Liv Moore isn’t your prototypical zombie. She has a soul and a conscience, for starters, and she’s dedicated herself to a heroic, crime-solving (after)life.
And while she’s plenty pallid in appearance, she doesn’t have that slow-motion “Walking Dead” gait, as confirmed in an earlier-this-season chat with her boss, buddy and confidant Dr. Ravi:
Ravi: “Did you just hear something?”
Liv: “Like someone moaning the word brains? No. If you heard the aimless shambling of the undead that might have just been me.”
Ravi: “You don’t shamble.”
See? She’s different! But peppy? Now that’s a bit of a stretch.
It must be the cheerleader brain, which brings us to this week’s episode of “iZombie,” dubbed “Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat,” and proves once again that Liv’s deep dives into victims’ cerebella are among the best features of this dram-rom-zom-com.
In this hour alone, she goes from “cheer brain” to stoner and back again, completely nailing a few high school stereotypes in the process. Writers of this CW show, how I love ye, second only to your finely honed creation, Liv Moore (the ever-versatile Rose McIver).
Before I get into the specifics of the “I Know What You Did Last Summer”-esque plot, I will engage in a (very) little sophomoric glee. Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) and Peyton Charles (Aly Michalka) officially make it to “couple” status. OMG, OMG, OMG!!! There’s a weekend in San Francisco planned, complete with “Vertigo”-themed tour and retro Jimmy Stewart duds. How awesome is that?
But, oh, wait. There’s that zombie revelation. Is that going to mess up absolutely everything? Yes, depending on your level of pessimism, it probably/more than likely/most certainly is.
And speaking of messed up, Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley) just wants to do good. He just wants to avenge his young friends and rid Seattle of those who would do them harm. (Read: killer zombies trafficking in street kid brains.) And what happens to him? Hostage!
Major’s strung up like a side of beef, or a murdered homeless person, in the tony eatery named Meat Cute that serves as Evil HQ. That vigilante gig isn’t working out too well for him, especially since he’s about to be joined in captivity by Liv’s teenage brother.
Major, bless his dedicated heart, has been through the ringer for his cause. Let’s recount, so far: He’s been pounded into the pavement, tossed in jail, checked into a psych ward and dumped by his erstwhile new girlfriend. He’s had it rough, y’all! And yet he continues. Props to him.
Major’s a smart guy on a noble mission, but he’s in way over his head (of fabulous hair). Who would ever believe a health inspector could be that handsome? This is making me nervous, given that Buckley’s been chatting with the media IRL recently and admitted that, “No one is safe.” Yipes!
Side note for you Liv-and-Major shippers out there: Not. Gonna. Happen. Liv’s still in mourning over Lowell, and nothing has changed with Major anyway. A renewed relationship with him would still put him at risk, in Liv’s mind. If she could be with Major, she would never have dropped him in the first place. Got it? Moving on now.
There’s only one more episode to go, though the CW has done all us fans a solid by already renewing “iZombie” for season 2. How many of our favorite characters will survive? It will be a nail biter. Or a cliffhanger. Or a nail biter and a cliffhanger. Fine, showrunners, do your worst.
On to the crime du jour, which bears a striking resemblance to a well-known teen horror flick in that it starts with drug-addled joyriding kids striking a person with a car.
In this case, the victim’s already (un)dead, destined to not stay buried in that shallow grave for long. Kids, did you really think you could dispose of the body and cover up your vehicular homicide? It didn’t work for Jennifer Love Hewitt, et al.
The crash victim turns out to be Sebastian, the hit man from Max Rager who would’ve killed Liv if she hadn’t offed him first. She didn’t realize at the time, but discovers in this hour, that their scrapping and clawing fisticuffs turned him into zombie.
He’s fresh from Lake Washington, where she left him, when he stumbles into the path of a stolen car carrying three wannabe musicians – band name: the Asshats! -- and one spirited cheerleader named Kimber Cooper. Guess the identity of the night’s second victim?
Sebastian makes short work of Kimber, and her so-called friends don’t even try to help. Burnouts! A jogger and his dog find her body parts a few weeks later, with Liv and Dr. Ravi immediately suspicious about evidence at the scene and her missing brain matter.
Snacking on what’s left, mixed with Mexican hot chocolate to cover the putrid factor, Liv transforms into someone who belongs on the top of that pyramid. Hell, she owns that pyramid. She’s so bright-eyed and enthusiastic, it causes even the unflappable Det. Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) to scratch his head.
She learns via zombievision that Kimber had made a bad high-school-girl decision to hook up with one of the Asshats named Nate. But then Nate turns up dead, too, felled in the band’s rehearsal space. That leaves Teresa (Bex Taylor-Klaus from “Arrow”) and Cameron (Rhys Ward), who are involved in some shady money matter and know more than they’re telling the police.
Meantime, Ravi can’t keep Hope alive, but he does manage to create another zombie rat with his toxic brew of Max Rager and Utopian. He’s still aiming for a cure, and Liv is counting on it.
By now, Liv has told Ravi about Major’s newfound knowledge, his plan to exterminate the town’s undead and his daring theft of astronaut brains from Blaine DeBeers (best-villain-ever David Anders). She still plans to kill Blaine herself, between fake-testing those Meals on Wheels delicacies, but hasn’t figured out the details.
And she sure doesn’t make any headway while high as a kite on Nate’s brain, but she sure is entertaining. More dope for Liv! Just kidding, kids. Don’t do drugs!
Teresa ends up coming clean, to an extent, with the story about running over a guy who rises from the dead and kills Kimber. Her description of the victim/murderer, and the subsequent police artist sketch, tells Liv about her first zombie offspring. Great, more baggage for our already-burdened heroine.
Not to mention the racking guilt she’ll have for Sebastian’s attack on Peyton. He’s ready to end her life and fry her brain in a cast iron skillet when Liv walks in, interrupting the attempted murder of her bestie. Grappling ensues, Liv puts a knife in Sebastian’s noggin, and he’s done.
That’s good, yes? It is, except Peyton saw the whole thing, including Liv’s full-zombie mode. Liv has no choice but to spill the beans, trying to explain her current alive(ish) state to her childhood friend. Peyton, shocked and wounded, disappears.
Teresa, who should stick around for more questions, instead slinks out of the PD to find Cameron in a seedy motel. They’re still in cahoots on something, likely illegal, when she finds herself trapped in that dingy room. Maybe that wasn’t Cameron texting her after all. Assailant: unseen. We’re left hanging on this, even as the bloodied Teresa crawls to the phone to dial 911.
Lots of loose ends and unanswered questions going into episode 13, which, so far as trailers indicate, will have Major chilling in a walk-in freezer, Liv shooting up (playing lab rat?) and Alan York’s million-dollar brains still at large. Blaine has to be ready to explode. And when he does, watch out.