iZombie season 2 premiere recap: Grumpy Old Liv
Liv returns this season...as a cantankerous old man.
When we left Liv, she had used the last batch of antidote to cure a zombified Major and resurrect Blaine. It’s funny how, at the beginning of season 2, everybody is still so furious about Liv’s salvation secret sauce. She ostensibly saved the man she loves and the man she hates, and yet she couldn’t donate blood to save her brother. And she certainly can’t save herself. (More on that later.)
True to season finale form, the iZombie writers left us with an entire cranium full of questions. Will Major stay un-undead? Will Blaine? Should Max Rager create more zombies or kill them? Will Liv’s brother live? Can Ravi make a new antidote? Will Liv ever be happy? Will Peyton return (yes, apparently: Her pilot didn’t get picked up)?
In the season 2 premiere, we get a lot of rage (both Max and otherwise) and very few answers. Liv’s brother is on the mend but still in rough shape. Major, not technically a zombie, is living in this weird limbo between alive and undead. Ravi is less than thrilled to find out Liv used the last two doses of antidote on her ex-fiancé and then her nemesis. Liv brain buffets a cantankerous old man and becomes the get-off-my-lawn poster senior citizen. And if that’s not enough, Liv’s new roommate works for the IRS. Or at least we’re lead to believe she does for most of the episode.
We open in the hospital, not with Blaine or Major or Ravi, but with Liv checking in on her brother, who is still pretty banged up. With all of the drama set to unfold this season, it’s interesting the writers chose to set the tone with a solitary Liv. She often hides her melancholy in sass and wit, but the true Liv seems alienated and defeated. And hearing her mom and brother send her away in the first scene is heartbreaking. “You’re a monster, act like it,” Liv says to herself. I don’t know why everyone can’t just live and let Liv live — instead they have to make her miserable when she does a damn fine job of self-loathing herself.
Ravi, on the other hand, is quick to forgive and to make excuses for his roommate, Major, who’s still screening Liv’s calls. (Man, what kind of horrible person rescues the man she loves from becoming a zombie? Amirite?) “Bros before… ex-fiancés!” Ravi says cheerfully, dodging Liv’s eye daggers as the two of them come upon a very dead man pinned under a car in his front yard. One Wendell Gordon Gale, 77, was not beloved, to say the least. According to his sister-in-law/next-door neighbor, he hated: The laughter of children, puppies, other races, his race, trick or treaters, carolers, etc.
While the codger sounds like a real hoot, the stereotype gave Liv some pretty good brain matter to work with here. Although Rose McIver has really mastered any character of the week they throw at her, she tends to be at her funniest with the most stereotypical yet most incongruous ones. (Note: Rose, if you’re not in an improv group, get thyself to UCB, stat. Your weekly roleplay is flawless.) And after cooking up some spaghetti and brainballs, she makes a damn good racist old coot.
And she gets some great zingers. “Turn your hat around, show some respect!” Liv yells at a teen when she and Clive head to check out the crime scene. “What? Is he crouching behind home plate at Yankee stadium?” Clive, on the other hand, is more interested in talking about Major and what really went down during the Meat Cute massacre. Liv does everything she can to change the subject, but it changes itself when the dynamic duo show up at the doorstep Byron, your friendly neighborhood police hotline tipster hipster who has a penchant for paint by numbers of his dog, Lana.
Creepy? Yes. But nothing’s as eerie as our buddy Blaine a.k.a. John Deaux, who’s now running a town mortuary. Although with his slicked-back hair, empty stare, stretchy smile, and dulcet financial-coercion tones, you’d think he was either a revivalist preacher or the best damn infomercial salesman in the South. As he realizes he has a visitor, we get a zippy closeup of the hair standing up on the back of his neck. Cut to Liv. Is side effect No. 1 a big fat clue as to what the deal is with Ravi’s special sauce? (Spoiler alert: Yes.) Zombie Sense has become Blaine’s spidey-sense. But never fear, he still has no common sense whatsoever, as he’s now trafficking in pure Utopium while simultaneously trying to track down the source of the night of the undead boat party tainted Utopium.
NEXT: Meet Liv’s new roommate
Meanwhile, back to the crime: After a few wrong turns — yes, the sister-in-law hated him, but she has an alibi; yes, the neighborhood teen terror wears eyeliner and drinks Max Rager, but his shoes don’t match the bloody footprint — all roads lead back to hipster Byron. Especially after Liv has a vision of cranky Wendell feeding tainted bologna to a cute pup that looks suspiciously like Byron’s gallery wall of paint by numbers.
Major, on the other hand, is having a minor new life crisis. (The Major/minor jokes will never get old, so get used to them.) Forced to work as a trainer — poor guy — to make ends meet, he too has that hair-standing-on-end, heart-pounding, goose bumps feeling when he meets a new client. BOOM. Zombie Sense activated. When zombie client’s daughter gestures to her brother and says “That’s Kyle; he won’t notice you until you’re a zombie he can kill” and then “No pressure, but we’re counting on you to save his life” about her dad — yeah, someone’s going to be a goner.
Clive and Liv, finding a hole in Byron’s alibi and flyers about his missing dog, head to arrest him for the accidental-on-purpose murder. It’s one of the sadder arrests in the show’s run so far. Poor cardigan-wearing hipster just thought the old guy killed his beloved dog. Oh well, at least he’s not a zombie! (Yet?)
Back at Max Rager headquarters, Dr. Evil — I mean CEO Vaughn Du Clark (how did he get himself un-arrested BTW?) is morphing his first-class d-bag self into a zombie serial killer by proxy, enlisting Major to do his dirty work as they prep to roll out Super Max Rager. According to his assistant (partner in crime?) — let’s call her Red — the cure for the zombie apocalypse is nigh. So Major has a choice: Kill every other zombie or allow Liv to get whacked. Major is the consummate gentleman, not to mention the fact that he’s obviously still in love with her. Team Rager is using a clever algorithm (tanning and spicy food charges on credit cards) to unmask the undead and inaugurate Major the Zombie Slayer. Red looks so stoked to be evil; she’s probably mentally planning an even more satanic shade of hair dye for the next mission as she watches Major kill his first Rager Zombie and toss him off a bridge.
We close on Liv sitting watching — what else? — the season premiere of Zombie High with her new roommate, who — TWIST — is Red. “No, zombie. Dumb, dumb, zombie,” she says to the TV as the episode ends. Oh, Liv, you have no idea.
“If I wanted to give her a depressing name, I would have gone with Phantom Menace.” —Ravi
Liv: “Sorry I’m late. I would have gotten here sooner, but we got stuck behind an Asian driver.”
Ravi: “Yo, Archie Bunker, I’m of Asian decent.”
Liv: “Great! Explain to your people how turn signals work.”
“I got one with a breakaway lid that’s a real timesaver for today’s zombie who’s looking to make that classic hand-shooting-up-through-the-dirt big entrance.” —Blaine
Blaine: “Major Lilywhite, the most presciently named zombie of all time, roams the earth.”
Liv: “Whitey Shamblemore begs to differ.”
“What’s your deal? Do you need some aspirin? Like some lady aspirin?” —Clive
“Is that my cue to start cackling maniacally, or should I wait for you to provide the details?” —Vaughn
Temp-Brain lesson of the week
Wendell gave up on life; Liv has decided she won’t. (Yes, I’m aware of the irony of this moral. She is technically not alive. But… semantics.)