I think Christina Applegate has finally found the perfect starring vehicle for her talents. Dead To Me is a delightful dark comedy that tackles some weighty themes while deploying a pair of truly brilliant performances.
The story of two women who come together as they grieve some traumatizing losses, Netflix’s newest offering is packed with unexpected twists and bombshell cliffhangers that do a clever job of keeping the show fresh. Of course all the mysteries in the world mean nothing without well-written characters, and both Applegate and Linda Cardellini are up to the task. Their Jen and Judy are complex multi-dimensional women who are so engrossing to watch as they navigate some life-changing developments. Most importantly, their bond is believable and heartwarming, thanks to sharp writing and hilarious banter at every turn.
Yes Dead To Me is morbidly funny when it wants to be, but also equally gut-wrenching when the moment calls for it. Applegate brings Jen’s grief to life in some harrowing moments that are impeccably realized, and will certainly hit close to home if you’ve ever endured a tragic loss. The supporting cast is also quite formidable with Valerie Mahaffey delivering a strong turn as Jen’s exhausting mother-in-law Lorna, and James Marsden as Judy’s duplicitous ex-fiancé Steve.
SPOILER SECTION: SKIP IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE FINALE.
The season finale goes to some pretty dark places in those final moments with Jen presumably killing Steve and calling Judy for help. It’s a shocking turn of events, but it also makes sense in the show’s world. After all, how else could the writers ever make Judy and Jen’s friendship believable again after the former’s hit-and-run is revealed? There’s also the possibility that Netflix doesn’t renew the show which would bring the narrative to a somewhat full-circle ending. Either way, it’s certainly an intriguing bookend to the season. You can’t say this show doesn’t take risks!
SPOILER SECTION OVER.
A deeply moving and often hysterical series fueled by unforgettable performances. Few shows can tackle grief in such a thoughtful and effective manner. A must-watch!