Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother: Review for iZombie 301 by A. Zombie
There’s not much of a time gap from the finale to the season opener. A whopping two minutes, actually. That’s so we can continue to watch Stoll wield her impressive skills. Within moments of hundreds dying in an attack, she’s spun a story, added input from Liv, and ordered her people to blow the building to destroy evidence. Wow. I can’t even walk and chew gum without really focusing—decaying brain and all. The new boss in town butts heads with Team Z at a follow-up meeting the next day. But not everyone thinks she’s a tad paranoid to fear D-Day—Discovery Day, when humans learn zombies exist. Major’s turn with zombie hunting left him with a unique perspective on how the average person would handle the news. Considering his path, everyone is doomed. They may as well tell the zombies to invest in those weird cavern homes. Stoll’s plan for the city means there won’t be an army of Majors running around. How far do her preparation plans reach? Well, she’s obtained the only enhancement drug for the undead, has a slew of armed soldiers, and it only takes one second to “breed” a new zombie fighter, compared to the traditional eighteen or so years it takes to make a human soldier. I’d say she’s off to a good start, and knows it. Clive is so not on board with anything he hears in this meeting. He’s still trying to mentally hurdle the Big Z news, let alone the notion that his city is in a turf war, where one side will eat the other side if given too much freedom by their leadership. It’s not all doom for him this day. He sees Wally, a kid who used to live in his building, who just happens to be a zombie. The peeks at Clive without his copface are so quick, one almost misses the chance to see what’s really behind the badge. We may get more of these glimpses, seeing as the zombie haven plans may be what cost Wally’s family their lives later in the episode.
Seeing as the party and ensuing riot were pretty massive, there was bound to be a few slip-ups when cleaning evidence and making sure any survivors were on the right team. There’s two notable mistakes haunting the gang so far—a dead body with brains in the stomach, and the cowardly front gate guard, Billy Cook. The guard finds his way to nutjob talkshow host Chuck Burd’s radio booth. Unfortunately, Clive and Liv are too late to stop him from dropping the z-bomb on live air. Burd has enough proof to become a serious pain in the backside to the zombie-protection movement. He’s one of those who love to incite violence just to have something else to yell about. The second problem for the gang rolls into the morgue, accompanied by Ravi’s old boss, Katty Kupps from the CDC. Talk about tension; none of it sexual. Ravi and Kupps snip at each other pretty much nonstop until he and Liv get the call about Wally’s family. The fighting could get tiresome. Or we could simply enjoy Christina Cox while she’s on the show and hope her character morphs to something more than just Ravi’s antagonist.
There’s turmoil at the mortuary. Don E. is done playing punching bag to people more powerful than him. He’s also one-hundred-percent convinced Blaine is faking amnesia as a power play. With a terse conversation, the band splits. Blaine may not know who he is, but he knows he doesn’t have to take abuse from someone who accidentally admits he’s lied about the business arrangement between them. In a last petulant effort to rob Blaine, Don E. searches the basement. He says one last goodbye to Chief, and checks his pockets for the missing cash. That’s when Don E. strikes gold—Angus DeBeers’ frozen body. Cha-ching. It’s not a couple grand in small, non-sequential bills, but if he can convince Angus to work together, the income will flow like the Mississippi. Judging from their first business meeting, it’s going to be hell for anyone standing in their way.
A missing father may be the last thing on Blaine’s mind. Actually, he’s not on his mind at all since he doesn’t remember having a father, let alone freezing the surly jerk. Nor is he concerned about Stoll, whose husband he blackmailed and she thinks had murdered. No, Blaine’s mind is all about helping Peyton. And boy does she need help. Boss is on the run, tucked in a country which won’t ship him back home for her to punch in the nose. With that major worry taken care of, she should’ve been able to relax. Only, now someone’s harassing her via Twitter. Why not call on Ravi for help? He’s wigging after finding out she slept with Blaine. Because that’s how well-adjusted men earn the trust of their dearest once again.
Damn. My eye rolled under the desk.
The gang is still recovering from the Max Rager party. It won’t be a quick fix, especially since the brain keeping Liv from mourning Drake wore off. Settle in for some head-in-sand determination from Liv as she flails around, coping in her own headache-inducing way. Oh, and next week, Major turns into a teenage girl. So can’t wait for him to, like, finally get some chill, or whatever. I can’t believe I wrote that sentence. Anyway, I wonder how his new boss will take to the weird brain shenanigans from the morgue crew. Stoll doesn’t seem like one to suffer fools lightly.
First up, don’t miss Fear the Walking Dead‘s return for the latter half of season two starting Sunday August 21st at 9/8c. We’ve been promised crazier dead-obsessed folks. Madison is on a quest to save Nick. Plus Alicia becomes a badass, and there’s a father/son road trip which will likely crash and burn. Oh and a hotel that apparently rains corpses.
Z Nation will be the next to hit the airwaves with their recently announced September 16th . . . or was that the 23rd for the premiere? To clear up confusion, David Michael Latt, the show’s producer, became a one-man FAQ. He filled in fans via Twitter, saying the two-hour episode airing on the 16th is what he called a, “lost episode,” which will feature returning characters. This episode/movie begins at 8/7c and sets up the action for the third season, which begins the following week. Latt said there may be a ZN marathon before the new season begins. He also said season three is “nuts,” and shared a link to pirated footage for a teaser premiered at SDCC. After watching said footage, I agree. Season three looks downright bonkers.
