Tonight, iZombie meant business. From the moment the abridged opening credits kicked in, it was clear we were in for a jam-packed episode. "Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be" puts that fast pace to good use, as it brings one of the season's major conflicts to a head while also leaving enough time for some introspection.
As the episode opens, Major wakes up on the couch with Ravi standing over him. He quickly comes clean about what he's been doing with the zombies. Ravi's first instinct is to tell Liv, but Major says the only way to protect her is to keep her in the dark. If she found out, she would go running after Vaughn and get herself killed. I can't tell you how hard I rolled my eyes at another plotline involving male characters keeping secrets from female characters to protect them. Thankfully, the episode sort of redeems this moment later.
Liv's worried about Drake, but beating up one of Mr. Boss's goons to find out information doesn't really help. So, she turns to a new case to distract herself. This week, Clive and Liv are investigating the murder of Bailey, an overachieving student at the nearby college, who was running for class president. Bailey's type-A personality reminds Liv of her pre-zombie self, back when she was hyperfocused and obsessed with accolades. It all makes her wonder: Would she have been friends with Ravi if she hadn't turned?
iZombie is pretty efficient with its storytelling, and often finds clever ways to fold a case of the week back into the season-long arcs. Cue an interesting twist in the investigation, which leads Clive and Liv to Detective Lou Benedetto (Enrico Colantoni). Benedetto busted Bailey for trying to buy Adderall a few months back, then threatened to ruin her life unless she became a C.I., so she helped him bust Utopium and Lucky U dealers. Since then, Benedetto has been running the whole thing as an off-the-books operation.
While the investigation develops, the episode reflects on how Liv and Clive have changed in the time we've known them. As Major says at one point, "Who we were isn't who we are. It's practice for who we want to become." When we first met Clive, he had just transferred from vice to homicide. Fast-forward one year, he's no longer a lone wolf and he's boasting a high clearance rate. Given that success (and the SPD's chronic underappreciation of his work), Dale suggests Clive apply for the bureau. Similarly, Liv's transformation and Psych-like relationship with Clive has allowed her to find fulfillment in helping people, rather than in collected accomplishments. They now share a strong bond. Liv feels comfortable opening up about Drake with Clive, and he reassures her that she can tell him anything. Their friendship is cute, but it's hard not to worry because of the lies Liv has told.
Meanwhile, Blaine still doesn't remember who he is, which means Don E. and Chief are taking advantage of the situation. Don E. convinces Blaine that he's the boss and tricks Blaine into staying away from the Lucky U business. Worried about his memory loss and disturbed by watching Don E. and Chief pack brains, Blaine heads to the police precinct to see Ravi for another checkup. While he's there, he runs into Clive, who escorts him to the morgue and stays behind to watch the checkup. Naturally, Ravi lies about how he knows Blaine, and Clive warns him that Blaine is probably faking the memory loss (an idea that Major floated earlier).
After Clive leaves, Blaine asks Ravi why everyone seems to dislike him so much. Ravi sums up every terrible thing he's done, and by the end of it, Blaine is distraught. It's a wise move, using Blaine's amnesia to flesh out his character. The show is exploring the idea that he might be more than a bad guy. Like everyone else, he's been shaped by past experiences, including his awful relationship with his father.
Back to the case. Liv flashes on Bailey trying to buy drugs from a kid named Steve while she was wearing a wire. They suspect that Steve discovered the wire and used it to kill Bailey.
Benedetto has a similar realization. When he pays Steve a visit, it's revealed that he was also one of his informants. Steve helped Benedetto take down many Utopium dealers, but wasn't helpful when it came to Lucky U … which leads Benedetto to piece everything together. Steve was selling Lucky U, and turned informant to wipe out the Utopium competition. Benedetto tries to arrest him, but he's knocked out by Chief, who was already there when he arrived. Before leaving, Chief kills Steve to cover their tracks.
When Clive and the rest of unit arrive on the scene, Clive confronts Benedetto about his operation. He put untrained people in harm's way, which led to Bailey's death. Benedetto says he was protecting lives. In some ways, Benedetto's informant program parallels Clive's partnership with Liv. As far as Clive knows, Liv is also untrained, but that certainly doesn't stop him from taking her out into the field.
Remember when I said that this episode meant business? Well, this is where the big stuff happens. First, the dog cleaner from several episodes back comes to the precinct to see Dale, then tells her Major was the one who had Minor. Meanwhile, Major pays Vaughn Du Clark a visit. He intends to test the new cure on a zombified Vaughn — it didn't fare too well with the rats, so the odds for survival seem slim — but before he manages to turn him, the police storm the building! Major gets arrested!
Next week: the two-hour season finale. Any predictions?