iZombie Season 2 Episodes 18 & 19 Review: “Dead Beat”/”Salivation Army”

iZombie

No other show during this TV season has been as consistent as iZombie. The CW series delivered thrilling episode after thrilling episode every week during its Season 2 run, and it somehow found a way to up the ante even more in tonight’s action-packed, two-hour finale.

There’s so much packed into both “Dead Beat” and “Salivation Army” that it’s difficult to decide where to start. After last week’s episode ended with Major getting arrested for being the Chaos Killer, viewers wondered how he would be able to get out of jail. What possible way could Liv find to ensure Major’s release? The answer: telling Clive the truth about zombies.

That’s right, one of the biggest moments from tonight’s two-hour event occurs near the end of “Dead Beat,” when Clive learns that zombies exist after Liv comes clean about everything that has happened over the past year before stabbing herself and going into full-on zombie mode to prove that what she’s saying is real. Clive discovering the truth about zombies is a huge moment for the show; not only does it majorly change his partnership with Liv, but by getting Major released and making sure that there is no evidence to tie him to either case, Clive also ends his chances of joining the FBI and ruins his relationship with Dale.

The fact the iZombie is able to wring so much emotional out of this reveal is impressive; the series isn’t simply satisfied with letting Clive in on Liv’s secret so that their future investigations can be more fun. For Clive, knowing the truth comes at a major cost, one that clearly affects him throughout the rest of the finale. Sure, he’s finally clued in to exactly what’s going on in Seattle now, but after creating a real, deep connection with Dale, the first person at the precinct that ever saw him as a more than a joke, he’s forced to give it up in order to keep Liv and Major safe. Just as Clive was beginning to fit in, just as he saw a new life for himself with Dale and with the FBI, he’s become more of a pariah than ever before.

However, Clive’s knowledge of zombies does allow him to assist Liv and Major after their mission at Max Rager goes awry, and that’s where iZombie‘s finale goes from being intense to completely insane. Max Rager scientists become a hoard of hungry, 28 Days Later-like zombies after mixing tainted Utopium with Super Max, and Liv, Major, and Clive are forced to fight them off in scenes straight out of a zombie thriller before they head down to the basement to rescue Major’s previously frozen Chaos Killer “victims.”

Everything that goes down at Max Rager in “Salivation Army” is exciting, unexpected television at its best, as we truly don’t know who will make it out alive, or who will leave the facility unchanged (Clive contemplates becoming a zombie for a second, before he, Liv, and Major are saved by Andrea Savage’s Vivian). Ultimately, Vaughn, Rita, and Drake are among those who don’t survive, each of them going out in the way they’re supposed to, with Vaughn’s daughter eating his brains before Major puts a bullet in the back of her head. It’s Drake’s death that’s most affecting, though, especially as Liv’s forced to kill him in order to protect Clive.

However, Drake’s death doesn’t feel like a cheap, “shock value” stunt; he becomes a Romero-like zombie after volunteering to be a test subject for one of Vaughn’s cures. He was a hero in life, working undercover for the police as a thug for Mr. Boss, and he’s a hero in death. The only question that remains is how killing him will affect Liv, especially after she’s already lost so many people, including Lowell, who died last season, and her family, who essentially ignore her existence. How much more hurt can Liv take?

We don’t get to see Liv break down or deal with this pain, though (although I’m sure she will be dealing with it next season), because she’s blindsided by another shocking twist: Vivian and her army are zombies, and they want to recruit Liv for whatever plans they have. That’s where Season 2 leaves Liv, stunned as she watches Vivian and her men eat the brains of Rob Thomas and his dead band and is left to wonder what her next move is. Does she join her kind, as they attempt to make Seattle the zombie capital of the world, or does she reject their offer, knowing that whatever they have planned is probably much more sinister than what they’re actually presenting?

It’s a hell of a place to leave Liv in, and it’s a hell of cliffhanger to give iZombie fans as they await Season 3. But it’s also a hell of a way to end what has been one of the most fun, entertaining, and overall incredible seasons of television that I’ve gotten to watch in recent years. iZombie put itself into consideration for best show on The CW during its first season, but the show proved that it truly is just that during Season 2. What a story. What a season. What a show. Bring on, Season 3, iZombie. I’m hungry for it.

Other thoughts:

  • There was so much to talk about from this two-hour finale that I wasn’t able to mention Ravi, Blaine, Peyton, and everything involving Mr. Boss above, but that storyline was an enthralling addition to all the zombie craziness that we got tonight. I audibly cheered when Ravi and Peyton kissed (please keep them together, iZombie, and make Aly Michalka a series regular), and getting to watch Blaine be a hero for once was really fun to see. I like where the writers leave that story off, with Ravi watching Peyton hug Blaine after he rescues her, as it’s clear that he’s thinking back to their “nice guys versus bad boys” conversation from earlier in the episode. I’m just hoping that the show doesn’t try to create a love triangle out of this situation.
  • Also, thank you, iZombie writers, for showing that Peyton wasn’t just a damsel in distress and that she had her own plan to escape from Boss’s goons.
  • So who exactly do you think Vivian is, and is there some type of zombie hierarchy that Liv doesn’t know about? Is the government in on it? Man, all these questions have me even more excited for Season 3.
  • I could not stop laughing at the fact that the singer Rob Thomas actually guest starred in the finale, and that the writers killed him off. Just another reason to love this show.
  • Also, how great was Ken Marino as sleazy attorney Brant Stone? I don’t know who I loved more in this finale: him or Andrea Savage. I hope we get more of both of them in Season 3.
  • Let’s all take a moment to remember and reflect on how amazing Steven Weber was on this show. Vaughn needed to die in this finale, but his character was so much fun throughout this season. iZombie Season 2 would not have been the same without Weber’s wonderful performance.
  • “Brooding expressions don’t show up on tape. Use your words.” “Be like Private Ryan. Earn this.” “Prison theme….White people.” Clive had all the best lines tonight.
  • Best exchange of the night, though, involved Rita, Clive, and Liv. Rita: “We’ve all seen Major naked.” Clive: “I haven’t seen–” Liv: “Do it, Major. If she makes one false move, I’ll put a bullet in her brain.”
  • “Major?” “Art History. That’s why I’m doing this.”
  • “Brains, brains, the magical food. The more you eat, the less you brood.”
  • And that will do it for iZombie Season 2, folks. I want to thank anyone and everyone who has checked out my reviews this year. This is one of my absolute favorite shows on TV, and I love writing about it each week. See you back here for Season 3!

What did everyone else think about tonight’s iZombie finale, and what are your thoughts of Season 2 as a whole? Did you love it as much as I did? Comment below and let me know.

[Photo credit: Katie Yu/The CW]

iZombie Season 2 Episodes 18 & 19 Review: "Dead Beat"/"Salivation Army"
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iZombie closes out its excellent second season with an incredible, action-packed finale.

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