Synopsis: Picking up in the aftermath of that bloody backyard reveal, the irrepressible pair once again struggle to keep their secrets buried. With a surprising new visitor in town and Detective Perez (Diana Maria Riva) hot on their heels, Jen and Judy take drastic measures to protect their loved ones and each other — no matter the cost.
Format: 10 episodes, streaming on Netflix, Friday, May 8th.
Cast: Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden, Natalie Morales, Max Jenkins, Sam McCarthy, Luke Roessler
Directors: Liza Johnson (1,2), Tamara Davis (3,4), Elizabeth Allen Bosenabum (5,6), Jennifer Getzinger (7,8), Silver Tree (9,10)
Writers: Liz Feldman (1,7,8,9,10), Elizabeth Benjamin (2), Cara DiPaolo (3,10), Jessi Klein (4), Celeste Hughey (6)
Kelly Hutchinson (5,9, executive story editor)
The first season of Dead to Me was a surprise hit early in 2019. Its mix of dark comedy and serious dramatic themes made for utterly bingable television. Now, the series is back for a second season and continuing on from a massive cliffhanger at the end of the previous season. Worry not, I will be dodging spoilers, but yes, there will be many surprises in store for you this season.
Steve is dead. How exactly he died is one of the many questions left lingering in the season one finale and one that the second season is in no rush to answer. Instead, the focus is primarily on how Jen deals with the death of her ex and what it does to her relationship with Judy. A relationship that was, as far as everyone was concerned, done.
The first season spent a lot of time dealing with and overcoming the past. The past actions of Steve and Judy. The ramifications of losing a husband and a father. How do you move past such a loss? How do you move forward? The second season spends time dwelling in the actions that led to Steve’s death, but for the most part, this season is about moving forward and trying to find a new beginning. It’s as funny as the first season, yet equally nuanced in how it tackles the more dramatic and serious themes of the show.
Judy has very mixed feelings about Steve’s death. On one hand, he was a horrible, manipulative person who caused the death of Jen’s husband. On the other, he was the man she loved. And once again with the amazing Linda Cardellini playing Judy, you have this nuanced performance from a character who often is playing a part or putting on an act. Which is something she managed to do for most of the first season, she pretended to be okay, she pretended not to know who Jen was and she dug herself into an awful position. But with a combination of flashback scenes with Steve and Judy, you can start to believe their love was once there in one way or another. Even if Steve was a horrible person, there were times he did make Judy feel loved.
Christina Applegate is a powerhouse working her way through every scene as Jen once again this season. The amount of gif-able zingers she gets this season is more than many characters gets in much longer running comedy shows. Her family dynamic is pushed this season from different angles including the growing problem of dealing with a teenage son. Watching her deal with the constantly falling Jenga blocks of life makes for a much more hectic experience than the Jen dealing with loss in the first season. In fact, the roles are kinda reversed this season between the two women.
With so much to dive into with the characters, we already have in the show it was a smart choice not to suddenly add a bunch of new ones. However, there is one main new cast member. Natalie Morales is introduced as Michelle. She arrives early in the season as she moves her mother into the nursing home where Judy works. Michelle’s mother isn’t too happy to be moving into the home however and Judy helps calm the situation. The two strike up a friendship following this and it builds throughout the season. Michelle is into crystals, smoking weed and gorging on large orders of burritos. She’s very much not Jen and makes a great addition to the cast.