Hope you’re ready to get groovy, baby. Ash vs Evil Dead is back on Starz on October 2. Be prepared for bloodier FX, funnier jokes, and Lee Friggen Majors as Ash’s papa. I mean, what more do I need to say about this show? They’ve done what they intended and gave Evil Dead fans something to salivate over—or in most cases, vomit from the gore. We’ve been promised some “Holy crap” tie-ins to the previous films. They’ve already confirmed some special guests, like Ted Raimi and Joel Tobek coming in to play this season’s big bad, Baal. In this season, we’ll learn about Ash’s past while the gang cleans up the mess he and Ruby made last season.
On October 23rd at 9/8c, The Walking Dead returns to AMC for its seventh season. Talking Dead aired a special on August 14th to tease everyone about the upcoming premiere. Basically it was forty minutes of awkward conversations dodging actually saying something about the season. Every recorded video from the actors simply repeated the tired, “This episode will gut you,” rhetoric. There was a spicy exchange by Melissa McBride and Lennie James, singing each other’s praises. Their characters head off to The Kingdom and they’ve spent a lot of time together while shooting. Scott Gimple sent along a message for Chris Hardwick to read. For the most part, it confirmed that the show is aligning more with the comics, but they will still put their unique spin to whatever comes. The big reveal came when they aired a forty second clip featuring Dwight cleaning up a bunch of blown up walkers. Yeah, not much of a tease.
Last up, iZombie. Seeing as this is a mid-season show, it doesn’t have an airdate just yet. What do we know? The CW’s president recently gave props to the show-runners, stating that iZ would have a place on the network as long as it continues to perform well. He also confirmed a thirteen episode season three. Team Zombie is hard at work on set. “Hard” seems like the wrong word after scrolling past photos of their behind-the-scenes antics, but I trust they’re also getting some work done.
Call me crazy—most people do, anyway—but I was under the impression most television shows currently on the air wanted viewers to connect with and actually like the main character. If Bailey Barker’s brain is as close to pre-z Liv, it’s a wonder they based a show around her at all.
At her core, the Liv we find somewhat plucky and charming at times should be interesting beyond her profession. I have no doubt if allowed to live her life, Liv would’ve gone on to become an extremely competent doctor. She’d probably stick to the ER though because her bedside manner is like being comforted by a decade–old dead guy. I could never imagine hyper-focused Liv with a private practice. Yes, they dragged out the “She’s missing Drake,” tidbit yet again to drive home the idea that she can’t cope as a functional kinda-human without her beau by her side. But while she’s at it, can she come over to clean the command center?
With Ravi in on the truth behind the Chaos Killer’s identity—thanks to sleuthing far better than the pros, by the way—he’s on board to help Major figure out how to stay alive. There may never be full trust between any of these people when all these secrets hit the fan. So what’s one more? Major insists Liv remain on the outside. At least until their mad scheme is complete. The guys need to figure out how to cure the memory side effect from Cure 2.0. Unfortunately the lab rats can’t talk. In a streak of utter brilliance, Major offers up the pain in his backside to play guinea pig. The Chaos Killer has one last victim on his list. Vaughn Du Clark is slated to become a zombie, then get cured, memory wiped, and cured from the side effect. For a hair-brained plan, it’s not half bad. Too bad Major is an idiot who must secretly hate dogs. The pet groomer he conned a few episodes back leads Bozzio straight to Major as he’s in the middle of nabbing VDC. I’ve seen karma work wonders on television before, but Major’s circled back tenfold to kick him in the junk while he’s down.
What does this mean for Blaine? The guy still has no clue what’s going on. Don E. and Chief set themselves up to run the Lucky U and brain businesses, leaving the funeral home for Blaine to run. He knows there’s something not right, though. Blaine takes a trip to the police station to find Ravi in the morgue since he’s the only doctor he knows. Clive and Bozzio don’t buy the memory act. Neither does Peyton when she confronts him about killing her case against Boss. There’s some astounding acting during the scene where Ravi lays it all out for Blaine, all the grim details he has about the guy’s past. Bonus laugh, Major is so zen on coffee shop owner brains, he has the clarity to pity Blaine instead of just trying to kill him for ruining their lives.
I was hesitant to see if they could pull all the plot threads together for the season finale. There are some things which just slip past—Liv’s MIA family, Ravi’s ability to forgive so quickly, Peyton showing up just to nag or use people, etc.—and we take them just to get to the point. I’m way more invested in Blaine’s story line than Liv’s with Drake. Even Major’s story line is more entertaining, though it should have resolved before now to make it believable that these people managed to miss his involvement with the whackadoo company owner. The random dirty cop story line with Benedetto featured in the episode even begins to make sense in the grand scheme—one of the detective’s great catches is a Lucky U dealer who won’t talk because he, “works for zombies.”
Another LU dealer is the murderer in the episode. He’s killed by Chief, undoubtedly leaving evidence which will lead back to the funeral home. I would applaud the writing skill it took to get this all to work, but I can’t until Liv gets an actual personality. Gotta have standards.
