When it comes to unique television shows, it’s always a gamble as to whether or not the second season will be as good as the first. There are a lot of instances where the first season of a show is immaculate, followed by several seasons of misguided plotlines in an attempt to capitalize on a great idea (see any Ryan Murphy show that exists).
This was especially relevant after the bombshell first season of Netflix’s Dead To Me, which brought an interesting plot full of twists and turns and a cliffhanger season ending that had fans begging for the next season. Season two not only met expectations, but surpassed them by leaving audiences with another cliffhanger just begging for season three.
The first season ended with Jen (Christina Applegate) finding out that Judy (Linda Cardellini) and her husband, Steve (James Marsden), were responsible for her husband’s death. Then, after a confrontation at Jen’s home, Jen killed Steve and called Judy for help.
Season two follows the aftermath of Steve’s death, as Judy and Jen try to stay inconspicuous while navigating a new “normal” after murdering someone. This becomes especially complicated when the FBI starts investigating Steve for money laundering, and Steve’s twin brother, Ben (Marsden), assists in finding Steve’s killer while wedging his way into Jen’s life.
The biggest issue with season two was Steve’s twin storyline. Twin storylines hardly ever work in television, especially when the purpose is to keep someone on the show after their death. If they wanted Steve to have a twin, it should’ve been established in season one that Ben existed.
However, the rest of the plot was quite interesting and brought a lot of high-stake situations with no certainty of an outcome.
As seen in season one, the cast of the show is superb. Applegate and Cardellini are a force to be reckoned with, individually bringing endless amounts of depth and passion to their roles and playing off each other perfectly by exemplifying the complications of such a close friendship like theirs, which is constantly under high-pressure situations.
But the shining star of season two has to be Marsden in his performance as Ben. The audience spent the entirety of season one watching Marsden play the corrupted, inconsiderate, slimy Steve, who was the clear villain of the story. Now, Marsden gets to completely play the opposite of Steve with his twin brother, Ben, who is just an average man that’s struggling with the loss of his brother while trying to go about his life. It’s fun to watch his range as he steps into a new and polar opposite role.
The addition of the new characters also adds a nice change of pace to the show. First is Judy’s new love interest, Michelle, who is portrayed by the tough and hilarious Natalie Morales. Next is Steve and Ben’s mother, Eileen, who is portrayed by the incomparable Frances Conroy. The final addition is Judy’s mom, Eleanor, portrayed by the spark plug that is Katey Sagal. Each addition brings a new complicated relationship to tie into the web of pre-existing complications throughout Dead To Me.
Part of what makes the show so compelling is the relatability factor. These are real people going through real life issues, all while dealing with outlandish situations. It’s true, but they’re still events that could happen. It all boils down to watching people struggle with whether or not they should follow the rules or pursue what’s in the best interest for them and the ones they love.
Season two of Dead To Me is just as compelling and binge-worthy as season one and leaves audiences thrilled for season three.