Meet Olivia “Liv” Moore (Rose McIver), an up-and-coming medical resident who decides to go to a boat party with a fellow resident, is scratched by a drug dealer named Blaine DeBeers (David Anders), and wakes up transformed into a zombie with pale skin and bright white hair. Unlike the other zombies in the show, Liv never decided to dye her hair a different color which makes it really easy for other zombies to know that Liv is one too.
Liv decides to become the assistant medical examiner so that she has a steady supply of brains because, otherwise, Liv risks losing cognitive ability and turning into the stereotypical killer zombie.
She works for Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli), one of the few who knows her “undead” secret (zombies here aren’t actually dead but just transformed) and is trying to find a cure.
(They have some of the best scenes together.)
Add in Seattle PD Detective Clive Babinaux (Malcolm Goodwin), who Liv works with to solve murder mysteries by eating murder victims’ brains, and you’ve got one of the most surprisingly refreshing shows on the CW.
The rest of the cast is rounded out with Liv’s ex-fiancé Major Lilywhite (no seriously, portrayed by Robert Buckley), a social worker, who she dumped after becoming a zombie; Liv’s best friend and roommate of six years, Peyton Charles (Aly Milchalka), Seattle’s Assistant District Attorney; and Liv’s mom and brother. Lastly, there’s Lowell Tracy (Bradley James), another zombie that Liv meets due to a case who she starts a relationship with.
The first seven episodes establish Liv’s life in the five months after the boat affair as she works in the medical examiner’s office and attempts to deal with her own post-boat-fire PTSD because people were all trying to kill each other after taking a fast acting drug.
During this time, Liv realizes that, when she (and other zombies) eat peoples’ brains, they have visions of the persons’ past experience and pick up some of their personality quirks, talents, habits, etc. It makes for great comedy and is also a really great venue for exploring what makes us human.
The secondary plotline follows Blaine and his henchmen who kill unsuspecting teenagers for their young and varied brains, which are then cooked into various dishes by the zombie-chef of “Meat Cute”— a restaurant for Seattle Zombies.
This, in turn, makes Major’s life really terrible because he has been trying to figure out what was happening to the teens since two were from the local teen center he works at. (He was on the way to figuring out that zombies were a thing in Seattle but got arrested for breaking into one of the zombie’s cars.)
This week, Liv eats the brain of Sasha, a murdered (electrocuted on air!) talk show host who was a relationship and sex expert, which means that Liv gives unasked advice to everyone around her and pushes Clive’s boundaries about his personal life. It’s funny—for a moment—but immediately turns distressing when Liv becomes really rude to Ravi after he asks if Peyton is single after sharing a moment with her when they both get a bruised and beaten Major released from jail.
Although Ravi, Liv and Major are correct in assuming that Blaine is behind all the missing teenagers, Ravi doesn’t tell Major that and instead shows him the newspaper article stating that last week’s bad guys had killed the teens.
Ravi also doesn’t tell Liv since she never picked up Major’s calls that Major was in jail.
While I understand Liv not wanting to tell Major that she’s a zombie, none of which bodes well for the eventual “Hi, I’m a zombie. Also, you were right. Blaine’s been killing teens for their braaaaaainsssssssss. Sorry, Ravi and I pretended like we had no idea.” conversation.
Especially because a now-unemployed Major is obviously going to continue investigating (by himself!) into what is really happening.
I have similar feelings about the Case of the Week, which ends in a really textbook way. The killer was Sasha’s co-worker and friend Jane, who Sasha blacklisted in the industry after finding out that Jane wanted to leave the station.
Fortunately, the rest of the episode is much more interesting.
Blaine and Lt. Suzuki have a meet cute because our zombie!Lt. actually feels guilty about having to move all the teen bodies.
Since Blaine is currently the only brain dealer around, there really isn’t anything Suzuki can do unless he wants to figure out his own brain procurement method. So—maybe Suzuki should do something about Blaine? Before Blaine or his henchmen kill Major, try to kill Liv, or do something else terrible?
I just don’t trust CW writers to not include all the angst, and even in a show that’s meant to be mostly comedic, I’m just waiting for the inevitable sadness.
Well, I should rephrase that. I’m already really sad because Liv!Sasha was really harsh on Ravi about how he has no chance with Peyton (who, to be fair, has like four suitors) and makes a completely off-key remark about Ravi trying to impress his parents, which also felt a bit racist because Ravi is a British Indian man so, of course, he has to impress his (probably) immigrant parents.
It was weird, and I didn’t appreciate it.
Mending that relationship fortunately doesn’t take too long because Liv tells Peyton to say yes to Ravi asking her out. Except that, while Ravi is on the phone with Peyton, he gets bit by the zombie!mouse, which is being used in Ravi’s attempts to cure zombieism, and then, while leaving Lowell’s place, Liv has a vision of Jerome (one of the missing teens) with Blaine just as Blaine makes his way up to deliver the next brain to Lowell!!
(There’s something to be said about how we’ve only met one still cognitively functioning zombie of color and I wonder if there are others around because then the zombies as a minority and minority zombies as minorities plot bits would be more effective.)
All the !!
Now, Liv has to explain to Lowell that Blaine is bad news and risk Blaine retaliating if he loses a customer.
With only five episodes of the first season left, the plot is finally thickening, which is great but also stressful for me as a (re)viewer.
This week’s episode was not the best, which is disappointing because the last seven have been really enjoyable and the right balance of comedy, drama, and romance. On the other hand, this week’s case felt rushed. Additionally, though it’s obvious that Sasha!Liv is meant to show how sometimes Liv is greatest when she’s herself, I don’t think they needed to harm her relationship with Ravi to accomplish that.
Fortunately, Blaine continues to be a great Bad Guy, and while I think that trouble is a-brewing for everyone involved, I’m really interested in seeing what Blaine’s take on Major will be since, as of now, he still hasn’t met Major.
Which brings be back to Mr. Major Lilywhite (seriously can’t handle the name), who until this week’s episode has been boring me. We never really got to see why he was perfect for Liv, and it wasn’t until tonight that we learn that, before Liv and Major were dating, they were best friends.
That’s something Liv obviously values in a relationship as seen in her conversation with Lowell.
Do I want her and Major to get back together? I’m not sure, but I definitely think someone besides Ravi (and technically Blaine and Lt. Suzuki) needs to be told about Liv’s zombieism before the brains hit the fan.