Blaine (David Anders) is the very same fellow who tried to sell drugs to Liv on the ill-fated party boat. Seems like Blaine’s batch of Utopium must have been cut with some goofer dust or something—he and half the party guests quite suddenly went full zombie, and he infected Liv with a bloody scratch to the forearm. At the end of the pilot episode, we saw Liv having victim flashes from a late-night brain snack and saw Blaine’s face as he attacked the brain’s former owner.
Blaine learns Liv is looking for him, and shows up at the morgue. He seems like an okay guy (and Ravi is thrilled to have another zombie to draw medical samples from), but Liv doesn’t trust him—well, he did turn her into a zombie, after all. And Blaine does seem to be more villainous as the episode progresses—he not only gleefully destroys two of his previous drug underworld colleagues, but picks up a woman in a bar, turns her into a zombie, then goes to her place the next day to sign her up for his brain meals-on-wheels program. So he remains a dealer, just of another sort. And it’s hinted that perhaps it was Blaine himself who zombified the drugs the night of the boat party in an attempt to begin a Pacific Northwest zombie apocalypse. So it looks like we’ve established a recurring bad guy. It’s too bad for Liv, as she really could have used a zombie friend.
As for the murder-of-the-week, the dead artist had not just a wife (Lola, played by Judy Reyes from Scrubs), but also numerous lovers, including the eighteen-year-old-daughter of his art dealer, Artie (yes, an art dealer named Artie). Liv takes on many aspects of victim Javier Abano’s personality from just a small taste of his brains, scraped off the murder weapon—a paintbrush through the eye. She casts lustful gazes at people both male and female, making pretty brazen comments about their good looks, and speaks with an artist’s florid visual detail. She even begins painting, and shows up at ex-fiancé Major’s place with seduction on her mind. Although Major (Robert Buckley) is extremely kind and likeable, he’s not a pushover, and he turns her away, noting that in the six months since she left him, she has barely even been able to look at him, or really give much of an explanation for why she left in the first place.
It’s hard out there for a single young zombie. Since becoming undead, Liv has lost drive and passion along with most of her sense of taste. When Major comes by her apartment to drop off a box of Liv’s things in the beginning of the episode, she barely looks at him and seems distant and distracted—but Major still seems to be one of the only things she does still care about since her transformation. She left him because of it—he deserved better than a zombie for a wife. Since she began working with Detective Babineaux and the Seattle Police Department to help solve murders, she has started to feel like she has a purpose again. And since eating brains transfers the passions of the dead to her, she has also begun to take on some enthusiasm, and even lust. It seems like an ongoing challenge for Liv will be trying to regain some of her lost humanity while not losing herself in the personalities of the people whose brains she eats. But at the same time, the more we learn about who she was before joining Team Z, with little interest in anything beyond her medical career, the more we think her new persona may be a lot more engaging.
The show is off to a good start. Rose McIver is charming as Liv, and we can’t get enough of her boss Ravi (Rahul Kohli) either. David Anders as Blaine is an entertaining foe. The police procedural aspect of the show serves more as a background structure than the main focus of the show, which is fine by us. The meta-moments and self-referential dialogue are still there—Blaine asks his bar pick-up victim, while explaining what’s happened to her, “You’re the trendspotter; I should ask you: zombies. I heard we’re finito; is that true? Has oversaturation buried us? I don’t know—I think we’re going to surprise some people.” We think so too.