iZombiestruggled in its first four episodes to tell a cohesive story. Though all of its parts – from Liv’s crime-solving with Clive and Ravi to her personal life with Peyton and Major, and to Blaine’s brain-dealing business – have held our interest, they never quite came together to form a cohesive whole. That changed with tonight’s “Flight of the Living Dead,” the best iZombie episode to date.
What made this episode click? By giving Liv a personal connection to the victim whose suspicious death she, Clive, and Ravi were investigating, iZombieentwined its disparate parts. Liv was able to grieve the death of her college sorority sister with Peyton and Major, integrating them into the major plot arc, while Clive and Ravi were just as important to the story since they aided the investigation of Holly’s untimely death via a seemingly freak skydiving accident.
It also helped that the main suspects not only included two familiar faces – Ryan Hansen (aka Veronica Mars’Dick Casablancas) and Bradley James (aka Merlin’s Arthur) – but tied into Liv’s zombie identity as well with the reveal that James’ Lowell is also a zombie. This presents an interesting opportunity for Liv to discuss, explore, and commiserate with someone who truly understands what she’s going through (and who also isn’t running a brain racketeering business on the side). Unlike Liv’s ex-finance Major, Liv can have sex with Lowell without risking turning him into a zombie. Plus, Lowell has a British accent.
Elsewhere in the episode, Major endeared himself to viewers by continuing to search for two of his runaway youth, Jerome and Eddie, who went missing in the skate park a few weeks ago. Now, we viewers know that the two youth were snatched by Blaine and have most likely already had their brains removed as product, but Major still thinks there’s a chance they’re alive.
Seeing Major take a beating for the kids he’s trying to protect solidified his role as more than just Liv’s tragic, Duncan Kane-like love interest. The comforting hug he and Liv shared prior to his skate park knockout was also the first time I really believed the history between these two. Though we’ve been told again and again, both through voiceover and angsty subtext, that these two were madly in love and still long to be together, iZombiereally shows us what that looks like in this quiet, honest scene.
Major also manages to recruit Clive to the cause of finding his missing kids. I don’t mention it enough, but Clive is a subtly solid detective. Sure, Liv’s visions go a long way to solving his cases, but Detective Babineaux has proven again and again that he has good instincts, a tireless work ethic, and – perhaps most importantly – a passion for justice. That last trait may sound cheesy, but it is integral to his character’s acceptance of Liv’s “psychic powers” (because Clive doesn’t care how she knows what she knows, as long as it helps them catch the bad guy), as well as his decision to take risks that could cost him his job.
This week, that risk is following up on Major’s concerns, only to discover that there have been more than 60 missing persons cases in the area over the last few months. Sounds like business is booming for Blaine.
This episode of iZombie not only presented a unified story, but set into motion a number of storylines that are sure to collide in a bloody, brainy mess. How long until Major and/or Babineaux come face to face with Blaine? Could the mysterious, handsome Lowell already have a connection to Blaine’s business? Though the entrepreneurial zombie sadly did not show his spray-tanned face in this week’s episode, he was a silent force…and a promise that everything on iZombiewill come to a head before this 13-episode season is over.