As Blaine tells Major in the season one finale: “Eating brains doesn’t make you a monster. It takes a little more effort.” We iZombie viewers have known this from Day One. After all, protagonist Liv is a zombie, but also a good person (even if she has a tendency to lie to her loved ones regarding life-threatening information). However, Blaine’s clarification is especially thematic in a season-ending episode that not only sees good guys making bad decisions, but demonstrates that the bad guys fall on both sides of the zombie/human divide.
Let’s talk about those bad guys first, shall we? Though Blaine has definitely been the main antagonist of the season, he is far from the scariest bad guy in the season one finale. While Blaine is ruthless, cruel, and will go to any lengths to keep his brains business hopping in Seattle, his greed has managed to stay at a relatively small-scale level compared to the global zombie outbreak Max Rager executive Vaughan seems poised to cause. In iZombie, the ethically-compromised businessman is the villain and he can be either zombie or human. With resources like the ones Vaughan has at Max Rager, one can only imagine how bad things could get for Liv and the other citizens of Seattle next season and beyond.
If season finales have two objectives — 1. to deliver a satisfying cap to a season, and 2. to encourage a sense of anticipation for the upcoming season — then iZombie rocked at the latter and did a relatively good job with the first. In the case of the villainy, the show upped the ante when it came to Max Rager and their beverage’s unfortunate side effect of occasionally turning people into zombies. The company is making an even more potent energy drink that will no doubt make the current zombie “outbreak” look timid in comparison.
Though Liv managed to get the incriminating memo into the press, it seems unlikely that it will do much to stop such a powerful company. No, if Liv wants to stop Max Rager, then she’s going to have to get creative and she’s going to have to get bold and that, perhaps more than anything else, is what I am most looking forward to in season two. Because, while Vaughan proves that humans can be evil, Liv proves that zombies can be good. Though this episode (and season) arguably provided a more satisfying arc for Major than it did for Liv, our protagonist has a lot of room to grow moving forward. Now that both Major and Peyton know of her zombie-ism, iZombie can tell a different story in season two while continuing the humor and heart that made this first season so great.
That being said, Liv made a lot of dumb choices in this episode. From giving Blaine the brains without making sure it was Major under that hood to injecting Major with the untested cure for zombie-ism. Sure, Major said he didn’t want to be a zombie, but we still don’t know what that “cure” does. Ravi wanted to monitor that ex-zombie rat for a reason. If Major blows up as a result, I am never going to forgive Liv. Somehow, Major has become one of the best characters on this show. He chooses to fight, even when he seemingly has no one in his corner. Though Liv has known for some time about Blaine is up to no good, she chose to stick her head in the sand rather than find out more. She lied to Major even when she knew he was risking his life (not to mention his savings) in the pursuit of justice for the teens Blaine murdered. Meanwhile, Major has lost his job, his grasp of sanity, and probably the feeling in his fingers in his quest to try to keep the at-risk teens of Seattle safe from Blaine’s brain business.
That being said, I can’t say I didn’t cringe a little bit watching Major take out that whole charcuterie of zombies. It was partially glorious, but it also makes me sad that Major got to such a violent point. Just think about the kind of artful scheming Liv and Major could have done if she had told him the truth and they had tried to take down Blaine together.
While Major’s human status hangs in the balance, the fate of Liv’s brother is even more precarious. Kid has the worst timing ever, peering in the broken shop window of Meat Cute as it exploded. Though this was distressing to see, does anyone really care about Liv’s brother? I mean, I care, but we still haven’t really gotten to know this character. The twist that the doctors needed Liv’s blood to save her brother felt convoluted and would have landed much harder if we had spent more time with Liv’s family over the course of the season. We sympathize with Liv in this moment, but we could have sympathized way more had we grown to love (or even know) Liv’s family.
Overall, iZombie ended its season with a bang, upping the ante of many of the show’s central mysteries, while changing the power dynamics between these many characters. Where is Peyton? What side effects will Major and Blaine experience as a result of the cure? What does Vaughan have planned for Liv and the rest of the Seattle zombie population? Will Liv’s brother survive? (Do we care?) What will Liv’s life look like now that most of her loved ones know her secret? With one season under its belt, iZombie feels like it’s just getting started.