TV Review: iZombie – 1×05 “Flights of the Living Dead”

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This week, the obligatory dead body was that of a girl named Holly, an old friend of Liv’s, and the subsequent case surrounding her death hit much closer to home. Lying on the slab in front of Liv wasn’t some poor stranger who she sympathised with but never really knew. Lying on the slab in front of Liv was the body of a girl that she not only knew, but also talked to and laughed with, and that change in circumstances had a considerable influence on the prevailing mood. It was, essentially, a somber affair, and the various entertaining moments – those involving Ravi and Liv, and Lowell and Liv, respectively – only served to further highlight the less-than-uplifting mood. Not, however, to detrimental effect, as it was a strong episode (if I had a dollar for every single time I’ve said that about this show, I’d have lots of dollars, none of which I’d be able to spend in my current location), and, arguably, its sympathetic representation of grief and the different ways in which it can potentially manifest, was a significant contribution to that.

Plot:

In some respects, iZombie is a crime drama. A dead body turns up, there’s some suspicion over how said body ended up dead, people investigate, and then, to conclude, the mystery is solved and the case is closed, allowing everyone involved to home for dinner and/or booze with hot sauce.

In many other ways, however, it is not, and “Flight of the Living Dead” was a prime example of why that is the case. It was, in short, primarily about people, not crime. Rather than a lengthy discussion of motives and MO’s, it was about the different ways that grief manifests itself. It was about friendship, whether lengthy and enduring or recently discovered, about how people behave when they’re desperate, and, most importantly, about living, even if – especially if – your version of living involves semi-dubious cocktails and hair dye.

This is a clever, unique show that is, ultimately, character-driven but that never fails to deliver multi-layered, engaging plots focusing on very real and very human concerns, and that is a truly impressive combination.

Characters:

Ravi had considerably less screen-time in this episode than he had in 1×04, but his contribution was far from negligible. He continued to provide many of the entertaining scenes, just as he has all series – particularly enjoyable was the way he teased Liv over Lowell – and it is, arguably, refreshing to watch a show that has so many friendships that are just that – friendships. No subtext, no suggestion that a romantic relationship might exist somewhere in the future, when the two characters in question inevitably discover the worth of the other person. Just friendship. Now that so many shows – crime drams included, incidentally – seem to consider romance to have not only more mileage than friendships, but to be of higher importance, it’s nice to have the opportunity to enjoy the latter without having to worry about the sudden interference of the former.

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More importantly, Ravi, in the role of ‘friend and co-worker,’ shines. He’s an interesting character in his own right, undeniably funny, clever, and sympathetic. He has his own life, but he’s a good friend to Liv, and their interactions lend a now familiar touch of humour to every episode.

Onto the romance! (So to speak)

In this episode, we are introduced to Lowell Tracey, a mysterious, vaguely pale character who turns out to be – hold the horses – another zombie. After a somewhat rocky beginning, he hit it off with Liv, who not only appreciated the company, but also the opportunity to connect with someone who knows exactly what she’s going through as an inexperienced member of the undead. Their subsequent scenes, while arguably not quite as entertaining as those involving Liv and Ravi, had a genuine softness that the show, with its clever humour and profusion of bodies, occasionally fails to include.

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In short: I liked it. A lot.

Concluding Comment:

This was, again, a good, strong episode, and the profusion of cliffhangers towards the end of the episode ensured that I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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