveal. I think that was well-written and well-acted.

Babinow and Major are just boring. The character of Major was destined to be boring and to annoy us. But Babinow needs to be enjoyable to watch and we need to care about his relationship with Liv. The show is failing at this, and badly. It's probably part of why the procedural stuff is so boring. It's a vicious cycle, too, in that the execution of the procedural elements via Babinow is terrible and boring, which probably makes it even more difficult for the production to find the energy to make it not boring, but they have to continue with it because the show is set up with this procedural element and the network probably demands it and Babinow is a main character.

I still believe that some of the things that ended up making Veronica Mars so good are visible in embryonic, potential form in this show. The audience isn't going to wait much longer for these things to actually be realized, though.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:57 PM on April 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh, and also, I agree about the perp in this episode. It was all so half-hearted that I just assumed that she wasn't the actual perp and had been kidnapped and there'd be a reveal about someone else. Like maybe she was the perp, but Carson actually killed her right before the police got there. Which, actually, might be what they're working toward. But, even so, I was all confused and like, wait, that whole thing is finished, the case was solved?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:01 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I believe that she officially disappeared with the strong hint that she was killed/taken by someone. That someone is probably her company, and this case seems like it will tie back into the master plot as it involves a drink that made 1 out a thousand people "psychotic". I'm thinking there is one pharmaceutical company that owns both the energy drink company and the pill making/party drug (unclear I think where the drug comes from) Liv ran into on the boat.

I like Major a lot more after this episode. He seems like an actual nice guy (being an adult about his and Liv's relationship, really caring about the kids he works with), rather than a faux nice guy which exists only to contrast with the bad boy type.
posted by humans are superior! at 9:18 PM on April 15, 2015 [8 favorites]

Yes, that's pretty much what I was talking about when I said they do just enough to keep me on the string. I'm pretty sure the Max Rager people (and isn't that an interesting brand name?) are part of the same outfit that makes Eutopium or however it's spelled, and they're going to eventually become the big bad worse than Blaine.

I don't think they ever did find the killer - that's one nice break from the standard procedural story right there. I'm pretty sure she was disappeared by the company itself. Note that whoever got to her managed not just to take her but to clear out every trace of her (empty closets, all her computers and ID) and presumably her wrapped up in her own shower curtain - basically everything but the casserole in the oven - in minutes. That's not the action of one person, especially if that one person is that idiot Carson guy. That's the action of a highly trained corporate security squad. In a bunch of black Chevy Suburbans registered to Academi/Xe/Blackwater no doubt.

Also consider that one of their team (what was his name? Lowell?) is now a zombie who seems very well adapted to his state. And where is he getting his brains? I don't think it's from Blaine, though I suppose a sort of rock star could intersect with Blaine's orbit. I think it's from the company.

But the biggest clue in that episode was the Police Lieutenant. That's definitely not one of Blaine's. Blaine is a bog standard sketchy low-level drug dealer who is running a bog standard drug dealing operation, except with something even better than coke or heroin - brains, for customers who literally cannot exist without his product. He might turn some well-off, vulnerable woman he comes across in a bar, but the Lieutenant is the result of a much more sophisticated operation that is deliberately infiltrating the police department and god knows what else to protect themselves from discovery and extend their power.

So I have a feeling that this might have been the first step toward the bigger storyline we've all been hoping for, beyond just doing a procedural with a weird clue gathering gimmick. I suspect before long Liv is going to be finding zombies all over the place, often very highly placed ones with power.
posted by Naberius at 6:55 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

Still loving this show. And I think Babineaux is an awesome character.
posted by davidmsc at 9:39 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

the biggest clue in that episode was the Police Lieutenant. That's definitely not one of Blaine's.

I disagree - he might not be, but the PD seems to be very deliberately covering up Blaine's activities. Maybe it's just because all missing persons reports are being sandbagged, or they know what Anders is doing and want to cover up zombie activity on principle, but I won't be surprised if he turns out to be a client.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:33 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Got to see a lot more of Liv's actual personality before the brain eating (which was off screen?!); that was good.

The actor's zombie makeup was a little makeup-y in natural daylight and she had some weird smokey purple eyes in one scene. I'm curious to see if they continue evolving her look and get better at creating it under all lighting conditions.

It'll also be interesting if Liv does start applying makeup like the other zombies.
posted by zeek321 at 1:06 PM on April 16, 2015

1. Can doctors actually write prescriptions for GHB? I figured it was one of those things sketchy people brewed in bathtubs

2. Party Down reference!
posted by elr at 1:42 AM on April 17, 2015

I loved the reveal with the lieutenant, too, which for me had me perking my mental ears at the sight of him trimming his nails. I would have appreciated if they had dropped that earlier and then allowed the later statement of "obsessively trimming your nails" to be said, allowing for the connection then. It would have been more fun, but still good.

