NOC Recaps iZombie: Where Veronica Mars Meets Chuck Meets Pushing Daisies

NOC is recapping iZombie! Here’s a bit of background on the show before we dive in to this week’s episode.

iZombie is The CW’s newest series. Based on the DC/Vertigo comic book of the same name, it tells the story of Olivia Moore (she goes by Liv. Liv Moore), a former heart surgeon, who went to a boat party that went badly. The boat was attacked by some dudes on an experimental drug, and she was swiped in the arm on the way over the side of the boat. She wakes up with white hair and an intense craving for BRAAAINNS.

Her life is effectively over. She breaks up with her fiance, quits her job, and starts working at the morgue, where she has access to brains (which she douses in hot sauce) while still using her medical skills. Her family doesn’t understand why she completely uprooted her life, and she can’t explain that she doesn’t want to pass the zombie disease to them or her ex-fiance. Also, there’s a weird side effect of eating brains: she gains the memories and, occasionally, abilities of the person’s brain she’s eaten. Liv works with Raj, her medical examiner supervisor at the morgue who wants to help her understand her zombie-isms, and Detective Clive Babineaux, who thinks she’s a psychic who’s been helping him solve cases. Also in play is Blaine, the fellow zombie who turned Liv and was already a shady character when he was fully alive.

Blaine not pictured because he’s off being shady.

So far, I’ve been enjoying the show. It reminds me of three other shows:

  • Veronica Mars — Clearly this is the strongest and most obvious. Both shows were run by Rob Thomas and Liv’s pale shoulder length locks and her snarkiness are very reminiscent of Veronica Mars’ style.
  • Chuck — Liv’s Skill of the Week reminds me of the show Chuck where the lead character downloaded the Intersect 2.0 which gave him new temporary skills as the plot demanded.
  • Pushing Daisies — A supernatural detective using skills related to death to find out how someone was murdered? A live man and a dead girl can’t touch for fear of something bad happening? One brown man who knows crime fighter’s secret? Too bad Washington’s dreary rain is the opposite of Couer d’Couers.
  • (Also, fake psychic detective? Very Psych.)

So far, I like all the major characters who’ve appeared in the morgue (Liv, Raj, Clive is okay, Raj — Raj is my favorite), but I don’t yet care about Liv’s family, her roommate, or her ex-fiance. I think this is a side effect of Liv still trying to figure out how to be around them and I see development, especially for the ex, coming soon enough. It’s a fun show with snappy dialogue and loads of potential, especially with Liv’s powers as needed feature. It really can mold the show into anything per episode, giving it a lot to work with.

My iZombie recaps shouldn’t be nearly as long as my Arrow ones — to start, that’s the plan any way — so here’s a quick round-up of this week’s episode.

Skill/Trait of the Week: Kung Fu, intense paranoia (it was unclear if that was just a personality trait or indeed fueled by… the freedoms of living in Washington state… )

In our case of the week, Liv investigates an Asian gang member whose murder might be connected to Clive, our snarky detective’s… friend? Liv sees her “visions” of the victim and sees Clive beating some guys up, looking pretty much like a dirty cop. Some round the way investigations (including Liv and Ravi in a tattoo parlor that sells dirty videos), puts Liv on the wrong side of an Asian gang, the Blue Cobras.

I’m not sure how I felt about the inclusion of the non-main cast people of color in this episode. For the most part, Ravi and Clive are clearly part of the main dynamics and are treated well as characters.

But the portrayal of the Asian guest cast in this episode was very superficial and stereotypical for “Asian gang” tropes. Also this line, “I saw Clive give a Rodney King quality beat down to some guy named Ray!” rubs me the wrong way, especially since Clive is a black cop in this era where police violence feels so concentrated. Unfortunately, most detective shows have an Asian gang episode and it rarely feels like Asian cultures are represented to the fullest… We didn’t even get to properly meet Ray, the Asian cop who was in danger and the only non-villain character. (Not meeting Ray also hurts us caring about the stakes of the episode.)

How do you feel about episodes like this one? (Let’s discuss in the comments!)

