Show Tracker

'iZombie' recap: Brother, can you spare a brain?

Liv Moore gets touchy feely, helps solve the murder of a cheating artist husband on 'iZombie'

It’s always the wife -- the murderer, that is, when the victim is the husband.

This is one of the many lessons learned in the second episode of “iZombie,” where Liv Moore (Rose McIver), our undead heroine, can be forgiven for being in the dark on old homicide truisms. She prefers workout shows and George Romero flicks over cop procedurals, and she's new to this whole crime-solving thing, so cut her some slack, all right?

Among the other scoop: Liv, who thought she was the only zombie in Seattle, finds out differently when a pallid Blaine DeBeers (David Anders) shows up at her morgue/office. And she realizes that her hunky ex-fiance is likely beyond her grasp forever because he’s had it up to here after six months of her literal and figurative cold shoulder.

She suddenly likes jazz – where before she would’ve rather listened to “someone dropping cutlery” – and she’s become an artiste (with the painter’s palette, minus the beret).

And she discovers via a painful look in the rearview mirror that she didn’t fully live her life when she had it. Can she make up for that now?

All in all, “Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?” is an hour filled with revelations for Liv, some fairly disconcerting and others going a long way to feeding her hero complex.

Liv, formerly a hard-charging medical resident, is quickly embracing her new-found role as “a fake psychic zombie just trying to do her part” in putting away bad guys. This may be her destiny.

But please, don’t ask her to pick your lottery numbers. She’s not that kind of clairvoyant. Her epiphanies come from grazing on the brains of the deceased – extra Tabasco, please! -- learning in the process how they’ve come to their unfortunate ends and soaking up some of their talents and quirks, albeit temporarily.

That would bring me to the murder of the week on “iZombie,” the CW’s recently launched dram-zom-com. But, forgive me, I’m skipping around chronologically because Billy Idol look-alike Blaine DeBeers needs attention, stat.

He’s the reason we’re here anyway, from the story origin perspective, and we had only a fleeting glimpse or two of him in the pilot. He’s the cavalier criminal who just may be responsible for this entire zombie plague. He’s ground zero, in effect, but is he patient zero? That’s yet to be determined. He’s the sociopath, at any rate, who tinkers with a batch of recreational drugs, possibly making it lethal, and sells it to unsuspecting partiers in town.

Without him, though, there’s no snarky and adorable goth-girl-turned-amateur-sleuth named Liv. So, can we be grateful for that? Another reason to give thanks: the scenery-chewing Anders (“Alias”), destined to add another gloriously twisted TV villain to his repertoire.

Liv knows, without a doubt, that Blaine is the one who changed her into a chalky monster that can’t even pretend to be human without stuffing her face with gray matter. No brains = rage zombie, aka "a Romero."

She’s had plenty of flashbacks to that booze cruise where he first tried to sell her a designer drug called Utopian and then gave her a nasty claw mark on the arm, launching her transformation. He’s even haunted her dreams since then.

Blaine, for his part, says he doesn’t recall any of those events. Does he convince her? Liv remains suspicious, rightly so, and doesn’t want to leave Blaine alone with her friend and boss, the medical examiner Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli).

In the name of science, and perhaps a cure, the perpetually curious Ravi just wants to study the second zombie he’s ever met. Liv insists on chaperoning.

She does agree, after sharing a few moments of creature bonding time with Blaine, to be his hook-up for fresh brains. Why? He claims he’s been grave-robbing to sate his hunger, but Liv should know better.

And as we soon find out, Blaine the undead entrepreneur latches onto a lover flush with cash and turns her into a zombie. Up next: extorting his new flame, who pays dearly for the brains she craves. That makes Liv the unwitting supplier, and who knows how far Blaine will take this. He’s traded sales in one addictive substance for another. Won’t he want to expand and solidify his customer base?

Depending on where you stand on this DC Comic-inspired series, you may be more or less interested in Liv’s personal back story or her majorly hot ex, conveniently (oddly?) named Major Lilywhite. Since the immediately likable Robert Buckley plays this character, he’s well worth tracking.

No sad sack, Major tries to stay friendly after Liv breaks their engagement and his heart. He returns a box of her lingerie and beauty products and even agrees to hand over the juicer, a pre-wedding gift to the couple. But what he can’t possibly abide is her late-night visit to his house and her out-of-the-blue interest in “being close” again. Who can blame him? Poor dude’s been through the ringer.

A saner version of Liv would not try to feel up the boyfriend she jilted. But she’s under the influence of Javier Abano’s colorful, sexually indiscriminate brain. He’s this week’s dead guy.

Case du jour in a nutshell: Javier, a passionate and promiscuous artist, gets stabbed in the eye with one of his own paint brushes. Someone didn’t appreciate those vibrant, abstract nudes?

The grieving widow (guest star Judy Reyes) and her flimsy alibi are little match for Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin), who already has his mind made up about her guilt. "It's the wife," he says. "It's always the wife. Unless the wife is dead. Then it's the husband." But he’ll gladly accept a hefty assist from Liv’s visions and Ravi’s astute observations.

Liv, after all, uncovers the “why” – Javier the Sleazebag was about to dump his wife for his pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend, the daughter of his supposed best friend and art dealer.

And Ravi figures out that a petite gal, standing on a ledge, could’ve delivered the fatal blow, exonerating at least a few lanky men who had reason to drive a sharp, pointy object into the artist’s peeper.

Bad girl caught, case closed.

Liv reaffirms her cop-buddy mission and finishes that giant watercolor for the den. She wonders if there are qualities buried deep in her that may yet spring to life. Soon, she won’t be riding that creative wave anymore, but she’ll be able to keep her hands to herself. Fair trade?

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
85°