Okay, they’re at least tying everything together so it feels somewhat like one show and not two separate things where some people do police work while others flounce around being two-dimensional stereotypes. Don’t expect much from Liv. They dosed her with another hyper-paranoid woman’s brain—this time a brilliant scientist. They give Liv the brain of a woman three times smarter than her and she still ends up obsessed with the whereabouts of her boyfriend instead of focusing on something like, oh, actually staying in the lab to help Ravi figure out a cure so Major and Blaine don’t die from the serum she supplied. Then, she uses her intelligence to break into Max Rager, pry into the goings-on in their testing facilities, and is caught after Rita watches her walk into an elevator. This isn’t Metropolis. One cannot style their hair differently, don glasses, and expect anyone with half a brain cell not to recognize them. Liv has done some dumb things, but walking into Max Rager knowing full well they may have had a hand in killing her lunch—Elinor Cash, a research scientist burned alive—is the worst idea yet. She’s lucky Du Clark’s Super Max-induced insanity was in check long enough for him to let her walk out the door with nothing more than threats over her head instead of a bullet through it.
While Liv does the things Clive told her not to, he’s busy scratching his head alongside Bozzio. See, they found Blaine’s pop’s cabin. Lo and behold, more brains found in connection to the Meat Cute fiasco. This prompts a friendly argument about what kind of brains they keep finding. The report Liv doctored is exposed when the FBI lab tech says the brain Clive had tested before wasn’t bovine. Oops. Clive’s shuffling closer to the undead truth. For a detective, it sure takes him a long time to figure out things right under his nose. For instance, how did he miss the fact that the main suspect in the Cash murder, who should be horrifically scarred despite claims of plastic surgery, has an identical twin sister? The twin’s flawless appearance should’ve set off huge warning bells. Instead he took a pretty girl at her word up until he finally has to do police work in order to wrap up the episode.
Blaine isn’t having a good week. He’s killed. Revives as a zombie . . . again. Then is forced to take public transportation to the morgue in order to beg for a bite and pants to cover his dignity. Not only that, but the cures Ravi cooked up keep failing and Blaine’s sporting a cough which would make consumption envious. His time may be up. Where does that leave his zombie clients? It’s a very real fear Liv and Ravi drive home repeatedly once they realize Blaine may very well just keel over one day if they can’t find a stabilized cure. The nerdy brain Liv and Blaine eat helps Ravi to an extent and he produces something which may work. Desperate, Blaine makes final arrangements for himself, including passing control of the brain biz to Don E. and Chief should he kick the bucket, before taking the cure which may or may not work. Mortality humanized Blaine, even when in his ideal state of undead. Before, he was undead without a care about the future. Now he knows this is not the key to immortality. It’s a great bit of character development to see Blaine actually care about the void he’d leave.
Major may be doing his last dirty job for Blaine if the zombie’s Hail Mary doesn’t work. Drake is the newest name pulled from the Max Rager list which complicates Blaine’s life. The double agent may be exposed at any time. It’s a hazard Blaine can’t leave with his fate in the balance, so off Drake goes to the freezer. Major is almost caught making the grab. Liv is waiting yards away inside a cheesy pirate restaurant to confront Drake about his connection to Boss and his drug trade. It’s a talk they never get to have. Funny how when Liv makes an idiot of herself by snooping, she never gets to resolve her feelings in a healthy manner.
I’m not sure where things are heading. Clive surely will make the zombie discovery soon. Liv may even find out Major is the serial abductor. Who knows? There’s so many threads in this plot, I’m not sure they can shove resolutions for everything in before the season ends. They have four episodes to make it happen.
I know Ravi and Liv work for the morgue and all, but they’re usually not the ones to find the bodies, let alone report them to the police. While searching yet again for the murdered Utopium dealers with the tainted batch, Major and Ravi unearth a body far too fresh to be their prize. There’s no ID on the mystery dead guy, but he does have a gun and a coaster with a phone number scrawled on the back.
Clive seems to buy Ravi’s geocaching explanation when he asks how they found the body. He still takes Major aside for a private conversation. Not about the body nearby, but the Cute Meat incident. Using the good ol’ crazypants excuse, Major dodges the questions. It’s only now that Clive sees the really weird stuff; first Major’s connection in part to the brain and Julien DuPont and then later in the episode Clive question’s Liv’s personality changes reflecting the homicide victims they’re investigating. Funny how they managed to write around this for so long, it’s almost ludicrous they’d attempt to clue in Clive about Team Z.
The coaster yields its secrets, leading the team to a woman IDing the dead guy as Corey, no last name. They’d hooked up a while back at a place called Possibilities, but Corey never called her again. Gee, would that be because he was busy feeding the ecosystem in a field? The girl also dropped a bombshell; Corey said he was FBI. At Possibilities, the bartender has great things to say about Corey “Big Fish” Carp. Namely, his ability to lie his way into the pants of any woman he set his eyes on. No lie was ever grand enough for Corey, who in reality worked for an arcade game company repairing machines and collecting quarters. Boss just so happens to own this guy’s company, too. Is there anything happening in the city not supervised by Boss? Does he check everyone’s pee to make sure they’re hydrated, too? This show puts too much on their Big Bads in order to simplify the plot.
