iZombie: Dead Beat and (ep 19) Salivation Army
April 13, 2016 12:18 PM - Season 2, Episode 18 - Subscribe

The two part season finale! In order to help Major, Liv and Ravi turns to an unlikely source, Blaine. Clive and Dale are tested as Clive must help his friends. Everything comes to a head at Max Rager, as Vaughn reveals the depths of his inhumanity. And a full on zombie outbreak happens! The season ends with a new player stepping onto the stage.

Obviously a ton of things happen. I hope that summary wasn't too spoilery.

I was so, so expecting Clive to be zombiefied. I'm glad it didn't happen though, since it's a plot point they already did in season 1 with Major (and then a majority of season 2 dealing with the fallout from that).

I wasn't so surprised the Du Clarks both died, but I was a little surprised at how, at least with Rita. I guess eating Vaughn's Super Max brain turned her crazy and she rushed out the elevator?

And it did seem like the Super Max + Utopium created zombies that aren't sated with brains, like Liv was after she woke up in the body bag.

Poor Ravi :-/

I highly enjoyed "that Rob Thomas gets away with all kinds of things", and of course the acoustic "Unwell" playing over the scene of the aftermath.
posted by numaner (38 comments total)
Oh my gooooooooooooooooooood this finale was so awesome. The drama! The action! The tension! The tragic deaths! The scene where Clive finally finds out about zombies! The Rob Thomas double entendres the fans demand! Ravi being a badass! Amnesiac Blaine doing things! It was a double length episode and I still can't believe they fit all of that into it.

Also, for anyone who may have missed it, the requisite punny villain name for season 3 is already in place. "Fillmore-Graves"? Thomas, you bastard.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:45 PM on April 13, 2016 [7 favorites]

What a great season ender! Letting Clive in on the big secret was long overdue. And, I did not see the ending coming. So...Was the woman from Fillmore-Graves already a zombie, or was she turned during the melee? I assumed she was already a zombie, and was hiding it.

Can't wait for next season, now.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:02 PM on April 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh I forgot the company is Fillmore-Graves! haha you gotta love it!

And Chief, I shall miss your silence and your smileys :-(
posted by numaner at 1:09 PM on April 13, 2016

AVClub's review also pointed out a few things that I forgot to include in the post:

"Sup?" - Major to Ravi and Peyton on the couch
"This is how a skull breaks" as they eat Rob Thomas' brains, and the acoustic "Unwell" was actually being sung by on of the soldiers
"A prison theme? White people..."
posted by numaner at 1:20 PM on April 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


God, these episodes were amazing. Liv revealing she's a zombie to Clive! (And Clive just kind of rolling with it, which I wasn't sure was going to happen.) Major's look of disappointment when he realizes that his energy bar isn't brain powered! Ravi beating the crap out of Liv's assassin and then feeling horrible about it! Twenty glorious minutes of mayhem at the party, and then fifteen torturous minutes of denouement!*

Maybe nothing rose quite to the level of the Meat Cute Massacre to cap season one (which was, admittedly, the best thing I've watched all decade, and "Der Kommisar" is a much better song than anything the Late Rob Thomas ever wrote), but on the whole it was still a master class in how you write a season finale: resolve some things well, throw a few emotional gut punches (I'm assuming Bozzio will at least be recurring a bit next season, which is sadly not something we can say for Drake), and end it all on not a cliffhanger but overlooking the cliff. I can't wait for next season.

(One nitpick: did Blaine's memory come back some how? Was he acting from the beginning? It sure seemed like he was back to being the old Blaine after Peyton got kidnapped, knowing where the guns were kept, how to use them, and threatening Ravi with being his human shield.)

* A word I learned from the animated version of The Tick.
posted by thecaddy at 2:52 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah i was wondering that about Blaine too, but I think some personality stuck. The guns thing is probably just from him working in the funeral home. He probably comes down there and pokes around when it's clear.
posted by numaner at 3:49 PM on April 13, 2016

So glad that (apparently) everyone else loved these two episodes as much as I did! They were well conceived and executed and so engaging and often very funny. I threw my hands up in the air and whooped with the reveal to Clive. I've been waiting for that for a long, long time. And it was done very well, not belabored and not too quick, either.

