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iZombie - Virtual Reality Bites - Review + Poll: "This is Going to be Epic"


iZombie has quickly become my favorite new show of the season. Its' fresh dialogue, quirky moments, gory blood splatter and enchanting lead actress make it such an engaging show. Not to mention the killer supporting ensemble at the show's disposal. I would even say that the show about the zombie "psychic" is breathing life into the procedural genre. There are so many layers to the show as well with the hidden references and actual solid advice about life & what it means to Liv(e). I think a renewal is a safe bet based on the ratings that iZombe has managed to muster so I'm really looking forward to more of it in the future. Especially if all hours just happen to click like Virtual Reality Bites did.The show managed to blend so much together in the hour without ever feeling clunky or oddly paced. It helps when a writer takes time to mine the characters like they have Liv and when they have actually planned out the season in depth before hand. This episode spoke volumes tonally that those involved had a solid outline of how they wanted the season to go, as we are not quite halfway in, but it feels things are moving fast on the zombie mythology front, and that has me echoing Ravi, "This is going to be epic".

His skin reminds me of a grape that was left out in the sun too long and split open"
In case you were in doubt, Major survives his run in with Julien last week. Also, Major has crap insurance. Insurance that makes it hard for him to go to a hospital, but thankfully he knows some people who work within arms reach of some medical equipment. Thus explaining why promo pics were released of Major on the morgue table. You can only imagine Liv's shock as she walks into her job and sees her ex-fiance getting stitched up by her boss and confidante who is also her ex's roommate. Liv immediately calls out Ravi's stitching and soon she is the one with the needle stitching Major up. Major admits to Liv that he went searching for Jerome and he found the Candyman, wearing Jerome's kicks and then they fought. Liv tries to remind Major that he is a social worker and he can't be out fighting crime. She tries to get him to promise to leave this all alone, but Major quickly changes the subject to Liv and Lowell's little talk he stumbled in on last week. Liv tries to avoid the subject, but Major wants her to know he is her buddy. A buddy willing to know the highs and lows of her life. (I'm sure these are not the words that Liv wants to be hearing right about now, but it's interesting to debate whether he wants to know because he truly is her buddy or because he needs to know if she has moved on)Thank goodness Ravi got the call they had a new customer, a 300 pounder who dropped dead on the stairs. They get to the scene and meet with Clive who tells them, while trying to hold back his disgust that the victim is 32 year old Simon Cutler. (Who can blame him though, he was looking really rank, I'm with Ravi...Ugh) Simon was a shut-in, he hadn't left the house in years and has everything delivered to him via the doggy door, which is how the neighbors even knew something was wrong when they saw the deliveries piling up. Clive tells them that since he never left it should be easy to figure out what killed him, and Ravi deduces (because he is somewhere between putrefaction and black putrefaction) that he has been dead about a week. A quick survey around the room shows not only is there a pretty wicked computer setup, but there's food everywhere, soda spilled and confetti in the carpet from a birthday card.

After dealing with his pesky and insensitive neighbors while removing his body from the scene, Liv and Ravi perform the autopsy back at the morgue. Ravi mentions it's kind of sad that Simon threw himself a little birthday party, and slides in that almost all of his organs are rotted and liquefied. Liv begs Ravi to say that this was a heart attack because she has no interest in eating rotted brains. Unfortunately, Ravi couldn't find any sign of his death being a heart attack. Clive shows up and Ravi informs him that he has no answers for him, and Clive hopes that they get something soon because this was most likely a murder.(Loved Liv's Son-of-a-b****) Turns out Simon was one of the most hated people on the internet and had several death threats aimed at him. Simon was notorious troll and hacker named the Sim Reaper(Is he the one that always come and kills my Sims??? Such a weird name)and within hours of his death there is already a website up celebrating his death. (Of course Ravi wants to pull it up, and does Liv really not know what a troll is? Though I love Ravi's response that he was like a cyber bully with superpowers) The site features a plethora of examples of the Sim Reaper's accomplishments, and a recording of a very nasty phone call he had with a customer service rep named Shanie. (I didn't find it very nasty, more annoying than anything else. He sounded like a cartoon villain)Clive wants Liv to do that thing she does and let him know if she gets any psychic visions, and Ravi replies that he's sure Liv will suck it up and help anyway she can. (Cut to the shot of the rotten brains) Liv literally sucks it up as a smoothie, and hopes it doesn't come back up to bite her while she's on her first zombie date with Lowell that night. (Ravi advises she eat some crackers)The effects of Simon are almost immediate as she spies some doughnuts on the table and just has to have one, which triggers a vision of Simon eating a donut, having an allergic reaction to it and having to use his epi-pen to avoid anaphylactic shock. Liv realizes that may be why he was on his way up the stairs(where they found him) he was going into shock and needed his pen. Ravi then tells her he didn't see any trigger foods in his system, so that can't be it.
Liv takes this info to Clive, who is rightfully amused when she explains the most hated man on the internet was killed by a donut. Liv corrects him and states that is was anaphylactic shock that killed him, it just wasn't due to food. She starts to feel a bit woozy, probably because of that rotten brain but she picks up the birthday card and Clive then has a moment of realization. Simon's birthday was four months away, so who would send a card that early with nothing in it, with no stamp or return address. Liv realizes that the confetti must have shot out of the card, and then Clive takes a whiff and realizes that the confetti flinger was actually a murder weapon and had peanut powder in it. (That's a new one) With that out of the way Liv is prepared to get ready for her super hot date with Lowell that evening. (She's actually a bit nervous about it, because up until a couple of months ago she was sure she would spend the rest of her life with Major. Which she did. But here she is now, dead and dating.)Before she can make it down the hallway out of her apartment, She becomes overwhelmed with that same woozy feeling from before and heads back in which causes the feeling to subside. She calls Lowell and starts faking sick before remembering that Lowell is a zombie and she can just tell him the truth. Simon was and agoraphobe which explains why he never left home and since Liv slurped his brain, she's an agoraphobe too.

