NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of iZombie are present in this review
“Mr. Berserk” really went the extra mile with the case-of-the-week this week, now that Season One of iZombie seems to be entering its home stretch. Naturally, this made for another superb episode. Rather than just have another murder to solve, Liv’s latest murder victim instead tied wholly into the larger arc surrounding the original zombie epidemic, and its connection to the Max Rager energy drink.
So, remember that reporter that was talking to Major and made a bunch of trouble for Detective Babineaux and the rest of the Seattle PD, back during the events of “Maternity Liv”? Well, she’s dead now. After the woman is found at the bottom of her stairs with a broken neck, Liv suspects that something foul is afoot, and is happy to munch on the reporter’s brain. This quickly confirms that the reporter was indeed attacked by a mysterious assailant, prompting an investigation into a university debate team that the reporter was covering before she died.
Oh, but, naturally, that’s not the only thing that occurs when Liv eats the reporter’s brain. Apparently, said reporter was also a raging alcoholic, which leads to Liv winding up at the bottom of a bottle. Since Lowell was killed off at the end of last week’s episode, it’s unfortunate timing, as Liv and her grief sadly have innumerable reasons to drink.
Speaking of Lowell, the script cleverly tied this in with Liv’s present conflict, along with the increasing urgency of dealing with both Blaine, and the Max Rager corporation. Since Lowell’s death was ruled a suicide, and Liv is unable to tell anyone the truth without incriminating herself, particularly when Babineaux initially suspects that Liv may have been behind Lowell’s death at first, she’s forced to deliberate signing a form that will allow the body to be destroyed. Thankfully, Ravi tells Liv that he will wait for her consent, before going ahead with the cremation.
If you haven’t noticed already, this was actually a pretty dark episode for iZombie. There wasn’t much comedy to be had, as the show really delved into some heartfelt dramatic territory, and not just for Liv! Major also had his situation come back to haunt him in a pretty interesting way, after Babineaux goes to question the Candyman, and sees that he’s clearly alive and well. Thus, Babineaux urges Major to check himself into a mental hospital temporarily.
This is another solid twist with the Major investigation into Blaine, especially after Ravi tries to tell Liv to stick up for Major, as well as let him into their circle of trust with the whole zombie thing. Liv however says that it’s better if Major is committed, even temporarily, since at least that way, he will be safe, as Liv knows how dangerous Blaine really is. This was a pretty shocking and blunt request from her character, especially after Major takes care of Liv following a pretty bad drinking bender, but it was a great testament to showing off how much Liv still cares about Major. It’s kind of annoying that she’s still finding excuses to keep Major out of the loop, especially if the show is going to claim that Liv is that concerned about Major’s well-being, since Major is technically already too close to the truth, but maybe that’s why Liv would rather stash him in an asylum than actually come clean. Still, how much longer can she keep up the charade?
This question comes to light all the more when Major talks to another patient, who first mentions that he’s also had an encounter with zombies. Major, obviously, doesn’t know about the zombie thing yet, but that’s probably the last piece he has to put together. There doesn’t seem like any conceivable way that this season could end without Major learning of the whole zombie issue.
Anyway, after Liv unsuccessfully attempts to confront Max Rager, after discovering that the reporter was actually making notes on the Max Rager folks, not the debate team (which turned out to be one giant red herring), it comes to light that Max Rager-related violence incidents (read: Zombie incidents) have been happening beyond Seattle. Liv is then visited in a bar by a whistleblower, and is told about someone else who has evidence against the company. Liv goes to visit the second person, who tries to escape after Liv promises to get her police protection, chasing the woman outside, and then learning that the first whistleblower was a fake. Liv is then bludgeoned over the head, and knocked out.
Awakening on a boat to find the actual whistleblower dead, Liv goes to confront her attacker, and after a brief scuffle that ends with the guy chewed up in the boat propellor, Liv manages to drive the boat off, informing the police about Max Rager’s actions, while also speculating that the escaped killer from “Flight of the Living Dead” was probably also caught and killed, and dumped in the same location by the company. As Babineaux advises though, Liv will need to build up a pretty big case, should she wish to go up against a corporation of the size of Max Rager, with as much power and influence as they clearly have.
Oh, and that fake whistleblower survived his trip through the boat propellor, since he also happens to be a zombie. Looks like Max Rager is fully aware of their hand in the zombie problem, and seems to be using it to their advantage. Bad news for Liv and co., naturally.
The episode then ends with Liv signing off on the cremation of Lowell, and saying to Ravi that the next time Blaine ends up in her crosshairs, she won’t hesitate. I guess we’ll have to see if that pans out.
“Mr. Berserk” did wonderful work in tying together a mystery-of-the-week with a larger season arc, and committing to that direction wholesale. It was a surprisingly dark and serious episode with nothing more than bittersweet victories, and a whole lot of uphill battles for both Liv and Major especially. Still, even when the show’s sharp sense of humour takes a bit of a back seat, iZombie still doesn’t lose one shred of appeal!
- Liv's struggle over letting go of Lowell
- Major questioning his sanity
- Great mystery-of-the-week centering on Max Rager's dirty dealings
- Debate team red herring didn't feel necessary