Liv and Major's on again off again relationship has started to bore some fans, much in a similar vein to Friends's infamous Will They or Won't They?. First they can't be together because Liv is a zombie, and by season 2, Major tries to cut off ties while protecting her from Vaughn which leds them to be together again and breaking off again when Liv tells that Major and her have unsolvable differences now, not only in relation to her being a zombie, but because she changed and he can't accept it, as well as they can't have sex unless they are both zombies or both humans. Even when they are both zombies in season 3, they still decide to not be together while still teased and even sleeping together when Major has to take the cure, leading to Liv dating Justin while Major sees other women. It does not help that their Romantic False Lead are actually very well liked characters such as Lowell and Drake who both get awful fates to guarantee that they can be together even if they won't. When they're back at it for a single episode in season 4, the drama is already dull and Narmy.
The zombie cure. Ravi spends a lot of time working on attempts to cure the zombie virus in order to give Liv her humanity back, however thanks to various blocks put in place he's unable to move forward in a manner that would give her a cure. For the sake of the show Liv can't be cured, and it's a little tiring how many loops they have to jump through to keep this option open despite knowing they can't ever actually do it. What really doesn't help is how much is invoking Artistic License Biology involved; as noted on the main page, a lot of the blocks involved in devising the cure simply wouldn't be an issue in real-life, and the only real issue is having the means to synthesise the cure. This is simply not the case in the show (where he's able to magically create the cure with the limited lab supplies afforded to a police morgue crime lab), with the closest being he's unable to replicate any cure he makes (a problem that, by Season 4, could be solved by just publicly declaring his findings and securing funding to mass-produce it).
Author's Saving Throw: After months of complaints about Clive never appearing to notice Liv's massive personality swings that match the victims they're working on, "Whopper" finally acknowledges that he has noticed for a while, simply assuming that it was a result of the "psychic gift" he thinks she has. Then it becomes irrelevant when he's let in on the truth at the end of the season.
Hollow Wood's Oh My God playing over Liv, under the effects of her old friend who loved to practice extreme sports as she runs through the streets of Seattle in a bike with a rare smile across her face.
After the Fira's Der Komissar playing over the Meat Cute Mass Murder when Major kills everyone related to Blaine's operation.
Band of Skulls' Sweet Sour is perfectly fitting for the scene in season 3 in which Blaine now no longer feigning amnesia starts plotting the take back of his operation and prepares ravi's blue juice, it really shows old Blaine is back.
XTC's Dear God playing as a group of Fillmore Graves mercenaries chase after Liv when she tries to find a way out from the school where the Influenza A vacine is being contaminated with zombie blood.
Hozier's Take Me To Church used as a theme for Angus in season 4 episode 2. Chillingly fitting for his new Brother Love persona.
Broken Base: Season 4 has been receiving mixed reception from fans, primarily due to the main plot, its themes, and its not-so-subtle influence from real life political conflicts in the United States. As a whole, most viewers agree elements might have been better handled, but just how much that impacts the season depends on viewers:
One camp feels that Seasonal Rot has severely set in, feeling that Liv became an Unintentionally UnsympatheticDesignated Hero due to her involvement in bringing more people (many of whom are sick/dying) into Seattle and making them zombies, essentially making the conflict revolving around Humans vs. Zombies as well as the city's strained resources worse. Another major point of contention is the handling of Chase Graves. While he pretty unambiguously crosses the Moral Event Horizon before the season ends, many felt he began the season as a Designated Villain and the only character truly trying to fix everything up and consider the Sanity Slippage to be unjustified character-assassination. Many of them feel the show became rather Anvilicious and that the arguments being made don't hold up at all.
Other fans enjoy the Gray and Gray Morality approach to the season and find the narrative highly compelling due to it. They don't necessarily disagree with some of the above complaints, but they read the show differently. Liz's Designated Hero and Chase's Designated Villain attributes (at least at first) are often seen as intentional (instead of accidental) and a way of making the show, its characters, and their morality significantly more complex. While Liv's side o the conflict is obviously portrayed very sympathetically, fans of Season 4 also tend to note that Chase is never portrayed entirely unsympathetic (or without justification) until he begins to take things too far at the very end of the season. Likewise, Major (who is unambiguously sympathetic) spends a large portion of the season supporting Chase Graves' decisions and, even after beginning to turn on Chase, Major gets to deliver Liv a totally uncontested What the Hell, Hero? speech). Rather than seeing it as Anvilicious on a whole, they think it raises interesting themes and questions and that the good elements of the plot vastly outweigh the bad.