"I wasn't so surprised the Du Clarks both died, but I was a little surprised at how, at least with Rita. I guess eating Vaughn's Super Max brain turned her crazy and she rushed out the elevator?"

Yeah, that surprised me. They didn't explain it. It was weird. Surely the Super Max he's been drinking can't be the explanation because then, in the future, Liv's going to be having problems if this hadn't already happened to her by now. And I didn't like it, anyway, because I like Rita and had been really looking forward to her snarking as a zombie and the whole relationship with them changed.

They made big changes to the show, really. And what about Mr. Boss? Was he in that building? Did I miss him? Did they just wrap up that storyline, too?

How come more people aren't watching this show? It's better and more clever than all of its peers.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:02 PM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Well, I was blown away by this. My biggest fear after iZombie S1 was simply that S2 couldn't keep up the quality. They did all that and more, IMO.

Disorganized thoughts:
* I felt like the Drake dilemma fell a little flat. Too much will they/won't they along the way, too many fakeouts about whether Drake was bad and whatnot. I just never got invested in their relationship, nor did they have the chemistry to make it work as just a physical thing.

* I feel like we're seguing into a Spike situation with Blaine, and I'm not really in favor of that. I can see why it would make some sense: he's literally a somewhat different person, he's no longer a zombie, (until convenient), and I suppose he cannot get away with horrible shit forever with no comeuppance. All the same, I really prefer him as a frenemy than part of a love triangle with Peyton. Dude did remorselessly murder homeless kids for his fast food enterprise, and reset button or not, he's still Blaine.

* The 'cut off a hand' plan was solid. Merc brain was right, and I'm glad it came down to that.

* The lady from Fillmore-Graves? No way was she not already a zombie. I mean, *maybe* she could adapt to the situation that quickly... but there is absolutely no way she'd be talking about a 'zombie homeland' if it was the first day of the rest of her afterlife. Nope. Fillmore-Graves was buying out a competitor, and I'm absolutely psyched to see where they go with that. (It's even pretty clear that they knew this might explode on them - I could see her bringing a gun or two anywhere, but four? Five? And she had backup in the land of no cell bars? Nope. She saw this scenario coming a mile away. It was probably Plan C or D.)

* Clive was so great. Liv just *destroyed* his world: his great romance is ended, his career is completely screwed, he's learned of a threat to his life that is positively existential... and he just kept going. He saved the world by freeing Major. He threw down in a mini-apocalypse just for friendship. And he did it without complaint: no lecture, no outbursts, no recriminations, no time to process anything. He didn't even tell them how badly this was going to hurt him.

Clive just did what was right, completely professional. The best part is, this is solid character work: Clive is *always* that guy, so it made perfect sense. I am relieved he didn't get zombified for his efforts - dude has given enough. (Clive is to iZombie what Mike is to the Breaking Bad universe in many ways, IMO.)

* Man, that party put recent TWD/FTWD action to shame. I hope they have the budget to do more crazy stuff in S3.
posted by mordax at 4:18 PM on April 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

Don't have much to add above what's already been said... But I just have so much love for this show, and Rob Thomas (the show runner, not the musician). I can't believe I waited so long to watch this show, and I'm very thankful it's been renewed for another season.
posted by bluloo at 4:33 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

"Clive just did what was right, completely professional. The best part is, this is solid character work: Clive is *always* that guy, so it made perfect sense."

Yeah, exactly. Generally, the characterization on this show has been excellent. There's a lot of realism and continuity within the context of some pretty unreal stuff.

I was sorry to see Vaughn Du Clark die just because he was consistently hilarious.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:42 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was sorry to see Vaughn Du Clark die just because he was consistently hilarious.

Likewise. Although I did love how Major finished him - Mr. Lilywhite knows how to end folks with style.
posted by mordax at 4:51 PM on April 13, 2016

That was great! I was so worried about Ravi going into the darkened building while Blaine was shooting everyone.

