Spoilers for season one!
Last year’s Dead To Me was an absolute hit. Netflix’s answer to Killing Eve, we saw Jen and Judy go through – well – a bunch of crap, really. After Judy killed Steve and hid his body in a rather conveniently large-enough freezer, season two picks up with rats, shouting and a lot of wine. I mean – a lot of wine.
I was a big, big fan of season one. I loved the dynamic between Jen and Judy, the dark comedy – even when I told myself I’d watch one episode, there’d be a mammoth cliff-hanger and I’d have to carry on. So, I had high hopes for season two. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if they’ve been met. Netflix isn’t dead to me just yet, though.
The first three episodes, the amount I’d probably say is fair enough chance to allow a series to grab your attention (with each being thirty minutes) before you’d probably give up on it, are slow. Like dragging slow. Like they keep making Jen have flashbacks to killing Steve, even though we already know she did it and is still working through her emotions – kind of slow. Major reveals to push the plot forward are stuck on at the end and don’t feel natural at all. One in particular at the end of episode two is almost too good to be true, given it introduces a totally new character that it just so happens everyone forgot to mention in season one. Again, how convenient.
Repeating scenes for emotional beats does get boring after a while
Where season one genuinely did feel like we were exploring Jen and Judy’s lives and connections, season two feels like a flat rollercoaster that drops you right at the end. The only time I was really invested in them again was at the end of an episode, when another major plot point would drop. It was hard to really root for them when half the time was either spent crying or seeing Jen down a bottle of wine (you could probably make a drinking game out of season two if I’m honest). Yes we know they are both struggling with how to deal with the situation, we know Perez doesn’t like Judy – so show us something new! Show us how they’re going to deal with it, how they’ll hide it from the kids. Repeating scenes for emotional beats does get boring after a while, and I’d be lying if I didn’t want to scream “We get the point!” at the telly.
Season two does have its saving graces though. Officer Perez is a much more developed character (who I now really want a spin-off season/episode of, please and thank you), whilst Judy’s female love interest is really great to see, and have some very wholesome scenes together. Both Christina Applegate (Jen) and Linda Cardellini (Judy) are as good, if not even better, this season – but Cardellini is especially amazing for developing Judy as much as she has. The easy-going, loveable character we saw in season one is more at conflict with herself now. Her break-downs and moments of suffering are rare, but that’s what makes them so much more effective. When Judy can’t stop crying, then you know something is really wrong.
My problem isn’t with the actors, it’s with the plot. I know the whole premise might be a bit bizarre anyway – but it just doesn’t flow as well as it did before. Whilst the finale has massive set-ups for a possible third season, I would have been happy to leave the show dead and buried after season two.
Last modified: 31st May 2020