iZombie: Grumpy Old Liv

Liv and Ravi

How was your summer? Good good. Only a few alien invasions and one attack by catapult werewolves with mange? None of that matters because iZombie is back!

If you missed the amazingballs of last years season finale you can read the long recap here. Or here’s the short short short version.

Major breaks out of his ice prison, goes full on Rambo but without the mullet, blows the shit out of Meat Cute then gets stabbed by Blaine. While he’s dying, Liv jabs Blaine with her zombie cure, then later cures Major too because she’s great at thinking ahead. It ends with her brother getting blown to smithereens because the police Lieutenant had the same “explosions are awesome” bug as Major.

Without wasting any time, we’re back in the hospital. Despite refusing to give her brother her blood for zombie related reasons (and Medicaid won’t cover undead transfers), he still made it through the first surgery and is on the docket for more. It turns out that Liv has been trying to visit him for the four months that the show’s been off the air (and he’s been in the hospital the whole time? I would not want to see that bill), but he’s refused her. Both her brother and mother blame Liv for not giving up her blood and sharing in the awesome zombie virus.

Of course this leads to the “I must hardened my heart and walk alone” trope which I just got an hour of from The Flash. Sigh. I squirmed at this point because seriously, enough with the damn lone wolf who’s dangerous and can’t let people near them plotline! Barry’s moping seemed even more outlandish compared to the two women on the show who lost a fiancé and husband, respectively, but seemed to have moved on! He’s too busy being the Batman, I mean lone Flash crime fighter who something something, I don’t know. I expected him to smear on eyeliner and wear all black.

I’m mostly bringing up The Flash for compare and contrast purposes, so bear with me. Seriously though, enough with the Man Pain!

Having established that Liv and her brother yet live, it’s time for the brain of the week. Sorry guys, it’s pretty pointless, but barely mentioned so…

We get the weirdest brain of the week beginning as a woman decides running in a suburban area at two in the morning is a great idea. She spots an old lecherous guy working on his car and then a pair of kids playing hockey. At night. At two in the morning. If this isn’t a remake/update of Children of the Corn, I’ll eat my straw hat.

Anyway, turns out that the dead person isn’t the runner from a hockey stick stabbed into her brain, but the old guy who got smashed below his car. Our first red herring rolls up in her scooter, and she talks about how the dead guy, Wendell, was her brother in law and a cantankerous old bastard. They try to give some reasoning because of illness and his wife leaving, but after a few decades, do those excuses count anymore?

MAN PAIN! LONE WOLF!

After Liv noshes on some spaghetti and brainballs, we do a little catching up with our ex-zombie rat. Liv calls her Final Hope, but Ravi insists it’s New Hope, not Final Hope, because that name’s too dark.

“If I wanted to give her a depressing name I’d have called her Phantom Menace.” I’ve missed you so much Ravi. How is there not already a section of Tumblr the size of Alaska dedicated to that man? Quippy, hot, and kinda nerdy? Come on, ladies of Tumblr, I’m counting on you.

The other reason I love Ravi is because he often says what we’ve all been screaming at Liv as he tears into her for wasting the cure. It’s an excuse to explain to the audience that, yes, there were only two samples, and yes, she wasted them on her mortal enemy and ex-fiancé,  but it needed to happen. No letting our hero off the hook for being sorry because she may have doomed them all to a zombie apocalypse.

It’s also establishing one of the main concerns of this season. In order to make more cure, they need the same samples of the tainted drug Utopium from the boat party. And the only person likely to have it is our favorite zombie godfather, Blaine!

Don’t go thinking our don-undead’s vanished into the night and is reduced to eating rats in the alley. Nope, he’s gotten himself a new job at a mortuary, where he’s just as delightfully creepy as always. Though, I have to question his choice of nom-de-plumes. John Deaux? Really. I expected better from you, Blaine.

Liv goes to confront him at his new house of the dead where some great banter happens. He tortures Liv by eating a piece of chocolate and extolling the virtues of having living tastebuds. She spits back: “Are you eating that or impregnating it?”

Because Blaine is the Lex Luthor of zombies, he’s used his thinking bones to figure out that since Major wasn’t mentioned on the list of dead from Meat Cute going to Pun Heaven then either the Ken Dolls running around as a zombie, or most likely she wasted the cure on him. Liv demures the fact, then turns back around on Blaine admitting that they just injected a couple rats, one of which died after a few days. Who knows how long or if the cure will last? So it’d be really useful if he got her some of that same tainted Unobtanium.