My thoughts are that our resident bad dude (i'm too tired to remember his name) got to the police to facilitate the abduction and murder of people to avoid notice. He's a crafty guy. He found a wealthy victim off of which to improve his financial stake (and get his own spray paint) and I think he's probably sinking his tentacles into multiple places to allow his growing enterprise to do so without being noticed or stopped.

Incidentally, this is an episode where we didn't get FOZ from Liv, though FOZ did appear in the henchman at the skate park.

One problem for Liv with her skin is that she may not be able to afford to effectively cover it with make up. We had the exchange between the woman at the diner/restaurant who asked our bad dude how he kept his skin so evenly colored, etc, and basically it boiled down to $$$. It makes sense for our musician to have the same access to funds. I hadn't thought about it, but kudos to dorothyisunderwood for the brain availability. It didn't dawn on me at the time, but since you pointed it out, that's EXACTLY what Liv should have started thinking about. Right now she's aware of only two ways to get brains: A) Work at a coroner's office or B) Dig up a grave.

I think the procedural aspect of the show is slowly submerging to a point where it will serve only as a vehicle to help move along the greater conspiracy or Liv's own characterization.
posted by Atreides at 7:54 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

This was a much, much better episode than the last few. Zombie reveals all around! I'm feeling good that this is starting to show us the real plot/story arc of the show.

I agree with pretty much everyone's opinions. In particular, Ivan Fyodorovich's comment that "But Babinow needs to be enjoyable to watch and we need to care about his relationship with Liv. The show is failing at this, and badly." YES YES YES. You just voiced what is most annoying about this show. I really hope that they can work on this aspect, otherwise I don't see how Liv/Clive are going to be able to work together to uncover what is hopefully going to be an awesome plot arc about a energy company covering up their production/distribution of crazy zombie drugs.

Also, I totally thought Major was going to be in that body bag and was a little disappointed. I do think he's an all around nice guy, but he's not really interesting at this point either and since his role in the show is even less than Babinow's...I'm bored with him.

Looking forward to next week and seeing where this heads though!

Also...why does Liv's family and friends never comment on her appearance change? Even if she couldn't afford (or couldn't be bothered) to use make up, I wonder why she doesn't at least dye her hair? Or does her family think her new washed out hair color is a fashion choice she made? Maybe we will get some flash backs in the future to the first few hours/days after Liv woke up in that body bag.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 8:32 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I thought they said in the pilot that they believed she had "gone goth" or some such. The roommate was listing it alongside her new career path in a list of how she'd thrown her life away.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:32 AM on April 17, 2015

Gotcha. I still think it's a little bit flimsy as a response, but I can roll with it. Thanks for reminding me about that.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 1:59 PM on April 17, 2015

I'm sort of considering everyone's not-completely-flipping-out over Liv's deathly ill appearance as a structural freebie/premise thing. Like, I'll let this one slide, you writers/producers, because you're awesome, but barely. I'm glad there's been some acknowledgment of it by other characters, though. Otherwise it'd be too hard to swallow.
posted by zeek321 at 4:35 PM on April 20, 2015

Lowell, the skydiving zombie is Arthur from BBC's late, lamented Merlin. Weirdly he actually seems taller now.

I like that Major is worried about Jerome and makes a big deal about it. Outside of that he's really boring.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 7:52 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Okay, I'm trying to catch up here and wow, I'm liking it. Go figure compared to everyone else here. I like the new hot zombie, but yes, "where do you get your brains" should come up soon. Also, dang, the lieutenant! Zombies are busting out all over this town!
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:14 AM on May 8, 2015

so it's interesting to speculuate about a show where most people reading this will already know whether i'm right or wrong, but i like recording my impressions regardless.

it seems to me that blaine and lead cop dude work for the same people - the party drug/energy drink company - blaine's operation is obviously more sophisticated than just low life drug dealer because of the whole bodies in the freezer, able to disappear new brains constantly, which makes me think he's not a sole actor, but i also don't think he's sitting on the throne. i guess i'll see!

i don't trust extreme sport zombie at all. she likes him too immediately, she's too giddy - there will be a come down for that.

i continue to like how her reactions to eating the brains are in some ways how we react in grief. if a friend from our younger days died - the friend who was always grabbing life in that way - i imagine some of us would react how liv did here, by being a bit more reckless, by pushing the limits, by honoring our friend by trying to extend her spirit into the universe a little. it is, as she's noted, sometimes the parts that feel the most human.
posted by nadawi at 8:21 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

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