Netflix premieres too many series. Maybe if we only saw their releases, things would be different, but there are too many “players” in the universe of audiovisual fiction to choose that solution. For this reason, there are Netflix titles that end up going unnoticed to a certain extent and it gives me the feeling that this is what happened last year with ‘Dead to Me’, a stimulating series starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini.
It is clear that it was not so unnoticed when Netflix renewed it for a second season – premiered on Friday, May 8-, but it was talked about less than what the series deserved and it was very rare to see it in any of the best lists of the year. For my part, I think he didn’t deserve it either, despite his undoubted virtues, but ‘Dead to Me’ has taken a step forward in this second round of episodes that brings her closer to greatness, although not yet reaching it.
Watch out for spoilers from here, though I’ve tried to keep them to a minimum.
Dealing with the consequences
The first season was dismissed with the great blow of effect of Steve’s death at the hands of Jen, without forgetting the detail that Judy was about to commit suicide. Come on, that the return to normality in this second season seemed like nothing less than impossible, since the two protagonists were going to have to deal with the consequences of what happened, both psychological because of the traumatic of what happened and the danger of be discovered by the police.
The start of the season focuses above all on the first, with the friendship of Judy and Jen put to the test once more until everything goes back – at the end Jen can only talk to Judy about what happened and that is something she needs not to fall apart definitively-, or at least that seems initially, because Liz Feldman, creator and showrunner of the series, soon recovers her ability for the cliffhanger completely altering the role of one of the actors in the series.
It is striking that this happens at the end of the first episode, because it is undoubtedly one of the great surprises of this second season and he marries the whole game, both in interpretive terms for the person in question and for the way he alters dramatically to the two protagonists.
And it is still a very risky destabilizing factor, since the credibility of ‘Dead to Me’ could have quickly collapsed, but Feldman seems aware of both its dangers and what it can give the series and knows how handle it wisely. Don’t expect something revolutionary either, but it is well integrated and one soon leaves out the narrative trick.
In addition, it is worth highlighting the arrival in the series of Natalie Morales and how her character has more than one role, the fear she initially had. On the one hand, Michelle is there so that Judy can see the light at the end of the road, that there really is the possibility of being happy again beyond that somewhat dependent friendship that she has with Jen, but it soon takes a complication that she has other ramifications in the series.
This allows the series to raise interest when the action is not focused on Judy and Jen together. When they broke up, I’m not going to say that the first season suffered, but it was less interesting in every way. That doesn’t happen in the second season, as it works even when he focuses on impossible role situations like Judy giving Jen’s son advice about his sex life.
Of course, the best of ‘Dead to Me’ are still its two protagonists, starting with the undeniable chemistry between the two as well as what they contribute separately. The awards have focused on recognizing the work of Applegate, the great dramatic support, but Cardellini’s performance has nothing to envy with a character who goes through so many ups and downs even within the same episode, embroidering it on all occasions.
For putting a but to this second season, I think that curiously the cliffhanger with which he says goodbye may be the one with the least desire to stop me from watching the next episode of ‘Dead to Me’. It has strength, undoubtedly, especially for the characters involved, but it does not give the feeling of being as important as the first, nor does it seem to leave the protagonists in such a dramatic situation due to all the information given to us.
‘Dead to Me’ is confirmed in its second season on Netflix as a series to consider. It is still supported mainly by the work of its two protagonists, but it has polished its weakest point and is now a more compact series. Hopefully we’ll see a third one and it won’t take too long to arrive.