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iZombie: Malcolm Goodwin season 2 finale postmortem

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Diyah Pera/The CW

Warning: This post contains spoilers from Tuesday’s iZombie season finale.

Detective Clive Babineaux has one less mystery to solve.

In the game-changing season 2 finale of iZombie, Liv (Rose McIver) finally told Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) everything there is to know about zombies — including the fact that she and Major (Robert Buckley) number in their ranks. But as satisfying as it was to watch Clive learn the truth, the revelation came with its share of consequences: Preventing the zombie apocalypse required Clive to blow up his own career opportunities. It may also have sunk his relationship with Dale (Jessica Harmon) for good.

EW caught up with Goodwin to talk about how Clive is handling the news, why being a zombie would “cramp his style,” and working with guest star and musician Rob Thomas (who shares his name with iZombie’s creator).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m so glad Clive finally knows the truth about zombies.

GOODWIN: I’m happy, too. I think it was great the way it played out.

How do you think he’s processing everything?

You know, I don’t even think Clive has it fully processed yet. I think a lot has happened in this short period of time with, obviously, finding out that Liv is a zombie, and the kind of zombie she is goes against what he knows zombies as being. He knows zombies as Walking Dead zombies, World War Z zombies, I Am Legend zombies, but not walking, talking, functioning zombies who can solve crimes. He just doesn’t know zombies to be that. So I think he’s still processing that. Also the fact that he sabotaged the progression of his career by releasing Major and not pursuing the Meat Cute massacre — and Dale, sabotaging her career with the Chaos Killer, and their relationship. He’s kind of taking it all in and just going off of instinct. Obviously he’s convinced. Liv finally convinced him that there is a zombie world, but he doesn’t know to what extent. I think it’s a lot to process, and I think that’s what’s going to make season 3 so interesting, to see really how he feels about all of this. I think there’s a lot to be explored.

How did you find out that Clive was finally going to be brought into the loop?

When I read the script. I wasn’t given any advance warning — the only thing I knew coming into the end of the season was that Rob sent me an email and was like, “Just to give you a teaser” — I think this was during episode 5 or 6 in the season — “right now Clive is going to have to choose between Dale or Liv,” but he didn’t really say why. So I knew at some point Clive was going to have to make a choice. At that point, I was under the impression that Clive was going to be in the dark for as long as possible, as long as it makes sense without it feeling drawn out, but I had no idea until I read the script. I remember getting to the scene where she tells me, and even when that scene was coming up, I didn’t think that she was going to tell me! I didn’t believe that. That’s why I love Clive’s reaction. He hears it, and he goes, “I don’t believe you.” There’s no way hearing all of that — I know the audience thinks, “Isn’t it obvious that she’s a zombie?” And I’m like, “No, it’s not obvious.” In this world we live in, zombies don’t function. I loved that he had a real world reaction, which is what I always hoped for, but I didn’t know how it was going to transpire. Rob and I, we never talked about how it would happen, but I love that they kept him honest in that particular way. And then she has to go to an extreme circumstance and stab herself in the heart. Yeah, that’ll do it.

Did you film any other reactions to Liv’s confession?

There were a lot of different reactions. That day was a very, very emotional day, because the day started with the scene between Dale and I in Clive’s place, and I had never seen Clive’s home before. It was everyone’s first time, like, “Oh wow, look at his digs. He’s got some style.” So Jessica and I, we were crying half the day. There were some takes done without tears, in our breakup scene, and there were takes done with so many tears. And by the time it came to do the scene with Liv, Rose came with so many options. There’s a take where she’s bawling the entire time, like, “I lied. I’ve been lying to you. I’m sorry.” Just getting it off her chest finally. But they had to keep in mind that she’s still on secret agent brain. He’s going to keep it together. So we just gave them so many different options. I gave quite a few different reactions, and one was to kind of laugh, like, “This is absolutely ridiculous.” There was one just shocked. “What are you talking about? What are you smoking?”

Have there been any particular moments in the past where you’ve felt like it was ridiculous for Clive not to know about zombies?

