Wow. Much like it did in season one, iZombie finishes up its second season with an action-heavy set-piece. Sure, it’s a little too easy that guns solved both of the season’s remaining plotlines — Vaughn Du Clark and Mr. Boss — but that’s overlooked easily enough because “Salivation Army” is just so fun. Was there any other way the season could’ve ended? The tension has been steadily building for months, so by the time the story reached this point, everything was bound to explode.
The two plotlines in the finale are actually fairly separate, so let’s start with Boss before moving on to the showdown with Vaughn.
Who’s the Boss?
As “Salivation Army” opens, Peyton is pretty upset because the mayor finally disbanded her Stacey Boss task force. (Without his memory, Blaine is a useless witness.) Naturally, the ever-lovable Ravi is there to cheer her up, which leads to them rekindling some lingering feelings. When Liv and Major come home to find them making out on the couch, they’re not the least bit embarrassed; they just move to Peyton’s bedroom.
Unfortunately, Mr. Boss is emboldened by the demise of the task force, and decides to go after Don E. and Chief (R.I.P.) for selling Lucky U. When he finds out that Blaine is still alive, he sends his men to track him down. Unable to find Blaine, they decide to kidnap Peyton instead — they know she slept with him — and threaten to kill her unless he turns himself in.
This forces Ravi and Blaine to team up, which ends up being a footnote in this episode, but is nevertheless very fun to watch. Ravi has to convince Blaine both to let him tag along to save Peyton and to use a gun. Although the show has handled Blaine’s amnesia in questionable ways, it’s interesting that he’s retained some of his strategic know-how.
When they arrive at Boss’s hideout, Blaine tells Ravi to stay in the car while he checks the place out. He goes much farther than basic reconnaissance, though: He shuts off the power, dons a pair of night-vision goggles, then storms the office, guns a-blazing. By time Ravi makes it inside, all of the action is done and he finds Peyton hugging Blaine. He’s heartbroken, and so was I. Poor Ravi.
The Main Event
On the other side of the show, Liv and Major decide it’s time to take the fight to Vaughn. Running on Janko brain, they start making plans to infiltrate the prison-themed party he’s throwing in an underground garage. (Clive’s reaction to the theme is priceless: “White people.”)
Speaking of Clive, he’s dealing with the fallout of his decisions from last episode. It’s all illustrated best in the sad medium shot that isolates Clive, as he sits next to Dale’s empty desk, driving home what he’s lost. The emotional beat works so well because the stakes were so clearly established in “Dead Beat,” with all those shots of Clive and Dale sitting back-to-back, flirting away.
Thankfully, Clive has the Vaughn problem to distract him from his emotions. (Also, the whole “my friend is a zombie” thing.) At first, he decides to sit out on Liv and Major’s operation because he’s a cop and it sounds a bit too intense. He does eventually decide to tag along, and arrives at the party just in time for the zombie outbreak.
Yes, you read that right. iZombie actually staged a zombie outbreak at the Max Rager party, where Rob Thomas was performing. (Yes, that Rob Thomas.) A few Max Rager scientists find leftover tainted utopium from the boat party that started it all, then decide to take it and drink Super Max, which immediately turns them into zombies and sends them on a rampage. The episode doesn’t shy away from showing the carnage as Liv, Clive, and Major make their way through the underground garage.
At one point, when the gang gets trapped in a security office, the odds look grim. They’re out of ammo and the windows won’t hold much longer. Liv says the only option is to turn Clive into a zombie, but he refuses, à la Matt Donovan on The Vampire Diaries. The episode doesn’t dig too much into this sequence, so it’ll be interesting to see how Clive and Liv differ about zombies once things finally settle down. (Assuming things do settle down next season.) There isn’t any need to debate this any further, though, because Vivian, the military contractor who bought Vaughn’s company, shows up and kills all of zombies.
After restocking their ammo, Liv, Clive, and Major descend to the secret laboratory where Vaughn has been using the defrosted zombies as guinea pigs. While they poke around, Vaughn gets the jump on them, separating Liv and Clive from Major and a freed Rita. Liv and Clive are locked in the room with the defrosted zombies, where Liv finds Drake, who has gone full zombie because of Vaughn’s experiments. When Vaughn sets Drake free, he attacks them. Liv has no choice but to kill him.
It’s a textbook iZombie move: Drake’s death is a heartbreaking plot twist that jolts us back into place after some fun. Unfortunately, the episode’s pace and action don’t really allow Liv the time to deal with what she just did. That’s a shame, and it reflects an issue that emerges again and again throughout this episode: The characters just don’t have enough time to dwell on what’s happening, so it’s tough to get inside their heads. The season has done a good job of digging into the emotional realities of Liv’s character, which makes it slightly disappointing to see that work get pushed aside for a big finish. On the other hand, “Salivation Army” is a really big finish and after such a great season, iZombie deserves to let loose here.
While Liv and Clive escort the zombies upstairs, Major remains downstairs and traps Vaughn in an elevator with two other full zombies and Rita. When the elevator doors open upstairs, Liv and Clive see Rita feasting on her father’s brain — an inevitable punishment, given how horribly he treated her. Rita tries to attack Liv, but Major arrives just in time to kill her.
Moments later, Vivian’s soldiers come upstairs and demand that the zombies go with them. Liv decides to go have a talk with Vivian to find out what’s what. Vivian reveals that she’s a zombie (!), her company is run by zombies (!!), and she wants to turn Seattle into a safe haven (!!!).
Right before the episode cuts to black, she asks Liv a question: “So, are you with us or against us?”
As I wrote in my notes: What the what?! This is an awfully impressive way to end the season. iZombie has spent two seasons exploring Liv’s immediate world, and “Salivation Army” drastically expands those boundaries into new territory. How many more zombies are out there? Where else have they spread, beyond Seattle? How far will this go?
- Rob Thomas is one of the victims of the zombie rampage. “This is how a skull breaks,” says Liv when she finds his body.
- Liv, to Clive: “A massive zombie outbreak means never having to say you’re sorry.”
- Liv, when she finds Rita in a cage in the lab: “Well, if it isn’t the poster child for poetic justice.”
- Can’t forget about this great moment: After the rampage starts, the guard posted outside the party is listening to “Ooh Child” as people come running. Another great music cue from this show.
- I’m very sad to see Steven Weber go. Vaughn was a great supervillain and his final rant was bloody hysterical.
- Vaughn, after watching Liv kill Drake: “Couple of more deaths, we’ll be able to change this Lifetime movie into a Greek tragedy.”
- And one more Vaughn zinger, when a pair of zombies won’t kill Major: “Will no one rid me of the meddlesome Jason Priestley type?!”