There’s a few red herrings, some tail-chasing. It all leads to another murder case with Terrell Johnson as the primary person of interest. Liv gets a few visions magically connecting Big Fish to Terrell and later Fish’s connection to the murdered Utopium dealers planted somewhere in that accursed field. Basically, Fish killed the dealers. He then kept an eye on the field to make sure they remained buried. When Don E and Drake, of all people, started digging, Fish shot Drake. This all ties back to the night Liv made Drake a zombie. I’d call it clever story weaving, but they reached so far to make this plot tie together, it doesn’t make sense unless we’re willing to forget how heavily they rely on Liv “accidentally” discovering everything. Also, Liv seems way too okay with Drake lying to her. She still calls him her boyfriend after the vision connecting him and Don E to the murder she’s investigating. A similar lie from Major would have caused three episodes of angst.
Speaking of Major, where’s he been after helping Ravi dig up the body? Well, you could say he’s helping Blaine comfort test caskets. Don E and Chief are called by a client who trapped Major in their panic room after he went to add them to his ice cube collection. Blaine and Major eventually strike a deal—Major takes care of the zombies Blaine wants and frees Angus McDonough in exchange for living outside a six-foot deep casket. Seems fair to me. They put the partnership to test with Jimmy Chu, Blaine’s newspaper inside man. Chu is high-maintenance, something Blaine cannot handle in his sources. Major drugs Chu with no incident. Later he returns Angus to his son. Blaine has some fun, dressing like he’s aged at least thirty years. Fresh off the defrost cycle, Angus is slow to figure out what’s happening. He even begs Blaine to help—a refreshing turn in the relationship for the son since he was always the one begging when his caretakers abused him. Once Angus is more himself, he thinks to outsmart Blaine. One step ahead, Blaine brings in Chief and Candy, both of whom have suffered thanks to Angus. Blaine is assured the will, currently drafted to give his abusive caretaker the entire inheritance, will be changed soon.
The point to this episode is to finally find the bodies with the tainted Utopium. Well, they found them. Everything else is fluff. There’s no change in the case with Boss. Blaine’s personal beef takes him from the conflict with the main bad guy and the FBI. Peyton is MIA in the episode. Drake vanishes after running an errand for Boss, so there’s no emotional resolution after Liv finds out he’s deeper in Blaine’s business than she thought. The whole episode was simply to get to that discovery moment with the Les Miserables soundtrack playing. Way to have storytelling goals, guys.
I honestly thought we were past the time where everything associated with erotica was followed by a not-so witty reference to a novel/movie franchise I need not even mention because it’s right there in the title for this episode, though the erotic novel within this episode has no resemblance whatsoever to the referenced franchise. So why would they use the name? To boost ratings by using the promise of a nude lead actor—in this case, Liv—and further undermine her place as a productive member on Team Z.
Pumping Liv with “horny librarian brains” gives them a blanket pardon to sell their floundering product with cleavage and numerous make-out sessions. Jumping on the bandwagon with the episode title is like a rocket pack strapped onto the show’s pet shark. If Liv isn’t in bed with someone, they don’t know what to do with her emotionally. She’s either the postal child for bipolar, riding hard on each brain she eats, or she’s sex-obsessed and weeping. There’s few middle-ground moments where she remembers herself. They tried to establish control over the brain in this episode, but given the big picture, it isn’t effective. She still ends up in bed with a hot guy—Drake the newly undead zombie, who also happens to be a double agent for Blaine in Boss’ drug ring.
It’s all so predictable. As is the case’s conclusion.
If you follow this show regularly, you’ll notice a startling trend to their crime-solving tactics. Inevitably, the murderer is actually the first solid suspect in the case or the spouse—Often, they’re one in the same. Occasionally they’ll pull a Shyamalan, leaning hard on the plot-twist gimmick and convenient case solutions. Yes, this is a dramedy leaning harder on the comedy side at times, but there still has be natural tension resolution and variety in the cases they cover. Most episodes, we know who did it not long after they find the bodies just by following their simplistic pattern.
Long story short: All writers are petty and jealous, but not petty enough to kill. Meanwhile husbands are equally petty and jealous and they do indeed kill. The only way they managed to stretch Grace LeGare’s case to the episode’s end was to make Grace’s husband, Andy, physically handicapped and therefore not an obvious threat. His original questioning with Clive is glossed over by Liv’s incredibly raunchy day dream featuring Andy’s home care assistant, furthering the vain attempt to obscure the writer’s sole solution to any woman’s murder on the show. In the end, Andy went to a lot of work destroying his wife’s chance at a career writing erotica, then pinned the murder on Grace’s library co-worker, Muriel—who also happens to be a writer, but she pens crime thrillers. Why? So people wouldn’t think he is less of a man.
Blaine goes from having an awesome week to a not-so-awesome week overnight. Bozzio and Clive dig deep and discover his real name. No, not the one we’ve heard all the time, but his really real name. The pieces fall in Clive’s lap at last. They waste no time scooping up Blaine and hauling him to the police station for questioning. For a guy who’s had his junk metaphorically kicked twice in a row, he’s pretty smug. In comes his knight in shining armor—armor he’s seen up close and personal after drinking and sleeping with Peyton in her office the night before. Blaine is a key witness against Boss and therefore has immunity. Clive lays out what kind of guy he thinks Blaine is to Peyton. She still gets Blaine out of the handcuffs, but then turns to Liv for verification about who Blaine, John to her, really is. It breaks Peyton.
