Liv puts the social in social media

By Danielle Nussbaum
February 10, 2016 at 02:26 AM EST
Bettina Strauss/The CW
S2 E12
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Tonight’s iZombie might seem like it was just the social media episode, but really it was all about communication — and lack thereof. Social media is, at its core, a veneer. We show people what we want them to see. Just like zombies get spray tans, dye their hair, and move amongst the living like they belong, we use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and so on to create personas that make us feel normal and help us connect with other people. One misstep or misdirection and we’re found out: Doubt sinks in, we’re alienated, and we have to start rebuilding that persona all over again.

Liv has dealt with this since the moment Blaine turned her from a mild-mannered med student into a brain-eating zombie. She’s had brief moments of respite — RIP Lowell and a fleeting romantic reboot with Major — but she’s had to work hard at reconnecting with Major and Peyton, which involved revealing her true zombie self, and with Babineaux after their falling out. But every time she starts to get her groove back, there’s a bump. In tonight’s episode, the murder victims didn’t even have brains.

Our three homicide victims are headless henchmen, and Liv’s hungry, so for the first time since the series began, she goes full foodie on a bystander brain, that of a 22-year old run over by a bus who “didn’t even look up from her phone,” according to Ravi. The millennial setup worked well for this episode’s rubric: All the texting and tweeting added levity and a hefty dose of social criticism to what would have otherwise been a plot-heavy show.

Story lines are beginning to interweave and collide so much, we may need our own version of Peyton’s Carrie Mathison-adjacent crime map to keep track. One thing’s for sure: All roads lead back to Mr. Boss — and not just because he’s Public Enemy No. 1. The headless henchman were in his employ and lost their noggins when they went after the Peyton’s boss, DA Baracus. Who just happens to be the zombie that Major didn’t kill because he saw him with his 5-year-old son. (Vaughn and Rita were none too pleased and found disgusting joy in killing a Max Rager Twitter troll halfway around the country to punish Major.)

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The savior triangle gets more complicated when Liv attempts to rescue Baracus and Major has to take him out in order to save Liv’s life, which, as we know, she still has no idea about. No matter what Team Max Rager does to make Major’s tasks more difficult, he finds a way to carry out his duties with the utmost tenderness and respect. And I swear, I get choked up every time (especially with the zombie hooker). Major’s veneer is so shellacked at this point, he can’t connect with anyone: The freezer is his only friend.

Blaine, in a rare bout of naivete, tries to continue his sessions with Peyton, and on the surface, it seems like he has a thing for her. True, he’s manipulating the situation to get Boss out of the way so he can take over the Utopium trade, but at this point there’s no reason for him to charm Peyton. And yet, he’s bummed when she wants to give up.  “I’m trying to wash away some sins here,” says Blaine, as Liv strolls in and Peyton tells him he was a “giant mistake.” (You can hear her channeling Julia Roberts here: “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”) I almost feel sorry for Blaine, but then I remember he’s a cold-hearted drug dealer who turned Liv into a zombie and murdered countless people (including almost killing her brother, who has all but disappeared from the narrative).

NEXT: “Of course I ’grammed it. That fish was on fleek.”

It seems Blaine feels sorry for himself as well. His one attempt at connecting has been brutally rebuffed — that’s what happens when you let your guard down, say the iZombie writers in their acute social commentary — and to add insult to injury, Mr. Boss comes to collect on his debt. Blaine got a decent dose of pathos in this episode as we watch him roll over for Peyton and Mr. Boss without a fight. But what doesn’t kill the platinum blonde makes him stronger, so I worry that we’re in for some major (lowercase “m”) drama in the next few episodes. A lonely Blaine is a wicked Blaine.

Liv, in all her millennial, social media brain prime, is far from lonely, and not just because she’s suddenly blowing up Twitter and heading up the Seattle selfie society. We start the episode with her sliding into bed with Drake for a cuddle. And neither wind, nor rain, nor sleet, nor hail, nor a stint in jail, nor a makeover from his mother can derail her from falling for him. Except of course, for the blinding vision she gets of Drake’s wormy crony selling Lucky You (the newer, cheaper Utopium) to the body that housed her brain snack.

“Blaine is the new player,” says Liv as she closes the door post-vision. No matter how much we try to connect, we really don’t know people at all, do we?

Choice Cuts:

Welcome back #Pavi! #Reyton? I don’t know if they have a shipper name yet, but I love Peyton and Ravi so much. I hope she’s not just using him to make herself feel better because they’re my favorite couple on the show, and I’d love to see them get back together. The sooner, the better. (iZombie writers, if you’re listening: PLEASE don’t kill off Peyton or make her a zombie because she boned Blaine.)

“Before you moved in, I just assumed you were a fembot that plugged into a charging station at night.” —Ravi

“I know how this turns out. It’s like the shots contest in Raiders Of the Lost Ark. You’re Karen Allen, and I’m the fat Nepalese guy that ends up under the table.” —Ravi

The music from this ep was on POINT. Loved Elvis Costello’s “Watching the Detectives” when Blaine was chatting with the zombie reporter in the hearse and Billy Squier’s ’80s classic “In the Dark” when Peyton went to find Baracus in his graffitied house.

“Of course I ’grammed it. That fish was on fleek.” —Liv

“Aw, he swiped right. I’m sure that your Tinder photo is hair-centric and flattering, but how do you spin that bio? I’m a humble guy always down for a hike or we can just murder and chill. My fave slays are astronauts, homeless teens, and boyfriends.” —Liv

Blaine: I take it Peyton knows all about Team Z.

Liv: Nobody calls it that. Stop trying to make Team Z a thing.

Clive: I believe she’s what they call a tastemaker.

Liv: More of an online influencer.

“The bunk I’m slinging’s got more steps than Helen Keller in a corn maze.” —small-time drug dealer

Rita: Max Rager has over 3 million twitter followers; why obsess over the trolls?

Vaughn Du Clark: No troll left behind.

When Liv did that unboxing video from the morgue, I nearly peed my pants. I’ve watched 5 million of those with my friends’ kids, and I never thought I’d see the day when there was an unboxing of brain instruments.

Liv: What kind of person doesn’t use Twitter or Facebook?

Ravi: Only a lunatic. How else would he disseminate inspirational quotes and latte art?

“Well he’s a zombie with anger issues and a prison record; as far as millennial breakup options go, ghosting gets my vote.” —Ravi

Slow Torture and Gardens magazine.

Ravi: A tiny man with a jackhammer has taken over my skull.

Liv: And yet, I bet Peyton still made it to 6 a.m. spin class, didn’t she?

Ravi: Big deal. I’ve been spinning since 4:30.

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