iZombie returns with a primer episode that effectively sets the stage for the season to come.
Let’s bitch it out…
When last we left the iZombie crew, we were on the cusp of multiple conflicts: Liv Moore (Rose McIver) had cured both Blaine (David Anders) and Major (Robert Buckley) of zombism, Peyton ran off after finding out Liv’s secret identity, Lieutenant Suzuki blew up Meat Cute and Liv’s brother Evan (Nick Purcha) desperately needed Liv’s blood to survive the explosion.
S2 seemingly picks up in the immediate aftermath, but Liv’s voice-over clarifies that three months have passed. Unfortunately things are not copacetic: Evan and Liv’s mom Eva (Molly Hagan) aren’t speaking to her, Major is ducking her calls and Peyton remains MIA. In an effort to protect herself (likely a partial byproduct of the case of the week’s brain) Liv decides that she will refrain from interpersonal relationships until she’s cured. Never mind the fact that a cure is a long way off since she used the last of it on Blaine and Major, something Ravi (Rahul Kohil) rubs in repeatedly. Even New Hope, their tester rat, seems strangely repelled by Liv.
That final plot point is one of several dangling threads that ‘Grumpy Old Liv’ explores as it lays the groundwork for S2. The introduction of a new component in the series’ zombie mythology – a physical reaction to zombies in cured individuals – is a great storytelling device. I particularly like how it is presented visually: a slow motion close up of the hair on the back of Blaine’s neck standing up. As Ravi suggests, cured individuals are basically zombie detectors now, a development that is immediately put into effect when Major is recruited by Vaughn (Steven Weber) to play assassin to the city’s zombie population.
Major’s radical new role – equal parts blackmail for his role in the Meat Cute murders and his concern that Vaughn will go after Liv if he doesn’t agree – is exciting. Major remains the most improved player on the iZombie team because his season one arc stubbornly refused to restrict him to the ex-fiancé box. The result is a much more interesting character (take note other procedurals!). The fact that Major is now hunting Seattle’s zombies pretty much guarantees that he will once again end up at odds with Blaine and, once the bodies begin turning up, Liv. It will be exciting to see what happens as these disparate story lines once again begin to circle each other.
- The case of the week – the titular cranky old man murdered beneath his car jack – is relatively slight, but it helps provide a familiar structure and eases the transition for any (hypothetical) new viewers. Plus it continues iZombie‘s tradition of employing Veronica Mars alum in bit roles. Here it is Mac’s S3 boyfriend, actor Adam Rose, who turns up as the inadvertent murderer.
- Also: McIver’s insults under the influence of dead Wendell, are spot-on. Her chameleonic talents continue.
- Lieutenant Suzuki is given a postmortem medal for his role in last season’s Meat Cute explosion. This bit seems included solely for the purposes of confirming that Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) doesn’t believe the story and is fixated on Major as the killer. I’m down for that if it gives Goodwin a bit more to do on the series.
- Blaine remains as devilishly antagonistic as ever, despite his transformation back to human. His mockery of Liv’s lack of tastebuds with a chocolate bar is deliciously cruel.
- Of course Blaine would become a funeral director. Not only is it an amusing sight gag to see him presiding over grieving families with his shock of white hair, the new role allows him to continue his lucrative brain operation. Win-win.
- Was that series creator Rob Thomas in a brief cameo as the druggie who calls Blaine down to the basement?
- I’ll admit that I had completely forgotten about the fraught relationship between Liv and the sketch artist until I read AV TV Club’s review. Then suddenly the tension over those donuts made so much more sense!
- With that said, I don’t have as much difficulty with Liv-as-Wendell’s racist tendencies as AV Club’s Carrie Raisler does. This may just be because both Ravi and Clive’s cutting rejoinders are perfect. They have the last laugh, which is more important to me.
- Of course Vaughn’s assistant Gilda (Leanne Lapp) is Liv’s new roommate.
- As much of a fan of the whole Vaughn/Max Rager stuff as I am, I do hope we get an explanation at some point about how he acquired that phone call or has a database that can perform complex analytics in people’s shopping habits. Is Vaughn working with the machine from Person of Interest?
- I’m can’t believe I only just realized that iZombie episode titles are named after movies <hangs head in shame> This week is obviously a play on Grumpy Old Men (the 1993 film with Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau)
- Welcome to our coverage of iZombie! It was a tough call whether to dedicate regular reviews to this or The Flash, but I decided to go with the show I like best so Liv and co. won out. If schedules align, I hope to check in on The Flash every once in a while.
- Ravi (when Liv asks him about Major): “That’s just a simple case of bros before…ex-girlfriends”
- Ravi (when Liz is concerned that New Hope the rat doesn’t like her): “If I wanted to give her a depressing name, I would have called her Phantom Menace.” Zing!
- Liv (yelling at a kid with a backwards baseball cap): “What, is he crouching behind home base at Yankee Stadium?”
- Liv (being persnickety with a witness)”You do all of these paint by numbers or you have a slow nephew?”
- Liv (as Blaine eats a chocolate loudly):” “Are you eating that or impregnating it?”
- Blaine (arguing he’s made a lucrative business venture in the funeral business): “I’ve been pre-approved for a Best Buy card.”
- Vaughn Du Clark (to his assistant): “Is that my cue to begin cackling maniacally or shall I wait for you to provide the de-tales?”
- Liv (channeling her brain’s racist tendencies): “Thanks Clive, you’re one of the good ones”
- Clive (cluing into the fact that Liv is persnickety): “Maybe some lady aspirin?”
- Liv (as Wendell’s voice over overtakes Liv’s good sense): “With any luck someone out there with a winning personality is getting murdered right now.”
Your turn: are you glad to have the crew back? Will Evan eventually forgive Liv? How will Major keep his new job secret? Excited for Blaine, undertaker? How long will Clive remain in the dark? Sound off below.
iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on The CW