A lot of dead-ends for Bozzio and Clive in this episode. They finally get the GPS tracker in the missing guy’s dog turned on. Major overhears this plan and panics, downing a Max Rager and parkouring his way to the groomer where he left the dog. He lies to the groomer, telling her he rescued the dog from an angry cop and if the cop comes around to find him, she has to lie. Major panicked, and stupidly abandoned the dog on a city bus, for no reason. The GPS chip is in the dog’s tags, which Major ditched after he originally kidnapped it. Most heart-breaking, Major lies to Ravi about the dog’s whereabouts, saying he gave it back to the family who lost it.
It feels like they’re trying to tie up loose ends by continuing the age-old tradition of bone-headed moves by the lead characters. They want us to like Major, yet he continuously perpetuates animal neglect. Liv only has personality with a man in her bed. Peyton is set up to die soon given how deep she’s gotten in the Boss case. And Ravi? He’s keeping to himself, searching the field of woes and missing the dog which shouldn’t have been.
Ravi may be the only character fans connect with anymore.
There’s two dead bodies in this episode. The first is Santa. Not the real Santa, but a poor sap in a Santa suit who’d been beaten to death. His brain is nice and normal. Liv is almost a real person. But she’s also written to be as boring as possible just because she’s not actively working with Clive. We see none of the visions for Santa’s case, just a couple instances of Liv helping from afar—sending a witness Clive’s way, as well as a note stating the suspect Clive already had in for questioning was at the crime scene. During this time, the main focus is on Ravi, Major, and Liv digging up a field to find the drug dealers stuffed with tainted Utopium. It’s like geocaching, but far more boring. The only thing you need to know about the first act in the episode is that Major and Blaine both know they may revert back to zombies soon. Ravi takes blood samples from both to see if he can figure out when they’ll revert.
Then suddenly, there’s random Romero-zombie action and a panicked girl running into a high school. It took me half a second to realize it’s footage from the Zombie High show referenced early in the episode—a show Liv loves as much as I love Z Nation for its over-the-top ridiculous zombie antics. Sadly, there’s more energy in this intentionally awful show than then entire second season of iZombie. While shooting this particular scene, there’s an accident with a prop gun, killing Jordan, the show’s star. It echoes the incident that happened while filming The Crow, which took Brandon Lee’s life. Except this wasn’t an accident. The prop gun was swapped with a real gun.
Liv and Ravi arrive on the scene and Liv proceeds to fangirl herself into a puddle of embarrassment. Again, a writing decision meant to prove she has the know-how to navigate this case but ends up making her come off as a psychotic fan who’d probably try to steal the leading man’s underwear from his trailer. Nevertheless, Clive thinks it’s best to have Liv onboard since she knows so much about the show, its actors, and the drama on set. Like we didn’t see that coming from ten miles away while blindfolded.
Over the course of the episode, we learn that Jordan was a d-bag. Scratch that. He was the d-bag. The only one anyone on set needed in their life. He gave everyone nothing but grief, insisting he delve so deep into the Method school of acting, he wouldn’t even say two civil words to his faux-zombie costars. His kinda-girlfriend, Starlee was only with him to keep him from blackmailing her with a horrifically insensitive impression of their deaf costar. The other male lead, played by Wyatt, doesn’t paint a pretty picture of Jordan’s on set tantrums. Tara, the director’s assistant, gives the crime-fighting duo a red herring, saying Wyatt had motive to kill Jordan and take his place as the sole leading man she told Wyatt he’d be the next character killed off on the show.
Basically, it’s half an hour of Liv and Clive chasing dead ends, Liv putting on her Serious Actor Face, and them completely ignoring the fact that it’s painfully obvious who swapped the prop gun for the real one. Oh, you know, the guy who is charge of the weapons. Fitz was shagging an assistant director who died in a car accident a year ago after one of Jordan’s routine late-night filming sessions where he insisted they do thirty takes of each shot. He blamed Jordan for the accident, but stewed in it. That is until learning the show would move production to Los Angeles just so Jordan could become an even bigger star.
While they demonstrate great police work, Major is dodging metaphorical bullets from Vaughn Du Clark and his daughter, Gilda. She questions Major’s every move, warning VDC that he will betray Max Rager. VDC is all hakunamatata about the situation. His care-free days may be numbered. Dr. Lockett approaches Major and tells him he’s ready to spill the beans about Max Rager, their experiments, and the zombies to the press. He gives Major a flash drive with a copy of the files to use as proof should Lockett’s plan end with his early demise and suppression of the truth he’s trying to share. Sensing a trap, Major hands the flash drive over to VDC. As a reward for being a good little zombie assassin, Major gets an all-access tour of the secret underground lab. There’s a moment were VDC almost feeds Lockett to the Romero-zombies locked in the lab. When Major fails to panic and open the door to save the man, VDC releases Lockett. It is a test. One Major passed with flying colors. Why? He gave VDC a Fitbit with a bug so he can listen to every word the man says. It’s the smartest move anyone makes in the episode.