Blaine agrees in his shifty Blaine way, then sends Liv on her way. Despite the great speech, Blaine’s not gone straight and has a coffin full of vials of the Utopium. Whether he intends to get back on the zombie train or not is hard to say. Man’s got a lot of pots scattered across fires.

But enough with the exciting stuff, I suppose we should solve that brain of the week thing. To show Liv’s eaten old guy brain, Clive (the most patient man in the universe) wakes her from a nap while the old Hitler Channel plays in the background. The police station must get History Channel 5 to be able to watch anything history related. Despite the police department declaring Suzuki a hero and coughing up a medal for his widow, Clive’s still suspicious about Meat Cute’s imploding explosion. He doesn’t buy Liv being Major’s alibi for the night and is still grilling her about it.

Oh, but I’m sorry, the brain thing. Right. There was some tip left by a man named (prepared yourself) Byron Thistlewait. He’s pretty much the king of Hipsters with Liv in cranky old man mode calling him out on his stupid t-shirt and his fear of a kid (who looked about 25, but fine, kid) terrorizing the neighborhood. “He’s a teenager, not a bear. Pretend you got a pair and speak up, Son.”

Byron (dear god, the stupid name) tells them that Wendell once tazed this terror “teenager” Rodney, and Rodney then threatened to come back and finish the job. If you’re smelling fish, it’s because, yup, it’s another red herring. Still, we might as well go through the motions.

They drag in Rodney (who’s the spitting image of this guy to the point I almost wonder if it’s a deliberate homage). We get some “kids these days and their eye makeup, baggy clothes, and actually being in their late twenties” rhetoric from Grumpy Old Liv while crossing Rodney off the list. All he really added is the information that Wendell, like all old men, despised squirrels and one time poisoned hundreds of them, stacked them up like firewood, and burned ’em.

But enough about the brain of the week, guess who’s back? Ken Doll! I never in a million years thought I’d come to like Major – he’d be the worst character on any other show – but I’m glad to see him. He can have some Tumblr space the size of Delaware. Unable to get a job as a health inspector or whatever he did before getting gaslit by Liv, Major’s a personal trainer now. I’m guessing that’s easier to do than being ordained to perform weddings. Did he print off the certificate covered in clipart and hang it on his wall?

This is mostly to establish what was hinted at with Blaine: the cured can sense zombies. Major’s hair stands up on end, he gets chills. Either zombies shake him to the core, or he’s in love. In this case it’s with a random middle manager guy who I’m guessing used to be on Blaine’s payroll. After no longer getting fresh brains, Blaine’s supposedly supplying them with corpse ones, but I don’t know. Never trust Lex Luthor.

Major explains his newfound zombie sensing skills to Ravi, but to get themselves out of a corner, they wave away that he doesn’t have the same reaction around Liv because, take it away Ravi: “She domesticated you, like a lapdog or a pigeon.”

Seeing as how Blaine dealing drugs and brains and Clive suspecting everyone isn’t enough, let’s throw in Max Rager to the mix. You thought releasing the memo would destroy them? This is America! The land of the free, home of the brave, the possibility of a man with three bankruptcies under his belt convincing half of the country he’s good with money and should be president. Yeah!

While playing the CEO version of WiiU without any controls, Von (still no idea if that’s his first, last, or conjunction name) grumbles about how he has to get Super Max to market to get back his tasty, tasty money. He’s also still got that same terrifying redhead assistant from the finale. She’s moved up from hot chick who messes around with her phone assistant to full level henchman. Henchlady? When talking about the zombie problem, she even says: “We located the instrument of their destruction.” I expect some cackling out of her, maybe a laboratory full of creatures rattling chains.

After messing around with the interesting stuff in the show, we’re back to the police procedural. Yawn. To prove that Clive is the most tempered man in the universe, while Liv’s in full on racist old guy brains she says, “Thanks Clive, you’re one of the good ones.” And after shaking his head, he says, “I’m gonna go get myself a coffee and try very hard to forget you said that.” I don’t know how he does it, man has the patience of a saint. A sainted Saint Bernard.

This finally triggers our first zombie vision of the episode (still just as unimportant as before). After literally running into her weird police nemesis the sketch artist, Liv watches Wendell’s sister-in-law threaten him and key his car. But don’t worry, this isn’t going anywhere. They think they’ve got her because she doesn’t always need to use her scooter I guess, but Clara was with her coven that night playing cards (which I assume is what all covens do). So much for that red herring.