Anyway, we learn that Clive was suspended from Vice before becoming a homicide detective, because he went a little too deep in his undercover mission. Liv keeps getting visions that seem to confirm this, and she goes behind his back to investigate the case around him. A vision leads her to realize that the man Clive was beating up was a fellow undercover cop who is in danger. Liv’s info saves Ray, but Clive isn’t proud of the “dark crap” of his past and didn’t want her to see it. (I think Clive is starting to be fond of Liv! Not in a shipper way, but in an I don’t mind having her around way that he definitely wasn’t feeling before.) Liv is attacked by A.J. at her apartment and she nearly Full-On-Zombie’s him, but her brother shows up and she has to suppress it — but not before A.J. sees her change. Thankfully, she plays it off when the cops arrive to arrest him.

Liv is still trying to figure out how to be around her ex-fiance, Major, who is looking for someone to fill the empty room in the house he was supposed to live in with Liv. Liv convinces Ravi to move in, and though he is reluctant at first, he manages to hit it off with Major. Liv is trying to deny her still existent feelings for Major because she is afraid of what he’ll think of her being, you know, the z-word, while also fearing that sexy-times will turn him into being like her (which Blaine, our resident bad guy, proves is true). In the end, it seems like Ravi and Major will get along just fine, with Liv making more and more frequent house visits…

Meanwhile, Baddie Blaine has been turning people all over the city into his zombie minions. He’s got the sugar mama, the brain cuisine specialist, and the mooks. His mooks try to spin their way into their own business, but Blaine finds out and has them shot in the brains (is that the way to permanently kill these guys?). We see that he has AN ENTIRE STASH OF FROZEN FUTURE ZOMS ready to do his bidding whenever he so chooses. Poor Jerome, Major’s halfway house kid, gets chopped up for his brains. I wanted to see more of him! And where exactly did his friend Eddie go? Was he eaten or turned?

All-in-all, we’re slowly getting more character development for our non Liv characters, but personally, I want more Ravi.

I’m really glad he’s moving in with Major, which will hopefully give us double the development as Liv interacts with those two.

Brain Teasers (not in the traditional meaning, just a subheading for Tidbits. I’ll maybe think of a better one later)

  • “Love in the time of zombie-ism”
  • We see Liv’s brother, Evan. He didn’t add much, except just a person in her house she had to hide from in the climax, in the absence of her roommate. Like I said, I don’t care all that much about her friend/family. Major is growing on me, but he’s still on the outskirts of my character empathy.
  • “What a pleasant surprise it might have been if Chinese brains or Spanish brains or Italian brains tasted like the cuisines for which their regions were famous. No such luck.” Hmm, not sure how I felt about that line — what would American cuisine taste like? Burgers and apple pie?
  • Ravi got fired from the CDC. I forget if the pilot explained why, but I’m sure there’s more to the story. Can’t wait to hear it. “Week to week is how I roll.” Can you tell he’s my favorite character? Because he is. And he’d fit in with us NOCs here.

  • Seems like the perks of being a black zombie is that you don’t get super pale and don’t need spray tanning? The black zombie wore a hat the whole time, so we couldn’t see if his hair turned white. Led me to this NOC post on the lack of zombies of color on The Walking Dead from a couple of years ago.
  • Liv and Ravi’s trip to Hong Kong Video was fantastic. They play off of each other really well! There was so much awkward humor there, and I loved when Ravi figured out how to play along, even well after Liv had stopped playing and needed to get out of there.
  • I just learned, via Twitter, that people possibly ship Olivia & Ravi (nahhh, too soon for that, in my opinion. Definitely just future best buds status).


  • ”Her life is like the whore-y version of the movie Memento.”/”Oh look, they actually have the whore-y version of Memento…”
  • “Have you been having one of your hoodoo film festivals up in there?” I bet with a name like Babineaux, Clive’s family comes from New Orleans? If so, it would be interesting if they delved into that a little bit. Zombies are a part of voodoo lore, after all.
  • Ravi and Major’s first real meeting is so hilariously awkward. It was much better to watch and understand the second viewing though, once I understood where exactly their wires were crossed.
  • “Unless you’re a fan of blackout curtains in your living area. I’m not a fan of gaming with glare.” Ravi and Major, our resident gamers!

Finally, Looks like the show holding it’s own in the ratings:

So NOCers, how are you feeling about iZombie so far? How did this episode compare to the others so far?

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