Over the Christmas season, business boomed for Blaine. He’s feeling a little hakunamatata himself, practically rolling in cash with joy. It’s a short-lived joy. Dale Bozzio is following up on information she got after checking the missing person’s phone records. Several placed calls to a number owned by Blaine. He passes it off as a business call for the funeral home. Meanwhile, he’s sweating bullets because Don E handed him one of the yellow brain transport coolers to take to an angry client; the FBI have the yellow coolers noted in the case file. Thanks to some quick-thinking, Chief and Don E work together to snag the bag before Bozzio sees it. Bullet dodged. For about an hour. When Bozzio returns to the police station, she and Clive discuss her case. Turns out Digger, the dog belonging to a zombie Major killed, has a GPS enabled chip. While Bozzio digs through papers to find that information, or something else, she sees the suspect sketch Clive has tied to the Meat Cute case. Whoops. There goes Blaine’s chance to ride this investigation out under the radar.
Clive and Liv are a team again. Yay. Maybe the writers won’t feel the need to make Liv impossibly dull anymore. I say that knowing the next episode references a novel which has become a blight on humanity. This will only end in tears. My tears, in honor of my sanity.
The show is a crime drama/comedy. The main character provides no useful information for the case in this episode which wouldn’t have been found by a human crime scene tech. Meanwhile, Peyton is back in town for two days and manages to exhaust her list of people willing to testify against the city’s top Utopium dealer, Mr. Boss, while in the process scoring her most valuable asset in the case—Blaine DeBeers. In the time it takes Liv to write a song, Peyton has enough information to first hurt Boss’ business, then bring his empire down like a house of cards. Not only that, she centers Liv, encourages Ravi to continue dating Stephanie without an ounce of jealousy, and is the only one to realize whatever is wrong with Major is serious. Oh and she’s on the nose when it comes to her gut feelings about Gilda/Rita, the Max Rager spy. Now if only Peyton could fix Liv’s lack of . . . everything. The writers still handle her as an android; they pop in a brain (program) and off she goes. It doesn’t make for a compelling leading lady. While Liv does retain more of herself in this episode, it’s only to progress the story line with Major. The message is clear, Liv is only vital when it comes to her relationship with a man.
Onto the case. Liv and Ravi are called to pick up Lacy Cantrell, a thirty-two year old waitress and singer/songwriter strangled to death in her bedroom. Following police logic, they track down the woman’s ex-boyfriend, Matt—a.k.a. Sue—who was released from prison a month prior to the murder. With his violent past, it’s clearly the boyfriend. Case closed. Everyone go home. Wrong. Again. Can we get a case on this show which doesn’t waste twenty minutes looking at the significant other or recent ex as the sole suspect, please? It’s so predictable, I figured out the plot twist not long after they took the body to the morgue. Matt didn’t kill Lacy. Matter of fact, once he’s done being angry about the police coming after him as a suspect, the guy has nothing but love for the deceased.
He follows Liv after she uses Lacy’s brain to perform a song based on the case and lets fly about how much he cared for Lacy. It triggers something in Liv, which we’ll discuss later. But if Matt’s not to blame, who murdered Lacy? A complete stranger. There’s another murder case taking top priority because it’s located in the richer area in the city. The show opens with three kids finding the gun from that murder. Why would writers do that if they didn’t intend to tie to two seemingly separate cases together? They showed their hand early in the game. There’s no fun on a crime show if the case is laid out and solved by viewers two minutes into the episode. So the convenience store murderer is Lacy’s killer, as well. And at no point did Liv offer up a helpful vision or clue. Clive handled this one by himself. Astounding since he’s a little distracted by FBI agent Dale Bozzio. She is in town to investigate several high-profile disappearances. Namely, the people Blaine killed to sell super fancy brains to his clients. But some of his clients are missing, as well. If Bozzio falls down the zombie rabbit hole, will Clive finally learn Liv’s brain-munching little secret?
Majorly disappointed with one character in particular. See what I did there? Major’s Utopium habit is getting worse. He’s completely disconnected from the world. He can’t even keep track of the dog he stole from the zombie he killed in the previous episode. Miner, as Ravi calls him, runs away one afternoon and finds the park where Major kidnapped his owner. Cue weeping. For the dog, not Major. All sympathies for the man flew out the window when he completely disregards Liv feelings. She opens up, telling him how hard it was last year hiding the truth from him, watching him go insane. His response is a verbal shrug and a door in her face. Nothing sinks into his drug-addled brain until he wanders off to score more U. The kid he finds to buy from lived in the shelter Major worked for last year. When the dealer points out how Major once pushed the shelter kids to get clean, and now he’s a junkie, it breaks the glass shell he’s existed in since Liv gave him the cure. The episode ends with Major on Liv’s doorstep, asking for help. Oh and kissing.
It’s probably a good time to get clean, anyway. Blaine is one step closer to recreating the tainted Utopium. Scott E tracks down Gabriel, the guy who cut the original U batch. Slight problem with this grand plan, though; Gabriel has turned a new leaf and jumped on the Jesus Train. Since he won’t cooperate, Blaine kidnaps the guys, has a minion turn him into a zombie, and turns the starving baby brain muncher out on the streets. How long will Gabriel’s morals keep him from bashing in a skull for the prize inside? Probably not very long. Either he kills or slinks back to Blaine for morally ambiguous brains to eat. Soon Blaine will have the means to mass produce zombies. That’ll be fun.