Complete Monster: Vaughn Du Clark is the Big Bad of Season 2, despite coming across as an absent-minded goofball. He is indirectly behind the zombie outbreak because the unsafe chemicals in his companys energy drink is one of the causes of zombieism. Vaughn does not care that the zombies remain sentient, he only cares about how this news will affect his profit. He coerces Major, who can sense zombies, into acting as his hitman in eliminating them by threatening Majors Love Interest, Liv. Incapable of taking any criticism, Vaughn frequently scours the internet for negative comments about his company and has the posters killed. When a zombie breaks free in his lab, Vaughn flees the scene, abandoning his own daughter to get infected. When he discovers that Major has been hiding the zombies he hunted down instead of killing them, Vaughn locates them and kidnaps them all, keeping them in his lab to test cures for zombieism. All the tests fail and the zombies are turned into mindless, ravenous beasts. Vaughn laughs at Liv when she discovers that one of the mindless zombies was her boyfriend and laughs as shes forced to kill her lover. Even as his company is overrun by zombies and hundreds of his employees are killed, Vaughn can only think of what this means for his publicity and finances.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Lowell gained quite a lot of popularity despite being only a Romantic False Lead, even after his death. His actually rather sweet relationship with Liv and their mutual condition helped make them a Fan-Preferred Couple. It was notable that when Liv in Season 3 is hallucinating Drake, her dead ex-boyfriend from Season 2, many fans questioned why Lowell didn't appear too, given his similar fate.
Likewise, Drake and Justin are also quite popular, thanks to having great chemistry with Liv while they were dating, as well as the latter's close friendship with Major.
Evil Is Cool: Blaine does make being an utter bastard look fun. Also crosses into Evil Is Sexy as he has more than a few fangirls.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Blaine/Liv has a large amount of fans despite the canon leading to Liv/Major and Blaine/Peyton(both of which fell through though).
Harsher in Hindsight: In season 1, Blaine said this his Freudian Excuse was "daddy issues, megalomania, and greed" in a rather sarcastic tone. However, season 2 reveals that he resents his father because he, among other things, forced his grandfather into a retirement home and had him raised by a horrible maid who regularly abused him.
Ho Yay: There's a bit between Major and Ravi once they move in together.
Major and Chase in Season 4. The two form an unlikely friendship that could be interpreted as this. While Major seems very conflicted with the actions he has to take as a soldier working for Fillmore Graves, he stays loyal to Chase up until the latter wounds one of the cadets under his protection and kills the other one. Taken Upto Eleven in "Insane in the Germ Brain", in the episode Major has to eat the brains of a person that is incapable of lying when Roche and AJ want to find out whose side he is really on.
Major: Has it crossed my mind? Yeah. I mean, look how he's built. Where does he even find the time to work out? But, hey, it's not like I have pictures of Chase Graves taped up in my locker.
HSQ: Holy shit, the season 3 finale, Wham Episode doesn't even begin to describe it. Carey Gold turns out to not only have murdered Katty when she found Tatum and Patrice eating brains, she also was the one behind the release of the Influenza A virus as part of a Plan B to cause a zombie doomsday that will create more zombies to their side by poisoning the Inluenza A vaccine with blood of the Fillmore Graves zombies. She gets killed by Chase who finds out about her betrayal, which included the deaths of Wally's family for opposing her and killing Vivian to push Chase into abandoning the idea of Zombie Island. Her plan is partially succesful by turning a part of the population into zombies, including Johnny Frost and the recently-informed-about-zombies Agent Dale Bozzio. To stop the people from taking vaccines, Liv makes Johnny Frost reveal the existence of zombies on TV while Chase appears to warn everybody about the fact that Fillmore Graves will be attempting to help out the large population of recently turned zombies, which also causes Blaine and Don E.'s bar to take off. There's also the fact that the large population is now persecuted by an also increasing population of anti-zombies who openly attack them when they are trying to get rations from Fillmore Graves. Also, Liv and Justin break up over her cheating on him and Ravi believes his newest zombie vaccine will work, but uses himself as a guinea pig and the episode ends with Liv, for better or worse, scratching him to test it.
Idiot Plot: In Season 4 Clive and Dale attempt an open relationship to get around their inability to have sex with each other...and then dont bother to actually tell anyone about it, leading Liv to assume Dale is cheating on Clive upon seeing her kissing another man. And then it turns out they apparently didnt even set any ground rules with each other about acceptable partners.
