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
And then there’s Drake. Turns out that itch of doubt Liv has been scratching wasn’t just her hope that the perfect zombie man she fell for might still be that perfect guy — and oof, that scene where she sees his graduation photo from the police academy. The problem? With Blaine’s memory wiped clean and Major in a stupor, Liv suddenly has no leads. But it’s obvious from the shocked look on her face that’s not going to stop her: Nobody’s dropping any L bombs yet, but it’s clear that her affection for Drake is real and now that she knows he’s one of the good guys — and that what he has been hiding is hero, not villian worthy… I have a feeling we’ll be seeing the contents of Major’s freezer pretty soon. But then the question remains: Once Liv finds out that Major has been killing zombies just to protect her (and then Major is a zombie again, so they can have an actual sex life) will she have to choose between Major and Drake?
So, in the past two episodes, we’ve lost two zombies — Drake to the freezer and Blaine to the antidote — and gained two zombies: Donnie on purpose and Major back in action. What’s with the zombie sausage party? Last week, I tried to fulfill my zombie hopes by interpreting Liv’s Rager basement vision as a new shining happy zombie ladyfriend for Liv. But according to Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright at the WonderCon panel I moderated on Friday, there is in fact a zombie point of no return, and the one in the dungeon hit it. So yes, I was mistaken.
But mostly I’m just bummed they refuse to give Liv any zombie ladyfriends. (Gilda seems ripe for a change of heart, but I’m not terribly keen on her joining the gang.) On the flip side, we do get a dezombified, hippie-brained Blaine, who turns human again thanks to Ravi’s newest batch of antidote and then promptly loses his memory. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next two weeks, but if I had to predict a plot twist, I’d guess Blaine’s clean slate is a nice whiteboard for Team iZombie to write a hell of a finale on. And I feel pretty confident that in the finales iZombie will link Max Rager with Stacey Boss (hit me with me your most outrageous conspiracy theories in the comments!), but until then, I’ll say there are two Big Bads left standing. And neither of them are zombies. Yet.
How did we make it through an entire episode without Liv bringing up Gilda’s left-behind scarf?
Peyton: Aw this is fun. Please try and rent the apartment across the hall.
Liv: So we can be like the friends from Friends.
Ravi: Fantastic idea. Peyton is Monica-esque. [Points to Liv] You’re clearly a Rachel. Type A, relationship drama.
Liv: Yeah remember the episode where Ross and Rachel break up because she’s a zombie who wants to solve murder cases?
Major: That’s so us.
“Guy with an ankle monitor gets a hot girlfriend, yet some women won’t date a guy who wears Crocs.” —Ravi
Liv had some amazing burns from this stripper brain:
Due: How much for a lap dance? $20?
Peyton: I’m a lawyer.
Liv: [Giving Peyton a lap dance] I’m your best friend.
Peyton: Yeah, that’s why it’s awkward.
Liv: Wait. Do you not find me attractive?
Peyton: What do you want me to say?
Liv: I want you to appreciate how frickin’ hot I am… I have a body. Can’t you appreciate me as a sexual object?
Peyton: Fine. Whatever. You want to back up that booty? Show me what you got.
Watching Liv and Peyton team up on Blaine with full-on sass is pure joy. I wish they got to do it to more people than Blaine.
“It’s like a frickin’ Adele concert in here.” —Liv
“The cure for being an undead psychopath. Now you’re just a psychopath. You might have to change your business cards.” —Liv to Blaine