iZombie, Season 1, Episode 12: “Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat”
Written by Diane Ruggiero-Wright
Directed by Mairzee Almas
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
Liv’s confrontation with Max Rager following Lowell’s death put her directly in the company’s crosshairs, and by extension on a path with their enforcer and problem solver Sebastian. While Liv though Sebastian ended up dead from their encounter, the audience knew better, as they saw a zombified Sebastian wash up on shore. This week’s episode looks at what transpired after his transformation into one of the undead, in a compelling episode with major ramifications on how things will go for the rest of the series.
Liv’s admission to Peyton about being a zombie is an excellent moment, both in the episode, and in the context of the show as a whole. The events preceding it set things up nicely, as the fight between Liv and Sebastian is brutal one, and certainly one that human Liv would have lost. Having Peyton be the first person from Liv’s old life to learn her secret not only makes the most sense, as Peyton is the one who sees Liv the most, outside of Ravi, but it also adds weight to their friendship. In the process, Peyton’s importance to the overall story gets elevated significantly. It’ll be fascinating to see how Peyton adjusts to this news. On one hand, it’s clear that she misses the old Liv, even after all this time. Peyton has stood by Liv as much as possible, and while she’s told Liv how she feels about Liv’s lifestyle changes, she has been receptive when Liv has been friendly, and hasn’t forced her to move or pushed herself on Liv. The admission of Liv’s secret is, in many ways, what Peyton wanted, and it has been the biggest hurdle in the way of their friendship since the boat party. On the other hand, however, Peyton’s first exposure to Liv’s zombie state was when she was in full-on zombie mode, and the combination of that and Liv’s confession that she eats human brains is likely to unnerve anyone. The truth of Liv’s condition is beyond anything Peyton could have imagined, and at the very least, she’s going to need some time to adjust. If she does cut herself out of Liv’s life, however, how Liv responds will be very telling. The combination of Major’s assertion that he’ll kill all zombies and Peyton’s fear-based rejection of Liv could cause Liv to recede further within herself, which wouldn’t be healthy. On the other hand, if Peyton continues to stand by Liv’s side, that might embolden Liv to tell others, like her mother and brother, about her condition, helping her build a support system that can help her in the future when she digests a particularly traumatic or troubled brain, or faces off against another adversary like Blaine.
Liv’s guilt over zombifying Sebastian also opens up an intriguing idea. While we’ve seen Blaine willfully turn people into zombies to grow his own empire, but so far, Liv’s only interactions with zombies have been others who’ve been turned by others. Her guilt over turning Sebastian, however, proves that she’s aware of this capability, but hasn’t used it so far, intentionally or accidentally. Now that she’s aware that it’s possible to accidentally turn someone, however, it’s likely to inform her fights with humans. Liv already holds back to ensure she doesn’t go into full-on zombie mode and start to eat someone’s brains, but ensuring that she doesn’t turn someone into a zombie is likely to limit her even further. With her investigations with Clive already putting her in the line of fire a few times this season, this could prove to be an interesting dilemma for Liv to try and work around. Having to fight while being mindful of not scratching or severely injuring the opponent is likely to inhibit Liv, and coming up against a trained human fighter like Sebastian will really test her. Whether she chooses to ensure others don’t become a zombie at her hands no matter the cost, or taps into her zombie strength in case of emergencies, is likely to determine how she tackles cases from now on.
Overall, this is a a great episode that wonderfully sets up the season finale. The presence of Bex Taylor-Klaus is a welcome one, and the events at the end of the episode seem to bode well for her return, and hopefully to a substantial role on the series. The sketch artist’s anger at Liv from the time she showed him up while on the painter’s brains is amusing to see, while also nodding at the long-term ramifications of Liv’s constant personality shifts. Liv’s ingestion of Kimber’s brains to nullify the effects of Nate’s brains opens an interesting idea for the show. While the brains have come with their fair share of trouble, many of the brains have also given Liv specific talents, such as the aforementioned painting, or soldier training, or even kung fu capabilities. Some of these skills are certainly ones she could find useful even after a case is completed; in particular, the kung fu skills would have helped in her fight with Sebastian. Thus, it’s not inconceivable that Liv starts exploring the idea of storing certain brains to be able to call on specific skills when needed. While not every situation will be predictable, certain skills will come in handy in certain situations, and if the writers choose to go down that path, it’ll add another dimension to Liv. How her situation with Peyton plays out, as well as how Major handles his current predicament, will be worth tuning in for during next week’s season finale.