by Matthew Thompson
Three months have passed since the momentous events at the end of iZombie Season 1 and the first portion of “Grumpy Old Liv” helps us catch up with the characters while reminding us where things left off. Liv’s brother – who is still in the hospital – and mother are both upset with her for not helping him after he was hurt in the Meat Cute explosion. Clive is still suspicious about Major’s role in that final showdown despite Liv giving him an alibi. Major is still working on getting over everything that he found out about Liv. And Ravi hasn’t been able to replicate the zombie cure. This helps set the stage for a very fun start to the second season.
The case in the premiere involves the murder of a cantankerous old man who was crushed under the car he was working on. The case itself isn’t all that much to write home about. Pretty typical procedural stuff. A number of possible suspects are presented to the audience throughout the investigation before it circles back to one of the early ones – a neighbor who was interviewed after calling in a tip to the police. Now in iZombie it isn’t just about the case of the week, but the brain of the week as well. Just like she often did in the first season, Liv and her altered personality is what lifts an average murder case to something more enjoyable. I didn’t expect a grumpy old man persona to be so entertaining, but how wrong I was. Snarky dialogue has always been one of this show’s strengths and Liv gets to spend a good chunk of this episode spitting funny insults, this time with the edge of an old man who seems to hate everyone (I added some of her best lines in the bullets below).
So we had our new murder to solve. And as premieres often do, it caught us up on what has been happening off-screen since we last saw these characters. It is also a premiere’s job to set up the hooks for the season to come and we see that here as well. That means checking in on our villains. Blaine – now alive after Liv hit him with the cure in the finale – is working as a funeral home director, but he remains as delectably slimy as ever. Liv needs his help in finding the particular Utopium from the boat party to help reproduce the cure. More important than why they met up is just how fun their back and forth was. Watching them trade barbs was easily one of the highlights of the episode. We also see a side effect of the cure with Blaine, Major and even Ravi’s rat being able to detect when a zombie is near. That ties back into our second villain Max Rager CEO Vaughn du Clark. He is blackmailing Major to put those zombie detection skills to use doing his dirty work for him. It is a dark direction for Major whose storylines always seem to head to surprising places. I don’t find Liv’s roommate being Vaughn’s assistant quite as interesting yet, but I trust the writers to make all of this work.
The first season of iZombie made the series an instant favorite for me. This premiere is a promising start to the new season bringing many of the things I love about the show – the fantastic lead performance, the excellent cast chemistry, the witty banter, the great sense of humor, the nice blend of procedural and serialized storytelling – back for a second go around. Hopefully they can keep up the quality this season and build on what they had in the first.
Some great lines from this episode:
- Liv: “He’s a teenager, not a bear. Pretend you got a pair and speak up son.”
- Liv: “You do all these paint by numbers or you have a slow nephew or something.” Byron: “No I found them at a gallery.” Liv: “Were they in the garbage?”
- Liv: “Did they find the guy who did that to your hair or is he still at large?”
- And my favorite – Blaine: “Somewhere out there, Major Lilywhite, the most presciently named zombie of all time, roams the Earth.” Liv: “Whitey Shamblemore begs to differ.”