[This is a review of iZombie season 1, episode 10. There will be SPOILERS.]
The combination of zombies and alcohol presents some interesting questions, because the mythology of iZombie has established the undead as having incredibly slow heart rates, which would surely inhibit the process of alcohol being carried to the brain. Unfortunately Liv isn’t really in the mood for science as she turns to an alcoholic murder victim’s brain to help her deal with the trauma of last week’s episode.
Lowell may have died at the hands of zombie mob boss Blaine, but the latest episode of iZombie‘s first season returns to the ongoing Max Rager conspiracy and its possible connection to the zombie outbreak. Liv’s latest meal is a journalist called Rebecca Hinton, who was working on an exposé of the energy drink company and who was pushed to a conclusion before she could reach her own. Liv inherits Rebecca’s thirst for the truth, along with a thirst for booze.
The specter of alcoholism as actually handled very poorly amid an otherwise strong episode which demonstrates that iZombie isn’t afraid to break out of its lighthearted crime procedural box and get a bit emotionally heavy. As Liv deals with Lowell’s death and Major considers signing himself into a mental hospital, Liv’s heavy drinking actually gets used for comic relief more than anything else. It doesn’t help that Rose McIver’s ‘drunk’ acting isn’t particularly great.
The mystery of the week ends up getting pretty convoluted. Rebecca was investigating Max Rager indirectly by trying to get the full story on a college student and energy drink addict who ended up going homicidal, and his story ties into a separate tale of a cruel prank that could probably have been dropped entirely without making much difference to the episode’s plot. Like the best mysteries, however, it’s all held together by a central question: Who is Mr. Berserk?
“Mr. Berserk” continues to develop Major’s storyline, to the point that he’s almost a joint protagonist in this episode. Faced with the reality of shooting a man three times in a chest and then seeing him looking hale and healthy again the next day, Major’s thoughts jump to ‘crazy’ rather than ‘zombie,’ and he decides (with a bit of a nudge from Clive) that he might be overdue for some psychiatric help. Ravi, who has grown pretty attached to his roommate, insists that it’s time for Liv to tell Major the truth, but Liv argues that Major’s crusade is putting his life in danger and that it will be safer for him to be behind the walls of a mental hospital.
Liv and Ravi finally figure out for sure that the cops are corrupt when Lieutenant Suzuki writes of Lowell’s death as a suicide and put pressure on his medical examiners to sign the paperwork that will tidy everything away. There’s a nice character arc for Liv as she avoids dealing with Lowell’s paperwork (and, in turn, his death) in lieu of burying herself in another investigation (along with the aforementioned binge-drinking episodes).
Everything comes to a head when Liv digs up Rebecca’s sources (though only one turns out to be genuine) and gets close to discovering proof of Max Rager’s nefarious dealings before her tenaciousness lands her once again on a deadly yacht ride – a nice call back to the pilot. Liv gets away, and everything is in place for a conclusion that could have some serious fallout.
“Mr Berserk” does do a lot of work in service of the Max Rager story arc and sets up a future confrontation between Liv and Max Rager’s ‘cleaner’ Sebastian, who unwisely tries to pull off the creepy move of tasting Liv’s blood and infects himself in the process. In his defense, though, it does save him from a fate of death by rotor blades.
iZombie gained a lot of fans with its excellent pilot, and despite a somewhat wobbly first season it’s looking hopeful that this first chapter is moving towards an equally strong conclusion.
Guy in bar: Can I buy you a-
Guy in bar: So, what’s your-?
Ravi: I taught [zombie rat] a trick. See, when I raise my hand like this and say, “prance, zombie!” he sort of rears up on his hind legs and prances about.
iZombie returns next Tuesday with “Astroburger” @9pm on The CW. Watch a preview below: