I just finished watching Dead to Me Season 2 on Netflix.
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For all those of you who don’t know about this show, it tells the story of an unlikely friendship between tough and distraught Jen Harding and sweet and obliging Judy, who meet each other after the passing of Jen’s husband.
FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T YET WATCHED DEAD TO ME SEASON 2, THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE HAS MAJOR SPOILERS.
Grab all your bottles of wine, because this show will have you craving for that crimson drink in no time.
Tumultuous, thrilling, and titillating.
These are the three words I would like to use to describe the second season of Dead to Me.
Like all good shows that eventually become a part of who we are, Dead To Me continues to operate within the same bubble of Laguna. I believe all shows that eventually make a home in your heart always revolve around the same location, people, and themes without too many new elements coming in the way. Think of the Office, Friends, Big Bang Theory, etc.
The first and major twist in the second season was the role reversal between Jen and Judy played by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. This time Jen is the one who commits the crime and Judy the one who has to deal with her actions.
Liz Feldman, the writer of this precarious show, carefully threads the line between a soap drama and a dramedy and quite admirably manages to make a season two that is well worth the audience’s time.
There are a few issues that I personally felt while watching the show:
Cementing of the friendship
What I personally loved about Jen and Judy’s friendship in the first season was how their characters weren’t too steeped in the cookie-cutter girlfriend relationships shown on most television shows and films. You know the ones that alternate between the archetypal woo girl and the nerd meets party girl combos.
I don’t’ know if they got a review that Jen was too mean to Judy in the first season, but the multiple I love yous and you are my persons in the middle of getting rid of a dead body didn’t sit well with me. I mean the officer points out at the end that no one forgives someone who has admitted to murdering their husband so quickly and completely, and I couldn’t agree more.
And a friendship built on lies, secrets and just outright blame could be deemed to be toxic and bordering sociopathic tendencies, but I guess it is also kind of cathartic? Befriending the person who killed the love of your life? Right, that seems plausible.
But their unlikely friendship seems to work.
Call it foreshadowing or just bad writing
This season was just way too predictable. Every single part from the who was going to sleep with whom, who was going to help them after Jen confesses, the significance of the street cam, everything was too obvious. Either the screen or the script focused on a character or object for too long, allowing any active audience member to guess what would happen next.
Let me give you an example. Do you remember the scene in the car with the police officer in charge of investigating the missing case?
It felt like they were just trying to fill in the minutes by showing Jen’s emotions and the officer’s emotions. It made it so obvious that she was going to let her go. That scene would have been more impactful if she had just dropped her off right after she told her the story about her mother.
I love a good crime story, but what I despise is predictability.
My Honest Review of Dead to Me Season 2
The first season had more crisp storylines and fast panning shots that kept the audience guessing and anticipating alongside the characters rather than waiting for their predictions to play out on the screen.
Jen falling for Benjamin, a chiropractor with a sunny disposition and a tendency to make bad jokes, who also happens to be Steve’s brother, was sweet, sad, and kind of disturbing. The horror of falling for the brother of the man you just killed was captured by Applegate quite remarkably.
Jen Harding’s breakdowns, tempers, and character development from a raging widow to a passionate friend and strong mother was another saving point of the script.
And I honestly felt so happy for Karen, Jen’s overexcited and desperate next-door neighbor, as she finally got what she wanted – for Jen to talk and drink with her, albeit for all the wrong reasons.
Charlie Harding, Jen’s oldest son also gets more screen time in this season and his growth from a grieving temperamental teenage son who has just lost his father to a proactive, caring son and an older brother was heartwarming to see.
The ending came back full circle and leaves the audience wanting more. It’s clear that Jen and Judy are not yet out of the woods and I can’t wait to see what is in store for them next.
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