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'iZombie' recap: The way Liv used to be in 'Reflections'

The streetwise thug Don E may be a capable drug slinger, but he’s not a criminal mastermind. In short, he’s no Blaine DeBeers.

Though he’s pushing as much tainted Utopium as possible, raking in boatloads of cash in the process, Don E probably isn’t paying attention to other important matters in the multi-tentacled DeBeers empire. Namely, he’s not feeding Seattle’s insatiable zombie population.

So I’ll go out on a limb here -- but not much of one -- and say that the season finale of “iZombie” next week will contain a hungry horde of walking undead marauding through the streets.

Who’s with me?

This isn’t much of a stretch, because the show’s creators recently talked at WonderCon about the “epic” end of Season 2 and how closely it might resemble a George Romero flick. (Well, Romero for broadcast TV).

That’s one of my takeaways from Tuesday night’s hour of the CW dram-rom-zom-com, which puts the series’ layered, complicated relationships and personalities at the forefront but not at the expense of advancing the story.

And what a story it is, with a vice cop dropping the Z bomb (out loud!) for the first time, Vaughn cementing his Worst Father of the Millennium award, Liv going “Jack Bauer” on some goon and Peyton making one last appeal to Blaine’s morality. (Imagine how that turns out).

But first, there’s the matter of Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley) getting taken down by an FBI-Seattle PD tag team, ready to go full undead rage-monster as he’s put into cuffs. Fast forward to his impending time behind bars, even if it’s brief (and it’s not likely to be), to understand the severity of this situation for Team Z.

Before that, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) and Major have the roommate smackdown after the smackdown, in which Major finally comes clean about being the Chaos Kidnapper, not the Chaos Killer.

Everybody’s on ice awaiting a cure, so no pressure at all, Ravi, says Major. And they can’t tell Liv that Major is a zombie hunter, per Max Rager’s strong-arm tactics, because she’d try to right all wrongs. That’s her thing these days.

Ravi and Major agree, at least temporarily, to keep her in the dark about the goriest details. That’ll work out well. But she will know that Major is a zombie again. Does that mean they can get back together as a couple? Stop it, all you ‘shippers out there. I knew you were thinking it, but let’s please shelve it for now.

The murder of the week links Liv Moore (Rose McIver) and Det. Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) to the sketchy undercover officer Lou Benedetto (“Veronica Mars” alum Enrico Colantoni).

Benedetto, in his tunnel-vision quest to pick off Utopium dealers and find the Lucky U source, has set up his own off-the-books confidential informant program at Pacific West University. He’s making some mid-level busts even though he’s putting college kids in danger but, in his mind, the ends justify the means.

One overachieving student named Bailey Barker gets caught up in his operation -- Adderall is her study buddy -- and winds up dead. Though there’s a frat-bro-blackmail-motive red herring, it turns out to be one bad apple CI killing one overzealous (but essentially well meaning) CI. And Benedetto will be hearing from Internal Affairs because Clive don’t play that and no amount of brotherhood-in-blue talk will change his mind.

But it’s Benedetto who stumbles onto some pivotal information while trying to sweat out a suspect. He hears about the existence of “zombies, man, flesh-eating zombies,” he tells Liv and Clive, but he shrugs it off as the ranting of an addict. Clive thinks it’s crazy -- or does he? -- and Liv puts on her best poker face. When, oh when, will Clive get in the loop?

Meantime, Blaine (David Anders) is still suffering from amnesia because he injected himself with the untested zombie cure, or “cure.” Major and Ravi aren’t fully convinced that he’s memory-deprived and wonder aloud if he’s faking it.

Anders, by the way, is fantastic as the introspective version of Blaine, who doesn’t recognize anyone from his past, has no idea he’s being railroaded out of his business and seems to feel truly guilty when told of his evil-incarnate history.

Ravi and Major hatch a plan to use Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber) as a real-life lab rat for the zombie cure, testing to see if Blaine is play-acting about his memory loss. But they don’t get to follow through, and we don’t find out what the clearly suspicious Vaughn had in store for Major. Chances are it wasn’t a spa vacation.

Vaughn tells his daughter, GildaRita, that he’s searching for his own zombie cure, but she doesn’t believe him. How can she? She knows her dad’s a sociopath who’s keeping her locked in the basement of Max Rager while he has better things to do. He has a new heavily caffeinated sports drink to launch, after all, and he can’t be distracted from the Super Max kickoff.

Speaking of which, he stars in a commercial for the product and we all get to see him doing some ridiculous one-armed pull-ups to a jingle from Rob Thomas (no, not that Rob Thomas, “iZombie” creator, but Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas).

Vaughn delivers the tagline with just the right amount of YOLO bravado: “Life’s a bitch. This is the slap. You’re welcome!”

Small aside/preview for the finale: Rob Thomas himself -- again, the pop star, not the writer -- will make a guest appearance, performing one of his own songs at a Max Rager party.

Drake is still missing -- his mom thinks Mr. Boss has murdered him -- and Liv is still fretting. She confides in Clive, and he tries to comfort her, showing just how close they’ve become as colleagues. But there’s still so much he doesn’t know.

He has come to realize that Liv takes on the characteristics of their victims, and in “Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be,” he gets a peek into her former type-A, ambitious, hyper-competitive self.

When she snacks on Bailey’s brain, stir-fried with veggies and noodles, she reverts to her pre-zombie persona, when she was an admitted “praise-aholic.”

Maybe Clive will have a new appreciation of her going forward?

That is, if he sticks around. His FBI agent girlfriend Dale Bozzio (Jessica Harmon) wants him to consider a career upgrade to the federal level, and the D.C area. Will he make a change? Or will something else happen to take him out of the picture.

Somebody’s gonna bite the dust in next week’s finale, but I’m in too much denial to even speculate. And showrunners have promised lots of answers. Let’s hope they deliver.

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