I'm assuming the Fillmore-Graves woman was a zombie all along, as that would explain how she survived the zombie breakout.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:04 PM on April 13, 2016

S1 Clive:
*sees Liv and Ravi watching a zombie flick*
(para) "I wouldn't hesitate. Sorry grandma - [pantomime] *blam* *blam*"
[learn later he has an exceptionally close relationship with grandma]

S2 Clive
*sees actual zombie outbreak in stairwell*
[staring intensifies]
posted by absalom at 7:52 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I almost dread the next two seasons (come on, you know they're getting season 4), because it's been so long since I've seen this much consistent good quality from a cable show.

Like, even the little things like the comic-book style freeze frame at the beginning of each segment with the pun-tastic titles makes me rewind if I miss them from FFW through the commercials.
posted by numaner at 8:57 PM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thinking about the cliffhanger....anybody else getting Buffy season 4 vibes? A paramilitary group moving into town with a tough female leader who gives the heroine a with-us-or-against-us ultimatum?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:06 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ravi is one of the unsung superheroes of the show. Not only is he a pretty brilliant scientist (his "cures" were much better than whatever a lab of scientists who had been studying zombies full time for months), but he's pretty consistently put up pretty good fights against people who should easily take him out. Throw in an incredible heart for his friends, and you got one of the more perfect characters on the show. In truth, he's almost too perfect. I expect something horrible to happen to him at any time now. And no, Blaine re-hooking up with the object of his affection isn't the worse.

Clive is up there with Ravi, and perhaps it's not a coincidence that the two people without super human abilities are the ones who are the most super human....in their regular human abilities. He was an incredible shot with his pistol throughout the zombie attacks (head shot, head shot, head shot....), but the manner in how he reacted to Liv's news and everything Mordax said above, he's also on my list of worrying about terrible things happening to him. I'm really looking forward to how he treats the world next season.

Major has had a weird transition from the guy who detested the idea of being a zombie (before Liz cured him) to pretty much living it up in the role.

I shall miss evil Brian from Wings, he was a good villain. Speaking of such, I'm really curious how Mr. Boss will go forward next season. Will there be a clash between a crime organization and the para-military group?
posted by Atreides at 8:51 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

Thinking about the cliffhanger....anybody else getting Buffy season 4 vibes? A paramilitary group moving into town with a tough female leader who gives the heroine a with-us-or-against-us ultimatum?

Different dynamics - Buffy S4 had a bunch of boneheads horning in on her turf with inferior tactics, knowledge and abilities and wanting her to join up in their silly plans.

This is more shades of late era stuff on The 4400 - a bunch of paranormal people wanting to stake a claim for territory in the protagonist's home turf, but with the same powers and superior organization.

Tl;dr, there's more Jordan Collier to Fillmore-Graves than Maggie Walsh, I think. I am in favor, because it makes them a lot more potentially threatening or helpful. (Who am I kidding? Threatening.)

Ravi is one of the unsung superheroes of the show.

Also true, and the parallels with Clive are both as large and as worrisome as you make them out to be, I think. I am concerned one of them won't make it outta next season too, if only because Liv's inner circle is getting crowded. Can't leave a protagonist too much support, you know? (I hadn't really thought about it before you brought it up, but... ouch.)

Major has had a weird transition from the guy who detested the idea of being a zombie (before Liz cured him) to pretty much living it up in the role.

The thing about Major that we learned in S1 applies here too - he's not as solid as Ravi or Clive, he needs time to adapt... but he's pretty good at learning to live with new realities. He went from 'mild mannered social worker helping troubled teens' to 'shades of the Punisher' in relatively short order in S1. His transition to 'functional zombie' feels like a similarly Major thing to do - he knows he may never be cured, and he's had some good experiences as a zombie. Plus, now he's back to being a part of Liv's life. (Honestly, his ability to handle this stuff feels roughly par with Liv's, further demonstrating that they were a good match. Her learning curve on serious life stuff feels similar to his.)
posted by mordax at 9:02 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

