'iZombie' season finale recap: 'Blaine's World'
The freshman season comes to an explosive end.
“Blaine’s World” was most excellent as far as season finales go, but not quite a total shwing! (Some Wayne’s World humor there.) (Sorry.) It was 45 minutes of slow burn stage setting for 15 minutes of explosive WTH?s and OMG!s. It was very good as the second-half of the two-parter that began last week—so much so, I wish The CW had run both parts back to back and presented the combo as the finale. Still, it was a suspenseful hour that kept me guessing for how the episode—and season—would resolve. The resolutions themselves were provocative. iZombie’s allegory for renewed heroism and re-humanization concluded with ironic, queasy riffs on its themes. (Or rather, more ironic and queasy than usual.) No one walked away unscathed, everyone is left questioning their meaning, ambiguity reigned. We are left with a feeling that much has changed for the characters, though the show’s premise, relationships, and conflicts remain intact for season 2. Now that’s clever.
The title was a bit misleading. “Blaine’s World” offered a big picture view of the zombieverse in which its chief villain lives large if not quite totally in charge, and it certainly concluded with a gamechanger for the wannabe brain-food mogul. But for most of the story, he played a minor role. The hour toggled between Liv and Babinaux finishing off The Mystery of the Murdered Asshats and Major trying to escape Blaine’s cold clutches—the a frigid meat-locker—without spilling the beans on the location of the astronaut noggin he swiped from the big bad and his Meat Cute crew. A pair of subplots delivered significant developments. We learned that Max Rager—the energy drink fueling the zombie outbreak—is trying to make a next level product, Super Max, which would eliminate the need for sleep. (Not exactly the fix our overworked, exhausted nation needs. First in line for Super Max: Sweatshop workers and TV recap editors.) We also learned that Ravi had licked the formula for a zombie cure. He only had two doses, he thought it needed more testing, and he didn’t think he could make more, but he gave the vial to Liv, anyway, and left it to her to decide how to use it. And use it, she did, and in surprising ways.
Let’s make quick work of The Mystery of the Murdered Asshats, shall we? Turned out it was Cameron who was killing his bandmates, not Sebastian, the former Max Rager bagman and Liv-scratched zombie. The Asshats had come into possession of that thumb drive containing Max Rager secrets, including the intel on the drink’s psychoactive, psycho-making properties. The trio had decided to sell the documents back to Max Rager, but greed got the best of Cameron: He killed the other two so he could keep the cash for himself. He wanted to be the Asshat with all the assets. (In this way, I Know What You Did Last Summer morphed into Treasure of the Sierra Madre.)
Liv ate the brain of “snarky little bitch” Teresa, but the storytelling didn’t do much with the whole “You Are Who You Eat” thing besides little flashes of “snark” and “bitch.” The episode had too many things to accomplish, it couldn’t fully express Teresa’s influence on Liv, and in the end, Teresa’s memories didn’t do much to solve the mystery beyond fingering Cameron. (Moving forward, I hope iZombie tries to be more consistent and rigorous with this conceit.) Cameron* got nabbed at the border, then tried to cut a deal by giving them Max Rager. Yep, he had made copies of those digital files. In one of several moments in the episode in which she went rogue in hopes of taming the zombie underworld, Liv leaked the documents to the press. The Max Rager honcho played by Steven Weber was arrested, the toxic threat represented by his company stymied. For now. I hope we see more of Weber next season. He gives good corporate slimeball.
*In general, way too much Cameron in this episode. Wasn’t sure why the season finale was giving so much time to a character that audience hardly knows or cares about. Or does iZombie plan on doing more with this guy next season?
NEXT: Major on Ice
Meanwhile, at the Meat Cute, Blaine kept Major on ice, torturing him with a slow freeze—a tactic pulled from the Nazi playbook, or so Blaine bragged—in order to get him to talk. But Major stayed strong. He didn’t fold when Blaine duped him into eating brain stew. He didn’t break when Blaine rolled in one of the Helter Skelter kids, skull cracked and emptied. My burning question: Why didn’t Blaine just eat Major’s brain to get the info he needed? (Perhaps the process is too unreliable. A measure of last resort, perhaps.)
