iZombie: Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Brain

“You wanna know when democracy doesn't work? It doesn't work when you're sitting on a powder keg. It doesn't work when your people are starving. It doesn't work when your entire species is on the brink of extinction.”

This was the first major misstep of the season. The murder mystery was dull, the victim was reprehensible, and the rest of the characters spent their time either being party to Liv’s chauvinistic behavior (Ravi), or just being plain gross all on their own (Major). Thankfully, the moral complexity of the recurring arcs kept things afloat where everything else failed.

Last season, dominatrix brain was a real highlight. The writers managed to make a sex-crazed episode an entertaining ride without resorting to any condescending judgement. While that’s not the problem with ‘Don’t Hate the Player...’, the decision to center an episode on a Pickup Artist’s brain ended up providing more cringe worthy moments than side-splitting ones; the sex jokes ended up being rather juvenile in comparison to what we got during the aforementioned season three highlight.

The depiction of the “artist” himself in action was pretty ick all on its own, (do we really need to see women falling for “negging” in a 2018 TV series?), but Liv carrying on in the same way lost its novelty quickly. At least she was able to tell Chase where to stick it. Other than that, she came very close to violating the sexual harassment training she so enthusiastically participated in last week.

At least Liv had an excuse for being a total douchebag, because I’m not really seeing what Major’s justification is for the activity he was a part of in this episode. You can see that he’s in a difficult position, with pressure from Chase Graves forcing him to be excessively bullish in his protection of the city at large. But is he really that far gone that he can’t see how reprehensible it is to intimidate the press into silence?

You can sort of see where the mounting pressure is coming from. The articles promoting Leone as a martyr must be seriously undermining the whole point Chase Graves was trying to make with her execution. But can’t Major, as a typically moral and reasonable guy, see that not everything that’s being suggested is on the up and up? Maybe he’s just so swept up in trying to be the “man who gets stuff done” that he’s not thinking about the repercussions of shooting his way through Seattle. Either way, it’s a disappointing turn for him. He’s had a rough time over the last three years, but I don’t think it’s enough to justify all of this.

Peyton sure isn’t happy about Major’s behavior, but she has an even bigger problem with Liv, who is now fully on board with Leone’s operation. She’s now gone as far as creating fake IDs for the humans being smuggled into the city. Peyton has been a clear voice of reason this season, no more so in this episode where most of her friends were acting like dingbats, but what will she do with her roommate’s freedom potentially on the line?

Plus

Clive gave in and slept with someone (a prostitute it turned out), but he then found out that Bozzio hadn’t gone as far with the guys she had been seeing. Will he ever catch a break?

I genuinely thought Liv had met Angus before, but apparently not.

More Aly & AJ music was featured during the closing scene, for any eagle-eared viewers who may have noticed. I really can’t stress how wonderful their EP is.

He Said, She Said

Liv: “I need a minute for the toxicology report, Liv changed the filing system. The deceased are now arranged by hotness quotient.”
This one got me, I have to admit.

Peyton: “Shutting down the press over a critical story. Isn't that what an autocrat does?”

It’s frustrating to see such great characters starting to fall victim to contrived writing, but it does speak volumes that this episode is one of the few times it’s ever happened in this show’s three and a half season run.

2.5 out of 5 zombie donuts.

Originally posted at PandaTV.

4 comments:

Gus Brunetti said...

I'd liked it better than you did, Panda, but your review has changed my mind. Great!

Also, is it wrong that I find zombie!Liv all kinds of hot, but when she passes for human I find her meh?

TheShadowKnows said...

Rose is so adorable she can sell anything. Even those hats.

Anonymous said...

I don't really like Major...But your missing the part where he is getting close to that other piece of shit guy who is always in Blaine's club.

Patryk said...

The minor problem I have with the episodes now is that they exaggerated the brain influence on the zombie to the point of completelty losing the original personality. Season one did it much subtler.