We viewers need to get comfortable with liking a villainous character just for the hell of it. That has never been more apparent than with iZombie's Blaine DeBeers.
Izombie is in its fourth season, and Blaine remains a fan-favorite no matter what he does.
Blaine has taken on many roles over the years. He has been the villain, and not quite the villain, and shifted to a definite antagonist. He has been portrayed as an antihero -- a begrudging doer of good, but most often, not without ulterior motives.
Blaine, in four seasons, has exceeded expectations and lasted longer than the confinements of iZombie Season 1 ever should have allowed.
What iZombie blessed us with is superb casting. David Anders is so frustratingly charismatic and charming that it's almost nauseating. He's exceptional in this role adding nuance and complexity to a character who on paper should have been one-note.
Should Blaine have ever made it to iZombie Season 4? Probably not, and had he been played by anyone else he probably wouldn't have.
But David Anders' comedic timing, on point delivery, and ability to draw out more in this role catapulted him, and Blaine, to fan-favorite from the moment he graced the screen.
He's the character you truly hate that you love. He's the character you love to hate.
The funny thing is the other characters are in the same boat as the viewers. Blaine's relationship with varying members of the Z-squad is deliciously messy and complicated.
He effortlessly slips into so many roles in relation to them. He terrorized and nearly killed Major in the first season. He's attempted to kill Ravi, and he's hurt Liv. He's killed their loved ones, tormented them, and left a despicable impression that is hard to shake.
And yet, he has been an ally for them. He has been an asset. He's the backup Liv called to rescue Ravi. He's helped Clive and Liv with cases.
One of the most popular 'ships of the fandom is one between Blaine and Liv (as if he didn't murder her boyfriend right in front of her once!!!), and Blaine was on the winning side of a love triangle between him, Peyton and Ravi.
How can a guy like Blaine beat out Ravi, who is one of the most earnest, loyal, lovable characters the series has to offer?
That's right, Blaine, the criminal mastermind, zombie gangster and mass murderer actually won Peyton's heart. Odds are, he still has a piece of it, and he certainly still has feelings for her.
Ever the master manipulator, even a human Blaine with memory loss should have been kept at arm's length by the entire Z-squad, but he wormed his way into their apartments and their lives like a missing piece in their zombie version of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
In fact, Major was often criticized for his unwillingness and reluctance to work with or associate with a man who can literally be classified as his abuser and tormentor.
Ravi was often critiqued for his jealousy over Blaine's burgeoning relationship with Peyton as if he didn't have valid points.
Wasn't it absurd that a smart, capable woman who vowed to uphold the law and fight for justice would be canoodling with a known criminal?
On a personal front, shouldn't it have been insane that she could be so dismissive of Blaine's previous infractions? They included nearly killing her friend, her ex, the boyfriend of her best friend, and homeless teenagers.
He killed KIDS! He killed LOWELL!!
Memory loss or not, it's mind-boggling that there was no hesitation on Peyton's part at all, and it caused friction in her relationships with Liv and Ravi during iZombie season 3.
It also had Peyton at her least likable, and dare I say, out of character. But, to be fair to her, it's not just the other characters enamored by Blaine's appeal, it's also the fandom.
Season 4 has Blaine doing what he does best, profiting off of other people's misfortunes, being reprehensible, killing people, and all with that irresistible sarcasm, humor, and wit.
Blaine is so good at being bad that we try to justify and reason with ourselves and others why we love him so much.
Yeah, "he was a rich kid, but his father was a horrible person, you guys!" Blaine is the poster child for unresolved daddy issues. He wants to make his father proud or better yet, prove something to his father.
Hell, he held on to the man and slowly drove the old bastard insane with brain rations and funny rap quips for his own selfish desires.
Blaine is partly responsible for the rise of Angus and his cult, and he doesn't even know it. But that's typical, right?
Blaine is the Loki of iZombie, he leaves chaos, pandemonium, and mischief in his wake; and he relishes it!
Blaine has "reverted" back to his ways in season one, and some fans don't know how to take that. Does that mean all of his character growth was for naught? He had other reasons for why he killed Anthony, right? I mean, there has to be an explanation for why Blaine stole the zombie cure, yeah?
What if the explanation is that he's a selfish dick? That's perfectly okay, too.
Blaine is a complex character. We know he had a rocky relationship with his dad and that he had the standard rich kid problem of being emotionally neglected despite materialistic needs being met.
We've watched as Blaine's layers have been peeled back for four seasons. He's vulnerable at times. He seeks the approval of others in some ways.
There is a loneliness he has that's self-inflicted. There is a longing for love and emotional connection -- a longing for normalcy. We saw that with Peyton, especially. We still see it when he looks at her.
We saw Blaine at his most helpless and endearing when he was reduced to a human with no power, strength, or control.
Without all of that, he was nothing, and for a man who thrives off of notoriety, wealth, authority, power and control, he was utterly lost. At the time, we ate it up with a spoon.
