The CW’s iZombie has very little in common with the comic book series by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred that inspired it, but I’ve come to love the series for what it is: a charming police procedural that is so much better when it does anything other than police work!
Co-showrunner Rob Thomas spent the better part of the second season premiere readjusting iZombie into its new status quo, and he may have struck gold with the villains. The Max Rager corporation appears to be a much more formidable foe this year, and Blaine DeBeers (David Anders) is still immensely entertaining. But it’s still the titular “iZombie” Liv Moore (Rose McIver) who drives the story of this series, and she’s magnetic.
The opening moments of “Grumpy Old Liv” resolved one of the cliffhangers from last season: the fate of Evan (Nick Purcha), Liv’s brother who was caught on the outskirts of the explosion that destroyed the Meat Cute. Because Live refused to give Evan a life-saving blood transfusion (and in the process, infect him with her zombie disease), Liv’s mom Eva (Molly Hagan) and Evan hate her. It was absolutely gut-wrenching because it’s impossible not to feel for Liv. She probably did the right thing, but there’s no way that she could explain it without causing even bigger problems for herself and her family.
For the case-of-the-week, a cantankerous old man was murdered when his car was dropped on him. As murder cases on this series go, it was not the most riveting storyline and it was noticeably less interesting than anything else in the episode. It was primarily an excuse for Liv to eat the victim’s brain and take on aspects of his personality for a while. As “Grumpy Old Liv,” McIver was given a few scenes to shine and she really is funny. But the episode also overused Liv’s old man persona until it finally became tedious.
In one of the subplots, Liv figured out that the recently cured Blaine is now working out of a funeral home and she paid a visit to her nemesis. In retrospect, Liv’s scene with the rat in the lab was excellent foreshadowing for Blaine’s new ability to sense zombies. And on a side note, Anders’ Jimmy Stewart impression was absolutely hilarious. I can see why the producers of this series were so reluctant to move on from Blaine to another villain. Hopefully the producers can resist the urge to redeem Blaine and give him a Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer heroic turn.
More impressively, Max Rager CEO Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber) went a long way towards becoming a real Big Bad for this series. The Max Rager energy drink was responsible for the zombie outbreak, so Clark is blackmailing former zombie Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley) into his full time zombie killer as a way of covering the company’s tracks. I loved this twist, and it prevented Major from being lost in the background of this episode. Major also demonstrated the same zombie detecting ability that Blaine has, which was described as a side effect of their untested zombie cure. But it’s more of a power than anything else.
Clark also revealed that he’s been using surveillance on Liv to discover what she knows, and her conversation with Major about being his alibi for the Meat Cute massacre was particularly damaging. Clark is also fully aware that Liv is a zombie, and that implied threat was also used to coerce Major into working for him. And in a further twist, Liv’s new roommate, Gilda (Leanne Lapp) is Clark’s right-hand woman! Gilda clearly enjoys playing games, as she told Liv that she’s into someone new at work while referring to Major. This can’t end well, but it was a very promising way to end the episode.
On the downside, Peyton Charles (Aly Michalka), Liv’s former roommate is still MIA and it’s not clear when or if the series will ever deal with Peyton’s reaction to Liv’s secret outside of running away to never been seen again. If it’s an issue of Michalka’s availability then it’s out of the producers’ control. But I want to see a resolution to that plot, and the way that Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) referred to Peyton’s absence made it seem like he’s already over the woman he was supposedly into. Considering the way that she left, I didn’t buy into that.
Ravi didn’t get a lot to do in the season premiere beyond his always winning chemistry with Liv and a few brief moments with Major. However, Liv’s partner, Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) has his arc for the season: proving that Major was responsible for the shoot out at the Meat Cute. The fact that Liv was Major’s alibi for a crime he actually committed seems destined to cause huge problems in her relationship with Clive. She already feigned ignorance when he produced a police sketch of Blaine…but it wasn’t a very convincing performance on Liv’s part.
The pieces are in place for a very good second season of iZombie. I never thought I’d be curious to see what Clark’s next move would be. The eventual showdown between Liv and Clark over Max Rager already has my interest piqued, with Blaine and Major as potential wild cards. Now that’s how you start a second season!
What did you think about the season 2 premiere of iZombie? Tear off a piece of flesh and share your opinion below!
Image Credit: The CW / Warner Bros. TV