You know, there hasn’t been one single moment where I’ve felt like he should know about this psychic world. He wouldn’t know. Zombies don’t have white hair. They don’t eat and solve crimes … The only question I did have was him saying something about her personality. I think it was episode 3, when she was on housewife brain, and I’m like, “Hold on, this is the first time where she’s actually dressing like the victim. She took on not only the characteristics but dressed like her.” And Rose looked amazing. She looks like all of the people we’re interviewing. And I’m like, “How do I not say anything?” And they told me, “Clive wouldn’t.” That is how tunnel vision he is. The case first, then the visions that help solve the case, and then everything else doesn’t really matter. There was a scene a couple of episodes back where he saw them doing an autopsy on a rat in a morgue for human beings. He sees it, looks at Ravi, looks at Liv, and he can say something, but he goes back to the case. That’s how he thinks. I love the fact that the writers and everyone have been consistent with that — this greater good. Clive is thinking about the human race.

It looked for a minute there like he was going to have to become a zombie. When you got the script, what were you thinking as you read that scene? How did you think it would play out?

I always felt like Clive wouldn’t accept turning into a zombie, especially if it’s his choice. I had no idea it was going to be in the script, and I love the fact that he said that: “There’s no way I’m becoming one of them.” There’s also a lot going on with Clive at that point. There’s so much, and why would he want to do that? Why would he make that choice? We always make the joke on set that being a zombie would cramp his style, because he wouldn’t really wear the zombie look — the pale look — as well as Major or Liv. Clive would probably look a little ashy and need a lot of lotion, and that’s the joke we always make about Clive. [Laughs] Clive wouldn’t. Clive is like, “Uh uh, there’s no way I’m doing that.” He’s that metro and that particular about his style. And that’s based on what he knows thus far. Who knows, once he becomes more ingratiated in what’s going on and gets close. If he’s a part of finding the cure and containing this entire thing, if he has to turn for the sake of mankind, to save the human race — it has to be for that. But he would never, ever do it for his own survival. And that’s consistent to his own personality. It would have to be for something bigger than him.

Now that he’s in the know, what do you hope to see for Clive down the line?

He’s part of Team Z now! I think that’s going to be fun! Being part of trying to find the cure. He can communicate with Blaine [David Anders] now. There can be a lot of teamwork … He was the only one who didn’t know out of the main characters, so I think he can be instrumental, and obviously he has access that they don’t have — that Ravi [Rahul Kohli] doesn’t have or Liv doesn’t have — so now he can use his access to help contain this thing. And I think you also get to learn so much more about him in the serialized aspects of the show.

And of course you had a big guest in the finale with Rob Thomas. How was it having him on set?

It was the best. Not only was I a fan of his music before, but I’m just the biggest fan of him, of who he is. Probably some of the best energy. He watched the show, and he was so supportive. He was quoting things we said on the Comic-Con panel and asking about certain episodes. He was so prepared and so excited and enthusiastic. It made me even more starstruck. It was very humbling … Shooting those action sequences, we have a lot to do in a day. It was a lot to fit in, so it helps to have a great attitude and a positive attitude in order to survive those days, and oh man, did he bring a positive attitude and just great energy every single day. I learned the entire song that he sings, so that when they point the camera on Clive, I’m singing the song. I’m like, “Yep, Clive knows the words.” It’ll give him more motivation to stop the zombie apocalypse because they killed his favorite singer. [Laughs] He has to avenge — that’s more fuel to the fire for him. What a great guy, and what a great spirit he is.

There were a lot of Rob Thomas in-jokes in the script, either about his name or his lyrics. Did you have a favorite?

Oh gosh, what was it? Those days were so hectic and so full, but I do remember … I would improv, “Hey, you didn’t tell me my favorite singer was here.” Just kind of riffing on that. It was hectic. But I think Rob Thomas was shocked when he saw me there mouthing the words, over in the background dancing. They’re like, “He knows all the words.” I’m like, “I worked on this for a week. I was on a treadmill 20 minutes a day, and I played that song on repeat so that when he sings it, I know it. Just in case.”