The dead guy this time around is frat bro numero uno, Chad Wolcoff. He was the guy everyone relies on when they just can’t make it through their fourth beer bong. He was also a prick notorious for getting his bros in trouble with his pranks—one guy landed on the sex offender’s list after Chad told him to streak and set his path to take him past an elementary school. Chad’s offed by someone in a giant furry blue bear suit. How hard can it be to track down a suit so distinctive? Impossible, judging from Clive’s numerous failed calls to local costume shops.
Liv on bro brain is a peach. She cakes gaudy, glittery makeup on Ravi’s face, topped off with “FART” written on his forehead. She also drinks like a fish, belches, and talks like a brain-dead idiot. She’s dead, but her brain is fully functional. Thankfully. Or not. Her visions aren’t much help. Except one. Her second vision introduces them to the other Chad Wolcoff. This Chad spends him time talking to teens about the dangers of drunk driving. Chad and Chad faced off a while back when BroChad got drunk and posed as SoberChad at a school, where he proceeded to tell teens it’s cool to drive drunk. After Clive finally finds the bear suit, he thinks they’ve hit a dead end. Sonny and his girlfriend were at home having Furry Relations (much to Liv’s amusement) the night of the murder.
Or was he?
Turns out, Sonny killed the wrong Chad. SoberChad wasn’t always straight-laced. Back when he was fifteen, he hit and killed Sonny’s father. Because he was a minor, the punishment wasn’t as severe as Sonny would’ve liked. Over the years Sonny looked for Chad. When he found BroChad online, he wanted to face him again. BroChad didn’t make a good first impression, obviously.
This episode was Blaine-heavy. He’s concocting a drug war between himself and Mr. Boss, the local Big Boss when it comes to the drug trade. A position Blaine wants desperately. He sets up several rich kids amongst high-end clubs to sell his Utopium. In return, Boss orders hits on every last one, including Speedy, Blaine’s face-man for his business. Undaunted, or already prepared for this rebuttal from his nemesis, Blaine pays a visit to the District Attorney, who just happens to be one of his best brain-buying customers. They reach an agreement to start a case on Boss, but it’s going to take some hefty bribes to undercut the firm footing Boss has in the city. That’s okay, Blaine just needs to pay a visit to his dear daddy, played by Robert Knepper. As expected, Angus DeBeers just like his son. Blaine uses every manipulative trick in his book to work his father, finally demanding half a million dollars or he’ll overthrow his father, take over the family business, and lock Angus in the looney bin . . . just like Angus did to his father. Now Blaine has the means to take over the Utopium drug trade in the city.
That’s good news for one character in particular. No, not Ravi; he’s still drawing blanks when it comes to finding the tainted Utopium. However, he thinks if he can understand the drug, he’ll have a better chance of figuring out a zombie cure without the specific strain from the boat party. This leads to Ravi begging Major to join him on a drug-seeking mission at a high-end club. Ravi floats on an euphoric cloud, attempting to monitor his reaction to the drug with the voice recorder app on his phone. Spoiler: the audio provides little to no help the next day. Bored watching his friend have all the fun, Major takes Ravi’s second vial of Utopium. Then he wants more. When we find Major again, he’s passed out in the bathroom. A stranger finds his phone and calls Liv. She dutifully drags the kite-high men home. But before the cab drives a foot, Major grabs her phone and throws it out the window, telling her, “They can hear you and they’re always listening.” Or something to that effect given all the slurring. Liv and Major have a bonding moment on his bathroom floor. He asks her to stay and take care of him. She’s elated, thinking they’re finally on speaking terms. The bubble bursts the next day. Major replaces her phone, but won’t see her. Guess who’s falling down the Utopium hole? Yup. Major’s an addict. It’s either that or stew in guilt over the man he killed and the many more he’ll murder to keep Max Rager’s goons from going after Liv.
How much longer can Major keep the wolves at bay, though? He almost spills the beans to Liv twice in this episode while under the influence. What’s stopping him from blabbing to Ravi? Even if he does, there’s not much they can do to take down Max Rager short of killing Vaughn Du Clark.
Poor Theresa didn’t survive the beating at the end of the last episode. Seeing as Sebastian had a knife in his head before the attack, there’s a new killer on the loose. Liv wastes no time digging into Theresa’s snarktastic brain—served on a BLT with not-spicy-enough mustard. The first vision connects the dots for the Scooby Gang; the kids were attacked for the Max Rager flash drive Theresa took from Sebastian’s pocket before they buried him. It explains all the texts about “The stuff” and money flying around during Kimber’s case. Someone from Max Rager wants that information and they’ve resumed killing people to get it back. The lone survivor from the band, Cameron, is missing. When the police finally locate information, it’s from a gas station surveillance camera. Cameron walks in, grabs enough food for two people, and mouths, “Help me.” It’s a good cover story. While he’s dropping breadcrumbs for the cops to follow his “kidnapper,” Cameron meets a Max Rager representative and sells the flash drive. Then they try to blow him up. Terrified, Cameron hops on a bus to Canada . . . and is caught at the border because he didn’t think they’d catch on to his scheme and put out an APB. Moron. Faced with Clive’s not-so-veiled threat to hand Cameron over to Max Rager—who has plans to get their money back if the tracking device in the bag of cash is any indication—Cameron spills everything, including a cloud-stored copy of the flash drive’s contents.
