iZombie, Ep. 1.10: “Mr. Berserk” reintroduces Max Rager into the mix

Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin
Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin

iZombie, Season 1, Episode 10: “Mr. Berserk”
Written by Dierdre Mangan and Graham Norris
Directed by Jason Bloom
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW

Liv’s swiping of a piece of Lowell’s breakfast two weeks ago led to the unpleasant revelation that not only was Lowell getting his brains from Blaine, but that Blaine’s inventory was furnished with the missing teenagers from the skate park. Liv’s first attempt at killing Blaine, however, ended with Lowell’s death, as Liv found herself unable to take the shot. This week’s episode sees both Liv deal with Lowell’s death, and Major deal with Julien’s non-death, in a compelling episode that highlights what the series has done well so far.

Watching Liv’s grief over Lowell’s death is a touching aspect of the episode, and serves to highlight how much out of her depth Liv is. Having to witness Lowell’s death is an understandably traumatic moment, and the fact that Blaine not only kills Lowell on the spur of the moment, but manages to retain his composure long enough to notify Suzuki and get the death swept under the rug speaks to the personality differences between the two. However, Liv’s resolve to take down Blaine is clearly hardened now, and is likely to get even stronger once she finds out that her brother and mother may be in the line of fire as well. The question of how Liv will go about tackling Blaine remains, however. Even after digesting the brain of a battle-hardened soldier, Liv was unable to pull the trigger to kill Blaine, which means she will have to figure out another way to dismantle his operation. Her hesitation at telling Major about the existence of zombies closes off one major avenue she could have used to put Blaine at a disadvantage. How Liv tackles this situation now promises to be compelling. The combination of being aware of the depth of Blaine’s activities, and the death of Lowell driving the threat home for her, makes her a formidable entity, especially when Blaine is still unaware of how close she did come to killing him. Liv has the element of surprise on her side, and that element may be her only real weapon at this point, and thus something she has to wield carefully.

Robert Buckley
Robert Buckley

The return of the Max Rager storyline this week is also fascinating. As Ravi has proven over the course of the season, Max Rager is a key ingredient in the zombification process, and is in fact the overwhelming majority in the cocktail needed to turn an individual into one of the undead. The presence of the memo clearly suggests that the Max Rager executives are aware of this, which brings up the question of where this places the company in all this. On one hand, it’s possible that Max Rager is simply a corporation that put a bad product out there, and is now trying to cover up their involvement simply because they don’t want to be associated with, and blamed, for this blunder. On the other hand, it’s possible that Max Rager is doing on a larger scale what Blaine is trying to accomplish at a local level, and the drink’s involvement in the zombification process is a deliberate aspect that has been engineered for some larger goal. This is clearly not the last that Liv has seen of Max Rager, and how things develop on that front will be worth keeping an eye on. If Max Rager is truly a malevolent entity, rather than just an organisation with poor quality control, then Liv will have a much larger fight on her hands once she’s dealt with Blaine, a fight that will be much more difficult. It will also be interesting to see how Max Rager views Blaine, as the two could form an uneasy alliance that would pose a major threat, not just to Liv, but to all humans.

Overall, this episode reinforces the strengths of the show, as it examines how Liv copes with the murder of Lowell while also advancing the main storyline of the major parties involved in the zombie epidemic. With Major finally getting exposed to the idea of zombies, how he reacts will be very telling. On one hand, the source of the information is likely to give Major pause, or perhaps dismiss it out of hand. However, Major has done extensive research, and is currently flailing for answers. Zombification as he knows it would answer everything from Julien’s taste for human brains to his ability to walk away from being shot. If Major does believe the zombie theory, how he handles it is another concern. As Live points out this week, his behaviour is already erratic and obsessive with only the knowledge of the children being kidnapped and killed. How he’d react to knowing zombies exist and have been targeting the very people he aims to help is unpredictable at this point, and how he reconciles Julien and Liv both being zombies even more so. Suzuki also continues to be a fascinating wild card. With the supply of brains being the only thing Blaine has over him, Suzuki is likely smart enough to have figured out how Liv is getting her brains. This may mean he’ll propose an alliance with Liv against Blaine before long. How Liv reacts if and when such a proposal comes, as well as how Major deals with the idea of zombies, will be worth watching as the first season draws to a close.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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