After a season of existential crisis and gray morality disguised as charming irreverence, iZombie comes to an explosive season one finish, and the Seattle zombie scene is irrevocably changed. The most public ramifications are Blaine’s return to the human condition, courtesy of Ravi’s experimental cure, and the Max Rager conspiracy becoming public. Both are thanks to an increasingly desperate and vindictive Liv. The more serious ramification, however, may be to the emotional center of the show. Liv’s relationships with the last ties to humanity, Major and her family, are now forever changed, and their effect on her psyche is one I’m interested in exploring in season two.
I said last week that I wouldn’t be surprised if Major turned righteous avenger, and this week we got to see his desperation come to fruition. With Major captured by Blaine and kept on ice (literally) until he gives up the location of the astronaut brains, Liv’s plan to keep Major safe seems to have gone horribly awry. It’s easy to get frustrated with his predicament, as most of the danger he’s faced could have been avoided had Liv only warned him what he was meddling in. Instead, he has lost his job, his belief in himself, and his innocence. It’s summed up by Blaine, commenting over a dying Major on his “sound and fury,” signifying nothing indeed.
Major too has exhibited single-minded stubbornness when it comes to protecting his kids, and it is that stubbornness that makes his arc so believable. We’ve seen him be smart and resourceful, but never as ruthless as he is here, unloading his fury on the zombies of MeatCute with vengeance. It is an amazing sequence, and director Michael Fields has fun with it, setting it to rollicking drums and bullets. Oh, and that grenade is of some use after all. Major’s arc is, in some ways, the most satisfying of the season. Because as heartbreaking as it is to see Major violent and bitter, the fallout of his newfound knowledge, the unknown effects of zombie cure, and the loss of his own moral guidance are what is going to keep me itching for season two.
Unfortunately, the same satisfying send-off can’t be said for all our side characters. Both Clive and Ravi are sidelined this episode, where I would have liked them to play more of a dynamic role in the episode’s events. It’s odd to me that with the big role Ravi’s newly-synthesized zombie cure played, Ravi himself wasn’t involved at all. Ravi has been Liv’s emotional center this entire season, and I would have liked to see him help her with her struggling morality rather than be tied to the functional scientist role he was. Clive too has served as a functional tie for Liv to utilize her zombie superpowers, and I hope he gets a more substantial arc in season two. Picking up directly after the previous episode, Clive is concerned with the murder of Teresa, who exhibits the same non-zombie savaging that Nate did. Prime suspect Cameron seems to be another victim, until it turns out he has the flash drive with the incriminating Max Rager memo and plans on milking it for all it’s got. Max Rager understandably doesn’t take this sitting down, and after a murder attempt and capture, Cameron is more than happy to confess all to Seattle’s psychically-successful police detective. With a strategic tip to the news, Liv makes sure the memo gets out, and Max Rager’s negligence now has to be answered for.
As far as villains go, Blaine and Max Rager’ CEO Vaughn are far more interesting in their defeat. Vaughn’s Zen-like vibing is unshaken by Max Rager’s notoriety and his discovery of zombies with Sebastian’s turning. Instead, he wants to roll out an even more powerful form of Max Rager, side effects unknown, with the help of a new mad scientist who seems a little to interested in the zombie condition. We’ve seen what Ravi can do on the side of the angels; it’s time to give him a worthy opponent. Blaine, on the other hand, has far more modest goals in comparison. He creates his own ecosystem, with him as the apex predator. When he stabs Major in retribution, Liv stabs him with a syringe, administering Ravi’s cure and reverting Blaine into human form. Now there’s a potential zombie situation on their hands, because unless Blaine can continue to acquire and provide brains, they’re going to start looking for alternate sources of sustenance. And that won’t bode well for Seattle.
This wasn’t the best-paced episode of the season, but it packed the biggest emotional punch. We’ve watched as Liv went from ennui to a person with a new grasp on, well, un-life. But in her embracement of life as a zombie, her strings to her human life have grown ever more strained. Peyton disappears after learning the truth and Major only learns on the brink of death, and then wakes up to learn he has been saved the only way Liv knows how. But his mind has already been made up; he’s seen the reality of zombie existence up close and personal, and nothing could justify his continued existence this way. Major confronts Liv with her selfishness–she wasn’t thinking of him when she saved him, just as she wasn’t thinking of him when she tried to keep him in the dark. This selfishness is all Major can see now, a tragedy when you consider the faith he has always had in Liv.
In Liv’s corner, yes she was selfish, but wasn’t that selfishness earned? She experiences a great trauma and thrives, despite expectation. There has been the inevitable disconnect between her new life and her old one, but she has been trying to bridge that gap all season. I am firmly in the camp of wishing Liv had told Major about her condition weeks ago, but Rose McIver evokes such sympathy for Liv’s predicament as well. McIver toes the line of determination and vulnerability expertly, strong in Liv’s convictions that her choice was the best one and equally as strong in backtracking by administering Ravi’s antidote to Major, potentially dooming herself and any current and future zombies for his sake.
Peyton is gone, Major is gone, and Liv’s last tie to her human life is severed in the last beats of the episode. Caught in the MeatCute’s explosion, Liv’s brother lies on the operating table, dying without a blood transfusion. A blood transfusion that, without any more doses of antidote, would resign him to a half-life of eating brains and hiding who he truly is. The truth of Liv’s situation has caught up with her. Why would she not zombify him until they work on the cure?
Why would a sister hesitate to save her brother? Her mother is desperate.
EPISODE RATING: 8/10
And don’t forget to catch our exclusive interview with iZombie’s Malcolm Goodwin on the explosive finale here!