Let’s talk about sex, baby; let’s talk about iZombie. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Also, let’s talk about relationships — but mostly sex, since “Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues” seems to be more about a group of horny teens than the evolved grownups who began to hit their stride last week. Ravi and Stephanie. Peyton and Blaine. Clive and the new FBI chick. And — Major and Liv! Did not see that one coming. The connections in this episode crackle with such energy that you’d think the whole lot of them were shotgunning Max Rager in between takes. This new philosophy is a marked change from the prevailing notion that we’re just, well, zombies that lumber around aimlessly, periodically bumping into each other, only to float in another direction. Living, it seems, is more about connecting with other people.
iZombie has done a great job developing the outsider narrative — how lonely it can be and how incredibly frustrating; how when you find kindred spirits, you want so badly to pick their brains (almost as badly as you crave everyone else’s brains); and how quickly folks of your ilk can repulse you when you don’t like yourself. But now that everyone close to her knows that Liv is a zombie, is she still an outsider? They all know her secret and accept it. With her family abandoning her, Liv has finally found a clan where she can be open and honest.
We get some real insight into Liv’s brain — yes, she maintains as she’s baring her soul to Major, her brain — when she tells her ex-fiancé how all she has done since turning into a zombie is trying to protect him. (Notice that dig about how he made her go to the party and she woke up snacking on someone’s skull.) But the helplessness of being turned into a zombie and Liv’s revelation that she kept it a secret to make life easier for Major were nothing compared to when Major iced her out and showed her the door..
Only Peyton responds with the appropriate empathy when she tells Liv she doesn’t know if she was more upset to find out Liv was a zombie or that Liv was hiding something from her. “To be fair, you had just seen me stab someone in the head,” deflects Liv. But ultimately Peyton is the first of Liv’s inner circle to articulate how horrible and lonely the past year must have been for her. (Which would explain why her BFF is so quick to be all, So you’re a zombie and I have questions, but let’s veg out on the couch while I go full jealous sorority girl on your new roomie.)
The first few episodes of season 2 seem to be unfolding almost in real time. Liv references the cake that Peyton left her last night. Major wakes up in Gilda’s bed. (Yuck.) This pacing is important. We’re not glossing over anything chronological, but it’s also emblematic of the fact that we’re not glossing over anything period. Now is the time for everyone to come clean about who they are and how they feel.
NEXT: Blaine and his tainted love [pagebreak]
Well, except Blaine. Despite his orange exterior — why does he still need that zombie spray tan? — the un-undead is 100 percent human, and 98 percent of that is secrets. (2 percent is tainted Utopium.) And though he finds the now-reformed dude who made the tainted Utopium and weaponizes zombie-ism in an attempt to get the information he needs, Blaine still considers lies the true magic elixir. And he’s in full snake-oil salesman mode as he charms Peyton by agreeing to help bring down Stacey Boss’s entire cartel. She was certainly picking up what he was putting down.
The brain of the week was mostly an opportunity for Liv to moon and croon over love lost. Poor Lacy Cantrell, waitress at country bar The Slow Roll, strangled by an intruder before she could reunite with her ex-con ex-boyfriend she done wronged. Our perks: some lively turns of phrase — “I’m sweating like a $10 French whore on nickel day” — and a 3-minute open-mic-night set, courtesy of Rose McIver who can sing. (Did somebody say iZombie musical episode? We already know Aly Michalka’s got some pipes.) Liv’s perks: a penchant for knocking out strummy guitar ballads and the raw, soul-baring confessions of country music.
By saying (or singing) her feelings out loud, Liv is forced to acknowledge them. And, of course, this leads to the epiphany that she’s ready to let Major go. But, as they say, we plan; God laughs. “Bad things happen as often as good things,” Liv voiceovers. “People who are meant to be together aren’t.” That is, until a rock-bottomed Major, puppy-dog eyes in full force, shows up on her doorstep asking for help. The two connect in the only way they know how — a passionate makeout session, of course. When the camera pans out, I expect to see Gilda lurking in the shadows. Instead, we’re left with an outsider’s view.
It will be interesting to see how Major’s recovery plays out in the upcoming episodes. Will he tell Liv that he’s killing to save her life? At some point, Liv and Blaine will have to team up to fight the bigger bad, but I can’t decide if that’s Max Rager or Stacey Boss. Maybe they’re one and the same? We do always hear Vaughn taking calls with some as-yet-to-be-revealed higher up. And then there’s the new FBI agent brought in to investigate the pattern of rich white guys who’ve gone missing. Will she use her powers for good or evil — or just for seducing Clive?
So now everyone is officially interconnected except Peyton and Max Rager. Surely that will come shortly. Until then, one thing is for sure: This transparency will take the show to a higher level. The first season was all about trying to keep Liv’s zombie secret. Now that everyone knows, the struggle becomes discovering everyone else’s secrets.
“You stalked me, and you brought me a present?” —Peyton
“Hey dog, yeah, that’s the smell of sex and self-loathing.” —Major
“What about you, Zoltar?” —Clive to Liv
Liv: “I hate that phrase ‘made love’ — it’s like sex went and hired a PR firm.”
Ravi: “I just say ‘do sex’ like, ‘thank you for doing sex with me.’”
“Me, I choose to believe it’s from the Hemsworth brothers on an elliptical wearing nothing but sponges.” —Ravi on his pheromone cologne
Stephanie: “That’s the girl you used to date? Damn, PLAYA.” [goes for a high five]
Ravi: “I’m not high fiving that. I wasn’t born yesterday.”
“Yeah, Jesus rose from the dead. But that doesn’t make him a zombie if he doesn’t eat brains.” —one of Blaine’s underlings