Zombie is a term used to describe Humans or other creatures infected with a unknown virus that turns them into an undead being with both a rapid change in their appearance and the uncanny desire to eat human brains in order to survive. The introduction of these beings serve as the main theme to the series IZombie and add a whole a new take on typical zombie-themed series. The creatures are not as common with Seattle serving as the main city in which they live. In addition, the main protagonist of the series is a zombie, who tries to use her newfound zombie status for good, at the same time trying to solve the puzzle of how the zombie virus appeared.
Firstly, the term "zombie" was utilized in the Pilot by Olivia Moore when she describes her transformation after the incident on The Boat Party made by Max Rager company. She described her new appearance, behavior and the dependence from human brains as traits of being a zombie. As the series continues, the main heroine discovers that in her hometown, there are much more zombies that she thought, and even more, she discovers the reason behind the zombie creation – a spliced version of the drug called Utopium. Ravi Chakrabarti is trying to create a cure for the zombie disease throughout the series; however, this non-normal Utopium is hard to find, because of what the cure cannot be created so easily.
Other than that, the general term "zombie" is known throughout the human culture for many years, as it is a topic from the human culture, mythology, etc. However, most people do not believe in the existence of zombies, considering them as a joke and "simple scary story". At least several people are aware of the zombie presence in Seattle, mainly friends of Olivia Moore due to knowing her secret and Max Rager company, trying to find and kill every single zombie in the city, in order to save their reputation.
Zombie is a typical human in almost all ways, physically and psychologically, and it is hard enough to find out who's a zombie in the human masses. Zombies save all their traits and capabilities they have as humans, and moreover, they can continue to train themselves, go to the gym, do hard work, live with an extreme sports in their life, etc. The main difference between the two lies in three prominent traits that make it clear that the suspected is a zombie: appearance, behavior and diet. After a contact with a zombie, being it licking the zombified blood or simple scratching, a human quickly turns into the one, something that is shown with the rapid change of their hair color to pale blonde and a strange desire to eat the human brains. The signs of transformation surface in several hours after the virus gets into the human's body. As seen throughout the series, at least a wisp of hair turns white almost instantly, while the rest turns white or pale blonde with time. The wish to eat human brains is seems to be something natural for all zombies, as many recurring zombie characters said they want to eat brains but do not know why, after they were somewhat aware of their new status. More than that, due to their taste loss, they need to eat their food, be it brains or the usual food that normal people eat, with spices. According to Liv Moore, if she doesn't have any spices in her food, she simply cannot feel the taste of the meal. This trait is also considered strange because the zombie's food must be immensely spicy, and they utilize any spices in all of their food, even drinks like alcohol and coffee. It was called as a "zombie fetish" by Ravi Chakrabarti in Pilot, when he clearly says to Liv that he is aware of who she is.
The changes in their physical appearance do not stops only on hair, as it quickly becomes pale blonde, but also their skin becomes pale, and their eyes become redder. Liv Moore is a prime example of these changes, as she doesn’t make up herself and do not dye her hair into the original color she had before the transformation. In Season 2, as Major Lilywhite becomes a zombie hunter for Max Rager company, in the first episode of the Season were named the most prominent traits that are all typical for zombies who try to hide their real identity – they buy very hot spices, dye their hair and use a tan, in order to make their skin less pale and their overall appearance human-like. As it was within Major’s list, most zombies of that caliber were rich or at least not that bad in their wish and attempt to hide their status.
In physical means, zombies are vastly different from humans, but at the same time still humans. As shown with Olivia Moore, her heart resting rate is 10 beats per minute; moreover, something typical for all zombies, when injured they do not have a significant blood loss, to the point that even a gunshot will not make them grievously bleed; examples are Olivia Moore in Pilot taking a shot from Detective Pratt, Lieutenant Suzuki taking a shot in his liver in Maternity Liv, and Julien Dupont surviving three gun shots into his chest from Major Lilywhite in Patriot Brains.
The main problem for zombies is their diet, ironically. Not mentioning that eating human brains is considered as something unreal, disgusting and immoral in human sense, they need to feed on brains at least once per month, in order to stay "alive" and save their sanity. If not, they will turn into a "canon" version of popularized zombies with the only desire to stop their hunger. The degradation process can vary from several weeks to months without brain feeding, but even more, the zombie cannot be reverted, if they reach a "critical point" in their degradation.
Another problem for zombies is their adrenaline and so-called "Full-On Zombie Mode", named by Olivia and mentioned by other zombies throughout the series. Witnessing the strong emotions, a danger to their life or simply having a boiling adrenaline in their blood results in Zombie suffering from a trance-like state, when they truly become zombies. In terms of appearance, their skin turns pale white, overcoming their tanning, and their eyes become completely blood-red. While in this trance state they cannot speak or act according to their thoughts, they either can attack their victim on two occasions – a settled thought about it before or their living brains.
This mode or rather state is a double-edged sword for all zombies – giving to them tremendous capabilities, they cannot control it properly and moreover, they simply can do things they will regret and, of course, show their true identity. Also, if zombie does not eat human brains for a long period of time, as means of self-defense and surviving, they will automatically enter Full-On Zombie Mode and try to find food for them, usually with bad consequences to all.
The only way to kill a zombie is a shot in the head. This is the absolute way to kill them without much risks, however not every zombie will allow to kill them that easily.
As shown in the two last episodes of Season 2, if the tainted Utopium with the Max Rager energy drink, to be more concrete, with the Super Max drink, the consumer will instantly turned into a wild zombie with the only desire to eat human brains, serving as the huge hazard to all.
The zombie virus is very strong and very small in its size; because of this, even having a sex with a zombie results in human partner becoming a zombie too. According to Ravi, the virus is so small that even the protection with condoms won’t help.
Throughout the series there are many zombies who try to save their humanity, aware of their undead status and live a full "human" life, hiding themselves. Even though most mentioned zombies are the clients of Blaine DeBeers, Max Rager company found out a list of 320 supposed-to-be zombies that Major need to clean up; in Season 3 it was discovered that a Fillmore Graves company is full of zombies and trains them in order to be ready for the Discovery Day, when it may turn into a war between the human kind and the zombies.
Ref: Zombies in the list are sorted as they appear and become one on the show.
- Olivia Moore
- Blaine DeBeers
- Marcy Khan
- Lowell Tracey
- Lieutenant Suzuki
- Julien Dupont
- Martin Davis
- Sebastian Meyer
- Major Lilywhite
- Angus McDonough
- Tim Addis
- Colin Andrews
- Floyd Baracus
- Drake Holloway
- Jeremy Chu
- Don Everhart
- Candy Baker
- Vivian Stoll
- Wally Tuttle-Reid
- Justin Bell