iZombie Season 1 Episode 3 Review: “The Exterminator”


While the fact that Liv essentially takes on a new persona every week is one of iZombie‘s most fun and appealing elements, it did have me wondering how much of the “real Liv” we would see in each episode of the series and if her constantly changing personality would cause a disconnect between her and viewers. Tonight’s episode of iZombie, “The Exterminator,” tackled that question head on in a very dark and compelling way, as Liv was faced with what it would truly feel like to be an emotionless killing machine after she eats the brains of a hitman and sees one of her old friends in an irreversible zombie state.

With iZombie‘s witty dialogue and quirky sense of humor, it’s easy to forget the seriousness of Liv’s “condition.” As she reminds us in tonight’s episode, she broke things off with Major because of the possibility that she could also turn him into a zombie; this isn’t the type of life that she would want for anyone, even though she’s beginning to thrive in it. But even as Liv is slowly becoming more and more reawakened to the joys of life, she also must remember how easy it could be for her to lose who she is, if “full-on zombie mode” became her default setting.

That’s the case with Liv’s old friend, Marcy, the girl who invited her to the boat party back in the pilot. Unfortunately, unlike Liv who was able to wake up and live a somewhat normal life by eating brains from the morgue, Marcy got herself trapped in a well, where she starved until she lost her humanity, turning into something more out of The Walking Dead than Warm Bodies. Marcy’s presence in “The Exterminator” provides Liv with a serious look at who she could be, and it serves as a reminder to both her and the audience about just how different (and lucky) she really is. Despite being infected, Liv was able to keep her humanity and still continue with her life, even if it had been one without much purpose for the past few months. Now, though, thanks in large part to both Clive and Ravi, Liv is slowly coming alive again.

And while Liv is scared by what she both feels (or should I say doesn’t feel, thanks to eating the brains of Webster, the hitman) and what she sees (Marcy as an almost unrecognizable zombie), she’s also tempted by the pain-free existences that both Webster and Marcy appear to have had. While it’s great that Liv is finally regaining her passion and love for her life, with all of the good comes all of the bad, and the pain and grief she feels after being forced to kill Marcy in order to protect Ravi is almost too much for her to handle, which is why she contemplates eating more of Webster’s brains before flushing them down the garbage disposal. Liv is not cold like Webster, calculating like Blaine, or mindless like the zombie-version of Marcy; she’s a real person with real emotions, and sometimes, in the world she’s now living in, being that way may seem like an ever worse curse than having to eat brains to survive.

For Liv, her emotions may feel like a weakness, like they hold her back in some way, but they’re also her greatest strength. They’re what separates her from murderers like Webster and Blaine, who appears to be abducting (and most likely killing) many of the kids that Major works with. As Liv says near the end of tonight’s iZombie, pain “reminds you that you’re alive,” but it’s also what keeps you human–and despite all of her zombie-esque tendencies, that’s what Liv still remains.

Other thoughts:

– I enjoyed this episode’s case-of-the-week more than the one from last weeke, particularly because it didn’t rely on twists as much as it did teamwork from Clive and Liv. Not to mention, the fact that Ravi got to help out was plus.

– It was nice to learn more about Aly Michalka’s Peyton in this episode (I had no idea she was the Assistant District Attorney), and iZombie did some really solid work with her and Liv’s friendship. While it may soon get old for Petyon to freak out at Liv in every episode, the payoff here, with Liv helping her roommate and friend to get Watts to confess, was pretty great.

– I’m really interested in seeing what Blaine is up to. Is he just killing these people, or is he turning them? He said last week that he had plans to take over the city, but what exactly do these plans entail? I’m excited to find out.

– Some really terrific friendship moments between Liv and Ravi tonight, even if they were more on the serious side. I particular loved this line from him: “You still found your way through. This brain–it’s not who you are.”

– I’ll probably say this every week, but I’m just so happy that Rose McIver has her own show. She’s done some really strong work so far in these first three episodes of iZombie.

What did everyone else think about tonight’s episode of iZombie?

[Photo via The CW]

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