“Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” does a great deal of heavy lifting plot-wise, yet it never does so at the expense of good storytelling and character development.
iZombieAirtime: Tuesdays 9pm
Cast: Rose McIver, Rahul Kohli, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka, Eddie Jemison, Steven Weber, Greg Finley, Kurt Evans
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 12 - "Physician, Heal Thy Selfie"
Air date: 2016-02-09
Picking up right where last week's episode left off, "Physician, Heal Thy Selfie" delves deeper into Liv’s (Rose McIver) new relationship with Drake (Greg Finley), and the links that follow from her digging into his past. The story threads continue to build in complexity, but they’re clearly reaching the point where the connections can’t be ignored for too much longer.
Peyton (Aly Michalka) is still struggling with the fact that she slept with Blaine, and decides to resign over her unprofessional and potentially case-compromising behavior ("It turns out I fail just as epically as I succeed"). Although Blaine (David Anders) tries to make his case as a changed man in an effort to convince Peyton to stay on the job, she’s determined to hand in her resignation to her boss, District Attorney Floyd Baracus (Kurt Evans). Meanwhile, Liv and Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) are called to investigate a triple homicide that includes three decapitated unidentified men washed up on the shore.
Since Liv is unable to eat the brains of the murder victims, she's at a disadvantage in crime solving. Still, she needs to eat, so Ravi (Rahul Kohli) offers up the brain of a young women hit by a bus. Unbeknownst to either of them, she was a social media maven who promptly inspires Liv to post a photo of her meal, #brainfood. McIver's always fun to watch when she’s taken on the personality of someone so opposite to that of Liv’s, and watching her tweet incessantly, post selfies with Peyton, and give a bad Yelp review to a restaurant she regularly orders from provides the small, but needed, breaks of humor throughout the episode. Well, that and Peyton's legendary alcohol tolerance that keeps Ravi in an almost permanent hangover state.
Though she may be handicapped without her usual powers, Liv's at the right place at the right time when she spots the three murder victims on Peyton’s crime board. The connection to Mr. Boss (Eddie Jemison), particularly as one of the men is his nephew, leads Liv and Clive to question him, although he’s genuinely surprised to learn that they’d been murdered. Soon after, Boss and Blaine cross paths, as the nephew’s funeral is held at Blaine’s funeral home. It's one of the few times we’ve seen Blaine scared, but he manages to escape relatively unscathed. He’s alive, but now owes Boss $80,000 to be collected by his goons in $5,000 payments every two weeks. It’s a clever way to keep the two connected, as it would’ve been impossible for Blaine to escape Boss’ notice for much longer. Now he's guaranteed to be dealing with him for quite a while. As a bonus, Anders and Jemison are wonderful to watch together.
Bringing even more danger to the episode is the return of Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber). He questions Major (Robert Buckley) about Baracus, as he’d been on the kill list until Major reported he wasn't a zombie. Now, after the missing heads of the dead men have been found in Baracus' cabin refrigerator, there’s no doubt that he’s a zombie with the strength to kill three trained men. Major’s then forced to fake another death and put another potential victim in deep freeze to prove to Du Clark he followed orders. Major has been at war with his conscience throughout this season, and much like it’s only a matter of time before Clive finds out about Liv, it can’t be much longer that Major is able to continue keeping his secrets from everyone.
Du Clark remains an unhinged, menacing threat with little regard for human life. Weber gleefully plays up his concern only for himself and his business. When Du Clark threatens the Internet trolls who badmouth Max Rager, he follows through and has one killed across the world. It’s not only an extension of the social media thread that runs through the episode, but it also speaks to how far-reaching his power goes, and has the desired effect to scare Major into action.
"Physician, Heal Thy Selfie" does a great deal of heavy lifting plot-wise, yet it never does so at the expense of good storytelling and character development. It's almost shocking how much information is conveyed, and how the many complicated aspects of the larger arc become further entangled, yet iZombie never feels like it's rushing through plot points or glossing over the emotional fallout. As Liv continues to become more involved with Drake, and she realizes that Blaine is dealing the new Utopium on the street, Lucky U, the messier things become for all those around her. It only remains to be seen just how the many revelations sure to come will play out, but iZombie has proven it will handle them with equal parts seriousness and dark humor.