Episode Title: Maternity Liv
Original Airdate: 4-28-15
One of the things that I like the best about this show is how it can allow itself to be subtle and move its overarching storyline along at a leisurely pace without making it seem like its dragging its heels. There are some great moments of world building in this episode, the only downside was that the humor for much of the primary story of the week felt a little flat with me, especially one of the personality traits of the brain. But that was a small downside to an otherwise great episode that continues to intrigue me with its ability to not only weave these characters and how they are interconnected with each other, but also how it doesn’t coddle the audience with reminders of what all of this means at every corner. There’s plenty of information there for those who have been watching the show from the beginning, and for those that haven’t they will seem to be just unimportant details that don’t really impact the main plot one way or the other.
The one nitpick I have with this week’s episode is the brain, or technically the brains as I didn’t much care for the brain Lowell ended up with either. The victim in the main story was a young, expecting mother. So naturally when Liv gets some of her personality, she gets the maternal instincts which show up in a couple different ways. The first way I had no problem with and it worked very well for the story as she had a connection with the baby who survived and a need to make sure the child is well cared for. The other way I did not care for as much as she essentially turns into her own rather doting mother, complete with licking her hand to smooth down Ravi’s hair, get a spot out of Babineaux’s tie, or ask if Ravi had eaten lunch yet. It didn’t feel like it should have been a personality trait coming from such a young woman who hadn’t even given birth yet, and had spent the last several months held captive in a treehouse. It was merely used as an easy excuse for laughs that I didn’t often find funny. There was also the brains that new boyfriend zombie Lowell had eaten which turned him temporarily gay, but it also felt like it was merely an excuse to hold off on furthering the plot on their relationship for an extra episode since it likely didn’t fit well with the overall theme of this week.
But what this episode lacks in Liv’s personality trait of the week, it makes up for in world building. This is a show where it pays off to notice the details in the episodes. A few weeks back, we learned that the captain of police is a zombie and is covering up the missing persons because he knows who is behind it and needs it himself to keep him in the brains. During the climactic shootout where they go after the two suspects of the week, he’s the one that goes in alone. We get a quick reminder that he is a zombie when he gets shot, but when he has the second shooter subdued, he shoots her instead of capturing her. It’s a great moment of subtlety, because there’s no one there for him to talk to, so the reason behind him killing her isn’t clear until a couple scenes later during the press conference where he builds up their crime to include all of Blaine’s killings. He also happens to notice that Liv came out of it with a leg wound that didn’t bleed much. It’s a brief interaction that doesn’t have much attention called to it, but there’s enough there for the audience to know that he realizes that Liv is a zombie. There’s also the question of the delivery boy for Blaine’s Meat Cute restaurant, where last week we saw Liv’s mom pick up an application, here we don’t see Liv’s brother working there just yet. Instead, it takes the more leisurely approach and we see the application end up in the hands of Liv’s brother. Major also gets the chance to get into even more trouble through his own investigation into the missing kids when he follow’s Blaine’s muscle, and even though he does get the guy’s name, and discovers brains in his car, he ends up in jail and the muscle has a perfect excuse for the “cow’s brains”. It’s not too surprising that the ratings for this show continues to grow as each week it just builds on these characters in such great ways. We even get a little bit more into Ravi’s search for a cure as we find out he is successful in finding the cause with his lab rat testing and the combination of the drug Utonium and the energy drink from a few episodes back. Very nice.