Max Rager’s part in zombie creation is bigger than anticipated. And an accident. Vaughn Du Clark tasked his scientists with creating Super Max, an energy drink which makes the consumer never need sleep again, plus a few other enhancements. The tainted energy drink which went public is likely the test batch of Super Max, sent out in the world to see what’d it do to humans. MR took advantage of the opportunity when Sebastian made his way back to them post-turning. He went to them in good faith. Then went nuts and killed the lead scientist. It’s okay, Du Clark has a spare scientist laying around. Once the guy recovers from the whole, “Zombies are real,” shock, he’s pretty onboard with the Super Max plan. Though that doesn’t stop him from being Creepy Mc Staresalot when Liv and Clive come for yet another friendly chat with Max Rager’s CEO, Du Clark. Despite all the manipulation and murders, the documents they hid came to light. It’s no rain on Du Clark’s parade. He’s got the makings of his own personal undead army. He may not be able to keep that army undead for long. Ravi’s cure is on the fast track to success. Hope 2 (as I call her) is alive and well after taking a low dose of the cure. Unfortunately, with all the zombie-related deaths, Max Rager antics, and Major’s kill-’em-all approach to the undead, Liv’s patience will not last long enough for Ravi to test the long-term effects.
“I don’t care. The man that I wanted to marry has vowed to kill every last zombie and last night my best friend looked at me like I was a monster. Which, incidentally, I am. I want my life back, Ravi. I eat brains. It’s disgusting. I am disgusting. I’ll sign a waiver, just let me do it.”
Ravi talks her off the ledge, begging her to give him time to test and replicate the formula. There’s only one, maybe two doses left after returning Hope 2 to the land of the living. He wants the cure for every zombie Blaine and Max Rager made over the last year. Liv almost doses herself at one point. Then she gets a phone call about Major.
What about Major? For most of the episode, he’s rooming with Blaine. By rooming, I mean Blaine keeps him locked in a freezer at Meat Cute, hoping slow torture will get Major to cough up the location of the astronaut brains he stole.
The stubborn human doesn’t budge. Eventually Dupont and Blaine put the pieces together—Liv has the brains. Blaine’s call, interrupting Liv’s impulsive decision to test the cure on herself, is pretty predictable. She gives him the brains, she gets loverboy back. Only, Blaine can’t let a mere human run around yelling, “The zombies are coming!” He dresses a random dude in Major’s clothes and trades him for the coveted astronaut brains. While he’s away, Major escapes from the freezer, using a lighter from the corpse chilling with him and urine. Hey, whatever works in a pinch. Robo-Counselor retrieves his small arsenal from his car and doubles back to kill every zombie in Meat Cute. Blaine returns, stabs Major. In return, Liv shoots Blaine. Ever the opportunist, Blaine offers to give Liv his entire client list. He justifies his actions, saying he’s the only reason the zombies aren’t attacking the city, turning and killing everyone in their path. It’s a valid point, I’ll give him that. Only, the city wouldn’t be in such dire straits if he hadn’t turned the majority of the people now threatening it if they don’t get their six o’clock dinner delivery.
Then Blaine goes for the sucker punch. All Liv’s work to keep Major from finding out she’s a zombie flies out the window. His dying moments are spent reeling from her betrayal. In return for Blaine taking away something she holds dear—Major’s trust—Liv takes away something Blaine loves more than anything, his zombiehood. He gets one dose of the cure, and it appears to work before he runs away, leaving Liv to deal with Major. Liv does the only thing she can and scratches Major without his permission. Not something he’s likely ever going to forgive, by the way.
She takes him home. Makes him soup, which he doesn’t eat. He’s livid. Unable to process how she lied to him for so long, allowed him to think he was insane. Liv justifies her brain-eating, saying it’s all in the name of helping others. Said aloud, it feels like another excuse, something Blaine might say if his inclinations weren’t so rule-the-world. Unlike Blaine. Liv has a potential fix for at least one problem she’s caused. Major gets the final dose of the cure.
Lt. Suzuki takes it upon himself to clean the mess left at Meat Cute. He stages the scene as a shoot-out, shooting himself in the leg, as well. The next step is to destroy the evidence contrary to the story he wants the other detectives to follow—that means using fire, and a lot of it. Suzuki blows up Meat Cute. Unfortunately Liv’s brother, Evan, arrives for his first shift seconds before. Their mother calls Liv. Together they watch Evan in the ICU, struggling to survive. He needs a blood transfusion desperately. The only match they have at hand is Liv. Was Liv, at least. The episode ends with Liv refusing her mother’s pleas to donate blood. Sure, it’d keep her brother alive, but without the cure, she’d condemn Evan to a half-life. She could only spare one person she loves.
Not a bad ending for season one. Filming for season two is already underway and the premiere is on October 6th. What predictions do you guys have for the sophomore season of iZombie?