Peyton Ah... I see why you want the place to yourself. Well, um... What if I can make you a better offer?
Liv I don't want you to be insulted, and don't think I haven't considered it, but I'm going to stick with men.
"Brother Can You Spare A Brain" sees Liv momentarily get cozy with a female that she and Clive are questioning, but that's not all.
"Return of the Dead Guy" takes it to pure Pandering to the Base levels, as Peyton has to act like a dominatrix to get Liv's current brain to have a vision, and finds herself getting pretty into it. After Liv has the vision, they appear fully intent on continuing until they are interrupted by a hallucination.
Blaine. When the show began, he was turning people into zombies and extorting them for brains. He was willing to kill homeless youth to obtain those brains, no less. Throughout the run of the show however, we learn more about his past and how he became that person. His mother committed suicide, he was abused by his father and his nanny, and his beloved Grandfather was committed to hospice. After temporarily losing his memories, he makes a genuine effort to reform but the fact he lied about the duration of his memory loss due to his own fear of rejection leads him to losing the woman he loves.
Rita becomes this in "He Blinded Me...With Science!" when her father leaves her to die and she gets turned into a zombie. Made even worse when in the finale she realizes her father never truly loved her and only cared about himself.
Chase Graves in season 4. The Doomsday plan (something he didn't want to implement in the first place) fails and as a result he's now charged with running a city state of zombies, walled off from the rest of the world. There's too few brains to support the increased number of zombies, which only gets worse as infections spread, and everyone blames him for it, despite him just being the guy stuck trying to fix it. The Chains of Commanding greatly weigh on him and in order to keep Seattle running, he has to do many horrible things, from executing an old lady that was running an underground railroad that actively created more zombies they couldn't afford to feed, covering up Blaine's crimes to cover their business relations, and is forced to limit rations despite how close many are to starving. What's more, there's a severe amount of corruption among his ranks as many of his soldiers are abusive towards civilians (something he doesn't condone but is forced to cover up), as well as many stealing brains, contributing to the brain shortage, and thus making every other problem worse. All of which the city blames him for, to the point he's accused of other crimes he doesn't engage in.
Moe: Liv herself, largely due to her short size, Perky Goth-style appearance, and the effects of many of her brains-of-the-week.
Though Blaine's actions in season 1 and the first half of season 2 would already put him past this anyway, the action that puts him firmly over the line is when he pretends to still have amnesia in order to maintain a relationship with Peyton, thus committing rape by fraud by witholding this information from her. Notably, this is the moment he seems to personally consider beyond redeemable; prior to this he was trying to be The Atoner, but after Peyton calls him out for manipulating her, combined with his father's attempt to have him killed, Blaine decides Then Let Me Be Evil and resumes his unquestionably villainous operations.
Vaughn was already a narcissistic jerk willing to commit murder. But allowing his own daughter to be eaten by a zombie as he cowered in his office is going beyond the pale.
Harley as atop the wall between a full on Hate Sink and a Tragic Villain due to his brother's death, but exploding himself with an entire house full of zombies, including Major's friends and a now human Natalie puts him firmly on the asshole villain side.
Though his war with 'Renegade' was definitely Grey and Gray Morality, Chase goes from struggling antihero into full-on villain when, after his first real victory for New Seattle is ruined by Major's rookies making a mistake, he wounds one and then kills the other when they try to protect them. This is what makes him lose support from his underlings, particularly Major, and everything he does after gets painted exclusively in negative light.
In the Season 4 premiere Major is shocked to discover the Dead Ender he tackled is a young teen. Except that Dawson Casting makes this very hard to pick up on, and the audience is just left confused by the dramatic reveal of the guy's face, wondering if we're supposed to recognize him.
The huge leap in zombie characters in Season 4 means the crew tries to save some money by just plain not putting some of them in makeup. Unfortunately, in the case of some this means that we're asked to accept people who are shown starving for brains, but still apparently took time to get a professional tan and dye job.
Liv and Major's big fight and break up in Season 4. It goes from dramatic to melodramatic quite quickly, because it not only seems they've learned nothing from their many, many failed attempts at being together, the viewer can't sympathize with a fight that happened for a single episode's relationship.
At the end of "Insane in the Germ Brain," the death of a character we barely know, Fisher Webb/Captain Seattle, is played like we're watching Ravi or Peyton die, with a ton of slow motion and Mozart's Requiem playing. That last part is at least revealed to be diagetic as the choir at Brother Love's church is singing it, but we don't know that while the scene is going on.
