Tonight’s iZombie was such a nail-biter, it’s no wonder we needed the levity of a stripper brain. Given the laundry list of dread, I can’t decide who we’re supposed to feel the most sorry for — zombie Gilda scrambling for brains in Liv’s fridge; Blaine and his amnesia; popsicle Drake; Drake’s poor mama; Major caught red-spray-paint-handed; Ravi living with a serial killer; or Cassidy, the stripper murdered with a tire iron? One thing’s for sure: the pity party for Liv has officially ended. For a season and a half, we nursed her through her zombie transition: the alienation, the heartbreak, the brain-eating. But no more. Now that she has zombie friends and frenemies and a boyfriend, hell even her BFF is down with Liv’s undead status — basically everyone in her life knows about zombies except Babineaux — she’s no longer alone.
Ravi sums it up best at the crime scene: “Bet you think this dead stripper’s about you, don’t you?” Liv, stop being so vain, this show isn’t just about you anymore. And that’s a good thing. iZombie has done a tremendous job moving it’s sophomore season into a new, more complex direction without losing the flavor and heart of the first. Whereas season 1 was Liv-centric, season 2 truly develops all of the characters. It’s why iZombie has managed to juggle so many plots but retain its great storytelling.
As this season approaches the finish line, the villains become clearer. I’m officially removing Blaine from the Big Bad list. Right now it consists of Mr. Boss, Vaughn Du Clark, all things Max Rager, and whoever cut Liv and Ravi’s cover of “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” out of the country-Western brain episode (looking at you, Rob Thomas). But even with all of these interwoven plots, the show hasn’t changed structurally — and this is a real testament to how the iZombie writers break stories. The cases of the week are not only fun personality shifters for Liv, but integral to cracking the Big Bads. Tonight, the gang deals with the death of Cassidy. But she’s no ordinary exotic dancer; she just happens to be the girlfriend of low level thug Nick the Stick, whose girl on the side just happens to be shacking up with Boss’s No.1 associate Pablo, who just happens to lead Peyton and Co. to a major Boss-adjacent stash house.
Welcome back, roommate Peyton! It feels like old times watching the OG foursome chilling with beers. “Aw, this is fun. Please try and rent the apartment across the hall,” says Peyton. “So we can be like the friends from Friends!” Liv chimes in. Liv and Major have effectively shucked their Ross and Rachel routine, but we do keep getting little hints that Ravi still has the hots for Peyton: His reaction to the Major’s “booty call” falsetto, the fact that he remembers the day Minor arrived because it was the day Peyton did, too. (ICYMI, Aly Michalka said she was Team Ravi over Team Blaine at iZombie’s WonderCon panel.)
But there’s no time for uncomfortable romantic gestures when Peyton gets a call from Cassidy, moments before she’s murdered. Inching closer and closer to breaking Boss, Peyton begs Liv to help, and after a B(rain)LT sandwich — and a brief booty-shaking burlesque courtesy of Ravi — the ladies head to the strip club where they’re playing Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me.” You can tell Rose McIver was having fun with this brain as she threw down with other strippers in da club and gave Peyton a lap dance to the strains of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.” (Dear iZombie music supervisor, you are really killing it this season.)
Sure, they may have slipped up when they left poor Minor the dog on a bus, but the iZombie writers would like us to know, very clearly, that Minor has been adopted by his late owner’s brother. In fact, the hound gets his very own subplot! Which leads to Ravi finding out that Major is the Chaos Killer. Obviously Ravi is angry and scared and upset, but of all the main characters, he’s the most rational. So I was surprised when he flipped out without letting Major explain, inciting a zombie rage.
NEXT: Liv suddenly has no leads