The entire first season of iZombie has balanced the more horrific aspects associated with zombie media with the quirky fun expected from the creators of Veronica Mars. The irreverent tone has worked for them thus far, and it continues into the first half of the penultimate episode. Liv eats cheerleader brains, prompting the usual hilarious side effects, Clive doesn’t know how to handle her eccentricities, and Ravi’s exchange with Major over his relationship with Peyton is one of their best yet. Then, the second half of the episode happens, and everything goes tits up.
Sebastian returns, zombified by his altercation with Liv. With his reappearance, so do the bodies. Newly-formed zombies tend to get a little hasty. Without the self-control of a mature zombie, and without the support of Blaine’s brain service, he rampages in a more old-fashioned way, starting with the preppy teenager and going after his maker. Liv comes home to find Peyton attacked and unconscious, while Sebastian sautés them up dinner. Honey, I’m home.
Interestingly, while Liv is horrified she created a zombie, she has no sympathy for Sebastian himself. Sebastian is clearly an antagonist, but he evokes a strange empathy as well. A monster while human, he never wanted to go this far, and I can respect that line even if Liv cannot. I am so happy we get to see zombie superiority from Liv again. Her privilege was first brought up in her condemnation of Lowell, without acknowledging her own cushy position getting brains. Sebastian has a poignant moment even as he threatens Liv and Peyton, where he struggles with the fact that he killed and ate the woman who raised him. He struggles with the monster he has become–even though he was a psychopath in life, there were still lines and human connections he wouldn’t cross. Liv needles him, saying she never ate anyone she didn’t want to. But Liv, you did. You admitted as much when you saw the video of your own first feed after the massacre. Is it fair of me to call Liv’s behavior superior when she is obviously being threatened in that situation? Probably not, but if I trend towards it it’s because it does lend her humanity, and I like my heroes fallible.
Thank goodness Liv’s secret is finally out to someone at least, though maybe not the person we were rooting for. All season, Liv has been building a new fulfilling life for herself centered around her condition, but it has come at the cost of connections in her human life. Chief among those is her friendship with Peyton, whose sporadic appearances mean she’s hardly had a chance to visibly connect with new Liv. There is a sweet, if cliché, moment early in the episode where Liv, fresh off cheerleader brains, drags Peyton into a high school gossip session. It highlights how much Peyton herself has suffered at the loss of her best friend. She seems so genuinely loving when they make plans for later, only to fall back into resignation after Liv on stoner brains acts less than enthused. However, captured by Sebastian and then witness to the zombie brawl that ends in Liv killing him, full on zombie, Peyton finally understands. Rose McIver’s performance in this scene is flawless, struggling with composure and fear, emotional strength and vulnerability. “I’m going to tell you and trust that you know that I am still me.” Liv doesn’t know what to do except call upon her friendship with Peyton, one that has already been strained, and claim something she herself needs reassurance on. It’s testament to how far Liv has come that she can even make that claim. Had the Liv we met in the pilot come clean, could she have stated she was the same Liv as before? The Liv in the pilot was so bogged down by the differences her life held before and after, while Liv now has learned to live life anew, in her new normal. Peyton flees, and I can’t wait to see how her newfound knowledge of the situation changes the dynamic of the show. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the second season.
Despite all the zombie related deaths this episode (Including Hope the zombie rat!), the two most intriguing murders were not due to them. With he mysterious death of Nate, and presumably Teresa, there seems to be another supernatural element taking over Seattle (hopefully wereterriers. Terrifying beasts). Or, Cameron is nuts in a very human sense and is on a killing spree. My money’s on the former, however, something to propel us into season two. Thank god we’re getting one.
Can we talk about Major’s transformation this season? We can because this is my article and I have been very impressed and surprisingly invested in Major’s arc. He’s been through the ringer, but it’s a testament to the writers, and Robert Buckley, that Major’s path has never strayed off a very clear trajectory. His development, though drastic, can be clearly drawn back to the choices his character makes every episode. It is this commitment to character, not only with Major but with the entire main cast, that rewards the investment of their audience and makes the show so poignant despite its humor. In the beginning of the season, Major was every Golden Boy stereotype, looking, as Julien Dupont so aptly puts it, like he fell out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Now, the emotional (and physical) beatings he has been taking each episode show their toll. He is buying more guns, he’s watching how to kill zombie instructionals, he is a man on the brink. And men on the brink do not deal well with what they constitute as betrayal. Liv’s withholding of her true nature may just line up with that. I’ll say it now: I don’t think it would be too far out of left field for Major to become a righteous antagonist in future seasons. The episode cliffhanger puts him in Blaine’s clutches, interrogated for the location of astronaut brains he stole. With Major in zombie custody, Peyton on the run, and Ravi with one chance left to cure zombieism, the season finale Tuesday is going to be a tightwire act of storylines. Here’s hoping they all stay in the air.
Episode Rating: 8.5/10