"I had a bad batch of agoraphobe brain and can't get out of my apartment."
Back at the morgue, Clive steps in to see Ravi about a different murder,(More on how it happened below.) a decapitation.Ravi tells Clive that the victim, Michael Dornan, looks to have been decapitated by a carpenter's hammer. Clive tells Ravi that Michael was in and out of foster homes as child. Which Ravi finds curious,since the food he found inside his stomach suggest that the vic was someone of wealth which included Wagyu Beef and Italian White Truffles. Ravi agrees to drop off Simon's laptop at Liv's to see if she can get some Woo-woo off of it. Liv is confused as to why he would drop it off as Ravi knows she's not really psychic. She discovers she has Simon's muscle memory and logs into his computer and ends up opening a role-playing game called Warlock Forest, which Ravi also plays. She logs in as the Sim Reaper(Who is a Trollock in the game) and some of his followers log in simultaneously and they are glad that he has returned since a player named Full Auto had claimed to kill him for killing his soul brethren. (which Ravi points out could have lost this Full Auto loads of money) The follower says they should take back Tree Palace and Ravi agrees because it could be the only way to get face to face with Full Auto who could have murdered Simon.(Of course he is scurrying off home to log in and help Liv as his character a were-terrier named Arf Vader.) Once she gets into it Liv, because of Simon, is engrossed in the game. So when her mom Eva comes over to check on her because she thought Liv was sick, she is surprised at how passionate Liv is while playing this game. (Yes, Liv's mom is back after not being around since the pilot. Oh and Payton isn't seen from this week either.) She then launches into a diatribe about how she wants Liv to be happy but she's worried that Liv is letting her life pass her by. Liv doesn't hear her because she's doing important police business. When she finally locates this Full Auto, he turns out to be a 14 year old New York kid who knew nothing of the Sim Reaper's real identity.

She talks it over with a depressed Ravi who is distraught that a fourteen year old had more soul brethren than he did but they are cut short by the doorbell. She answers in her pajamas that are covered in powdered cheese and it's Lowell, who has shown up with some anti-anxiety meds he got when he ate a brain with PTSD a couple of weeks ago. She invites Lowell in for a drink, and of course there's playful banter and personal information traded. Liv lays it out there that she was engaged just a few months ago and that she's clearly not over it. Which is okay with Lowell because he understands. Among the other subjects shared are the zombie origin stories and how they feed. Lowell apparently gets his brains from a funeral home. (Please let this be true, though I still think he ate Eliza last week) Lowell also mentions how he doesn't sing in public anymore thanks to the adrenaline of putting on a show making him go "Full-Zombie". Liv tells him how sorry she is for the way his life is now, which is just what he wanted to hear, right before he goes in for a kiss which Liv pulls away from. (Awkward) The check-in date thing ends pretty awkwardly after that culminating in Lowell's exit when Liv sees a photo of a donut shop as a screensaver on Simon's laptop. Meanwhile, Clive is investigating into Michael's death and he heads into Meat Cute to see if anyone saw him. Blaine is working and tells Clive he has never seen him. When Clive hears a noise he gets concerned and Blaine invites him to have a look around, though Clive doesn't know the butcher lady is waiting to pounce when he does. Thankfully Liv calls Clive about the donut shop lead.
"You spent six years thinking your life was going in a different direction. I think you're allowed a duck or two."
Clive brings in the donut shop owners who make it no secret that they are pretty glad that Sim Reaper is dead, while Liv sits in via Skype. Clive then questions them about the fact that the Sim Reaper left a pretty bad review for their former establishment on YELP. The Sim Reaper was pretty upset that after he told them no peanuts, he almost died eating a donut of theirs due to his food allergy. It wasn't their fault though, their oil was just made in a factory that also made peanut oil. They didn't get a chance to switch brands though, because the Sim Reaper started bombarded the YELP page with negative reviews which subsequently caused them to lose their shop. This could have been motive enough to murder him, and it would have plausible for them to since they had delivered to his home and knew where he lived. They deny the allegation and Liv believes them. Clive and Liv concurrently realize that even though this shop almost killed him, he wasn't going to stop eating donuts, and that there may have been other donut shops in the area that had delivered to Simon, meaning there were more possible murderers. Clive heads to Donuts Etc. after realizing that there were several empty boxes in Simon's basement from the shop. He gets little cooperation from the manager though.Liv uses Simon's hacking skills to gain access into the donut shops records and get a list of employees. She searches through the employee list for someone who just had a birthday thinking that birthday card was not just a murder weapon but also a signature from the killer to let Simon know who had done this. She cracks opens a soda and it triggers another vision, this time of the moment Simon died as he opened the card which also played "Ring Around the Rosie".

