Season 2 of the Netflix original dramedy Dead to Me wastes no time jumping right back into the messy lives of our favorite problematic besties, Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini). The show’s debut season in 2019 was a surprise hit, with a cliffhanger that left viewers immediately clamoring for more. But what sets Season 2 apart is how it isn’t simply more of the same endless web of lies, cover-ups, and moral goalposts—instead, viewers get a deeper look into the why. Through sharp, punchy dialogue and effortless plot progression, series creator Liz Feldman and her writers disperse some crucial insight into our leading ladies’ respective pasts. In a show where morality operates on somewhat of a sliding scale, we’re invited to look deeper into the motivations behind each character’s actions.
The duo’s already unbelievably complicated friendship is further tested as they come face to face with their inner demons. As Feldman supports, Season 2 seeks to answer the burning question of “can a friendship built on lies succeed?” There’s no more hiding from the tragic events that have bonded them, and as they struggle to pick up the pieces from life’s latest landmine, new relationships and revelations jeopardize everything.
Jen and Judy are forced to navigate an emotional rollercoaster that would have anyone sobbing into their pudding cups and raging out to metal in their cars. But this time around, it’s Jen that feels the enormous weight of a sinister lie which leaves her friendship, and her family’s future hanging in the balance; the added pressure of having to conceal yet another traumatic secret from both her kids and outsiders proves too much for Jen to bear.
Dead to Me’s ongoing theme of motherhood is further fleshed out in Season 2. While Season 1 focused on Judy mourning her inability to bring a pregnancy to term, this time we see Jen struggling to reconcile how to be a “good mother” to her children in spite of her mounting string of deceptions. We also see the lasting effects of the complicated feelings she still harbors regarding her own mother’s untimely passing, while gaining a better understanding of Judy’s relationship with her estranged mother (GOAT character actor Katey Sagal).
New characters—namely Michelle (Natalie Morales), and Ben (the shockingly revealed twin brother of Steve, played by James Marsden)—become entangled in the sticky web of Jen and Judy’s lies, complicating things even further. Nosy neighbors, suspicious cops, and unexpected love interests pose a constant threat to any attempt at rebuilding their lives.
In retrospect, Season 1 was the set-up for the perfect swing that Season 2 knocks out of the park. Excellent pacing, a good balance of suspense, and hilarious moments that reference current culture without being cringey make this one a must-watch. Not to mention performances from Applegate and Cardellini that somehow raise the bar even higher from last season. Grab your orange wine (and probably a box of tissues) and stream all 10 episodes now on Netflix.