We were wary of whether or not he was lying about or exaggerating his memory loss. We collectively knew it was within the realm of manipulative behavior he so often displays. Yet, we wanted to wrap this softer, sweeter Blaine up in a blanket to protect him from the rest of the world.
Then, when the truth was revealed about his manipulative behavior, we loved him still. So, can we really claim that Blaine's behavior this season undoes his character development?
Blaine has been consistent throughout; it's everyone else grasping weakly at something to justify loving a character who is, in no short terms, wretched and inhumane.
Blaine's vulnerability may have been exposed, and it may have been authentic, but so has everything else about him. At his core, he's manipulative and cunning. His softness doesn't undercut what we know is his true nature; and Blaine's true nature is that of an opportunistic, self-absorbed, capitalistic criminal and murderer.
Maybe that's the point of a character like Blaine. He's a reminder that no one our nothing fits neatly into a category. Nothing is so black and white.
Monsters, if you will, aren't purely evil individuals with no feelings, demons of their own, or an Achilles heel or the like. They're every bit as complicated and multi-faceted as anyone else.
Blaine is an interesting study because his motives are always self-serving. He's not in a terrible position where he's forced to partake in dastardly deeds due to circumstance. He's not forced into a life of crime for financial reasons or because he doesn't feel he has any other choice.
He's incredibly intelligent. In fact, he's astute in human behavior. Blaine has a deep comprehension of how society works. He often uses his knowledge and abilities to his advantage. Blaine knows better; he just doesn't do better.
Blaine willingly chooses the life of a zombie gangster. He does it for kicks and giggles.
He's utterly unapologetic about his misdeeds and all of his actions. If he's unapologetic about his neverending role as one of iZombie's ongoing antagonists, why are we apologizing for him? Why are we trying to make sense of him? Or trying desperately to find reasons to excuse or justify his behavior?
Blaine may have started off this season as Chase's stooge, but he did what he does best and wiggled his way out of it. It shouldn't surprise anyone that he has been holding onto the cure or that he was the one who stole them from Ravi in the first place.
When you think about the dire state others were in without it, it's terrible. There would be no show if Liv were to suddenly take the cure, become human, and live happily ever after, but it's disheartening that the one thing she desperately wanted and needed was taken away by Blaine.
There's also the case of Natalie and Major, both wanted or needed it at varying points in the previous season. Then, of course, there is Ravi who put all of this work into it only to have it taken from him much like all of his zombie-related works are stolen or appropriated.
Which means even after they reluctantly took Blaine under their wing, it bit them in the butts in the end.
Right now, there are starving zombies everywhere, humans are getting attacked as a result, and a war is brewing. It's something Blaine, who has his finger on the pulse and his ear to the ground knows.
The zombie cure could save lives, and maybe it could put an end to this mass starvation issue once and for all, but that wouldn't benefit him, and he's never been motivated by doing good or helping others.
Instead, he used a single cure to make Anthony human long enough to torture information about Mama Leone out of him When that didn't work, he killed the man just because he could.
Blaine turned over Mama Leone, despite knowing he could (and eventually did) send her to her death sentence, and he did it without batting an eye because it benefitted him in the end.
He killed her men because it was easy and something fun to do. He killed them just like he killed many of them. Blaine has quite the kill count under his belt, and many of those people didn't have to die.
Murder was his solution when he was supposedly amnesiac. There is something innately off-center about his character, and he fully embraces it.
Blaine isn't and never has been a good guy, he's not trying to be a good guy, and he doesn't care if you think he's good or bad. He's the most confident character the show provides, and if he's never looking for an out, why does everyone else look for one on his behalf?
In the end, can we really say that Blaine this season is more diabolical than he has been before? Can we say that he reverted to his old ways when there's nothing to support that he ever changed?
Also, why can't we take his behavior in the previous season as a sign of character development? Wasn't it? Blaine went from openly and notoriously being the antagonist that we know he is to keeping the other characters and the audience guessing during his strategic anti-hero state.
If that's not character development then what is? If he chooses to partake in the ways most familiar to him, should that be considered a setback or him staying true to character?
Let's face it, Blaine is an irredeemable as a character, and the series knows that. You can't make a man intelligent and callous enough to build a business by killing homeless kids because their deaths would go unnoticed and expect him to evolve into something outside of his capabilities.
He has singlehandedly ruined the lives of every single protagonist the show has. He's "evil" just because he can be, and he likes it. He's not the type of character who is building towards an enlightened moment by the series end, and that's fine because it's not for everyone.
Blaine is infinitely more interesting to watch this way. Do you want an iZombie where Blaine permanently resides on the light side? Where's the fun in that?
Also, if Blaine doesn't excuse or justify his despicable actions with a tragic backstory and hot guy angst, then why should the viewers? Face it, Blaine is a dick because he likes and wants to be a dick.
If he's an unapologetic, kickass villain, then viewers should be unapologetic in their love for him. Stop trying to justify it and simply embrace all that delicious villainy!
If you need a refresher on all the terrible things Blaine has done over the years, you want to laugh at all of those hilarious quips of his or hear David Anders sing, you can watch iZombie online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.