Liv heads to Clive, hopped up on anti-anxiety meds and shares the info about the music chip and song it played. Clive suggests that they get a list of the employees to see if anyone has a name close to Rosie like the song title, and Liv informs him she already has. After a few moments where she builds the drama Liv tells him who the killer is. It's Sean Posey, one of the pesky neighbors that was at the crime scene when they wheeled Simon's body away.His birthday doesn't match the date of Simon's death, but his sister Shanie's (aka the customer service rep from the recorded call) does. Shanie posted that call on Facebook, and the Reaper took revenge, destroying all aspects of her life using his hacker skills and Shanie killed herself because of it. Sean then worked at three different donut shops while trying to find the Sim Reaper before landing at Donuts Etc. and killing him. Sean is okay with spending his life in jail for what he's done. This causes Liv to reflect on how Sean not getting past the tragedy that happened, his sister's death, ruined two lives and draws back the words her mom told her earlier. She heads off to the studio Lowell is recording at and asks him to pick up their date where they left off. She apologizes again for the duck she made earlier when he went to kiss her, but Lowell understands, none of this was part of her plan. She admits while she's not over Major, she's a little closer to being over him, and then she kisses Lowell and it's every bit of magic that it should be.

"Oh Jackie. Nesting is so over"
ZomCougar Jackie. You were hot, you were a zombie and you paid Blaine 25k a month to keep you in brains while he slipped you a little something extra on the side. We barely knew ye. All because someone did not deliver that Gulai Otak as promised. Jackie is pretty frantic when the Meat Cute delivery boy shows up, she's obviously jonesing for a brain, so she grabs the bag as he reads off her delivery. She notices that her gulai otak(Beef Brain Curry, though I'm sure the meat in this one does not belong to a cow) is missing, and the delivery boy says he'll head back to meat Cute and get it and be back in twenty minutes. Jackie can't wait that long though and impales him on the coat hanger. She calls Blaine to let him know that her delivery never showed. (He thought she was unwisely calling him for a booty call.) Blaine offers to personally deliver her package, but she assures him that isn't necessary but that she just doesn't want to be charged. Then she quickly makes up a story about her doorbell being broken, so it may just be on her doorstep and she rushes him off the phone promising she'll be there later to pick something up. Blaine shows up later after Clive comes and questions him about the dead delivery boy and he takes a drill to Jackie's face.
"Why are you scoping the crowd? It's all Skate Skanks and Hobos"
Over at Helton House, Major shows up in the middle of a group therapy session and we get to see a bit of him at work. He really cares about these kids, so it wasn't too hard for one of them to guess that Major got his bruises when he went out to look for Jerome and Eddie. This same kid also thinks they're dead and that Major has a messiah complex. Later, as Major sulks about the home, he hears Jerome's voice, but it's just the kid from earlier watching videos of the skate park on the computer. Major decides to dig through all the posted videos to see if he can find the guy who attacked him who he thinks is the Candyman. He becomes so obsessive that he doesn't notice that he has popped a stitch until Ravi points it out to him later, so he decides to head over to Liv's to get it sewn up, and Ravi tells him, after several attempts to derail him, that Liv isn't at home alone. A little later, Major sends Ravi a pic of the Candyman, which Ravi takes to Liv. Standing next to the Candyman in the picture that Major sent is Blaine and it all starts to come together for Liv, about what exactly Blaine is doing. Too bad she doesn't know that her mother is currently at Meat Cute picking up some choice cuts and a job application for her brother. (Gulp)

