From the time Dead to Me dropped on Netflix, it was obvious that Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini’s dark comedy had the fanfare to make it to a second season, but Netflix is fickle sometimes. The perfectly wrapped up 10-episode Season One followed Jen (Applegate) through the grief of her husband’s untimely death. Of course, it wouldn’t be the hit it is without the mystery of Cardellini’s Judy, a free spirit who just happens to be in the same grief group as Jen. But after five hours of twists and turns and one hell of a cliffhanger, there’s some good news: Netflix might be vicious, but it also realizes when it has a hit on its hands.
The streaming platform announced in early June that a Season Two is on the horizon. No official word on when Season Two will drop to clear up that big murder mystery, but for now, here’s what we know.
What do we know about Season Two?
Creator and showrunner Liz Feldman announced at a panel in early June that the series would be returning for a Season Two, with Applegate and Cardellini reprising their roles as Jen and Judy. Feldman will also be returning as showrunner. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Feldman explained that Season Two would continue to build on this insane (and unfortunate?) friendship between Jen and Judy, “What I wanted to do was create a situation where they’re forced together, and they need each other now in some ways more than they did at the beginning of season 1.”
Feldman also hinted to The Hollywood Reporter in May that just because Jen looks like she was on the trigger end of the gun in the Season Two finale, it doesn’t mean that she necessarily did the work. In an imagined Season Two, she says, “There’s an evening of the score and there’s a rebalancing that will take place and almost, in some ways, a role reversal.”
As for the technical side, the producers behind the series are Will Ferrell and Adam McKay who have worked together on films like Step Brothers and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. The two recently made the decision to part ways professionally after years of working together. The decision was announced before Dead to Me even dropped on Netflix, though Deadline reported that the two would likely see through existing projects together. Turns out that the project should remain under their guidance.
But should there be?
As tempting as it is to say yes, there’s a strong argument against it. What works so well in Season One is the layered, underlying sense of grief, manifested in the death of Jen’s husband and the double-hit of Judy’s miscarriages/guilt for being the driver in the hit and run. That’s a very specific narrative with a believable through line.
While it’s possible to recreate a new narrative (the season finale almost certainly suggests a role reversal for Season Two), it would lack the original freshness of the first season. The series is chock full of mysteries to solve though. We know next to nothing about Jen’s double mastectomy, the assisted living center, the paintings Jen works on, and the marital issues at play in Jen’s former marriage. There’s also big question marks around Nick’s backstory and Jen’s mother-in-law Lorna’s recently discovered pill issue.
But most obviously—who pulled the trigger on Steve? Sure, the obvious choice is Jen, but when a show withholds the scene where one person kills another, it’s likely for a good reason. Is there a possibility that someone else did the big deed?
All of that sounds like perfectly good fodder for a second season. Now we just have to wait to see what Netflix and Feldman do with it. It’s a tricky task because Dead to Me does a perfectly fine job at setting up a web of grief, exploring it, and then ripping it wide open. That’s right in line with what the show is about, because if anything is clear after 10 episodes of Applegate and Cardellini’s newest comedy, it’s that life is prepped and ready to screw you over and leave you hanging.