NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “iZombie” are present in this review
iZombie seemed to pace itself a little bit more this week, going back to a lower-key brain that felt more perfunctory than truly distinct, but, “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be” nonetheless worked as a setup for the double-episode season finale next week.
After an overachieving student is murdered and found dead in a pool, Liv consumes her brain, and regresses into the analytical, praise-addicted personality that she apparently had before becoming a zombie. This is an interesting direction for this episode, not just because we didn’t really properly see who Liv was before her zombie state, even if we heard a few things about her past here and there, but also because it’s a good way to create a moment of self-examination for Liv, as we head into next week’s season finale.
That’s the idea, but unfortunately, the execution is a little shakier. While some of the moments with Liv’s reflection are good, particularly when she comes to realize just how much she’s changed since she became a zombie, much of the brain material this week just didn’t amount to anything. The brain was purely played for drama, which worked to mixed effect, as Babineaux finds himself pleased with the fact that Liv is no longer inexplicably distracted by her latest personality shift, though not much is really accomplished through interactions like Ravi, Peyton or Major, beyond idle musings. It feels a bit half-baked, which is disappointing, since that’s not something that you can normally accuse iZombie of being.
Babineaux’s character was also a little uneven this week. On the one hand, Babineaux having to confront a fellow cop, one of Drake’s buddies in fact, was very interesting, especially since it reminds viewers of how much Babineaux is often despised around the precinct. On the other hand though, the episode takes this point to remind us that Bozzio won’t be in Seattle forever, and she asks Babineaux to come back with her to Virginia, applying to be an FBI agent, and basically moving on from his current life. This is an interesting conflict on paper, but the idea that Babineaux would apply to the FBI and forget everything in Seattle, just because a few people piss him off, is a little questionable. Yes, I get that he’s attached to Bozzio, but this obviously won’t stick. Without Babineaux, there’s no show, so it probably would have been more interesting if he had to face the music and leave Bozzio, rather than futily try to pack up with her.
Fortunately, the rest of the episode was pretty strong, as per usual. Blaine continuing to face his lost memory made for some good moments, especially as his underlings continue to steal his operation from under him, and Liv’s group predictably suspects that he may be faking his amnesia. If he is, he’s doing a damn good job, as he seems to have actually lost his memory, which leads to emotional moments like a visit from Peyton, who seems unsympathetic to his condition. As with Babineaux’s current arc, it seems likely that Blaine’s memory loss ultimately won’t stick forever, but at least this is being used to further his character in the sense that Blaine has to examine his life from a newly objective viewpoint, and decide if he truly has become a better person in his recent endeavours to sate the zombie population of Seattle.
Vaughn also got a good appearance this week, as we see him coldly showing a new Super Max ad to a fully-zombified Rita, now with chalk-white hair, and a fully pale face. Vaughn has since locked up Rita, and once again, he’s a firm frontrunner for the asshole father of the year award, as he practically taunts his daughter with his freedom, with the flimsy promise that eventually he will find a cure for her. Seeing Rita in such a vulnerable position is shocking enough, but Vaughn is really digging himself even further into comical villain territory, even when he’s already proven to be way over-the-top evil.
The big moment of this episode was served via Major however, who must explain himself to Ravi after their heated confrontation at the end of last week’s episode. Major manages to calm Ravi down, but he’s not out of the woods, after his former dog’s groomer puts two and two together, and comes to Bozzio to point out that she believes Major could be the Chaos Killer. This timing couldn’t have been worse, as Major is about to inject Vaughn with a knockout syringe that will allow Major to scratch him, and test the prototype zombie cure that apparently wiped Blaine’s memory on him, but Bozzio and the police show up right beforehand to arrest Major, which is where the episode ends. This presents no shortage of exciting developments for the two-part season finale next week, as not only is Major in jail, right when he might have had a chance to neutralize Vaughn, but now that he’s a zombie again, he’ll no doubt be craving brains very soon. Bozzio may have inadvertently done more harm than good by putting him behind bars!
iZombie might have had to suffer through a slightly weaker episode to deliver two truly fantastic season finale episodes next week, but, “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be” appears to promise a pretty superb way to close out the season on almost all counts. Yes, Liv wasn’t given much to do beyond go through the motions this week, and Babineaux obviously isn’t going to commit to that attempted career change, but between Major being in jail, Blaine still not having a memory, Ravi still unsure of whether he’s found the right zombie cure, and Stacey Boss still looming in the shadows as Max Rager prepares to debut their new product, there’s literally limitless potential for next week. Everything is going to come to a violent head, and when the dust settles, Seattle will no doubt never be the same as we go into Season Three later this year.
- Blaine continuing to struggle with his memory loss
- Babineaux getting ever closer to zombies
- Major's shocking arrest
- Liv's latest brain did virtually nothing for the story
- Babineaux applying for the FBI obviously won't stick