Romantic Plot Tumor: Season 3 has been criticised for the Ravi/Peyton/Blaine Love Triangle, thanks to Ravi's depressed attitude in the first few episodes making some find him suddenly unlikeable, as well as some feeling Peyton being willing to date Blaine simply because he lost his memory makes her look rather naive.
Liv and Levon in season 4, due to being Strangled by the Red String. Unlike her past token-Zombie-boyfriend-of-the-season, many found Levon rather dull and, while we saw the past relationships develop slowly over several episodes, Levon goes from being a The Generic Guy who welcomes her into the Underground Railroad to sleeping with her in between episodes, and having an Anguished Declaration of Love each maybe two episodes later. Unfortunately even this was tempered out in the episode previously, Liv outright confessed that despite their separation, Major was and is the love of her life, with him confirming and reciprocating her feelings.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A peeve of some fans of the comic book. Save for the brains and zombie thing, the TV series barely resembles the comics, which were more of a tongue in cheek story that covered a variety of monsters with bits of drama here and there. The show is a straight -faced crime drama featuring just zombies. They don't even use the name of the original character.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Rita/Gilda, who is unceremoniously killed by Major when she tries to kill Liv. It was like the writers wanted to get rid of every Max Rager member, even if Rita could have continued to serve as an Evil Counterpart to Liv if Rita/Gilda joined up with Fillmore Graves.
Speaking of Fillmore Graves, Vivian ended up falling victim to this when the helicopter she was in ended up being blown up.
The Season 2 winter finale ended with Clive finally getting fed up with Liv's personality swings and cutting off ties with her. This lasts a grand total of one episode, making for flashbacks of Rob Thomas' similar inability to commit to such a big rift between major characters in Veronica Mars.
In the Season 2 premiere, Liv resolves to not give up on reconciling with her family after they shut her out. This goes completely unacknowledged for the entire rest of the season. Rob Thomas admitted that the season featured so many major ongoing storylines that something had to simply be dropped, especially since they ended up with fewer episodes than they'd planned for.
After Major becomes a zombie, we only see Robert Buckley getting to join in the fun of getting a new personality from eating brains occasionally, never mind how rarely other zombies, like Blaine, Don E, and Liv's various boyfriends, getting full-blown personality shifts (it happens, but rarely instead of being Once an Episode like Liv). The introduction of brain tubes, which blend the brains so much they lose this effect, basically eliminates the need for it, but as a result only Liv gets to really embrace each brain she's on.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: Liv's voiceover at the end of "Virtual Reality Bites" states that the killer should have just "gotten over" his sister committing suicide after a year of horrific cyber-bullying. Needless to say, many fans felt differently. This may have been what was left of the Jerkass hacker's brain talking, as Liv is not generally so callous towards the dead or their families.
Despite being essentially a military dictator fighting Renegade's underground railroad, many fans sympathize more with Chase than with Liv. While most Chase fans agree that he hasn't made the best decisions, and has become increasingly draconian as the season continues, they point out that he is the only character looking at the bigger picture and trying to keep the whole situation from exploding. The show does treat him as a Jerkass Woobie and he's clearly meant to be sympathised with, but in the end, he's by-default the Big Bad of the season, as he pushes to have Liv executed while his own empire turns on him.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Related to the above, in season 4 many fans have trouble rooting for Renegade's Underground Railroad, lead by Mama Leone and, later Liv. The show paints them as brave and selfless for risking the death penalty to zombify terminally ill humans, but they ignore the pre-existing problems in the city, namely zombie overpopulation and a critical brain shortage, and create new zombies at an unmatched rate. They have no solid means to get brains to feed the new zombies and thus contribute to the problems befalling Chase and Filmore Graves, when they could have simply found a means to ally with a brain-smuggling ring rather than tap the already limited brain rations.
Despite knowing that she was a medical examiner for the Seattle PD, one of the suspects in "Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?" actually tried to rape Liv. Made even worse due to the fact that he knew her partner was right upstairs. As you can guess not only did he get his ass kicked by both of them, he was arrested instantly. Of course, he seemed to think she wanted to have sex with him (thanks to the effect of the brain-of-the-week) and so he probably didn't think it was rape, which sadly crosses into Truth in Television.
Out of everyone in the world, you'd think Max Rager's own scientists would know better than to mix the drink with Utopium.
