I haven’t written about The CW’s ‘iZombie’ in a while, even though it was one of the past season’s more promising new series. Now that the show has aired its first season finale, let’s do a quick catch-up.
The reason I stopped recapping the show regularly is that, in the early parts of the season, the series was stuck in an awkward formative stage and relied too heavily on a procedural murder-case-of-the-week formula. Although the characters were fun and interesting stuff was clearly happening around the edges, the main plots of each episode were predictable and kind of dull. As the season progressed, the show slowly moved away from that. Episodes still had new murder cases every week, but they got downplayed while the focus shifted more towards the overarching zombie plot. This was decidedly a change for the better.
I won’t try to cover everything that happened over the course of the season, but here are some of the highlights relevant to the finale:
- The zombie known as Blaine (David Anders) became the main antagonist of the season. He deliberately spread the zombie virus so as to create clients for his burgeoning business of killing homeless teens and selling their brains to hungry zombies.
- Liv discovered that the first zombie outbreak was tied to an energy drink company called Max Rager, whose new product causes outbursts of extreme violence in a minority of drinkers. The company’s smarmy CEO (Steven Weber) was fully aware of this and covered it up – to the point of hiring a hit man to murder Liv and anyone else snooping into the case.
- Liv’s former fiancé Major became aware of zombies (though not that Liv is one) and became obsessed with killing them all, especially Blaine. He discovered Blaine’s base of operations in a fancy butcher shop called “Meat Cute,” and stole a very expensive shipment of new brains as evidence. In the last episode, Blaine captured him and is keeping him tied up to question him about where the brains are. (Major gave them to Liv, but isn’t saying.)
- Liv fell in love with a new zombie boyfriend, but Blaine murdered him. As a result, Liv is very determined to kill Blaine.
- Ravi the Medical Examiner has been working on a cure for zombism. Recent results in a test rat are very encouraging.
- Liv’s oblivious little brother has taken a job as a delivery boy for Meat Cute.
These storylines all come to a head in the finale, called ‘Blaine’s World’. An asshole teen name Cameron is in possession of a thumb drive with documents proving Max Rager’s complicity in covering up the side effects of its products. He tries to sell it back to the company for a big payday, but almost gets killed in the process. He later gets picked up at the border and brought in for questioning. He tells Babineaux that he made a copy of the thumb drive contents.
Ravi’s cure appears to be successful. Liv is eager to cure herself immediately, but Ravi only has enough for two doses and insists that he needs them for further experimentation and as the basis to produce more.
Major escapes from his captivity, retrieves the guns and hand grenade from the trunk of his car, and plays hero by shooting up the butcher shop. He kills all of Blaine’s lackeys, but Blaine himself stabs him in the stomach. Liv arrives and shoots Blaine, but not fatally. Blaine boasts that he knows who and where all the zombies in town are, and is their main source of food. He keeps them happy and fed. If Liv kills him, she’ll inadvertently start a zombie apocalypse. Liv realizes that he’s right, so instead of killing him, she stabs him with a syringe filled with the cure.
Major is dying, and Blaine rubs it in his face that he didn’t know Liv was a zombie the whole time. As he fades away, Liv scratches him. He recovers later, now a zombie, but isn’t happy about it at all. He’s very mad at Liv for making that decision for him when it isn’t what he wanted. Liv uses her only remaining dose of the cure on him.
The information about Max Rager is released to the media and the CEO is indicted. He of course vows that he will be cleared.
Police Lt. Suzuki, a zombie who has been grudgingly beholden to Blaine, covers up the butcher shop shoot-out by staging it to look like he’s the one who killed all Blaine’s henchmen, thus letting Major off the hook (though Babineaux still suspects Major was involved). Suzuki then kills himself by blowing the place up while still inside. Unfortunately, he didn’t know that Liv’s brother had just arrived and was standing at the window looking in.
Liv’s brother is critically injured, and the hospital says they’re out of his blood type. Although Liv is a match, the episode ends with her refusing to donate any of her own blood to save him.
Even with its rough patches, ‘iZombie’ is a fun series and I’ll definitely tune in again next season. (The network has already formally renewed it.) The show’s problems remind me of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ at a comparable time in its run. Just as that show worked through its unevenness and became much better in its second (and especially third) seasons, I hope ‘iZombie’ follows a similar course.