'iZombie's' Rob Thomas: Liv's Actions Will Have "Severe Fallout" in Season 2

“Liv will start off season two pretty much estranged from everyone else,” showrunner Rob Thomas tells THR of what's to come following the season one finale.
Diyah Pera/The CW

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Tuesday's season one finale of iZombie.]

If the events of Tuesday's iZombie season finale have taught Liv (Rose McIver) anything, it’s that maintaining any semblance of a normal life while being a zombie comes with consequences.

After Peyton (Aly Michalka) discovered the truth about Liv's supernatural side and ran off in the penultimate episode, Major (Robert Buckley) was also angry with Liv for turning him into a zombie after he sustained a mortal wound. However, the worst came in the final moments of the episode, when Liv’s mother begged her to donate blood to her brother Evan, who was caught in an explosive blast outside of Meat Cute. Liv responded with a resounding 'no' in fear of turning Evan into a zombie.

"We’re going to pick up season two a few months after the end of season one, and Major will still not be happy with her. Liv will start off season two pretty much estranged from everyone else," showrunner Rob Thomas tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Everyone who was in that intervention scene in the pilot — Peyton, her mom, her brother and Major — everyone who was trying to pull her out of her doldrum at the beginning of season one, she will be estranged from as we begin season two."

THR spoke with Thomas about Liv’s big declaration, the consequences of her choices and where the series is headed in season two.

Episode 12 ended with Peyton finding out Liv’s secret, causing her to leave the apartment with no one knowing where she went. We don’t really hear about Peyton in the finale. What was the decision behind not mentioning where she goes?

We decided to leave it open because Aly Michalka had booked a pilot [ABC's Chevy] and because she’s not one of our series regulars, we weren’t sure if we could get her back or when we could get her back and so we didn’t want to pin ourselves into a corner. We just needed an excuse for her to bolt and probably the way we answered that was going to be determined by whether or not her pilot went to series. Her pilot did not go to series, so we are hopeful we can bring her back next season.

In the finale, Liv injected this untested cure in both Blaine and Major. Can we expect side effects from her actions?

Yes. I would say expect side effects. They took a very untested drug and it will definitely have repercussions. They have not perfected a cure yet, and both Blaine and Major will enter season two as non-zombies, as fully human.

In the final two episodes, Major purchases shotguns and grenades out of the back of some guy’s car and proceeds to take out Blaine’s operation. Was there ever a point where you felt like you were going too far, or was this a natural progression for Major?

When we cast Buckley as Major, before he accepted the role he called me and said that he wanted to make sure he wasn’t just going to be on the show for Liv to pine over, and I actually pitched him the ending of season one. I said, “We’re going to take you through the ringer. You’re going to start the season as this lovely, scrubbed up, all-American good guy, and you’re going to be put through the ringer. These kids you care about [are] killed. You will think you’re going crazy and by the end you will have this heroic moment." I said it was going to be like [Robert] De Niro in Taxi Driver in the final reel of the movie. We tried to earn it by really putting Major through his paces, having awful things happen to him. To get him to that level of violence, we really needed to make him suffer over the course of the season.  

Clive, upon seeing Candyman’s shoes after the police arrive, asked for a gun residue test on Major, but we don’t see any of that play out. Can we expect to see Major in trouble with the law when the show returns?

That’s going to be Clive’s great white whale of season two. … Clive believes that Major is involved and he will not let it go. Major may not be in trouble in episode one of season two, but over course of the season the noose will be tightening.

Speaking of Suzuki, he took himself out and tries to cover up the scene as much as possible. Did he commit suicide to try and cover up the zombie mess, or did he just want to keep it as clean as possible without zombie news getting out?

The way we wanted to play Suzuki is that he was a good cop put into an impossible situation working for Blaine. Every bad thing he did on Blaine’s behalf tore him up, and he simply could not go on working under Blaine’s thumb. He was a good man to his core. The problem was we did lose some of his story in the back end of season one; some scenes that we wrote never got shot, so we did a couple in there. We did get a couple between Blaine and Suzuki, but in a perfect world we probably would have set up that suicide a little bit better. That was the idea: Suzuki did not simply want to go on living as a zombie working for the bad guys.

Part of Suzuki’s actions resulted in Evan getting caught in a blast. Liv found out he’s in the hospital in need of blood — her blood type to be specific — but she refuses to donate. What are the repercussions that Liv will face in season two?