At some point I feel like they need to address Liv's family again. I mean... I know she's estranged for good reason but they still exist you know? It's one thing to be completely out of contact when you live far away but they're practically on top of eachother and Seattle isn't that big.
posted by Justinian at 12:04 PM on April 14, 2016

I'm sure they'll pop up next season. If they can bring back Major's arms-dealer, I'm sure her mom and brother will make an appearance again.
posted by numaner at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2016

Rob Thomas said in an interview that they had planned to have a storyline involving Liv's family but they had to drop it when the season got picked up for 19 episodes instead of 22.
posted by plastic_animals at 12:22 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rob Thomas said in an interview that they had planned to have a storyline involving Liv's family but they had to drop it when the season got picked up for 19 episodes instead of 22.

That's a shame, but makes total sense.
posted by mordax at 12:53 PM on April 14, 2016

And it's even less consistent than that; they were only picked up for 13, then there was a late order for another 6 while they were still in production (or maybe wrapped/close to wrapping those 13; you could look at the news dates on imdb to figure it out)
posted by phearlez at 1:39 PM on April 14, 2016

How come more people aren't watching this show? It's better and more clever than all of its peers.

Sadly, I think the name (and also probably the fact that it's on the CW) is a turn-off for some people. A few months ago I was hanging out with some generally nerdy folk and they simply could not even that not only would I watch a show called "iZombie," but that I considered it one of the best, most fun shows on TV.
posted by thecaddy at 2:15 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Other reason Major is less "I'd rather be dead" now

1. He learns a hell of a lot more about the realities and nuances of zombie life in the second season than he had when his only view into the world was the Candyman Killer.

2. He knows a cure is possible and has a cause to dedicate himself to again, which is obviously Major's whole MO.

3. Good diet. The first brain he ate was optimist, who won't see much negative in anything, and the next was stone cold mercenary who is... well.... stone cold.

Also, I want to just briefly say how awesome the trailer was for not only NOT SPOILING really anything, but also actually working to *increase tension* if you'd seen it! It's all the zombie-in-jail tension foreshadowed in the previous episode, but it ends with the trailer of a bunch of prisonwear-clad zombies storming locked iron gates. The view probably expected it was some sort of fake, but then again this is a show that is not afraid to radically alter direction over time. Over and over Major deteriorates while every attempt to get him brains fail. When Clive arrests Major as he was leaving the courthouse right before he got relief, I was actually thinking "my god, is this really going to happen?!" They make sure not to introduce the cops-and-robbers party, if memory serves, until after all the will-he-won't-he tension gets resolved.

I really hope (Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas) becomes the new "Alan York" - the person whose disappearance is just slightly high profile enough to leaving lingering questions.
posted by absalom at 2:44 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

I thought the same of the trailer. I was like "oh nos riot!" first when Clive arrests him for good on the Meat Cute murders, and then again when the idiot lawyer gave him a real non-brainy candy bar.

Theeeen the prison theme party (white people) and "guys I found some U in the back of the room!" let me put it all together in the last 20 or so minutes. It was great.
posted by numaner at 3:21 PM on April 14, 2016

I really love this show and this finale, and I appreciated everyone in last week's thread pointing out the whispered "he has a shed", which helped me make the leap when the frozen zombies were zombie-napped.

I've been struggling all season with what Vaughn du Clark and Max Rager knew about zombie-ism and how it interacts with Max Rager and Super Max. Obviously du Clark knew that there was a connection between Utopium and zombie-ism and they were researching it, but was zombie-ism an unfortunate accident? Or was it something du Clark was intentionally cultivating? I've been confused about this since season one, and I thought I'd figured it out: original recipe Max Rager combined with Utopium unexpectedly created zombies, so du Clark tried to harness the enhanced strength of a zombie without the undead aspect and called it Super Max. But now in this finale, it looks like Super Max still creates zombies when taken with Lucky U, and maybe even more Romero-y zombies that Max Rager original recipe.

Is any of that right? Why was du Clark doing zombie research at all? I thought he wanted to rid the world of all zombies and any evidence of Max Rager's role in creating them. So why does Super Max still create zombies? Weren't they specifically screening for this? And why are zombies created via the Super Max + Utopium combination immediately full Romero? When Major was scratched he was still normal-ish, though Liv wasn't? And also, how did Blaine become a zombie? Have we ever been told?