"What was it Mom said? Right before 'sit up straight'? Something about not letting life pass me by."
Overall Thoughts: This was a stellar episode. I don't even know where to begin, but I'll try. Let's start with the case of the week. I really thought this was one of the more interesting ones that we have seen so far. The victim was killed with a birthday card filled with peanut powder laced confetti. I don't know who thought of that concept but it was pretty original. I didn't quite call whodunnit though. I thought for sure it would circle back to the donut shop owners, but once they revealed the killer as the guy from the crime scene it seems obvious on rewatch. I was not expecting him to have the Shanie connection though. I thought this case was good because it didn't try to make us sympathize with our victim who was a jackass. At the end of the day though he was a person and murder should never be an option, but the Sim Reaper reaped what he sowed by being a horrible person and he effectively ruined three people's lives and there was something inescapably grim and realistic about that. I will say I liked the residuals that he gave Liv this week, it was interesting seeing Liv be a shut-in, as it kind of was the physical representation of Liv's current shut-in state of her heart. She let her tragedy set her back and emotionally she was living just how Simon was. So, I like that her mother's comments, though due in some part to Simon's agoraphobia manifesting in Liv, spoke to a deeper part of her at the end of the hour.

Blaine is just really cold isn't he? He truly is the perfect foil of Liv. While both he and Liv are trying to regain pieces of who they were before they died, who they were was just so opposite and it seems personified now that they are zombies. Liv wanted to help people not die, now she is helping people when they do die by getting justice for them. Blaine was just a simple dealer, and now he is a brain kingpin. A kingpin who is rather ruthless as he was going to kill Clive and killed Jackie for getting him in this mess with Clive. I'm really anxious to see where this goes with him, especially if Liv's brother gets the job and now that Major is digging close to him without really knowing what he's scratching at. Plus Liv now knows as well, but what does she do with this information, how could she expose Blaine without exposing herself as a zombie and Lowell as an extension. We've already established that Liv probably isn't okay with killing a zombie when she killed Marcy only because of both the hitman brains and Ravi being endangered. So I fully expect this question of morality to finally come back into play.

I'm saving the best for last though. Liv and Lowell(What's their ship name?). In a way the Liv-Lowell-Major triangle of sorts(Yes, it's a love triangle and to quote Rachel Bilson, "C-Dub Bitches, what the F*** you expect?") feels like Logan-Duncan-Veronica 2.0. The almost perfect golden boy and first love, and the misunderstood bad boy that sets her heart on fire. One represents who she used to be, while the other represents who she is now. The questions now is, who does Liv want to be? If she still wants to be some semblance of the Liv she used to be, the one who was always so sure, then Major seems to be the choice. Holding on to him and their love, keeps her grounded. It keeps her hoping that one day, if there is a cure, she can be who she was. Major is a reminder of her old life that she is hoping one day she can have again, but he doesn't really know her now. We saw how this played out with Duncan when Veronica and he got back together, so will history repeat itself? Major is good for her because he is pure, and safe and represents who she was, but even if she does go back, will she be the same? Lowell on the other hand represents who she is now. He represents a life as a zombie where Liv can be honest and open. A life where she can take her tragedy and find something good in it. Though, how long can he stay knowing that there's someone else around that she will always "hope" for. And even if he does stay, what do the truly have together besides their tragedy and circumstance? If tomorrow there is a cure, would there still be sparks? Are they only a they because of what they are? Or could they work because there will always be a trust between them, She can fully be both of her selves with him and he could understand that. He's exciting because he's a chance at finding affection now that's she's dead, and maybe she could truly love him. I still think there is more to him, but maybe with time they could bond to a point to where if they are normal again, she's not so sure Major is her only choice. Then again, wouldn't Major as perfect as he is, love her even if she told him the truth? That's just me looking at this though and I'd love to know what you think, so vote in the poll below.
iZombie's next episode Maternity Liv airs Tuesday April 28th on the CW. It does look like it will be pre-empted in Chicago that night though so plan ahead.

If you miss the show when it airs Tuesday, @NeptuneRising hosts a re-watch every Wednesday and you can watch via Hulu, the Itunes Store, On-Demand or the CW app or Website and tweet #iZombieRewatch

Check out @iZombiePodcast who just had @RahulKohli on this week.

Also check out @iZombieNation and Follow @iZombieFans_CW.

So what did you think of Virtual Reality Bites? What do you think Liv is going to do about Blaine? Where do you stand on Liv-Lowell-Major? Sound off below!

About the Author - Winston Mize
Winston is a 24 year old goofball, born in the north, and currently living in the south. He loves TV.... for some it's coffee, for him it's TV talk that gets his day going. He wants to be a screenwriter, and watches some of everything. You name it, he's probably checked it out. And he would like you to know that it is okay for a 24 year old to play with action figures... well, he does anyway
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