Whoa, whoa, whoa – iZombie, where the hell have you been the past few weeks? Tonight’s episode, “Virtual Reality Bites” was actually good! To be fair, I think the reason I liked it so much was because it reminded me of the South Park episode “Make Love, Not Warcraft”, though there was plenty of other stuff to enjoy during this hour as well. (spoilers ahead!)
This episode’s crime scene involves an online hacker/troll named the Sim Reaper who was found dead in his basement due to anaphylactic shock. Once Liv noms on his brain, she soon adopts his agoraphobic personality and his passion for MMORPGs. Throughout the episode, Liv tries to piece together clues about the man’s death while engaging in stereotypical neckbeard hobbies like chugging Mountain Dew, gorging on Cheetos, and harassing people in a virtual gaming world similar to World of Warcraft.
Like I mentioned before, this episode entertained me because of how much it reminded me of one of my favorite South Park episodes. Also, as a regular online gamer, I’m actually able to follow along and understand references as I watch Liv throw out all these MMORPG terms and phrases.
There’s one part where Liv confronts a suspect in the game and tells him that she’s with the Seattle Police Department, and the suspect replies with, “Say what?” The delivery and the dead-serious tone in the suspect’s voice made me laugh so hard for the strangest reason. You have to appreciate the little things.
The way this murder story ties back around is pretty interesting and cleverly thought-out. Earlier in the episode, we hear a recording of the Sim Reaper harassing and threatening a customer service rep. At the time, I figured this scene was only done to show how much of a prick he was, but it turns out that it’s incredibly vital to the storyline. The episode gets really dark when we discover the motive behind the murder. Usually, there’s a slightly comical or lighthearted way of revealing the murderer, but this episode was actually super sad. It makes you think twice about harassing those customer service reps the next time you call in to complain about why your Internet is down.
On the less interesting side of the episode, we follow Major as he continues to hone in on who’s been abducting his kids from the shelter. Major finds out that there are hundreds of videos of the kids at the skatepark, and that, with some careful research and a lot of patience, he can find out who’s been taking them. At the end of the episode, after hours upon hours of scouring videos, Major pinpoints a screenshot that contains the man who was wearing Jerome’s shoes and who kicked the crap out of him last episode. Ravi takes the photo to Liv, and they discover that this man is possibly in league with Blaine!
This part of the episode had a little bit of a sloppy execution. It didn’t hold my interest as much as Liv’s story. However, I did like seeing things tie back around. I will give iZombie credit for knowing how to piece everything together so that it’s all connected.
The acting from everyone was a little sub-par. Even the Sim Reaper sounded like he was over-acting. I’ve dealt with trolls online, and I’ve talked with aggressive types over the phone during my stint as a customer service rep, but something seemed really fake about Sim’s voice. It sounded like he was trying too hard. The acting on this show has never been spectacular, so I didn’t have very high hopes. But at the same time, I wish they could’ve had someone more convincing playing Sim Reaper.
Another thing I want to add is that the show is becoming too formulaic, which is a common problem with most of the CW’s shows. The episode kicks off with a murder, there aren’t enough clues, Liv eats brain, romantic drama happens with Major or another dude, suspects are brought in, suspects turn out to be dead-ends, Liv has an epiphany, the suspect is finally caught. Oh, and Blaine makes a small cameo and acts like his typical scumbag self. It’s simple, straightforward, but prone to becoming boring. I also want to add that, while I love Rose McIver and her performance, I’m getting tired of her looking clueless all the time. Pick out almost any screenshot from the show and she looks like she’s confused or baffled about something. Look at the featured picture for this article and you’ll see what I mean.
This was possibly the best episode since the premiere, though I may just be biased since I loved the MMORPG element of the plot. I’m sure next week’s episode will probably lose me again, but I’m going to just be optimistic and hope for the best.
Final Grade: B
+ I really liked the MMORPG aspect of the plot.
+ There were some genuinely funny moments.
+ The entire murder plot was pretty clever and smartly written.
– I’m losing interest with Blaine and his subplots.
– The show could hire better actors.
– After eating Sim Reaper’s brain, Liv became agoraphobic and couldn’t leave her house. Will this permanently affect Liv or do her victims’ personality traits disappear once she’s fully digested the brain?
What did you think of tonight’s episode of iZombie? Was it enjoyable or could it have been better? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!