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REVIEW: iZombie 1×09 “Patriot Brains”

Written by Alex Reale

Okay, iZombie, you’re heading in the right direction. Let’s keep this going, shall we? “Patriot Brains” was another rare decent installment of the show. That’s not to say it didn’t have its flaws. However, it wasn’t the plot itself that had problems; it was moreso the characters and their actions that drove me crazy during the episode. (spoilers ahead!)

“Patriot Brains” picks up immediately where last week left off: Liv discovers that Blaine has been killing Major’s homeless kids and then supplying the brains to other zombies around the city, including Lowell. Liv goes to confront Lowell about this and we run into our first problem with the episode. I wish I could’ve reached through the television screen and punched Lowell in the face. This is one of the most annoying character traits I’ve ever witness in comics, shows, movies, etc. When Liv asks Lowell about the situation, he refuses to answer and instead tells her that he loves her. I wanted to claw my eyes out. The guy is more upset at the fact that Liv only called him to ask about the brains than just calling him for the sake of talking to him. Are we supposed to be cheering Lowell on? Are we supposed to be like, “Aw, that’s cute! He loves her! It doesn’t matter that he’s eating homeless kids’ brains!” No. Screw that. Lowell is a dick.

Even Liv bothered me during this sequence. She actually stops and has this moment of realization on her face. All of a sudden, she thinks she may love Lowell too! I get that the show is trying to force this romance, but it’s being done at the expense of annoying characters. KIDS ARE DYING AND HAVING THEIR ORGANS HARVESTED! Does it really take a pair of blue eyes and an English accent to make Liv forget this?!

Deep breaths…

I would’ve been happy with just this one plot, but we had to have a secondary story going on. This time, Liv and Ravi are at a paintball field, where they see a man who was shot through the throat by a live bullet. I’m proud to say that this episode didn’t lose me with generic-looking actors or poor character development. I knew what was actually going on! Unfortunately, the murder subplot was somewhat unnecessary since the core plot with Blaine seemed to stand on its own merit. But we learn at the end of the episode how they tie together (as I’ll explain shortly).

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I normally love Rose McIver‘s acting, and it’s essentially the only thing I tend to enjoy about the show overall. This episode wasn’t one of her strongest moments. The brain she chomped down on this week belonged to the man who was gunned down on the paintball field who happens to be an army sniper, so Liv obviously adopts his professional mannerisms and military skill sets. I didn’t buy it for a minute. McIver tried her best to emulate the personality of military personnel, but it felt extremely forced and insincere.

The end of the episode is where I got annoyed once again. Lowell and Liv attempt to kill Blaine by luring him into a trap on a rooftop. While Lowell is distracting him, Liv would use her newfound powers and a stolen sniper rifle to take out Blaine from a nearby rooftop. There’s a clear shot at Blaine’s forehead, and Liv hesitates.

Mother of God.

I rarely shout at the television, but this had to be one of those moments. I kept yelling “PULL THE TRIGGER!”. I understand what Liv’s though process was, and why she hesitated. The brain of the army sniper conflicted with her regular thought process to make her realize that she didn’t want to become a killer. My frustration comes from the fact that I believe it shouldn’t matter. Kill one man, and Liv could’ve potentially saved an entire city, as well as her boyfriend. But she had to have this moral dilemma that forced her to wimp out. Lowell tries to take matters into his own hands and, well, things don’t work out. No spoilers, but Blaine is not too happy with Lowell.

I might be too harsh on this final point, but it drives me absolutely crazy. As I always say, “I get it.” I know why they do certain things on the show, but it doesn’t mean that I have to like it. Liv was being influenced by the brain she had eaten, which made her second-guess whether she should go through with Blaine’s assassination or not. Despite this, it’s an easy way to piss off and frustrate viewers like myself. Blaine is the big bad, and people just want to see a bullet in his brain. Personally, I enjoy him being the villain since he’s such an interesting character, but you can’t set up his potential death and then sweep the rug out from under us. That’s a cheap shot. If you want to tease at Blaine’s upcoming death, do it in a way that doesn’t infuriate the audience.

The only thing more frustrating than “Patriot Brains” was the finale to Arrow that aired last night. Let’s also not forget the annoying over-hype of The Flash‘s recent crossover. I’m convinced that the CW conspired to piss off viewers this week. Regardless of all this frustration, iZombie‘s “Patriot Brains” was better than a few of its predecessors. I’m interested to see what goes on next week and how it’ll tie up some of the lose ends from tonight. But if we get more instances of Liv’s hesitation and stubbornness in the future, then my interest in the show will drop even further.

Final Grade: B 

+ The plot didn’t lose me!

+ I’m glad Lowell is gone.

+ Aside from Liv, the acting was all right.

– Lowell and Liv both drove me crazy this episode with some of their actions.

– The murder subplot was a bit on the weak side and felt like pure filler.

– Yet again, we have intense over-acting.

Extra Thoughts:

– Is Lowell really dead?

– Does Blaine know what Liv was up to?

What were your thoughts on this episode? Were you sad about the conclusion? Send us your opinions in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!