I will say that I don’t want to give away right now whether Evan lives or dies. I would like to leave as a question that fans are asking themselves over the summer. There will absolutely be fallout, pretty severe fallout, from Liv’s decision. We just put her in a situation where she made that God-like decision for Major, to turn him into a zombie. When he woke up as a zombie, he was not happy at all that she had made that choice. Ten minutes later she’s given that same opportunity with her brother and decides to make a different call. We were interested in seeing her have to answer that question twice back to back. In season one of Veronica Mars, we had this moment where there was this knock on the door and Veronica opens it and says, “I was hoping it was you,” and it kept fans talking about who it could be, who they wanted it to be, and I wanted a driving question to take us from season one to two, something that fans could discuss while waiting for the new season.

Ravi had a quiet few episodes coming into the end of the season, with him working on the cure. What can you tell us about what’s in store for him?

He will be questing for more tainted utopium; it’s the secret ingredient that he needs in order to recreate the cure and that will become his great white whale of season two — finding that and perfecting the cure. That quest will put him out in the field more; it’s not like he’ll be tinkering with that formula back at the morgue. He’ll be out in the world trying to track this down. We want to get him out of the morgue more.

Blaine was the zombie underground kingpin of Seattle. Now that he’s human, what does this mean for his control of the zombie population?

One thing it means is that he can’t make any more zombies. One of the things we think it’ll be fun to play is that he is still going to try to present himself as a zombie to his customers in season two. So we might have funny scenes where we see him putting on white face instead of trying to tan himself because he needs to pass himself off as a zombie; he still wants those customers to fear him. We’re going to have fun with that. The big storyline and something we’re excited about for season two, that we announce right in our finale of season one, is that Max Rager has decided that all zombies must be eliminated and that will strangely make Blaine and Liv bedfellows. Liv is no more fond of Blaine at the end of season one, but she will likely to be forced to team up with him to protect the zombie population.

Could Blaine get scratched again and turned back or is it more complicated because of the cure?

Blaine could get scratched and turned back again, but with Liv next year, he is going to be eating chocolate bars in front of her and enjoying life as a human again. Blaine likes being human so he could get scratched, and that would turn him back into a zombie but it’s not what he wants; it would have to happen from someone other than himself deciding it.

Max Rager revealed a new head of research and once it cut back from commercial break, there was a little comic book tag that said "The New Boss." With the CEO under fire from the document leak, is the new head of research taking over?

Vaughan is being harassed by reporters, so Max Rager is having problems with their stock prices as we begin season two. They are definitely taking a blow from having that memo getting loose in the world. Steven Weber is too much fun for us. He will continue to head up Max Rager.

Will Super Max play a role? It’s introduced toward the end of the season as he’s aiming to keep humans up all the time, no need for sleep. Is that still something Max Rager is pursuing?

Yea, that’s something that Vaughan (CEO) thinks is going to save the company, but they’re putting all their eggs in the Super Max basket.

When we talked before the season aired, you mentioned that as you and the writers were working on the series, you started bringing Blaine and Liv together toward the end, and you really enjoyed that. Compared to season one, do you plan on there being a lot of frequent between the two of them?

It was one of the reasons we came up with the storyline we did, so we could put them on screen more often. It’s not as though they’re going to become buddies, but they will need to work together to survive.

So you’re shooting down the Blaine/Liv 'shippers already?

It’s so hard to imagine because Blaine spent all of season one murdering these homeless teenagers. They’re fun together, but I have a hard time getting past that. Of course, I’m a big Jaime Lannister fan on Game of Thrones and he threw a kid out a window, so I guess it could be possible to the audience forgive Blaine, but it’d be really tough to get past that.

The only people around Liv who don’t know she is a zombie are Clive, her mom and her brother. How will Clive not knowing while everyone else does affect the storyline in season two? Will Clive slowly learn more about zombies in general?

I think with Clive investigating the murder at Meat Cute, he’s going to get closer and closer to zombies. It’s a different question to me than “Is Liv going to share her secret?” I sort of admire Superman. He looks exactly like Clark Kent but he managed to keep it from Lois and Jimmy for decades, and yet I know fans want her to tell him so badly. I guess Buffy had success by bringing everyone on to their team. We may go there someday, but there are no plans in the immediate future.

Is it a full order of 22 or 13 with a possible back 9?

13 with a possible back 9.

How are you writers tackling the 13-episode order? Are you just writing 13 now and then planning on writing the back nine later or are you going in with a full 22 order in mind?

Well, we certainly want 22, and in the room we’re sort of planning on 22. But if we don’t get 22, you will see some really jam-packed episodes around [episode] 10, 11, 12 and 13.

iZombie returns in the fall on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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