Major spoilers below for the finale of Dead to Me Season 2.
Considering how delectably binge-able Dead to Me's first season was, the Netflix dramedy had quite a reputation to live up to with Season 2. Thankfully, creator Liz Feldman pulled it off, giving stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini many more stress-inducing situations for Jen and Judy to deal with without getting arrested, killed or losing each other as friends. Two of the biggest surprises occurred in the season finale, "Where Do We Go From Here," which provided an interesting set-up for a third season, if Netflix chooses to order it.
Thankfully, Liz Feldman has revealed the thought process that went into those two bombshell twists, which we're going to go over below. No, that doesn't include an explanation for why Jen would want to give Charlie a new car as a gift, considering Charlie is a moron who exclusively makes wrong decisions. But let's dive into what Feldman did talk about.
Why Perez Decided To Let Jen Go
Dead to Me's Season 2 finale followed the previous ep's bonkers cliffhanger, in which Jen left confessional letters for her sons and Judy, with the goal of coming clean about Steve's murder. But Jen couldn't find his buried remains, and as Perez was seemingly driving Jen to the police station, they had a conversation about motherhood, and about each having lost their family matriarchs at a young age. That convo, combined with Steve's criminal acts coming to light, inspired Perez to bafflingly let Jen keep her freedom.
Creator Liz Feldman told THR that the creative team wanted to give star Diana Maria Riva more to do with Perez by adding dimensions to her story in Season 2, which really broke open at the end of Episode 6 when it's revealed she's the ex-girlfriend and roommate of Judy's new romantic partner Michelle (as played by the always enjoyable Natalie Morales). That push, combined with the season's focus on motherhood in general, inspired Perez's late-game decision. In Feldman's words:
From a general plot standpoint, it does seem kind of ridiculous that Perez would choose to illegally affect a major case that has at times been the bane of her existence. But from a character perspective, Diana Maria Riva is indeed convincing enough to make the case that she so strongly wouldn't want Jen's sons to grow up with an incarcerated mother. Even after knowing about Charlie's idiotic joy ride in Steve's car, which really speaks to the depth of Perez's empathy.
Why The Finale Ended With Jen And Ben's Hit-And-Run
By and large, Dead to Me wrapped up the majority of its plot threads by the end of Season 2: the police discovered Steve's body and his money-laundering connections to the Greek mafia, Jen and Judy were (seemingly) free from criminal punishment, and Jen's successful stop-sign mission resulted in a new sign erected near her home. Unfortunately, all of the above good news actually culminated in a disaster, with a depressed and drunken Ben ramming into Jen and Judy at the stop sign's intersection, and then driving away from it.
With Jen and Judy in a new vehicle meant for Charlie, Ben didn't recognize them enough to check on them, although it's not necessarily clear that he would have done that anyway. After all, Ben's impulsive actions directly reflected those of Steve whenever he convinced Judy to drive away after hitting Jen's husband Ted. Understandably, creator Liz Feldman was interested in bringing the story back around poetically in such a way. Here's how she put it:
It speaks to the strength of that karma-strong twist that Liz Feldman and Co. apparently had a while to mull over the over hit-and-run ending while trying to conceive other ways for Dead to Me to fittingly close out its second chapter. In the end, though, it seems no other ideas could top the cyclical accident, which really turned Ben from a jovial good guy into a semi-monster. And as far as I'm concerned, the finale would serve as a proper end to the series as a whole if Netflix chooses not to go forward with a Season 3 renewal.
Of course, even though Christina Applegate's Jen was heard talking in the final moments, that doesn't necessarily mean everything will be hunky dory in the character's future. Without exactly confirming anything, here's how Liz Feldman responded when asked if Jen was technically okay:
Not an update that will immediately warm anyone's hearts, that's for sure. As well, Liz Feldman teased that the discovery of Steve's body could indeed create more havoc in Jen and Judy's lives, as injured as they may be. Whatever happens, Jen needs to survive long enough for Christina Applegate to share a scene with Season 2's surprise guest star Katey Sagal, who played Judy's mother here, and played Applegate's mom for eleven years on Married with Children (and hopefully more in the future). Sure, Jen should survive for other reasons, but that one is key!
Dead to Me Seasons 1-2 are available to stream in full on Netflix. To see what else is hitting the streaming service soon, head to our May 2020 rundown, and then bookmark our Summer 2020 TV schedule to see everything that's hitting the small screen in the coming months.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.