Previously on iZombie: pretty much everything went to hell in a handbasket. Major and Liv broke up, Clive and Liv broke up, and Ravi found out that the test rat that was human after testing the cure has actually reverted to zombie status. They are looking for the remaining Utopium in the belly of a drug dealer buried in a field a hundred acres wide.
Things begin with Ravi sitting down the recently split Liv and Major to tell them the very bad news about the virus that was lurking in the rat that was triggered to changing it back to zombie. When he suggests that at least they’ll be able to have hot zombie sex — which earns an awkward silence between them — and prompts Ravi to learn of their break-up. He takes blood from Major and Blaine to do further testing on to see if he’ll know when they’ll revert, but for now he offers that it could happen at any time — a day from now, a week, a year — it’s impossible to know how or why it’ll happen
Later, Liv and Ravi get a DOA Santa Claus on their table. Clive icily asks them to direct any future information to his email — still dead set on Liv no longer being a part of his investigations — and the episode takes a jaunty turn towards meta as it zooms through what would be a normal case in the span of three vignettes set over the holidays. This show has never been one to shy away from taking brave tonal leaps and this is no different as they begin Christmas showing Liv and Major warming back up as friends — Major gives Liv gets Zombie High Season 2 for Christmas. Blaine and crew are back full speed into the brains business and eager to increase their growing empire even more. The New Year begins with a stranger showing up to a hungover Clive and Dale with information on the Santa Claus murder thanks to “a blonde” woman and helps them bring in a suspect. Back to present day, the trio is back to digging holes when Liv has a vision — which we get to see first-hand from other people’s point of view and it’s terrific — that wraps the case.
Still in the present, Liv and Ravi end up on the set of Zombie High when their most recent episode shoot ends with an actual bang. Someone switched out the prop gun with a real one and it got the main actor killed. Clive is there also running down leads and when she has a few suggestions on what to do, he eventually gives in and lets her tag along with just “this one” since she’s got particular expertise about the show and cast being a superfan of the series. They watch the footage of his murder and the dailies to look for more.
Major is back at Max Rager as Du Clarke’s personal trainer, pushing him further to finish up a grueling workout set. He gives him a fitness bracelet that tracks his workouts for all his hard work. Gilda is less impressed by Major’s sudden company man attitude, perhaps because of the previous reconciliation with Liv, but she’s eager to warn her boss that whatever is going on is meant to manipulate Du Clarke for unknown reasons.
Clive and Liv see the prop master to discuss how another actor would possibly mistake the gun for a fake one, but after seeing first hand they realize it’s an easier mistake to make after all. They speak with the actor that shot him and although he’s incredibly over the top Hollywood type, they don’t think he purposefully shot his coworker. Later, after they begin the autopsy they notice an ironic “in the process of being removed” tattoo with the words “never forget” written on the deceased actor’s arm. His co-star has the same one and with some questioning they find out that a producer on the show ended up dying when she fell asleep at the wheel on the way home from a grueling late-night shoot.
While on set, Liv and Clive get some scoop from regular extras on the show — the zombies tormenting the high school — that makes the actors all look like varying degrees of crazy. The deceased was apparently extremely method and never talked to anyone, sometimes demanding upwards of thirty takes per scene, and partially responsible for the late hours that likely led to the woman dying from falling asleep at the wheel.
One of the other actors, who happens to be deaf, confirms that this is exactly the kind of behavior that the dead guy was known for and the fact that he was in the process of lasering off the tattoo says everything about how uncaring he really was to the cause. He has a matching tattoo of “never forget” as well and shares the understanding with everyone that the long hours no doubt were a factor in the car accident.
Ravi — an early critic of the Zombie High series — ends up binge watching it all while looking for more evidence of malfeasance on set. Apparently the deceased was often the victim of on-set pranks because of his bad reputation and one such prank leads to him interrupting a scene mid-take to scream at everyone. They look into it more by checking to see if there was in fact the secret cameras that the actor claimed he’d set up in his trailer to catch whoever was messing with him. Instead they find his co-star who was known for being in the leaked sex tape that led to the short rise to fame that he had before being killed inside the trailer trying to find a second sex tape on his laptop to delete it once and for all. Clive and Liv take the laptop back to the station and shortly after find a tape of them mid- and post-coital but more damningly includes a moment of her making fun of their other co-star who is deaf.
