This review was originally posted to urban-fantasy.com
I finished the second season of the undead crime procedural iZombie last night. I binged watched the first season while on vacation at a family member’s house. Everyone else goes to bed way earlier than me so I had the time. Season two has been slower going. Mostly because I rewatched Season One with my husband because I thought he would like it.
Spoilers ahead, turn back if you don’t want to see them!
Season Two opens up with the destruction of villain Blaine DeBeers’ brain selling scheme fronted as a luxury charcuterie, and Liv’s ostracization from her family and closest friends (save for loyal Ravi). Work at the morgue continues as usual, but Max Rager knows about the zombies and blackmails Major into helping them “fix” their mistake by murdering a huge list of people. Major steadily loses more and more of himself to drugs and the world of being a contract killer, while Liv and Clive clash over her unconventional and illegal methods for solving murders. And this, my friends, is the backdrop for all of Season Two.
Villains. This season rocks it with them. Blaine is down but not out, and he slides back into the drug trade while finding a more legitimate – and less murdery – way to feed Seattle’s zombies. And he starts a plot to take out Seattle’s biggest crime lord using the District Attorney’s office to do his dirty work. This move brings in the odd and seemingly innocuous Stacy Boss. Vaughn DuClark returns in a big way, and is more flippant and disgusting than ever. And because four major players aren’t enough, Max Rager spy Rita moves in as Liv’s new roommate and throws her hat into the villain ring as well. Blaine’s father Angus makes a short appearance as well, before the chaos killer takes him out.
Everyone is not an idiot! There’s very little derpy, sitting-on-my-hands-oh-god-what-do-I-do idiocy in this show, and I appreciate it. That doesn’t mean no one makes mistakes – and man, there are some mistakes – but that things are character driven and not spurred on by stupidity. They’re also pretty observant and roll with the punches pretty well. Big example in my head right now is Ravi catching Liv’s kidnapper at the end of the season and braining him (hah!) with a fire extinguisher. Good on you, Ravi, for having a pair and thinking quickly.
And finally, not everyone is a warrior on iZombie. On many shows as time goes on, everyone becomes this competent, badass fighter. So far that’s not the case here, and the show’s depiction of various character’s reactions to violence is realistic and engaging. Ravi is untrained but willing to do what needs to be done to help those around him – and then absolutely freak out later, because he is not a violent man. Liv’s specialty skills come and go, and she has appropriate reactions to them. Major is learning to deal with the violence, but never seems comfortable or lost to it. The scale on this makes the show much more interesting to me.
This season it really starts to sink into the typical CW overwroughtness and relationship drama, some of which is done just for the sake of being dramatic. And other than will they/won’t they drama, what is keeping Liv and Major apart once Major is a zombie again at the end of the season? It’s still not as bad as typical CW shows, but I find drama for drama’s sake to be a little disingenuous. Then there’s Ravi/Peyton drama, Liv/Drake drama, Ravi/Blaine drama, and then Clive and his lady love FBI agent. Can anyone have a healthy relationship? I know the answer is no, but I thought I would ask.
The end of the season portends what seems to be a genre shift from police procedural with a twist to a post-apocalyptic setting. An episode with 28 Days Later Max Rager super zombies eating brains and military zombies blowing in to kill them all seems like an entirely different show. Are we going to see a huge tone shift here? No way to tell but to keep going, but I can’t say I don’t have a bad feeling about it.
All my raving about the villains above? By the end of the season, we’re only left with Stacy Boss, and an amnesiac possibly reformed Blaine. It seems like the new military contractor owner of Max Rager is the new villain for Season Three, but she does not pique my interest. Who do we get to root against now that everyone is dead (or forgetful)?
Magical Disappearing Family Drama. We start the season off with Liv’s relationship to her mother and her brother going up in flames because she will not give a blood transfusion to her brother. She’s completely disowned and cast out. And couple episodes of angst, then poof, this entire character plotline vanishes down a plot hole, never to be seen again. Except in one episode where Liv lies about her brother visiting to cover up that her new boyfriend is in the house when Major visits her. Somehow I have a feeling that this is not going to be resolved or even really brought up again, though I hope I am wrong about this.
Are dead Liv boyfriends going to be a thing, like the on-again-off-again Liv and Major drama? I bet it will be a thing. It shouldn’t be, though. Liv is three for three with dead boyfriends, if you count Major joining the undead. That’s more than enough. I’m all for character development and suffering, but let’s find a different way to do it from here on out, shall we?
And speaking of dead boyfriends, we have a lot of dead interesting minor characters. This is a police procedural with zombies, so of course there are lots of bodies. But the kill count is kind of high, and they keep taking out the better minor characters. The dead aren’t always replaced with someone as interesting. Drake? Gone. Chief? Gone. Rita? Yup, her too. Leave me someone, guys.
Superheroes. Erotic romance writing librarians. Thugs killed and stuck in a forty-foot Christmas tree. Crazy stalkers, dead bros, magicians and digging for tainted utopium body-packed in a one-legged war veteran.
iZombie season two is not afraid to go with the weird, over-the-top or even ridiculous storylines. In a show that is already about a zombie coroner’s assistant helping solve murders in Seattle, this is a great way to go with it. It reminds me in many ways of Pushing Daisies, one of my all-time favorite shows.
Liv, Liv, Liv! She continues to be one of the best parts of the series. In an age with what I feel are cookie-cutter, unoriginal female leads, she is interesting and sympathetic. Even with the personality whip-lash that can come with brains.
And how hot is she in the Real Dead Housewife of Seattle episode?
Best scene of the whole season is Liv revealing herself to Clive.
We had some comments on our Facebook page in response to my first review. Readers said that the first season was the best, and its all downhill from there. I still enjoyed Season Two, but the ending has me hesitant about the rest. I’ll keep going, and hopefully it’s still a fun ride. But, no surprise at a site like Urban-Fantasy.com, I prefer the UF and Horror elements to the show vs. a straight up post-apocalyptic storyline, which is where it seems to be going. Magic and supernatural mixed with regular life is more interesting to me than the other. It’s a quirky little slice of life series, but it loses some of that when it becomes full-blown horror-zombie series.
I’m starting Season Three tonight, so keep an eye out for my review of that over the coming weeks.
Did you enjoy the second season of iZombie? What did you love? What did you hate?