The 10 Best Brains on 'iZombie'
One of the things that sets iZombie apart from both other zombie shows and other crime shows is having Liv (and the other zombies) take on the personalities of the brains she eats. As well as adding levity to the show and giving Rose McIver, who plays Liv Moore, the chance to show her acting chops, the brains are often used—especially in Season 1—to teach Liv something about herself. In anticipation of the Season 4 premiere, we decided to compile a list of some of our favorite brains and personalities from the first three seasons of the show! They are, in no particular order:
1x02 “Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?”
The owner of this brain was an artist who saw the world through a very sensual lens, leading to Liv getting hot and bothered whilst talking to an ex-lover of the victim, and describing Blaine to a sketch artist as having lips that “grew from his mouth like a secret he couldn’t keep,” a “historic” chin, a nose that was “soft and gradual like a sand hill, but with an alertness.” All the pent-up sexual energy Liv suddenly has leads her to try and make out with Major, her ex-fiance (whom she had dumped upon becoming a zombie), who is clearly annoyed by her sudden change of heart. In this episode, Liv also creates a beautiful abstract painting that still hangs above her couch!
1x03 “The Exterminator”
Liv, Ravi, and Clive investigate a hit-and-run murder case, and when Liv eats the victim’s brain, she discovers that he was a sociopathic hit man. Throughout the show, we’ve seen Liv take on all sorts of crazy and eccentric behaviors, but this one was particularly interesting to see. A big moment is when a newly-sociopathic Liv watches with an eerie detachment as a zombified ex-coworker nearly kills Ravi. She pushes the numbness aside just in time to save Ravi, who points out to her, “All that sociopath swimming through your system, and you still found your way through.” We also see Liv battling the desire to eat more of the sociopath’s brain to stay numb inside, but ultimately tossing the rest of the brain down the garbage disposal. It’s one of the first times she realizes that she doesn’t have to be completely controlled by the brains she eats.
1x07 “Maternity Liv”
After eating the brain of a pregnant woman, Liv experiences intense maternal instincts, leading her to deal with the fact that her future most likely won’t include having children. She fusses with her brother’s hair, worries about Ravi using a sharp scalpel, and tries to fix Clive’s tie, to their confusion. But rather than wallowing in the relationship she may never be able to have (that between a mother and child), the brain leaves her determined to appreciate the relationships she does have, and to specifically be a better daughter and sister to her mother and brother.
2x02 “Zombie Bro”
Liv eats the brain of a frat boy, and takes on all the wonderful traits of that particular brand of young men. When she catches Ravi sleeping on the couch in the morgue, she puts glittery blue eyeshadow on his eyelids, bright pink blush and lipstick on his cheeks and lips, and writes FART on his forehead. “I know you can’t fully control your actions when you’re on a brain,” Ravi protests, “but I really need you to try and rein in the ‘bro.’” Another notable thing about this episode is Liv’s body language. Rose did a great job conveying the swagger and “bro”-ness of this brain, and it’s a delight to watch.
2x04 “Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues”
Liv and Clive try to solve the murder of a country singer, which brings out the musical side of Liv. In addition to some great country idioms on Liv’s part (“You don’t know whether to wind your watch or scratch your ass!”), we also get to hear her sing, which is a real treat, as Rose has a lovely voice!
2x07 “Abra Cadaver”
When a death-obsessed magician turns up dead at a local magicians’ convention, Liv dives into the world of professional magic. Ravi is delighted by her newfound skills: “This is the best brain ever! I almost want to start killing magicians so it never ends.” Liv leaves Major a voicemail about how she thinks drowning would be a beautiful way to die and tells Blaine that “love is only a delay of death,” which is a bit less fun than the card tricks. Once Liv figures out how the murder happened, she can’t just tell Clive and the suspects—she has to put on a show, of course! Later, after she’s unmasked the killer (with lots of drama and flourishes), Major walks by Liv in the living room, dressed all in black, with candles and an Ouija board, seemingly holding some sort of seance? But at this point, nothing his zombie girlfriend does really fazes him anymore.
3x02 “Zombie Knows Best”
Liv and Major consume the brains of an enthusiastic, supportive father and his teenage daughter, respectively, to try to solve their murders. Liv eats the dad’s brain, as he was more likely the target, being a high-powered banker, which leaves the high-school sophomore’s brains for Major. (Fun fact: when I mentioned writing this article in our TBT Media group chat, the unanimous response was “please tell me you’re going to include Major on teenage girl brains!”) In addition to the obvious hilarity that ensues as Major is transported into the mind of a teenage girl, this episode is the first time Clive really gets a good look at “how the sausage gets made,” or in this case, the brain chili dogs. It’s Major’s first day of mercenary training, and he’s a little insecure about his body—or a lot insecure. He keeps several towels wrapped around him in the locker room, and when someone asks him about it, he responds, “Your abs make me want to kill myself. You’re basically carved out of marble, and I’m this, like, hideous blob of dead fat!” Liv absorbs some dad traits, admonishing Major to turn down “that Miley-Perry-Gomez” music he’s listening to and insisting on changing Clive’s car’s oil.
3x09 “Twenty-Sided, Die”
The murder victim in this episode is a Dungeon Master: a person who runs Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. While it is funny to see Liv becoming an exaggerated version of a Dungeon Master, rolling dice every time she has to do something, this brain is on the list because of its effect on the rest of the gang. To try and trigger a flashback in Liv, she, Peyton, Ravi, and Clive all play a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, bringing out an unexpected side in Clive. Before this case, Clive has never heard of Dungeons & Dragons, and can’t believe that “grown adults play this.” Ravi clarifies that nerds play this, but he seems pretty familiar with the way the game works, and gets into it fairly quickly. Clive starts out the game begrudgingly, but ends up very invested, insisting that they finish the campaign before investigating the vision the game triggered in Liv, and suggesting they have a regular game night.
3x09 “Twenty-Sided, Die”
While Liv is busy being a Dungeon Master, we also see the effects of a brain on a smaller character, Don E, in this episode. Blaine has replicated the concoction Ravi made to try and reduce the effects of the memory loss from the zombie cure, that has the added effect of making zombie visions longer and more intense. He’s soaked the brain of a WWII gunner in the blue juice for twice as long as Ravi did, and has Don E’s right hand man try it out. When it has no ill effects on the guinea pig, Don E eats a huge chunk, and when we next see him, he’s deep in a dogfight with German planes, crouching on the bar, using the beer tap as his yoke. Don E’s “plane” takes a hit, and he dives off the bar and runs out of the building. He then gets captured by zombie hunters, but refuses to give them any information other than “his” name, rank, and serial number.
Now that so much of Seattle’s population has turned zombie, thanks to the tainted Aleutian flu vaccine, we’re sure to see plenty more great brain personalities in Season 4! I’m especially looking forward to seeing Dale Bozzio’s experiences with brains, being the newest zombie in the main group. What were your favorite brains from seasons 1-3? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
Season 4 of iZombie premieres Monday, February 26 at 9/8c on The CW.