Major escaped by setting a fire inside the meat locker. Then, he returned armed to the teeth with all the weapons he bought last week. It was at this point that “Blaine’s World” went majorly off the hook. Major—part Taxi Driver, part Zero Dark Thirty—laid siege to the Meat Cute and wasted all of Blaine’s goons in a sequence set to “Der Kommissar” by After The Fire. It was an interesting juxtaposition: Major’s extreme example of vigilante violence—a response to unchecked evil and an uncaring, corrupt police department—and paranoid synthpop about… a scary cop? (What the hell is “Der Kommissar” about, anyway?) It culminated a story line that used Major to both celebrate and critique representations of DIY heroism.
Major’s outrageous wetwork—a veritable videogame bloodbath (all those hours playing in the dark with Ravi, paying off)—came to an end when Blaine snuck up and gutted him with a knife. Blaine left him to die a slow and painful death—I wish I could say that choice made sense; the plot needed Major to live—but Blaine’s escape was stopped by Liv, who put him down with a shot to the gut. Brutality gave way to psychological warfare, as a flurry of provocative, painful choices followed. Blaine exposed Liv’s zombie secret to Major, and worse, made the super-hero zombie hunter feel stupid for not figuring it out for himself. Liv got revenge by stabbing Blaine with a dose of Ravi’s zombie cure. Blaine was enraged. He liked being undead. It brought him wealth and status and eternal youth. He also blasted Liv and Major for their misguided view of what serves the greater good, arguing that his zombie catering service was doing right by the society by keeping rabid revenants sated and keeping at bay a full-on zombie apocalypse. Makes sense, at least from an anti-hero/“Blaine’s World” point of view. It’ll be interesting to see how iZombie develops this idea further next season.
With Major bleeding out, Liv saved his life by zombifying him with a long, loving scratch to the neck. She later reversed the condition—hopefully—by injecting him with the second and last dose of Ravi’s antidote. Yet once again, the recipient of Liv’s doping wasn’t happy. About anything. Being duped by Liv. Being zombified by Liv. Being un-zombified by Liv. He resented the loss of control over his life and fate and accused Liv of playing God. (This coming from the Rambo who took it upon himself to play liberator savior to Seattle’s zombie-menaced.) Major accused her of acting selfishly, saving him because that’s what she wanted (meaning, she was motivated by the desire for Major’s love and a relationship with), not what he wanted. She didn’t deny it. The scene felt like it was straining to leave the Liv-Major ‘ship in a troubled, uncertain place, and yet the more I think though their situation, the more I see that Major has a legit beef. Yeah, Liv saved his life with her risky RX. But if Ravi’s fix didn’t work? He’d be a zombie. And you know what? We don’t yet know how well Ravi’s fix works. Remember, Ravi did think the cure needed a few more months of testing. We may not have seen the last of zombie Blaine or zombie Major.
iZombie’s premiere opened with a scene in which Liv, still human, performing impromptu emergency on a coding young man. She didn’t think about the risks or the dangers; she acted, she gambled, she won. What a hero! We loved her for this. iZombie’s finale closed with a scene that brought the story full circle. It found Liv watching as an E.R. team raced to save the her brother: Evan had gone to the Meat Cute for his first day of work, only to be caught in an explosion set by zombie detective Suzuki. He needed a blood transfusion. Liv shared his blood type, but she couldn’t give him any of it. Not without making him a zombie. Not without any of Ravi’s cure. Not with Major’s voice in her head, making her question right from wrong. A season that began with catastrophe-rocked Liv losing and regaining her heroic agency ends with her feeling lost all over again. Will Evan live or die? Can Liv and Major get their mojo back? Can Blaine get his zombie back? And will Ravi and Peyton ever take that romantic Vertigo tour of San Francisco?