“You know, who we were isn’t who we are. It’s practice for who we want to become.” —Major
While season 1 of iZombie focused on introspection, season 2 has been largely about relationships and interactions: the external. Liv, more comfortable in her soft-as-the-driven-snow skin, has shed a lot of her feelings of inadequacy, striving to pull herself out of the well of zombie alienation. Of course, it helps that most of her nearest and dearest now know that she’s a zombie. It’s harder to feel alone when you’re not shouldering the burden of a heavy secret — that just happens to have totally changed your life.
We assume, of course, that life is good when you’re a gorgeous, happy-go-lucky medical student with a washboard abs fiancé and culinary cravings that are, at their scariest, sugary carbs. But iZombie does love to toy with the nature of “good,” doesn’t it? When Liv eats brains, it’s not gross; in fact, it usually saves the day. And with this aptly titled episode, we’re left asking ourselves: Is Liv happier now? Before life was good, but now she’s a damn crusader for good. Does that then make pre-zombie life “bad”?
Brain-of-the-week Bailey is a type-A, Adderall-popping overachiever who was destined for greatness until some skinny dipping coeds found her swimming with the fishes. (Okay, not fishes, just an indoor pool, but how funny was Ravi’s Godfather impression?) For the first time I can remember, Liv decides to eat Bailey’s brain not just to help solve the case, but to help understand herself. Although Liv has memories of the way she used to be, a self-proclaimed “praise-aholic,” a coupe that runs on compliments, she is also incredibly self-aware now. Over the course of the season, we’ve seen her grow to understand how important working with Babineaux is, both to her mental well-being and to the person she has become.
When Liv asks Ravi if he thinks someone like him would be friends with someone like her, pre-zombie, the vulnerability is sweet but also revealing. She’s so busy crusading all the time that you rarely get a glimpse of self-doubt. Seeing Bailey reminded her of how she used to be. Hindsight is 20/20, and for the first time, Liv sees the bloom has fallen off her rosy past.
Even Major and Ravi can see it. When Major tells Ravi the truth behind the Chaos Killer, well the Chaos “Kidnapper,” they both agree that telling Liv is the worst possible idea. I always though that Major was trying to save Liv from being killed. But it’s so much more complicated than that. He’s trying to save Liv from the self that she’s become and the self she left behind. Raining on her validation parade would not only make her retreat back into the lonely new zombie that we met in episode 1, but also would likely drive her to save the day, thereby putting her in danger. He obviously doesn’t want her dead, to be sure. But he also doesn’t want her to be unhappy.
With all this soul searching going on, the decision to give Blaine amnesia is clever. Of all the characters on the show, Blaine has done no good — it’s fairly black and white — except in the service of making himself The Biggest Baddest Bad. But wipe his memory clean and suddenly he’s a tabula rasa, absolutely required to be the most introspective of all of them. But in a twist of fate (or plot), all of his introspection is external because he’s relying on other people to put the pieces of his life together.
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The pieces of the case of the week, however, are fairly straightforward — and directly connected to solving the tainted Utopium puzzle. As iZombie’s sophomore season has unfolded, the cases have become more and more intertwined with the overall doozy of a plot web. Benedetto (Keith Mars, it’s always so good to see you) had been running his own informant program, which is a shady but potentially useful way to track down Lucky U. That is, until it turns deadly and your bad-guy informant Steve kills your good-girl informant Bailey. And then it culminates not with an arrest, but with Chief knocking you on your ass and killing your bad-apple informant.
Chief and Don E., man. I really thought they’d be loyal until the end. But they’re pulling one over on Blaine so harshly that you almost feel sorry for the guy. But there’s a bright side: Blaine is brilliant, and when two subpar henchman start running the show, someone is bound to slip up. (Which is great because next week we get back-to-back episodes and a finale, so please please please let us get some answers.)
NEXT: Babineaux is so close to becoming Babi-KNOW.