Review: Dead To Me Season 2 Thrives In Its Messy And Emotional Dark Humour
Dead To Me season 2 is the latest installment of a Netflix dark comedy that works wonderfully. The original series featuring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini is a hot mess and works that much more because of it. Season 2 of the show initially centers around a hit-and-run accident but evolves into much more. The new season offers stories about happiness, dealing with grief, friendships, and parenting. Dead To Me season 2 is a total gem and a show that keeps giving.
Netflix’s Dead To Me Season 1 Saw Some Complicated Characters
Image via Netflix.
Please note that spoilers ahead for season 1 of Dead To Me. You’ve been warned.
Dead To Me starts with Jen Harding (Christina Applegate), a grieving widow, and a current single mother of two boys. With her husband dying recently as part of a hit and run, Jen is having a hard time moving on with life. Especially because the police have yet to find the driver who killed her husband. As a means of coping, she reluctantly attends a group grief counselling session which, doesn’t help at all. However, at the session, she meets a quirky woman who aggressively befriends Jen.
The oddball Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini) and Jen start hanging out together. While Jen is a practical, angry, and outspoken real estate agent, Judy is a spiritual and realistic artist who sees the good in everyone. As their friendship starts to heal some wounds for Jen, she’s unaware that Judy is the one responsible for her husband’s death. This massive twist is what season 1 revolves around. While the series is only ten episodes per season, it’s built to be a binge-watch, with every episode ending on a cliffhanger. The Netflix original series is riveting, thrilling, tragic, and utterly moving at times. And its thought-provoking portrayal of female friendships, is unlike any other series with two female leads.
Dead To Me Season 2 Keeps Accelerating The Story In New Ways
Image via Netflix.
At one point of season 1 of Dead To Me, it feels like there’s nowhere to go from here, given the story and the set-up at that moment. But season 2 gets past that dilemma in a very satisfying way. The second season is just as good as the first, as the women now have a shared secret. Jen can relate to Judy’s guilt in a way that no one else can. And while that brings the women together, there’s also a lot to keep them apart.
The two women end up being each other’s support during their respective difficulties in life. While at the same time, Judy’s secret is barelling into much more, seeing how the police are still looking for Jen’s husband’s killer. While Jen harbours a secret of her own about her relationship with him. Not to mention Judy’s dark past and tragic backstory during season 1. These sub plots continue into season 2 in satisfying and heartbreaking ways. I can’t get into details, for spoiler reasons, but it’s worth a watch. The second season is currently at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Two Female Leads Work With One Another, Rather Than Against
Created by Liz Feldman, Dead To Me never resorts to cheap and predictable conflict to keep the tension going. Most of the story has the two lead characters working together, rather than against each other. While there are many opportunities for conflicts between Jen and Judy, the show never goes down those roads. There’s plenty of times when jealousy, anger or their secrets could tear them apart, and a lesser show would revolve the story around those beats. But Dead To Me finds ways to create drama, tension, and humor in ways that aren’t easy or predictable. Especially drama that we haven’t seen repeatedly in various media.
The Netflix original also works as an amazing testament to how characters can be different, but still fulfill each other in a friendship. The depictions of each of their characters , doesn’t take away from the other. Many other series or movies have objectively good people in friendships with objectively bad people, but they don’t ever address how that’s possible. It’s never acknowledged how those opposing character archetypes can exist within that dynamic. And in those cases, we start judging and questioning the character development of each because of it.
For example: why would a single philanderer be friends with a family man? Similarly, why would someone with kids expose them to a person who unapologetically objectifies women? But in Dead To Me, Feldman creates a narrative where Jen and Judy are both good people with drastically different personalities. People who are able to respect each other’s differences, while still speaking their minds. It’s understandable to see why they’re friends and how the dynamic works. It’s wonderful to watch, and only one aspect of how good this show really is.
The Cast Of Dead To Me Is Impeccable
Dead To Me Season 2 is a shockingly good watch, while also being outrageously funny and then super sad. The writers are able to handle those varying tones in an exceptional manner. And the cast performs those moments even better. While we all knew that Christina Applegate was a great actress, this series gives her a spotlight to shine. Applegate’s bitter and struggling Jen who could care less what others think go her is so very real. Same with Linda Cardellini, who has only had brief moments of visibility in the Marvel Studios’ Avengers movies, is a stand out here. She plays totally against her previous roles as a quirky and damaged woman who still finds the joy in life. Their pairing is delightful, and the best thing about the show.
Dead To Me Season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.
What did you think about Dead To Me’s second season? Let us know in the comments below.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.