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REVIEW: iZombie 1×12 “Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat”

Good thing iZombie has been leading up to its finale with a decent string of episodes these past few weeks. Any more of the subpar episodes from a month or two ago and I would’ve had to call it quits. Tonight’s episode was entertaining, but as always, not astounding. “Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat,” had an interesting premise, but it also had its fair share of weaknesses. (spoilers ahead!)

The beginning of the episode had me hooked for various reasons. I loved the homage to I Know What You Did Last Summer as four teenagers (the preppy cheerleader, the stoner, the bad-ass guy, and his bad-ass girlfriend) accidentally drive their car into a man wandering in the middle of the road. They assume he’s dead and bury him in a shallow grave, but not before vowing to never tell a soul about what happened – almost a shot-for-shot remake of one of my favorite slasher films. I also liked seeing a re-appearance of Bex Taylor-Klaus, who some of you may recognize as Sin from Arrow. The best part of her appearance tonight was the fact that her character in this episode, Theresa, was more-or-less a carbon copy of Sin. For a split-second, I thought she actually was the exact same character. That definitely would’ve set up for an interesting potential crossover in the future.

Anywho, long-story-short: the man who was hit by their car was Sebastian – that guy Liv carved up with the boat two weeks ago. Yep, he’s a zombie. And he’s not happy about turning into a zombie. Or being diced up by a boat propeller. Or being hit by a car. Or being buried in a shallow grave by a bunch of %^&$ing teenagers. But more on that later.

Major stole the show for me again in this episode. He’s getting closer to finding out what’s going on with the Seattle zombies. I love his determination. It’s his ultimate goal to find justice for all the kids who have been getting killed across the neighborhood. He knows that it’s extremely dangerous, but that’s not stopping him at all. He’s even venturing into the belly of the beast to uncover the truth. There’s a very brief interaction between Major and Blaine where you can just feel the tension seeping out of their eyes. It’s funny because the two don’t know each other, or the fact that they’re connected via Liv. Despite this, they get a sense that they are enemies right off the bat.

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This week, Liv bites into two different brains in one case. The first brain that she dines on belongs to the cheerleader who was in the car that hit Sebastian. Naturally, Liv adopts the cheerleader’s personality and begins acting like a total ditz. While I thought this routine was funny and cute, I thought it was a bit forced. To be honest, I never met one of those cheerleader stereotypes in real life. I usually just see them on TV and in movies. It’s a bit stock. Regardless, I had fun with Liv in cheerleader mode.

The other brain that gets ingested by Liv belongs to the stoner who was also in the car. Liv acts like the stereotypical pot-head you see in shows and movies, but whom you’ve probably never encountered in real life. I thought stoner-Liv was more annoying and obnoxious than her cheerleader alter-ego. It’s a good thing that we didn’t see much of this latter personality.

As per the CW’s typical show structure, the show picked up immensely in the last couple of minutes. Sebastian makes his way to Liv’s apartment and attacks Peyton, but he just so happens to leave her alive, because plot convenience. Liv comes home and has a brief dialogue with Sebastian, who rambles on about his newfound zombie-ism. I couldn’t buy his performance at all. It felt unnatural and very forced. I was happy to see that his role in this episode was less talking and more zombie-raging. The interaction between Liv and Sebastian culminated with both zombies going all out and having an intense brawl in the kitchen, only ending when Liv takes a knife and – actually – I won’t spoil it.

One thing that bothered me about this episode was the ending concerning Major and Blaine. Major is kidnapped by Blaine and held in the freezer of his restaurant. Of all the people to come in at that very moment, it has to be Liv’s brother. Remember how, a few episodes ago, Liv’s mom came in to grab a job application for him? Looks like the show decided to revisit that seemingly unimportant subplot now. What are the odds? Blaine says he wants to hire lil bro for a special assignment. Major’s eyes widen as he realizes what’s going to happen. Dun, dun, dun!

There was also a bit of mystery regarding Teresa’s fate. The last shot we see of her, she’s in a hotel room, all bloody and beaten up, reaching for a phone to dial 911. We know she was drawn to the hotel room after her boyfriend texted her to come see him. So is the boyfriend a zombie too?

The finale next week has potential to be really, really good, and could possibly redeem the entire season if it pulls off a strong ending. My interest in iZombie has waned in the past, but it’s slowly been reviving. Let’s hope for the best and see how next week pans out!

Final Grade: B

+ I give credit to Rose McIver for flip-flopping between the various personalities as Liv consumed different brains.

+ The fight scene between Sebastian and Liv was awesome.

+ I liked the I Know What You Did Last Summer homage in the beginning.

– Sebastian’s acting was rather poor.

– It took this long to revisit the subplot about Liv’s little brother applying for a job?

Extra Thoughts:

– What exactly is going on with Theresa in the hotel room?

What did you think about this episode? Head on over to our Twitter to tell us your thoughts, or let us know in the comment section below!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!