The iZombie creators may just have pulled off the best zombie finale cliffhanger ever — but you have admit, they cheated a little. Not all showrunners have a musician name twin, but if your name is Rob Thomas, you’re sure as hell going to get Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas to perform on your show. And while you’re at it, you probably want to give a little wink wink at the end of the episode. So here we are, most defrosted zombies accounted for (we’ll get to that in a bit), and Liv goes to find Vivian, the owner of the private mercenary firm that just bought Max Rager, to get some answers.
Dead bodies are strewn everywhere. It’s a bloody massacre. Zoom in on a military dude strumming Matchbox 20’s “Unwell.” I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell. I know right now you can’t tell, but stay awhile and then you’ll see a different side of me. And there’s Vivian and crew, munching on the brains of musician Rob Thomas as she sets the scene for season 3. Because who else but showrunner Rob Thomas — and co-creator Diane Ruggiero-Wright, who has no name twin — knows what the next season brings? The metaphor is so delicious, it even makes the brain snack look palatable.
“Are you ready for the new world order, Olivia Moore?” asks Vivian. “Ready to do your part for your kind? Some day soon Seattle’s going to be the capital of the zombie homeland and a lot of people aren’t going to want to see that happen. So are you with us? Or are you against us?”
And just like that we get a clean slate, a new badass Big Bad, and a new struggle for Liv. We also get a zombie apocalypse rubric that’s been turned on its ass: Instead of being Team Alive, we’re nudged in the Team Undead direction — and it feels liberating and confusing. Which is probably how Babineaux felt when Liv told him that zombies exist and everything fell into place. Somewhere deep in the chambers of his mind that weren’t being blown, Babineaux was hearing the opening chimes of The Simpsons, as if heaven’s gates had opened to reveal the truth. Of course, no one, especially someone practical and straight-laced like Babineaux wants to believe in creatures of the night. But when your dear friend sticks a knife in her chest, goes full zombie rage, then pulls it out and gives you puppy dog eyes — well, what’s a guy to do, really? (Plus, her visions solve your cases, so.)
That doesn’t mean it was easy. But as we’ve seen time and time again — when Major found out, then Peyton — Liv’s friends are willing to stand by her no matter what. And metaphor or not, this continues with Babineaux, who gave up two cases and his girlfriend to save Major. By the end of the episode, Babineaux has moved on from struggling to do what’s right to finding practical solutions, wondering how he’s going to call in the massacre.
“Super Max,” says Liv. “It created a violent chain reaction. Armed guards lost their heads and began firing on rampaging employees.” “You really think that’s going to fly?” he asks. She retorts: “You think zombie outbreak has a better chance?”
So many echoes of Buffy and gas leaks, PCP, gangs… Congratulations, Clive Babineaux, you’ve just learned that you’re living on a Hellmouth! As we go into next season, it’ll be amusing to see all of the scenarios the writers devise for Babineaux to explain his new life in CSI: Zombie.
Ravi found out some disconcerting information, too, although it’s hard to rate anything as high up on the WTF scale as “Zombies are real. I am one.” I never realized he didn’t know about the bow chicka wow wow going on between Blaine and Peyton, but he was so sad when Blaine found him after Peyton had been kidnapped. Especially since he and Peyton had just, um, reconnected the day before. Peyton may say she doesn’t believe nice guys finish last, but damn, Ravi cannot catch a break. Even when he goes full on badass on Janko, he’s shakingly holding a cup of tea in the next scene.
But it’s Janko’s brain that turns Liv and Major into Mr. and Mrs. Robocop and ultimately saves the day. (This whole Liv and Major sharing brains shtick is downright adorable, and maybe foreshadowing for some more romance? “We were on a break!”) Major — discovered, arrested, freed, and wondering what happened to him zomb-sicles — gets the scoop from one of his clients that Vaughn is throwing a major Rager rager. So clearly he and Liv head over to kick ass and take names. Well, really just two names: Liv is looking for Drake, and Major is looking for Natalie.
Tuesday bloody Tuesday…[pagebreak]
After the lab crew bogarts the old Rager stash of Lucky U with a Super Rager chaser, they turn into a bunch of Romeros (I love this moniker so much) and the slaughter begins. Liv, Major, and Babineaux find themselves stuck in a room with not nearly enough ammo to kill all the zombies trying to get at the detective, who says that if the zombies do get in, he’ll put a bullet in his brain. Liv and Major have another idea, a scratch. “I’d turn into one of them?” Babineaux asks. “Not one of them,” says Major. “One of us,” adds Liv. Still Babineaux refuses, but we won’t have to ponder that scenario until next season (and you can bet it’s going to come up again), because badass Vivian saves the day.
Finally Liv and Major get into the double secret basement and bust out the defrosted zombies, but not before Vaughn, evil as ever and bloviating in his most villainous fashion, prompts Liv’s Choice: Save Babineaux or save a Romero Drake. (Liv puts a bullet in Drake’s head, bringing way too much joy to Vaughn.) He gets his just desserts, though. Or should I say: Rita gets hers, as we see her chowing down on her dad’s brain before Major puts a bullet in her head. Which, let’s be honest, is all for the best. Can you imagine having to live Vaughn’s personality for even a second? Gross.
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The only one left blissfully unaware through all of this is simple amnesiac Blaine. It’s almost sad to see a big ol’ murder spree go down without Blaine. He’d just have so much fun with it. Still, he has his moment. Mr. Boss, finding out that Blaine’s still alive sends his henchman to find him, leaving a few casualties along the way. (Bye, Chief. Run away, Don E.) But the biggest casualty is Peyton, who Blaine valiantly rescues from Boss’ goons while Ravi arrives just in time to see them embracing. Will true love awaken Blaine from his amnesia? Why, iZombie, I didn’t know you had a bit of Disney in you. But I’m on board with this happily — albeit bloody and gory — ever after.
Bring on the apocalypse.
Ken Marino returns to the Thomas-verse! Veronica Mars’ shadiest private eye plays Major’s… shady, better dressed, lawyer.
“This is Seattle, not Sleepy Hollow.” – Mr. Boss
“I don’t know where it came from, but it seems like an any brain in a storm situation.” —Blaine
Major: “Turns out the Max Rager party tonight is a lock-in down in the underground parking lot. Prison-themed. Because of their new Super Max drink.”
Babineaux: “A prison theme. White people.”
The Daft Punk meets Party Down cater-waiters were delightful, especially when Babineaux was looking for his friends.
Random cater-waiter: “Art history. Which is why I’m doing this.”
“So what, you plan on Weekend at Bernie’s-ing Janko through the halls of Max Rager?” —Ravi
“You’re doing all this for me? Yet you couldn’t hold an elevator door open for three seconds.” —Rita
“I only drink liquor that came out of a barrel. The way God intended.” —Vivian
How does Drake’s hair stay so damn perfect all the time? I mean, sure it could freeze that way. But there’s no way it’d look so suave post-thaw.
“You didn’t tell me the dude from Matchbox 20 would be here. I would have come.” —Babineaux
“As wickets go, this one is hella sticky.” —Blaine
“A massive zombie outbreak means never having to say you’re sorry.” —Liv
“Clive Babineaux. Seattle PD. This is Liv Moore, from the medical examiner’s office.”
“Major Lillywhite. Personal trainer.”
“Well if it isn’t the poster child for poetic justice.” —Liv to Rita
“Is there no one who can rid me of this meddlesome Jason Priestly type?!” —Vaughn
“Brooding expressions don’t show up on tape. Use your words.” –Babineaux to Major
“This is how a skull breaks” may be the best Rob Thomas joke of all time.