Olivia Moore is a young, driven, “I’d hate her but she’s just so goshdarn wonderful,” medical resident with an amazing career path and a gorgeous, perfect fiancé. Well, at least until she unbends just once and attends a boat party on a whim. Said fiancé encourages her to go by saying, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and therefore, what follows for the rest of this show is totally on him.
Before we even make it to the title card, the boat party has come to a fiery end after an as-yet inexplicable zombie outbreak, leaving our heroine considerably paler and with an appetite for gray matter. Evidently, that’s the worst that can happen. Thanks, Major.
Five months later, Liv’s unlife has gone more than a little awry. She’s broken up with Major for his own good, distanced herself from friends and family, and taken up a position at the county morgue. It’s not a great career move, as her family is all too eager to mention, but at least she gets all the brains she can eat. As she’s lunching on Cup O’ Noodles made with the brain of a Jane Doe, her eating habits are discovered by her boss, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti. He’s suspected her condition for a while and is absolutely fascinated by it. Especially since he lost his job at the CDC for being too vocal in his warnings that something like this was coming.
Consuming the brains of murder victims has a couple side effects, though. While it does keep Liv from going “full Romero,” it also passes on the character traits of the aforementioned victim, as well as affording her glimpses into their life. While Detective Babineaux from Homicide (hereafter referred to as “Babs” until such time as Liv and Ravi start using his first name) is checking in on his case, Liv flashes on a pair of novelty handcuffs, leading her to the information that Jane was arrested for shoplifting in Canada in 2008. They’re able to find her in the system, but since neither Liv, Ravi, or Babs is up on any sort of non-zombie pop culture, none of them immediately guess that “Stefani Germanotta” is still not Jane Doe’s real name.
Another flash leads the team to local weatherman Johnny Frost (played by Veronica Mars alum, Daran Norris), seemingly just before the victim died. When Liv and Babs confront him, Frost tells them that their Jane Doe is a call girl named “Tatiana,” but that he was on the air during their murder window. He directs them to her partner, Tess. She’s uncooperative, especially when she learns that Tatiana is dead, but they’re able to get Tatiana’s last name out of her, and from that, find their victim’s apartment.
Once there, Liv flashes on Tatiana’s actual death. She was dangled out of her window by a man demanding his ring back, then dropped when she didn’t have it. Reliving Tatiana’s death gets Liv invested in the case, the first thing she’s been really invested in since she was zombified.
When Babs takes his info back to the precinct, he’s taken off the case because a more senior detective has a C.I. (Criminal Informant, for those of you who haven’t obsessed over White Collar) who can help. When Babs recanvasses his contacts at Pratt’s request, Frost reveals that Tatiana often talked about her “bearded pig.” Babs makes a couple of intuitive leaps to figure out that none of the call girls had a record because one of their johns was a cop with a beard. Coincidentally, Pratt happens to have a beard.
Babs and Liv rush out to save Tess and her other partner Monica from Pratt. It comes out that Monica stole Pratt’s wedding ring and pawned it to pay for her online classes, knowing that the kleptomaniac Tatiana would get the blame. Pratt escapes from Babs, but encounters Liv blocking in his getaway car. Babs witnesses Pratt shooting Liv and is more than a little shocked when her body isn’t where he watched it fall. Meanwhile, Liv has clung to the top of the car and causes Pratt to crash into a tree. She’s about to go Romero on the unconscious bad guy, but stops when she hears Babs running up. She explains that Pratt missed and she just played dead, then gave chase. Works for Babs.
So now, after five months of drifting, Liv finally has a reason to unlive again. Ravi is working on a cure for her condition, so she seeks out Major. Unfortunately, her ex-fiancé may already be moving on with someone else. Also, Liv’s midnight snack (courtesy of Ravi) was killed by the same guy who tried to give her a designer drug and attack her at the boat party. Seriously, is David Anders ever not a villain of some sort or another?
You’ve probably heard this more than once by now, but repetition doesn’t make it any less true: If you liked Veronica Mars, you’re going to love iZombie. It has the same pacing, snark, and heart as the show we all loved. Heck, it even has the voiceover.
For those of you who aren’t exactly Walking Dead fans, rest assured that the zombies on this show skew a little more towards the pale makeup of Warm Bodies than the gritty gore of the AMC show. Zombies are cogent, as long as they’re fed and not overly stressed out. They take the maxim “you are what you eat” pretty darn literally, and anything not drenched in Sriracha is hardly worth the effort.
iZombie is as light-hearted as a show about murder and a possible zombie plague can possibly be. I will happily be giving my Tuesday evenings to the CW for the foreseeable future, and not just so that I can pretend that Ravi is MY geeky Londoner bestie.
Liv: “Yes, Sir Elton specifically references dead call girls in ‘The Circle of Life.’”
Babineaux: “Thought I had a psychic sidekick. I was working on a bit: Cagney and Pasty!”
Things to Ponder:
- Traits acquired: kleptomania, ability to speak Romanian
- How did Liv explain the new hair color? I mean, she already had a streak as soon as she woke up from the boat incident.
- Show of hands, how many people in the CW’s target demographic understood the “Cagney and Pasty” joke?
- “Dead Alabaster Badass” is the name of my new metal band.
Photo Credit: The CW