iZombie season 2 episode 1 review: Grumpy Old Liv

iZombie returns for its second season more confident and more focused. If only the same could be said about poor Liv...

This review contains spoilers.

2.1 Grumpy Old Liv

Time heals all wounds, just maybe not the ones punched in Liv’s life by both her status as a zombie and some of the questionable decisions she made at the end of last season. Things are in tatters, and Grumpy Old Liv is about our protagonist sorting through the ruins of her old existence, pondering whether it wouldn’t be easier to just embrace her lot in life and go full-monster.

Of course, that wouldn’t be a show we’d all want to watch, so it’s up to the case of the week to teach Liv that she’s better off keeping the people she loves around, even if they’re not too fond of her right now. Cutting herself off and hardening herself wouldn’t be better than living with the moves she’s made and the secrets she’s kept, even if it might seem easier for a time.

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First up on the apology tour is her family, who still can’t figure out why Liv refused to offer her brother much-needed blood following the explosion at Meat Cute. Her mother still thinks she’s on drugs, which isn’t an odd conclusion to jump to given the circumstances, and Liv is adamant that she can never know the truth.

Then there’s Major, who makes a late entrance to this episode after first being spoken about by everyone else. He’s detached, drifting – the perfect catalyst for being recruited by the bad guys for undercover evil deeds. Yep, after solidifying himself as this world’s answer to most fearsome zombie hunter, Max Rager wants to hire him to become its own personal slayer. He’s even got powers now, courtesy of his zombification and cure.

Max Rager looks to be a much bigger force this season, infiltrating not just Liv’s personal life but her personal space – inserting themselves into her home in the form of a new roommate. Even if Major decides not to continue doing their bidding in exchange for the cover-up of his role in the Meat Cute massacre, it looks like they’ll replace Blaine as the major big bad Liv knows nothing about for most of the season.

Speaking of Blaine, he’s still serving his own self-interest despite not exactly being undead anymore. Taking inspiration from Liv’s food source, he’s opened up a funeral home in order to let the brains come to him. The scene shared between him and Liv was easily the best of the episode and, with Blaine informed that the cure might not actually be permanent, it’s possible we might see a proper team-up between them. Until the next highest bidder comes along.

What everyone wants is Utopium, the drug Liv used up curing her friends and enemies last season, the drug she and Ravi are desperately trying to recreate and the drug Blaine seems to have a near-unlimited supply of.

The energy that iZombie had at the end of last season is still thankfully present during this premiere, a marked improvement from some of the weaker outings of the show’s first season. There’s generally more focus given to the over-arching mysteries, the characters and the zombie problem than the case of the week – fixing a problem I frequently complained about last year.

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The case is fine, turning Liv into a curmudgeony old man for one week only. I’ve already stated my feelings about the procedural element of iZombie over and over again, but at least it didn’t dominate the episode.

In general, this just feels like a much more confident series – one that knows its characters and knows where it’s going. This can happen with shows with weird premises and shortened first runs (they can’t all be Veronica Mars) and it makes me think that season two is just going to be a better time all around.

Read Caroline’s review of the season one finale, Blaine’s World, here.

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