iZombie episode 12 review: Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat

As iZombie approaches the end of its first season, Liv's secret is beginning to get out...

This review contains spoilers.

1.12 Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat

Since the beginning of iZombie‘s first season, we’ve watched Liv attempt to keep her current life as far away from her former one as possible. She’s fine working with Clive and Ravi on cases, feeling her way through a brand new reality that’s less than ideal, but adamant that people like Major, Peyton and her family be kept out of the loop.

It’s standard, trope-tastic comic book fare designed to keep the hero isolated and tortured, among other more practical ends, but Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat gave us our first big (non-dream) reveal when Peyton witnessed her bestie in full-on zombie mode kill a fellow-zombie intruder. As expected, she doesn’t react particularly well, heading for the hills before Liv or Ravi can explain things in more detail.

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It’s ordinary, painting by numbers for anyone even slightly versed in this kind of fantasy-procedural show. I like Peyton, and her and Liv’s friendship is an interesting one in theory, but both it and her character are so barely there at this point that its hard to get a grasp on what they even mean to each other.

That said, the scene plays out really well, with the performances in that moment momentarily making you forget the lack of grounding. It’s the highlight of an episode that otherwise pushed my already thinning patience for the case-of-the-week format to its very limit, anyway.

After a group of teenagers run down Sebastian – the Max Rager guy we saw zombie-out after tasting Liv’s blood the week before last – and one of them is killed, Liv eats the brains of a high school cheerleader. Apparently, no one in the writer’s room for iZombie has ever spent much time with a real teenager, because what we got for the rest of the episode was the most over-the-top, irritating version of a high schooler ever committed to screen.

I have a pet peeve when it comes to presenting young people as mindless, tech-obsessed, self-absorbed annoyances, especially on a CW show I’d wager has a healthy audience of under-18s, but this was particularly superfluous. If we’re to endure Liv adopting a brand new personality each week, why does it have to be so off-putting?

It also didn’t serve much purpose outside of the gimmick, with little consequence seen from last week’s really strong, emotional outing present for much of the hour. As said, it was nice to see Peyton again, and the friendship moment they managed to share despite Liv’s over-abundance of pep was sweet, but the ending didn’t have as much wallop as was probably intended.

I did like the idea that Liv is becoming part of the zombie problem being introduced, with the first zombie she’s directly responsible for out there killing innocent people. Liv’s been so strangely detached from the central mystery all season that it’s about time she got involved, and this was a smart way of – along with revealing the truth to someone close to her – killing two birds with one stone.

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And next week’s finale promises that we’ll finally see Liv and Blaine come face to face, all of their cards on the table, with Major’s kidnap likely the cause of their confrontation. I could care less about what happens to Brother Evan after forgetting who the heck he was until Liv helpful reminded us at the beginning of an episode featuring his return, but I do care about Major, and he can’t have too many lives left.

I’ve tired of seeing Major be beaten up and tortured, but if it brings Blaine and Liv together at last, then I guess it’s a necessary evil. Seriously, though, Major needs a good long holiday after this.

So we’re almost at the end of iZombie‘s first season, and it’s been a mixed bag. One great, action-packed episode to cap it off could tip opinion in its favour, of course, and if the brief fight-sequence in this episode is anything to go by, the show’s more than capable of pulling it off.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Astroburger, here.

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