Right on the heels of another famous zombie show ending its latest season, The CW has brought its very fun ‘iZombie’ back just in time to fill the void. That is in no way a coincidence.
Season 2 ended with some major developments for the series. Liv’s cop partner, the frustratingly oblivious Clive Babineaux, finally learned about the existence of zombies and has been caught up to speed on Liv’s condition. He has mixed feelings about knowing the truth and sometimes wishes he was still in the dark. Blaine (David Anders) was cured of his zombism, but the cure has a serious side effect: massive retrograde amnesia. He has no memory of who he used to be, which is a very convenient excuse to make him switch teams to the good guys. The finale episode climaxed with a chaotic zombie outbreak at Max Rager headquarters, during which Liv was forced to shoot her rampaging boyfriend, Drake, in the head. Also killed at the incident were Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas and the company’s evil CEO, Vaughn Du Clark.
In the aftermath of that event, Liv learned that Max Rager had just been acquired by a new parent company. Its CEO, Vivian Stoll (Andrea Savage from ‘Episodes’), is not only a zombie, but has an army of zombie soldiers at her command. She bought Max Rager because its new SuperMax formula will make her soldiers faster and stronger. In the premiere episode, she tells Liv that she willingly turned herself into a zombie after her husband became one. Shortly after that, all of her company’s employees and their families (even young children) were infected by a deadly biological weapon during a company picnic. She turned them all into zombies in order to save them. Now, she considers them her family and will do anything to protect them. She bought an island and plans to establish a zombie safe zone for the inevitable day when the public learns about their existence, which she very pessimistically believes will result in the living trying to exterminate the undead.
Although Major was cleared of all charges in the Chaos Killer murders, and most of the presumed victims were returned to their families, his face was publicized as the prime suspect and now his life is basically ruined. His house gets vandalized, nobody will hire him, and even a trip to a coffee shop ends badly. At the end of the premiere, he finds a job where he won’t be judged – he joins Vivian’s army.
Blaine is having trouble with his former henchman, Don E., who doesn’t believe his amnesia story and plots to take over Blaine’s brain-dealing business. Don E. discovers Blaine’s zombie father (Robert Knepper) frozen in the mortuary, thaws him out, and proposes that they team up to destroy Blaine. Dad, who was a real piece of work even before he became a zombie, likes the sound of that.
With only a limited supply of the zombie cure remaining (and it causing amnesia), Ravi continues to work on developing a better cure. He’s distraught when he learns that his girlfriend, Peyton, had a fling with Blaine while their relationship was on a break. This inadvertently sends Peyton into Blaine’s arms one night when she’s scared and needs companionship, but Ravi dodges her calls.
The cover story that Vivian cooked up for the Max Rager massacre is threatened when a conspiracy theorist radio host invites a security guard who worked the event to describe what he saw. Liv and Clive race to the station to prevent him from talking, but aren’t able to stop him in time. They try to reassure themselves that only nutbags listen to the show and no sane person will take the story seriously, but Liv worries that Vivian may be right about D-Day (Discovery Day) fast approaching.
When an entire family of Vivian’s employees (including a young kid that Clive was close with) are murdered, and appear to have been deliberately targeted for being zombies, Clive and Liv decide that they’re on-board with Vivian and will work with her to try to prevent a war between the living and the undead.
This is a pretty promising start to the season. I’m glad that Clive was finally brought into the loop about zombies. His inability to notice Liv’s major personality swings every time she eats a new brain had long since gotten ridiculous. The Vivian storyline seems interesting. I’m sure that her plans and motives aren’t as noble as she claims.
The one thing missing (or at least suppressed) from this episode, unfortunately, is the playful sense of humor that typically makes this show so much fun. The premiere is a pretty dour affair. Hopefully that gets rectified in future episodes.