Friday, June 19, 2015

iZombie 1.12: "Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat"

“Ravi, Hope’s dead. How on the nose.”

The penultimate episode of iZombie’s first season, while some big things definitely happened near the end, primarily felt like an episode whose purpose was to move all the chess pieces on the board to where they need to be for the season finale end game. Major seriously overstepped in his zombie investigating, and Blaine also seriously upped his game. Peyton can now also be added to the list of characters who know Liv is a zombie, and to say that she didn’t take it well would be an understatement. I think that’s ultimately a good thing for Liv, though. The sooner she has to come to terms with all aspects of becoming a zombie, the sooner she can figure out what her new “life” will truly look like. Plus, I have no doubt that Peyton isn’t going to stay away forever!

The mystery of the week was tied somewhat into the overarching mythology of the show, but I enjoyed it more because it was campy. It was clearly a loose parody of “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” The characters even make reference to that film several times in the episode. There are four teenagers total. Three of them are in a band, and one is kind of a blond bimbo who is dating one of the band members. One of the band members, Teresa, is played by Bex Taylor-Klaus, who played Cin on “Arrow.” The other two band members are guys. The four teens are driving home through the woods when they appear to hit someone with their car. That someone comes back to life, though – a zombie, obviously. To make matters worse, that zombie is Sebastian, the seriously creepy Max Rager guy who recently licked Liv’s blood before Liv seemed to kill him. Of course, right after the teens have made their “we shall never speak of this” pact, Sebastian emerges from the grave they dug, and he kills Kimber, the annoying cheerleader girlfriend.

Two weeks later, Kimber’s body is discovered, and Ravi and Liv are on the case. Liv knew of Kimber because she went to her brother, Evan’s, school. When they see how the body has been dismembered and the skull cracked, they immediately suspect zombie attack. While taking a look at the crime scene, they also discuss Major stopping by Liv’s apartment with the coolers from Meat Cute and vowing to kill all zombies. As for Major, he’s in the middle of recording a “if you’re watching this, I’m already dead” video on his computer. I guess he figures the zombies are going to get to him sooner or later. And he’s probably right. Blaine is very pissed that his minion misplaced the astronaut brain, and he’s out for blood.

Liv drinks liquefied cheerleader brain (mixed with Mexican hot chocolate . . . still disgusting, though), and as you’d expect, this week’s zombie brain eating effect is that Liv regresses to a high school cheerleader. Although something tells me Liv probably wasn’t the cheerleader type. She was probably the annoying have to take as many AP classes as possible to inflate her GPA and become valedictorian type. Ravi discovers that Hope, the rat he thought he had cured of zombism, has died, and Liv is unusually peppy about the situation. Despite the setback, Ravi is clearly highly amused by Liv’s behavior. Anyway, Kimber’s best friend Tate is being interviewed by police, and Liv sits in. Tate thinks Liv is the best thing ever because she acts just like Kimber. Take likes Liv so much that she plays a voicemail Kimber left her about bailing on the church lock-in to hang with a new boyfriend. Tate identifies the song playing in the background, which happens to be by the Asshats, the band of teens we saw at the beginning of the episode.

Babineaux and Liv visit the Asshats rehearsal space, and after the stoner tries to run away, they have a conversation. The Asshats claim they were rehearsing all night when Kimber went missing. Teresa and one of the guys keep arguing about how detailed of a story they should tell, and it causes Liv to have a flashback to the band and Kimber in a car together. She starts to think there is more to the story. When she gets home, Liv and Peyton have some girl bonding time over Peyton using Liv’s curling iron. I’m not sure how I feel about the zombie power of the week making Liv and Peyton closer. The whole “we haven’t been girly in a while” thing seems a bit shallow and on the nose to me. Meanwhile, Major is continuing his own investigation. He goes to Meat Cute posing as a health inspector. Blaine is immediately suspicious, because they just had a health inspection two months ago. Plus, Major is taking pictures of the store exits. He leads Major into the back room, which can’t end well.

Babineaux looks at security footage and sees that while Nate’s car was at the rehearsal space all night, there was another car that was reported stolen. He suspects the teens were actually in that car all night. When he and Liv go back to the rehearsal space to confront the band about this information, they find everything in shambles and Nate (the stoner) dead. Liv ends up eating some of his brain, which turns her from cheerleader to stoner. Peyton finds her trying to make an apple bong, and she’s really pissed off that this means they aren’t going to be going to spin class together. Liv then has a vision of Nate wanting to squeal about the murder and the other band guy being really angry about it. Peyton does, however, give Liv some “special” lollipops, which Liv is indulging in when Teresa comes to the police station asking for help. She thinks she’s going to be killed next. Meanwhile, Major’s story is taking a really dark turn. There is however, a brief moment of lightness when Ravi asks him for advice on an upcoming date/vacation he and Peyton are taking to San Francisco. The lightness is short-lived, though. Major buys some illegal guns, presumably planning to shoot up all the zombies at the Meat Cute. Speaking of, Blaine is complaining about the health inspection when Candyman appears. He thinks the “health inspector” was Major.

Babineaux has Teresa work with a sketch artist to identify the guy who killed Kimber. She does so, but while she’s waiting to be checked out of the police station, she gets a text from Cameron (the other band guy). He tells her not to trust the police and to meet him at a motel with “his” stuff. Back at the ME’s office, Ravi and Liv have another zombie murder victim. The police think they have a serial killer on their hands, so they’re assigning it to a different detective. Liv realizes she needs to get her act together, so she drinks some more of Kimber’s brain so she won’t be a stoner anymore. It’s a good thing she’s sober now, because Babineaux has some bad news (although maybe it would have been easier to take if she was still high). The sketch is finished, and it’s pretty clearly Sebastian. As Liv is discovering this, Sebastian has broken into Liv’s apartment, where Peyton is getting ready for a date.

It’s interesting how the horror of realizing she has made another zombie (well, and I guess taking cheerleader brain) sobers Liv up. She heads home, where she can’t find Peyton. Instead, she is greeted by a zombified Sebastian, who is furious because whatever Liv made him “forced” him to kill his Aunt Edna. Liv makes the point that she’s never killed anyone she didn’t intend to, even when in full-on zombie mode, but then things just devolve into a knock-down-drag-out fight. This particular scene is kind of hard to watch because Liv and Sebastian keeps stabbing each other. Eventually, Liv gets the knife right into Sebastian’s skull, and he is well and truly dead. Peyton came to and wandered into the kitchen during the height of the fight, and now she’s wondering what the heck Liv is. Liv tells Peyton the full story and admits she is a zombie. Peyton doesn’t take it well at all. She disappears, and nobody, even Ravi, can get a hold of her.

There are a lot of dangling threads left by the end of this episode. Major, who has been brought in by the Candyman, is hung up in the back room of Meat Cute. Blaine is very interested to learn who he really is. He is also intrigued when Liv’s brother, Evan, finally stops by with that job application. As for Teresa, when she answered that text from Connor, the other remaining band member, she was attacked. We see her very bloodied, trying to dial 911. Has Connor become a zombie, or is something else going on? Liv’s got to face an investigation into Sebastian’s death. Babineaux says she should have nothing to worry about, since it was clearly self-defense. And finally, Peyton is still missing. A dejected Ravi wonders if he’ll ever get to go on that date to San Francisco.

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