Dead to Me Season 2 Is Every Bit as Good as Season 1

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Let's just get this out in front. Dead to Me Season 2 is every bit as good as the first.

Whether you feel the same might come down to what interested you in the first season and your expectations for the second.

Dead to Me Season 1 found two women beginning a friendship with what could have been insurmountable issues lying between them. Their relationship is firmly established in the second season, and the will-they won't-they push and pull isn't what drives the narrative.

Grateful and Restrained Smiles - Dead to Me

Instead, the season thrives on the strength of that bond and its ability to grow even stronger under every new peculiar circumstance that comes between Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini).

And have no doubt, there are still a lot of wrinkles for the two friends to iron out, and every time they find their footing, the rug gets pulled out from under them.

Cautious at the Door - Dead to Me

But instead of worrying that anything could drive a sustainable wedge between them, we get to experience the difficulties of maintaining the bond of a friendship that is still relatively new but built around once-in-a-lifetime trauma.

Because anyone who watched the first season knows that lightning struck twice for Jen and Judy, and the tables turned from Judy's guilt over her involvement in Jen's husband's death to Jen grappling with her involvement in the death of Judy's former fiancé, Steve (James Marsden).

Showrunner Liz Feldman is familiar with great female opposites-attract friendships, as witnessed with her experience on Hot in Cleveland and Two Broke Girls. The friendship between Jen and Judy gets tested and stretched to the limits of believability.

Still, their connection is pure nonetheless, and their differences, although sometimes vast, are secondary to that connection, no matter how unfathomable it might be.

New characters arrive that help soften the continual blows Jen and Judy face as they try to pull themselves from the murky waters of their poor decisions, but as any good show would do, those new faces also introduce entirely different sets of challenges.

A Return from the Dead? - Dead to Me

James Marsden is back, but to tell you how would only ruin things for you, so I'm holding onto that nugget. Suffice it to say, you'll be surprised and highly entertained by his "return."

As their legal troubles continue, Diana-Maria Riva returns as Detective Perz, and Natalie Morales (who really should have another show of her own already) joins the cast as Michelle Gutierrez.

There are little subplots here and there that feature other characters in returns or additions, but the central focus is always on Jen and Judy,  and they carry the burden of the show.

And, frankly, there is so much to spoil in the new season that I'm not going to go into any specifics. There's no need when Applegate and Cardellini sell every moment as if it's a revelation. You're watching for what they bring to the table. Anything else is just icing.

New Face in Town - Dead to Me

Like Jen and Judy, the new season rarely slows down.  Just when you think someone might get the chance to appreciate a moment of calm, there is another storm battering down the door. It's so much fun.

If possible, Jen got even more sardonic between seasons, and she's up for throwing most anything at the wall to see if it sticks, damn the consequences. It's as if she knows that she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't, so caution often gets tossed into the wind.

Applegate relishes the absurdity of it, and she's practically glowing as Jen drops F-bombs (and worse?) on the regular, even in dealing with her kids. Every episode is laden with quotable and meme-worthy moments.

Thinking back on the season as a whole, especially when it comes to Jen's kids, it feels a little like the way Marty and Wendy Byrde deal with their kids on Ozark or the way Nancy Botwin's kids got sucked into her criminal orbit.

Time for a Drink - Dead to Me

The deeper into the muck that Jen and Judy get, the harder it is to keep the kids out of it, let alone safe.

Jen and Judy stumble into one misadventure after another that all circle back in some way, but they are also striving to return to their normal lives, which makes all of it more comical.

Jen is practically up to her eyeballs in misdeeds, but she slows down to rail against her community for its refusal to put up a stop sign on their street. That they won't address the danger is baffling to her.

It's as if she's taking the fight for her life to street safety because it's a fight she can control and an adversary she can face. Everything else going down isn't nearly as easy.

Toast to Friendship - Dead to Me

Plan on binge-watching the season in one sitting. You aren't going to want to walk away, and if there's anything we need now in the midst of a global pandemic, it's unadulterated fun.

I can assure you that Dead to Me delivers that and a mind-flowing finale that promises this team'll entertain us for some time to come.

Dead to Me Season 2 premieres on Netflix Friday, May 8.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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