iZombie, Season 2, Episode 1: “Grumpy Old Liv”
Written by Rob Thomas
Directed by Michael Fields
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
The first season of iZombie ended with both doses of the only cure Ravi had found for zombification spent by Liv on Blaine and Major, with Liv’s brother Evan in the hospital following Suzuki’s suicide that took out the Meat Cute, with the threat of Max Rager looming on the horizon. The second season premiere picks up three months later, and continues to clear the high bar the first season set for the show, introducing many potentially compelling storylines as it raises the stakes and ensures the ramifications of the actions taken in the first season finale are explored.
Max Rager’s attempt to eliminate zombies is an idea that holds a lot of potential, and a different kind of challenge than Blaine. While Blaine’s enterprise proved to be a threat to humans in general, Max Rager is a more specified threat, one that Liv is unlikely to get much support for. The disappearance of the shelter kids, while ignored for a while, eventually coalesced into enough of a pattern that Clive was able to latch on to it. The killing of zombies, however, is going to be a more difficult process to catch, especially as the similarities between the victims isn’t going to be as readily apparent right at the outset. In addition, Max Rager has many more resources at their disposal than Blaine ever did, and is coming into this fight armed with more knowledge as well. While both Blaine and Liv were trying to figure out things in season 1, Vaughn and his assistant Gilda are much more cunning. It’ll thus be interesting to see how Liv fights this new threat. While she’s aware that Max Rager cannot be trusted, the level to which they’ve already infiltrated her life proves that she’s underestimated them, meaning she’ll have to play catchup once she becomes aware of their plan. Liv’s reaction also hinges on how she feels about other zombies, a topic she hasn’t had to give much thought yet. While she’s had both good and bad interactions with zombies, in Lowell and Blaine respectively, she hasn’t had to think about the population as a whole and how she feels about them. The same also holds for Blaine, who could be a key ally for Liv in the fight against Max Rager, but only if he’s invested enough and Liv is desperate enough. Blaine having the same symptoms as Major could turn into an interesting twist on their season one positions, with Major being the harbinger of doom that everyone should be afraid of, and Blaine being the beacon of hope that could save them.
Speaking of Blaine, his turn could prove to be very intriguing to follow, especially as his end goal is as yet unknown. While the lack of a zombie outbreak may indicate that Liv is right about Blaine using the funeral home as a front to keep his zombie catering business alive, the utopium shipment indicates that, at the very least, Blaine is looking to diversify his criminal enterprise. If he does turn out to be an ally of Liv against Max Rager, he might be inclined to cut a deal where he helps her and she, in turn, turns a blind eye to his drug trafficking. For Liv, this might mean coming to terms with exactly how much she feels Blaine needs to be stopped, if she just doesn’t want him making more zombies to expand his business, or if she doesn’t want him to be a criminal because of his ruthlessness altogether. Having Blaine find the tainted utopium also gives him back the power to make new zombies that he lost when Liv cured him. With a steady flow of brains that nobody would miss now at his disposal, Blaine might be inclined to begin expanding his criminal enterprise once again, which would put him in direct conflict with Max Rager. With Vaughn and Gilda squarely focused on Liv, Blaine might be able to find and sneak up on their blind spot. On the other hand, if Max Rager is more aware of the zombie outbreak than they’re letting on to Blaine, a strong possibility given what has been revealed about Vaughn so far, taking on Max Rager may prove to be the former’s downfall. If Liv, once she’s fully aware, detects either possibility, she may be the catalyst that sets the two on a collision course with each other.
Overall, this is a strong return for the show, right in line with its strong season one finish. Gilda is the character with the most potential this time around, as she may be even more dangerous than Vaughn down the line. With Gilda being the one who is doing Vaughn’s legwork, if she’s power-hungry, she may usurp him and take his place. On the other hand, her current position of being roommates with Liv may be what brings her around to the zombie viewpoint. Right now, Gilda is anti-zombie simply due to her job, but living with Liv gives her firsthand interaction with a zombie who’s struggling to live a full life. If Liv and Gilda develop a genuine friendship, that might make Gilda the wild card in upcoming events, as her professional and personal loyalty will end up split. Speaking of split loyalties, Peyton’s continued absence also opens some interesting possibilities. She’s clearly still trying to grapple with the idea of Liv being a zombie, and where she ends up could be key in determining if she becomes an ally or enemy of Max Rager. Having seen Liv in her violent phase, it’s quite likely that Peyton will align herself with Blaine and Vaughn, and be willing to do the ruthless actions Blaine is hesitant to undertake. With Liv facing alienation from her family and friends, and up against a much more powerful adversary than she’s had to deal with so far, the upcoming season has a lot of promise, and will definitely be worth tuning in for.