TV

A Lighter Touch in "Eat, Pray, Liv" Episode Helps 'iZombie' Move Forward

Peyton gets the spotlight in "Eat, Pray, Liv"

This episode puts a great deal in motion, yet iZombie never feels slowed down by too much plot.


iZombie

Airtime: Tuesdays, 9pm
Cast: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley
Subtitle: Season 3, Episode 3 - "Eat, Pray, Liv"
Network: CW
Air date: 2017-04-18
Amazon
Liv: Fear of death is the lock of humanity's prison.

Blaine: I'm not afraid of dying, Liv. I'm afraid of remembering.

Peyton (to Ravi): And this should be obvious, but I'm gonna say it anyway. Your opinion in this matter is irrelevant. What did you come here for, Ravi? Did you come to say you're sorry? Or were you hoping maybe I'd apologize to you?

"Eat, Pray, Liv" isn't as strong an episode as last week’s, but it does include the return of both Blaine (David Anders) and Peyton (Aly Michalka), both of whom were absent the previous episode. Focusing on the death of a mindfulness teacher, iZombie also manages to move forward plenty of the larger story arcs, a balance the show effortlessly achieves on a regular basis. That this particular episode mystery wasn't as involving as others is almost beside the point; it serves as a tonal counterpart to the much darker ongoing stories.

At the center of this episode is Ravi's (Rahul Kohli) continued difficulty in accepting Peyton's recent past with Blaine. He's jealous, prideful, and seemingly incapable of moving on; it's Ravi at his most unlikable. Still, the show smartly doesn't try to side with his point of view, making it clear throughout that he's in the wrong, and Peyton has nothing to apologize or atone for. It's great to have Michalka back in a larger role this season, particularly as she plays Peyton's refusal to indulge in Ravi's immature behavior perfectly: never backing down, but obviously disappointed in him. Kohli's charm is considerable, and his Ravi is always a highlight, but too much more of jealous Ravi would quickly become tedious. Fortunately, though for the worst reason, Ravi won't be able to blame Peyton any longer for their estrangement apart after he sleeps with Katty Kupps (Christina Cox), his ex-CDC boss.

Although Blaine's presence hangs over much of Ravi’s story this season, their actual interactions in “Eat, Pray, Liv” bring to light some major revelations for the two. Ravi admits he's in love with Peyton, while Blaine admits he doesn't want to test Ravi's new amnesia-reversing serum because he doesn't want to remember his old life. It remains unclear whether Blaine is genuinely experiencing memory loss, but moments like these (and when he doesn't recognize his father) do make a good case for his emotional investment in not returning to the person he was. Then again, this is iZombie and things are often the opposite of how they appear. Anders' skill in making Blaine likable, despite the horrendous things he's done, also goes a long way to making his potential memory loss so compelling.

Going hand-in-hand with Blaine's return this week is the return of Angus (Robert Knepper) and Don E (Bryce Hodgson), now working together to establish a new money-making zombie business. Their new club, The Scratching Post, will cater to zombies only, and offer brains for a price. Angus' cutthroat approach is a clear link to Blaine’s old business model, but Knepper plays Angus with much more disdain and coldness than Anders played Blaine; even his humor is much more cutting. With the absence of Mr. Boss, at least for now, Angus is poised to become a big bad with long-reaching consequences. Blaine's latest gig as a lounge singer (really, just an excuse to let Anders sing regularly) couldn't feel further away from his former life, and his father's return only highlights that fact.

While the new serum's results could take a few weeks to manifest, Major's (Robert Buckley) symptoms are worsening and it's only a matter of time before he'll be forced to take Ravi's cure, causing memory loss. The contrast between Blaine and Major's feelings on essentially losing their pasts is especially striking this episode. Major's willing to try anything to hold onto his memories, and there are some sweet moments when Major's feelings for Liv (Rose McIver) are obvious to the audience. They're a reminder that regardless of how things currently stand, there's a great deal of history, as well as unresolved feelings, that make a future possible between the two.

In addition to Major struggling with his physical symptoms, he's also struggling to find his footing during mercenary training. He's the weakest member of the team during their simulations, and his introduction to brain mash is less than appetizing ("It's like someone ate old brains, then yogurt, and then mommy birded them into a tube"), although he does befriend a fellow trainee, Justin (Tongayi Chirisa). It's fun to see Major (and later Liv) interact with someone new without fear of revealing they're zombies, particularly as it's in a mostly social context.

The mystery this episode isn't as engaging as many previous ones have been, and oddly, Liv doesn't have a single vision throughout, but it does add a lighter touch to "Eat, Pray, Liv", and includes plenty of patented Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) reaction shots to Liv's guru brain. Regardless, this episode does plenty to continue the larger stories moving forward, while never abandoning character development or failing to throw in great one-liners. The return of Angus is a key point in the season, and when combined with the still to be revealed results of Ravi’s new serum, this episode puts a great deal in motion, yet iZombie never feels slowed down by too much plot. On the contrary, the many moving pieces to the show, and the ways they connect, is a large reason why it consistently works so well.

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