(I still love this show, especially because I feel like I have no idea what's coming from episode to episode, but the Max Rager stuff has always confused me and it's really bothering me. I'm hoping someone can explain it to me!)
posted by joan cusack the second at 9:38 PM on April 14, 2016

Now that they've emphasized that a zombie trapped in jail with no brains would inevitably turn Romero, would inevitably attack, would inevitably start a chain reaction that would bring on the zombie apocalypse... Haven't we then also established that humanity is doomed the first time any zombie gets locked up?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:43 PM on April 14, 2016

It was my impression that the zombism arises from tainted Utopium, as there was a throw away line that the drugs the scientists were about to use were actually recovered from the same boat party Liv attended at the beginning of the show. I think Max Rager just kind of amped it up some or something.

As for du Clark, I was a bit confused by her behavior at the end. My assumption was that she was just in Full On Zombie mode when that elevator opened, fresh from killing her father, and reacted. Count me a little disappointed that she was killed off. I would have loved to seen her stirring crap up between Zombie Major and Liv.
posted by Atreides at 7:28 AM on April 15, 2016

All of Ravi's research and that storyline involved the fact that it wasn't just utopium, it was tainted utopium + Max Rager that led to zombieism. That's why they had to search for those bodies of the drug mules carrying the specifically tainted version -- I don't know if Ravi ever even identified what was different about it.

So the scientist mentions that he found a batch of the utopium involved in the boat party. I have no idea why he and his coworkers would think it was a good idea to take that utopium -- if they knew about the boat party and that the utopium came from there, then how could they not know its significance and that they were risking zombiehood? I don't get that. But the other part is that they were also drinking Super Max Rager (I think they were, anyway) and so Super Max + tainted utopium is really, really bad.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:23 PM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't think Max Rager people ever knew that any Utopium at all was involved. They believed it was their drink that had something to do with it. I'll have to go back and double check though.
posted by numaner at 1:46 PM on April 15, 2016

Oh, that might be. That makes sense. They thought it was something that just happened to some Max Rager consumers and they never found any correlations to something else?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:54 PM on April 15, 2016

Except they did think that there was something special about the boat party. The source of just one particular, local outbreak, maybe? Huh.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:56 PM on April 15, 2016

Clive approaches SWAT-themed cater-waiter.

Clive: Major?
Waiter: Art history. That's why I'm doing this.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:33 PM on April 16, 2016 [8 favorites]

Oh, oh! When Major opens the elevator door with the axe and says "Heeeeere's Major!"

Steven Weber (Vaughn du Clark) played John in the 1997 TV miniseries version of The Shining.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:41 AM on April 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

THAT is an excellent bit of trivial reference! Ha! I thought they were just being a bit too cheeky with that scene, but knowing that about Steven Weber made it aaall better.

I didn't go back and doublecheck like I said I would, doh! Gonna have to try to do that this weekend.
posted by numaner at 6:33 AM on April 19, 2016

I really loved Leanne Lapp's performance in this show (Rita/Gilda). I just saw her in a season 1 episode of Continuum, and she's so different! I especially loved in the finale when she was just full-on channeling Vaughn. It made me think she had somehow eaten his brain offscreen at some point, so it was a surprise when he was still alive. I think Max Rager would have achieved its ambitions if she had been in charge instead of daddy. I'm sad she's dead, she does bad so good.

Also, I love how they let Donnie (Don E?) eat a bluegrass musician's brain so the actor could have a chance to show off his banjo playing skills. Just one example of how this show turns what could be standard character types into interesting, unique and fun-to-watch characters.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:56 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

This has little to do with this episode but here's an instagram post from Rahul Kohli in which he discovers that 'Ravi Lilywhite' is a character in Diablo3 that leads a player to 'Liv Moore'.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:12 PM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Finally got around to watching this. Rob Thomas, oh my. I wonder how much snickering and in-jokes went down between the namesakes while breaking this episode.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:39 AM on July 1, 2016

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