“Some Like It Hot Mess” is season three’s first brain flop, in which Liv eats a brain from someone so unlikable that it also makes Liv herself largely unlikable and definitely unfunny. It still manages to be a decent episode, with some great emotional moments, a significant setback and a major reveal, but Liv’s “hot mess” brain is absolutely an albatross around its neck.
The episode opens with an introduction to party girl Yvonne, who will be this week’s murder victim, and she doesn’t seem like a bad sort. Self-absorbed and flighty, sure, but not the worst. However, as we get to see more of Yvonne’s personality through Liv after she eats Yvonne’s brain, it starts to grate. I’m not really sure what the joke is here, to be honest. I suppose it’s that Yvonne is vapid, talentless and irredeemably self-centered, but none of that is particularly funny, and the portrayal works mostly in cheap stereotypes without much depth of thought. While iZombie often plays with stereotypes and worn tropes for comedic value, the show’s treatment of Yvonne is genuinely unkind and oftentimes unpleasant to watch—particularly when you can tell that the show was going for a laugh and it doesn’t land.
That said, it’s possible that the writers wanted to use this experience, for Liv, as a way of reiterating for the audience why it’s so crucial to Liv that she get the cure for her zombie-ism. More than once in this episode, Liv’s brain-influenced behavior is hurtful to her friends, damaging to her relationship and/or professionally embarrassing. The thing is, this is all stuff we’ve seen many times before in one way or another, and while all of that is heightened by consuming the brain of someone as unpleasant as we’re supposed to think Yvonne was, this heightening feels superfluous. It’s especially so in light of the fact that Liv starts the episode off expressing her fatigue over the whole zombie/vision thing; this makes the cringeworthy saga of Liv on “hot mess” brains feel particularly torturous in a way that’s, frankly, at least as fatiguing for the audience as it must be for poor Liv.
The star player of the week is Robert Buckley as Major, who we first see gleefully scarfing down ice cream with his reinvigorated taste buds at the beginning of the hour. As expected, he starts to lose his memories soon enough, though not before pranking Liv by answering the door and pretending to have forgotten her. It’s a fine line to walk, and the scene could have come off as cruel, but it works largely because once Liv is inside the house we learn that Major has been writing letters to everyone he cares about—including a very fat and tear-stained one for Ravi. Major is coping, and it’s sweet. Of course, then he gets on a bus to Walla Walla, where his mom and her girlfriend (wife?) live, which is terrifying for Ravi and Liv, who have no idea where he is, but offers us an interesting and unknown before now part of Major’s backstory. He’s always been a very reactionary character, responding to things that happen to him, and the extra depth provided by even the barebones story of his parents’ divorce and his choosing his dad over his mom is a nice development, even if his mom doesn’t enter into the story again. iZombie doesn’t often include these kinds of grace notes in character development, probably because it’s such a wildly plot-heavy show.
Speaking of plot! The big revelation of the episode, of course and finally, is that Blaine has been faking his amnesia—for months. It’s Don E. who convinces Ravi of Blaine’s duplicity, and Ravi who gives Peyton this information in another scene that walks a fine line; Ravi is still hung up on Peyton, and she knows this, but Ravi does (barely) manage to deliver the news in a way that doesn’t come off as self-serving or jealous. While Peyton doesn’t take it well, she does seem to take it to heart, and it’s Peyton who smartly maneuvers Blaine into confessing it all to her: he did lose his memories, but only for a couple days, and he’s been faking ever since because it gave him the chance at a fresh start. It’s a surprisingly sympathetic performance, but we oughtn’t forget that Blaine is an actual murderer and that his sexual relationship with Peyton has been under false enough pretenses to arguably amount to rape by deception. In any case, that the memory loss is temporary is good news for Major and should be good news for Liv (who is already planning her own ice cream feast), but by the time the gang gets back to the morgue, the place has been tossed and the cure is missing. Worse, Major gave his other dose to Natalie.
- Clive’s exasperated “Oh, boy” when he hears a brief description of Yvonne’s personality was the single perfect comedic moment of the episode.
- What kind of monster drinks pepper vodka straight?
- Peyton is working that dominatrix murder case, and she points out that the confession seemed fishy with there being so little hard evidence connecting the suspect to the murder.
- I feel like there was some point trying to be made about Nice Guys™ in the interrogation of Yvonne’s friend from the grocery store, but I don’t really know what point that was.
- I wonder why Blaine is making Ravi’s blue stuff.
- I have a strong suspicion that the obvious suspect isn’t who took the cure from the morgue. My money is on Fillmore Graves taking it.