iZombie Season 1 Episode 10 Review: “Mr. Berserk”

iZombie

iZombie is doing an incredible amount of things right during its first season, but what it’s doing best, and arguably better than  any other freshman show on TV right now, is pacing. The series’ first season, which has now aired 10 of its 13 episodes, has moved through story quickly and smartly with essentially no filler. iZombie has been able to tell not just an interesting story about Liv but also give solid arcs to Major, Clive, and Ravi, with all of them seemingly about collide in what should be an exciting final stretch of episodes.

The reason I’m so impressed with iZombie‘s pacing is because, unlike most first-year shows, it doesn’t feel the need to simply set up for something bigger. A lot of series take time in establishing their worlds and introducing characters, whereas iZombie already had a pretty fully-formed universe from its pilot and has only gone on to take its characters in more interesting directions since that very first episode. For example, Major, who could have been the show’s weak link, has actually become one of the most compelling characters to follow, as he gets closer and closer to discovering the truth about zombies (and in this episode, finally hears those words uttered by Scott E.–not “Scotty”–in the mental hospital). Plus, he also remains a great friend to both Liv and Ravi. That speaks to the talent and creativity of the iZombie writers that they’ve been able to take a character that could have dragged the show down and make him one of the best people on the series.

And Major closing in on what’s really going on only adds more drama to Liv’s already incredibly stressful life. After losing Lowell at the end of last week’s episode, she believes Major (who had shot Julien, one of Blaine’s employees) staying in a mental facility for a few weeks could be the best thing for him, because she knows he’ll be safe. In Liv’s mind, the less Major actually knows (even if that lack of knowledge makes him believe he may be losing his mind) will ensure that he stays out the zombie world. Her lying isn’t about protecting herself anymore; it’s about protecting him.

But if Liv is protecting everyone else, who is helping her? That’s where Ravi comes in. “Mr. Berserk” really illustrated the strength of Ravi and Liv’s friendship, as he did all he could to be there for her while she was grieving. He allowed her all the time she needed, even if she used said time to eat the brain of an alcoholic reporter and go on a bender, one that provided many sad but also some entertaining moments (Liv’s spinning around in front of Clive and Ravi in the morgue, saying that she was better at it because she was drunk, was the funniest scene of the episode for me).

Ultimately, though, Lowell’s death, as horrible as it was for Liv to endure, was necessary if she was going to be able to take down Blaine. After having lost so much of her life when she became a zombie, Liv was starting to build a new one with Lowell, and it’s only when she loses him, and thus remembers that she still has people and things in life that she cares about and doesn’t want to see disappear, that she promises to be ready the next time that Blaine comes. He already took one life away from her by turning her into a zombie that night at the boat party; she won’t let him take any more from her.

And so “Mr. Berserk” leaves us with Liv and Ravi beginning to plan Blaine’s demise, Major discovering the truth about zombies, and also a new threat looming thanks to Max Rager and their henchman, Sebastian, who, after tasting Liv’s blood, is now a zombie. It’s a lot to juggle, between stopping Blaine, possibly telling Major, and the continuing unraveling of the corrupt company that is Max Rager, whose energy drink may very well be the reason why Liv and so many others have become zombies, but it’s also a very surprising and interesting place to be with only three episodes left in Season 1. I don’t expect iZombie to slow things down at all, and after what has been a fast-paced and terrific first season up to this point, I wouldn’t want it to.

Other thoughts:

– I never expected Max Rager to come back into play this season, especially not in such a big way, but the emphasis on the company in “Mr. Berserk” is just another interesting addition to iZombie‘s mythology. Also, Steven Weber as the jerky CEO is some pretty perfect casting.

– What role do you think the new, zombified Sebastian will play in the season’s final three episodes?

– Liv and Ravi that Suzuki is working for Blaine after he makes them declare Lowell’s death a suicide, even though the evidence doesn’t match up. It’s pretty awesome to see them start putting together all the pieces. I just wonder if Clive will soon discover if something is up with his boss.

– And speaking of Clive, he walks into the morgue to see Liv’s “lunch,” only to ask if the pieces are brains are shrimp and to say that it smells delicious.

– I’ll say it again: Rose McIver is a fantastic actress. She delivered some amazingly strong work in this episode, as Liv did her best to deal with Lowell’s death. What a performance.

– Also, the whole concept of she and Ravi having to destroy Lowell’s body was tragic, but her decision about the form was a great way to illustrate that Liv was finished grieving and ready to take action.

– “We should just go door to door, asking where the sketchy d-bag is.” “Half of them are law students. We’d be here all day.”

What did everyone else think about last night’s iZombie?

[Photo via The CW]

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