Who would’ve ever thought that an episode of “iZombie” about a bloated, decomposing corpse and the rotted brains therein could be so darn delightful?
But it’s true. “Virtual Reality Bites,” despite the super gross, retchingly pungent dead guy, might be the lightest and brightest hour of the series yet. While it certainly isn’t without its grittier moments -- Blaine! -- it gives us Liv Moore (Rose McIver) as an object of zombie affection and an agoraphobic junk food-pounding videogamer. Charming!
Blaine DeBeers (David Anders), noticeably absent last week, is back with a vengeance, literally, elevating every scene he appears in and ultimately the entire hour. Keep it coming, oh villainous one.
Major (Robert Buckley) proves that Liv isn’t the only person with investigative instincts, tracking down the so-called Candy Man responsible for a spate of street kid disappearances.
Will this blow holes in my theory about Liv revealing her undead secret imminently to Det. Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin), her erstwhile partner? Since this information is strictly on a need-to-know basis, with her boss Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) as her sole confidant so far, maybe it’ll be the purpose-driven Major who learns the truth next.
On to the play by play on this CW dram-zom-rom-com, which finds Liv slurping some liquefied brain matter to figure out who offed an Internet troll named Simon Cutler. The apparently friendless, basement-dwelling victim sounds like a pretty horrible person -- neighbors take selfies with his body bag -- but crimes must be solved.
Absorbing some of Cutler’s qualities, Liv realizes that she can’t leave the confines of her apartment but can, through muscle memory, hack into his laptop and gather clues on his early demise. That she does this while covered in cheesy snack dust and surrounded by empty soda cans is just a bonus for anyone watching.
Turns out it’s death by confetti, laced with peanuts and tucked into a birthday card, served to the guy with an acute allergy. Who would do such a thing? Apparently the Sim Reaper, as the deceased called himself online, is not well liked, to put it mildly. Web pages spring up almost immediately to celebrate the passing of this “cyberbully with superpowers.”
The killer turns out to be the grieving brother of a Sim Reaper bullying target who committed suicide. Liv and Clive, in a solid mix of pseudo-psychic visions, Skype and shoe leather police work, crack the case.
Liv cancels her date with Lowell (Bradley James) not because she doesn’t want to see her newfound (potential) kindred spirit, but because she’s crippled with Sim Reaper-style anxiety. He must sense that, opting for a “drop by” instead, which gives him a chance to tell her his own zombie story and see her with chips stuck to her sweat pants.
In short: He woke up in jail after a night of hard partying with his bros and discovered a nasty scratch on his leg. He can’t remember anything about his own attack, he says. So is that more disturbing than the fact that he’s a blackout drunk? Caution, Liv, because you don’t know if he’s telling the truth. He sure is adorable, though, with his British accent and his musician swagger. Again, Lowell: Hurt her and there will be trouble.
He clears up another matter: feeding. He tells Liv he gets his brains from a funeral home. Pre-formaldehyde, let’s assume, because that would be even more disgusting than Liv’s recent brain smoothie.
The former pop star doesn’t perform in public anymore because the adrenaline rush throws him into full-on zombie mode. No matter, Liv says, since she’s not much of a groupie anyway.
They bond over the unfairness of their dead(ish) lives and nearly kiss but, as Liv has explained, she’s probably not mended from her broken engagement to Major. That smooch will have to wait (a few scenes).
And speaking of Major, who has to be the hottest social worker in the Pacific Northwest.
He’s trying to find out what’s become of his missing friend, Jerome, and that snooping earned him a beat down during the last episode. There’s also some evidence he’s gleaning -- Jerome’s favorite stars-and-stripes sneaks and YouTube videos taken at the skate park -- that encourage him to keep pushing.
Some fans have been a little rough on Major as a character, saying he seems to exist only to pine for Liv. I never saw him as that one-dimensional, but I’m glad he has a pivotal role in the unfolding drama. He’s the one, not the Seattle cops, who just put Blaine and his zombie henchman at ground zero for the town’s missing teenager wave.
Which brings me to Blaine, the most unforgiving lover/extortionist anyone could ever have. Jackie, the zombie of his making, slips up and eats a delivery guy from Blaine’s Meat Cute charcuterie. Blaine is not amused, since he’s Jackie’s price-gouging brain dealer and Delivery Dude was not on the menu.
Death by power drill! That’s one trend that Jackie apparently does not foresee.