First, a programming note: “Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” was originally meant to be the season’s penultimate episode. iZombie’s initial episode order was for 13 episodes, but the CW upped it to 19 after the season began airing. Changes were probably made, but this episode still feels like it’s driving toward an end. The show’s many story lines slowly begin to converge. And finally, the Stacey Boss plot starts to get interesting at the precise moment it intersects with the Major and Vaughn of it all, further complicating Major and Liv’s lives.
When the episode opens, Liv is starving; she’s been avoiding horny librarian brains. She and Ravi, who is suffering from a wicked hangover after a night out with Peyton, are summoned to the scene of a triple homicide near the docks. Unfortunately, the three victims have all been decapitated, which means no brains for Liv.
To satiate her hunger, Liv is forced to eat the leftover brains of a Millennial social-media addict who was hit by a bus. (She didn’t look up from her phone, and it’s now stored in the morgue.) Her desperation seems to provide iZombie a chance to break from its usual formula, but as usual, it doesn’t take the opportunity. “Physician, Heal Thy Selfie” never quite shows what Liv can do when she can’t depend on her visions to solve a case. And this time, Clive is really depending on her “magic” to help him identify the victims, who were all carrying fake IDs.
The brains immediately start to take their effect. Not before long, Liv is erroneously Instagramming a picture of her “brain food,” tweeting everything she does, and, most hilariously, sharing unboxing videos of equipment from Morgue Tech. (Dear iZombie writers: I want more videos of Liv unboxing stuff, because that was delightful in the best way possible.)
Blaine stops by Peyton’s office for his usual snitching session, but is surprised to learn that she’s decided to tell the D.A. about their affair and then resign. It’s hard not to feel bad for Blaine, who admits that he thought they had something. (Jokes!) Midway through their chat, Liv shows up and makes it clear that Peyton knows everything. While in Peyton’s office, Liv sees the faces from the three fake IDs at the bottom of the board — the victims worked for Stacey Boss, and one of them was his nephew. Nonetheless, Clive and Liv quickly rule him out as a suspect because he’s visibly shaken when he learns about what happened.
Facing a cold trail, Clive talks to his C.I. to get the sitch on the streets. Word is, there’s a new player in town who’s pushing Lucky U, a new kind of utopium. This guy wants to challenge Boss’s supremacy. More on that in a bit, though.
Back to Liv. At the end of last week’s episode, she was having second thoughts about sleeping with Drake. Peyton’s unfortunate situation made her realize that she didn’t know him too well. This week, the brain she consumes heightens those concerns. Liv wants to share everything and is put off by Drake’s apparent reluctance to share much about himself. (He doesn’t even have a Facebook or Twitter profile for her to cyberstalk.) So, Liv decides to look him up in the police department’s database … and discovers he spent two years in jail for aggravated assault.
Meanwhile, Peyton goes to D.A. Floyd Baracus’s house to turn in her resignation. When she gets there, the place is trashed and she finds an alleged message from the Chaos Killer scrawled across the wall. However, Agent Bozzio deduces that this might not be the Chaos Killer — Baracus doesn’t fit his one-percenter M.O.
In a nifty coincidence, Boss’s nephew’s funeral service is held at Blaine’s parlor. Boss recognizes Blaine as one of his old henchmen. While the service goes on above them, Boss forgives Blaine for quitting after the boat party, but informs him that he owes $80,000 for the product he never returned. Little does Stacey Boss know, he just met his new rival on the streets.
Liv confronts Drake about his time in jail, and he explains that he was arrested for paralyzing his mother’s abusive boyfriend when he was 19. In another nifty coincidence, Drake then receives a call from his dear mother asking if he’d come fix the sink at her home. Liv decides to accompany him. Drake’s mom is very cute, and the whole excursion is an endearing addition to an episode that grows heavier as it moves along.
The next day, a development in the triple-homicide investigation leads Clive and Liv to a cabin owned by none other than Floyd Baracus — and inside, they find the three heads in the fridge. It’s clear that Floyd was recently there, and Clive deduces that Boss must have staged the scene at his home to make it look like the Chaos Killer got him. Meanwhile, Liv notices that Floyd is still alive, hiding in the cabin’s crawl space.
Later that night, she returns with some brains for the zombie D.A., and he explains that he killed the three men and decapitated them because he knew he’d need their brains later. As Liv sits inside the cabin comforting Baracus, who just wants to go back to his son, Major sits outside in his car. Vaughn is breathing down his neck about Baracus; Major lied and said he wasn’t a zombie, even though Vaughn’s people basically confirmed he was when they did their own inspection.
One of Blaine’s zombies happens to be a journalist, and he fabricates a front-page story about Boss ordering a hit on the D.A. This article has several consequences. First, the mayor forbids Peyton from resigning because she needs her now more than ever. Second, it allows Vaughn to figure out the particulars of the case, so he gives Major an ultimatum: Either Major kills Baracus, or Vaughn will kill one online troll that mocks Max Rager each day. He’s already had one troll in Bangkok killed, so we know he’s serious.
Major kidnaps Floyd, takes him to his freezer-storage unit, and explains the situation to him. We’ve been through this several times, so the entire sequence passes without any audible dialogue, which makes it all the more striking. Floyd fakes his suicide and leaves a note, which is enough to convince the cops to back off.
As the episode ends, we know things will only get worse and more complicated. After a couple off weeks, iZombie feels like it’s moving back into form. However, Vaughn stills feels like a more threatening villain than Stacey Boss. For now, let’s chalk that up to the slow and steady handling of the character. We’ve got two Big Bads, and just seven episodes left. It’ll be interesting to see how, and if, iZombie can juggle everything.
- Just as Peyton and Ravi start to reconnect, she decides to move out. Dr. Chakrabarti will definitely have to deal with his feelings for her soon.
- Does anyone else get the sense that Peyton isn’t long for this world? She gets a lot of attention at the beginning of the episode, which briefly convinced me that was she was going to die. Real talk: Please don’t kill Peyton. I’m here for the Peyton-Ravi romance.
- Peyton tells Ravi that she would turn him if she became a zombie: “No way am I doing this whole zombie thing without you.”
- Question: Why was Stacey Boss’s nephew carrying around a machete?
- Liv, after Blaine says Team Z: “Stop trying to make Team Z a thing”
- Drake’s mother, when Drake scolds her for talking about Liz’s skin: “What’s going on with your skin there? … She’s got the coloring of a paper towel, but I’m not supposed say anything.”
- Vaughn, after ordering a hit on the Bangkok troll: “Max Rager is a global brand, Major. We are everywhere — like Starbucks, or the Eye of Sauron.”