Before they follow that lead much further, Liv has another vision of a prank on the dead guy; this time, his convertible is filled with dirt and a headstone for the dead producer. They approach the widower of the same producer to see if he would perhaps making these pranks more personal and directly in relation to his late wife’s death. He insists that he didn’t blame the death of his wife on anyone but herself and had long argued with her to work less. She chose to work extra late hours — hours after production wrapped — because she was a workaholic. Clive and Liv have other ideas and suspect that she was having an affair with someone on set. They talk to the prop master again, this time at the station, and fake a fight to get him to confess. Liv pretends to be mad at Clive for splitting up their investigations and though at first it seems possible it’s a real fight, it morphs into her being especially upset that Clive is trying to put away the man for a murder charge harsher than he deserves. When the man falls for the good cop/bad cop routine, he confesses that he blamed the dead actor for everything and it was a heat of the moment decision gone wrong. Once he’d given the gun to the actor that shot him, it was out of his hands, and it booked for murder.
Since Gilda was worried about Major’s loyalty, Du Clarke sets up a sting to find out if he’s loyal. A doctor from downstairs — where they’re testing the extreme zombies with the Max Rager dosing — comes to Major and claims that he’s going public with information about zombies being real. If he gets killed in the process, something he admits nearly all doctors preceding him have done (and he’s so not wrong, he’s fourth or fifth down the line we’ve seen on screen alone) that Major should serve as his failsafe. He hands over a USB drive that has all his findings on it. Major brings the USB to Du Clarke and tells him of the doctor’s deceit. In a terrifying scene, Du Clarke cheerily brings Major downstairs and all but throws the doctors to the wolves just to prove a point. He traps the doctor in the room as the zombies feast on brains and wonders how long it would take for them to realize there’s fresh brains in with them. The doctor does eventually scramble to the exit while Du Clarke laughs it off as Major passing the loyalty test they set for him — which the doctor seems to very begrudgingly, at this point, be in on — and pats him on the back. Later, we see that despite Major playing dumb the entire time, he’s indeed schmoozing Du Clarke for more information. The fitness bracelet he gave him earlier is bugged and he’s now able to listen in on the conversation in real-time confirming that he’s successfully played the CEO
Earlier in the episode, Dale takes a detour to visit Blaine in her search for information on these missing zombie executives that the audience knows are actually off of Major’s hit list. When she arrives Blaine is carrying one of the yellow thermos bags that were noted in the FBI analysis of the massacre at Meat Cute and a strong link towards placing him as involved with the greater conspiracy behind the brain (unbeknownst to them — human) smuggling business. He manages to get it out of sight just in time for her to leave empty-handed since he doesn’t recognize the names she asks about, which may be a lie or may not be, since Blaine is mostly responsible for feeding these clients and though he is familiar with some of them — and still wouldn’t likely share that information — it’s Major that’s behind their numerous deaths.
When Dale arrives back at the precinct to go over things with Clive and updates him that they have GPS tracker for the dog — who we know as the renamed, Minor, who is now living with Major and Ravi — from one of the first murders earlier this season. Soon after, she happens upon a sketch of Blaine’s face that Clive had from all that went on at Meat Cute. He is the head of the operation by Clive’s estimation and Dale is startled to see his face again after just having questioned him earlier that day. She is completely positive they have their guy.
- “Just when I thought I was out — they pull me back in!” David Anders is so charming, you keep forgetting how icky a guy Blaine is all the time.
- “My high school coach thought digging holes and filling them built character.” What high school did Major go to? That is some shady teaching ethics if there ever were some.
- Great decision to show Liv having the vision. “Is that what she looks like when she’s having a vision?” The silence of it as she spaces out. It’s hard to explain it fully how interesting it is to see from someone else’s point of view but it felt like a very lived in a moment and did a great job world building in the span of three seconds.
- Clive’s obsession with craft services may have also been an in-joke? The way that Malcolm Goodwin delivered: “Is that lasagna?” makes it seem like it was not his first time saying so.
- “It’s called a prince albert!” So it’s confirmed: everything Rahul Kohli says with that accent sounds eloquent. Literally everything.
- The entire fake acting scene was absolute gold. “To be afraid she would draw on a sense memory of something that scared me.” “Or the times you’ve seen actual zombies.”
- The zombie extras just want a show about zombies that stars a zombie! Is that too much to ask, iZombie?
- “Why do they shoot in Seattle if it’s set in Portland?” “Tax breaks.” They may as well have winked to camera from on-set in “Seattle” AKA coastal Vancouver.
- Ravi would be way more into shipping some characters if the real actors weren’t dead, FYI.
- “Zombies kind of freak me out!” – Detective Clive Babineaux
- I could watch an entire episode of Steven Weber dancing along with that little robot dude.
- I love that they referred to full-fledged zombies as “Romeros.”
Photo Courtesy of The CW