Almost everyone who becomes a zombie. They're stuck with a Horror Hunger for brains that will slowly, and permanently, rot their brain if they don't get a fix until they're Romero-style zombies, Can't Have Sex, Ever with anyone other than a zombie to avoid spreading it, have dulled taste senses so they can't enjoy good foods anymore, can't risk getting too excited to avoid an adrenaline rush and go full-on zombie mode, and if they want to avoid the above mentioned Romero-style fate, they only have a few options if they don't want to become a killer: Get a job with access to human bodies (which for many people would be too much Squick to handle), go graverobbing and hope the brains they find haven't decomposed too much (which would be even worse), or hand over small fortunes to Blaine's operation for a fix. And that's without getting into the visions and personality traits they get from the brains' previous owners which can get pretty intense and traumatic. Special mention to Lowell, whose breakdown in "Patriot Brains" sells just how horrible life is for someone stuck as a zombie.
Lowell: (Talking about the brain he just presented Liv) It's Michael Kenny; he was interred yesterday, at Evergreen Memorial. Liv: You dug up a grave? ...I'm sorry... I'm sure that was awful. Lowell: It's cake compared to watching the funeral. ...He was a-an English teacher, and all the kids he taught were there, his daughter read his favourite Shakespeare sonnet, and his poor wife was in hell on earth. I-I threw up actually, because, I thought about all the brains I had, and every last one of them, was... we-we eat people. We eat people.
Liv in particular. Starting from the traumatic experience the boat party was, which gave her PTSD on top of her zombie-ness, she spent months struggling alone with the problem until Ravi got involved, had to break off from Major at risk of infecting him, her first shot with someone compatible ends with them being killed when their shared plan to kill Blaine fails, making her blame herself, the brains she eats often have really negative effects (from making her flirt with a would-be rapist (effects detailed above) to giving her temporary schizophrenia), and the urge to find the person's killer she gets from them leads to her often getting herself and others she cares about in serious danger.
Major, as a result of his Chronic Hero Syndrome. At first an Iron Woobie as a result of Liv breaking things off, Major develops into a full-on Woobie when kids he took care of at a youth centre start going missing, including Jerome (who he cared about a lot), leading to his life to slowly fall apart as he tries to find out what happened. He gets beat up by Blaine's henchmen Julien Dupont when he sees him wearing Jerome's sneakers, and his attempts to prove Julien's involvement leads to him being arrested, fired, losing his new girlfriend, then get attacked and left looking mentally unbalanced to everyone around him, while those who do know the truth have to let him think he's insane to protect him from what's really happening (and YMMV on whether that's justified).
It gets even worse for him in the second season. Vaughn extorts him (via information about the Meat Cute massacre and threats to Liv) into hunting down and killing zombies. His despair over this drives him into Utopium addiction and worse (he fucked Rita, for god's sake), then to top it all off the cure he takes wears off turning him back into a zombie
And then came season 3, which started off promisingly with him joining Fillmore Graves' army and fitting in quite well. He then turns human using Ravi's third cure, which wipes his memories albeit temporarily. He then falls in love with a girl who is bragging about her adventures with the Chaos Killer. This outs him as human to Chase, resulting in him being kicked out of Fillmore Graves. Luckily he reunites with the zombie call girl Natalie (now human again), only for him to lose her and many of his colleagues in a suicide bomb attack at his going away party. Reaching his Despair Event Horizon again, he convinces Chase to turn him back into a zombie and rejoins FG.
In Season 4, Major graduates to Jerk Ass Woobie territory; he's now part of what's essentially a military dictatorship, and as a result he often takes part in some pretty shocking abuses of power and even engages in war crimes, such as kidnapping a general's daughter in order to ensure that he'll cooperate with Fillmore Graves instead of nuking Seattle, to shooting up the offices of a small newspaper to shut down the press for spreading critical stories (even embracing the 'Chaos Killer' moniker he tried to leave behind). However, he's doing this because, as part of FG (who are forced to engage in Cruel to Be KindNecessary Evil acts to keep New Seattle from breaking down) he has to and is clearly troubled by it, never mind that its destroyed his relationship with Liv and others. While what he's doing is horrible, its hard not to pity him when you look back at everything else he's been through.
Clive becomes one in season 4, as he is deeply in love with Bozzio, but can't be with her because he's human and she's a zombie. He's willing to make sacrifices to help their relationship work, but every attempt he makes just makes his situation worse. Fortunately At the end he is willing to become a zombie to be with Bozzio, but Liv gives Bozzio the antidote so they can be human together instead.