We have a quick scene of Blaine knocking on a door giving a ton of backstory to a character we haven’t met yet. Turns out he’s the one who supplied the boat party with the tainted Utopium. Blaine apologizes for missing his twin brother’s funeral, which means we’ve probably met this guy before. And sure enough, when he opens the door, this is Don E, the brother of Scott E. Don’t remember who Scott E is? That’s okay. That’s what I’m here for. He was the guy in the mental ward with Major who also had video of Liv eating brains.

There’s a good chance that video’s gonna come back into play.

Okay, let’s finish up this brain of the week fast so we can get to the good stuff. Liv finally has a helpful zombie vision of Wendell feeding meat to a dog he hated. Clive and Liv remember her sitting on a squeaky toy despite not seeing a dog at Hipster guy’s, I mean Byron’s, place. But, twist, when they return, the adorable cocker spaniel’s there. Oh no…what if…

Nope, proving again how damn saintly Clive is, he does real detective work while Liv probably wrote comments on local newspapers about how the chemtrails are taking all our jobs. Byron’s excuse of heading to a pub to watch a re-broadcast of a soccer game doesn’t add up, as he could have snuck out of the back to do some light murdering. And most damning of all, his shoes match the same ones that tread through Wendell’s blood.

They find his shoes and the Hipster guy breaks down, saying it was just one moment of rage blindness compounded by his thinking that Wendell killed his dog. Then he discovered his dog alive in Wendell’s house. Sad, lesson learned, yada yada, to the ending!

Von’s talking about how he loves submarine movies. Because he’s a CEO and had all empathy drained from him once he took the company public, his favorite scene is when the boat’s taking on water and someone has to seal off a waterlogged section, dooming the other men. I imagine he chuckles like Bender while watching it. He’s telling this story because he’s trying to psych up someone to go out and assassinate zombies for them. And who did they pull in as the mighty zombie hunter?

It’s Major, they found Major. Somehow (yeah, I know how) they tapped Liv’s phone and overheard her conversation with him and his freak out about sensing zombies. So he’s the best person in the world to find all the zombies and take them out before Max Rager’s stock falls to American Apparel levels. At first Major refuses, because it took him thirteen episodes to work up to going all grenady shotgun last season. But, despite working for the damn police force, Liv’s got all the tact and smarts of Snidley Whiplash and mentions over the phone about Clive being suspicious about the five murders at Meat Cute. Great going, lady.

Not just that, but Von knows Liv is a zombie, so he offers her up as the first one unless Major can find someone else to off. After turning into a ninja in his spare time, Major takes out the business man zombie he’d been hired to train and dumps his body in the river/ocean/body dumping lake.

And just how did they get a copy of Liv’s call to Major? Why because her new roommate is none other than Von’s crazy henchlady assistant. Seriously, Liv, stop using Craig’s List. If it’s not a serial killer that knits his victims’ skins into blankets, it’s someone trying to pretend she’s dowdy and failing miserably at it.

So we’ve got Blaine doing Blaine stuff, the possibility of the cure either being replicated or shifting/not remaining, and Max Rager turning Major into a zombie assassin. Great stuff tempered with a brain of the week that we just suffer through for more quips from Blaine.

To bring back The Flash again (sorry, I know), what I find fascinating is that, frankly, after the shit Liv pulled, she kinda deserves to have people hate her. Especially Major. Poor guy got treated like crap under the pretense of protecting him by lying to him. After that much shit, it’s no wonder he refuses to forgive her. I’m a little surprised he even forgave Ravi, but he seemed to be in between a rock and a hard place and needed to.

And yet, at the end of this episode, she’s all “I can’t be alone, I won’t turn into some cranky old guy who burns squirrels. I’ll find a way to get back into someone’s good graces.” God help her if she ever does something unforgivable to Ravi, or she really will be alone.

But the Flash, despite again his not really doing anything all that terrible ends with him (highlight for spoilers) freeing his father from prison only to have him say the stupidest fucking thing imaginable and leave. Seriously? You guys couldn’t come up with one damn good way to use him in Barry’s life? He’s just “Nope, son. You have too much family already. I’m outties.” WHAT?!

That’s what keeps bringing me back to iZombie. On the surface, it seems like it’d be the same shit warmed over with a zombie twist, but it’s not. Characters do shitty things, sometimes really shitty things, and it doesn’t get handwaved away. Like, say, Barry lying to Iris and her pretty much shrugging her shoulders and forgiving him. The bad guys aren’t incompetent. They’re scary smart, which makes Blaine and even Von very memorable. Plus Ravi. Every show should have Ravi.

‘Til next week, don’t trust your roommate to hold your phone for a few hours.

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