It's a heavy premise that sets up "iZombie's" seventh episode, when a pregnant teenager crawls out of the woods, collapses and dies just after whispering, "Help us."
Even weightier? Many other girls like her have been plucked off the streets, held hostage and possibly killed by a heavily armed wingnut couple looking for sister wives.
Hope you enjoyed that relatively lighthearted hour last week.
Not that the CW's dram-rom-zom-com forgets to bring the funny, even as it's dealing with major crimes and the brain-consuming research that goes into their investigation.
For instance, our undead hero, Liv Moore (Rose McIver), eats the young victim's brain and finds her maternal side – the mother lobe, if you will – and starts fussing over, lecturing and nagging everyone around her. Best parts: Liv smoothing down Dr. Ravi's cowlick and spot-cleaning Det. Babineaux's tie.
And her young zombie suitor, Lowell Tracey (Bradley James), so hot for her just a short time ago, can't stomach a kiss because he inadvertently ate a gay man's brain.
Good news: he's searching high and low for some red-blooded hetero gray matter, so this will all get straightened out soon. Meantime, they get drunk and spaz dance, adorkably, together.
Someone finally states the obvious -- "Hey, look at you two, ebony and ivory" – about the ghastly pale goth-girl Liv next to African American Clive Babineaux. And some jerk wonders why "Beetlejuice" (Liv) has appeared if he didn't say her name three times. That's low, but snappy.
The case of the week takes up the bulk of "Maternity Liv," giving us a sad peek into Liv's potentially childless future, but the side stories matter, too.
Major (Robert Buckley) lands in jail for breaking into a car – really, Seattle police? – and enlists a reporter's help to chip away at the mystery surrounding all those missing street kids from the skate park.
Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) may have cannibalistic lab rats on his hands after feeding them the designer drug Utopian mixed with the energy drink Max Rager. Will this lead to a zombie cure? It may be a real slog getting there and, apparently, cuddly rats will die.
And a certain Seattle cop, Babineaux's boss, shows more of his shady side when he guns down the kidnapping suspects instead of taking at least one of them into custody. And, as a reminder, he's a zombie.
On to the particulars, which prove that Blaine DeBeers (David Anders) looms large even when he doesn't appear in an episode. But come on, showrunners, more Blaine DeBeers please!
A child of the upper middle class, tomboy Emily Sparrow has always been a good girl until she gets to high school and meets Dylan. That bad boy leads her astray, into truancy, partying, drugs and unprotected sex.
Her parents are furious and heartbroken to learn of her pregnancy. But they're not responsible for kidnapping her and holding her hostage for months until she breaks free and finds her way to a bonfire party. (She collapses there and dies from exposure to the elements and other injuries. Her baby boy is born healthy.)
Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) finds himself on the task force to solve Emily's death, which cops initially want to pin on her ne'er-do-well boyfriend.
They don't yet know about the Shepherds, a pervy militia-type guy and his animal-control worker wife who have captive girls in their tree house. When Emily manages to escape, that leads to the unraveling of the sister-wives-and-human-sacrifices plan.
These Shepherd folks are creepy criminals, without question, but there's something fishy about that tidy wrapped-up case.
Lt. Dead(ish) says at a press conference that there are remains of at least a dozen victims on the Shepherd property. So has the couple been helping to dispose of casualties of the Blaine DeBeers Meals on Wheels program? Or does the PD just intend to pin some unsolved murders and disappearances on them, since they're no longer around to dispute such a story? This will come up again, mark my words.
Liv's post-cranium-devouring visions, of course, solve this killing and rescue the two remaining trapped girls. And it's her verbal beatdown of daddy Dylan that puts the surviving infant with his grandparents. (Pop Pop already hand-carved a pretty fabulous crib.)
And it's a bullet in her leg, suffered during the girls' rescue, that gives her away to the zombie cop. Not much blood at all, he notices. Now he's pretty sure he knows that her intel doesn't just come from pounding the pavement and interrogating suspects. Dealing with him could be a game changer.