For the most part, The Conners kicked off its fifth season with the majority of the characters on relatively happy grounds, thanks to the matrimonial bliss that closed out Season 4, and things are more or less still progressing on an even keel. Unfortunately, the dysfunctional status quo could take a dark and dreary turn following the sitcom’s Halloween festivities, as it sounds like ABC’s Wednesday night sitcoms might get hit with another character death following The Goldbergs’ handling of Murray’s passing via time jump.
The Conners is setting up a potentially worrisome storyline for Roseanne vet Estelle Parsons' Bev, Jackie and Roseanne’s ever-judgy mother, though it'll apparently be her surviving daughter dealing with the worries. And while I’ll freely admit this could just be offbase conjecture of the morbid variety, take a look at the episode description for The Conners’ upcoming Thanksgiving episode and tell me it doesn’t ring ominously for ol’ Bev.
- “Untitled” - It’s Thanksgiving at the Conners and Jackie must come to terms with her mother, Beverly, becoming ill. Meanwhile, Darlene is on the job hunt which proves to be more difficult than anticipated. (working episode description)
If Bev was suffering from a cold, a stomach virus, or even the flu, it wouldn’t be a fun ordeal, but probably wouldn’t spark a life-adjusting reaction from Jackie, who tends to take pleasure in her mother’s misery. (And understandably so.) But does anyone ever have to “come to terms” with another person “becoming ill” in a way that’s anything but terminal?
With Jackie having uprooted to move into Neville’s animal-tethered bubble after the big wedding, Laurie Metcalf’s character has been at home on an emotional edge, and it was only a matter of time until Bev once again factored into her neuroses. But to have Bev possibly facing a cancer diagnosis or something similar would affect her daughter’s headspace in a completely different way than usual, five years or so after Roseanne died via overdose.
All that said, things don’t have to end depressingly even if the November 16 episode does introduce something dour. If Bev does have cancer or some other life-threatening disease, it still doesn’t mean things will prove fatal. It could just be a shock to Jackie’s system that her mom is losing her independence to the health system, or something in that vein, without Bev necessarily standing at death’s door, nagging the Grim Reaper to open up.
The Conners already unofficially said goodbye to D.J., with Michael Fishman having departed ahead of the season’s start, being explained away as him being off visiting his wife, with Mary bouncing between houses in the meantime. But should fans be prepared to bid farewell to Bev this holiday season? It might all depend on whether or not Estelle Parsons will actually be brought back into the fold as a guest star for that and/or future episodes.
Just to throw it out there, showrunner Bruce Helford shared with TVLine in September that the Conners team was in the process of securing Estelle Parsons, saying there are “a couple of important episodes” that they have planned for Bev. So while it sounds like we definitely won’t have to worry about her being killed off in the episode referred to above, that sense of security may not last long. Here's hoping we hear some news about Parsons' return soon.
The Conners airs Wednesday nights on ABC ahead of new episodes of The Goldbergs, Abbott Elementary and Home Economics. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are destined to debut before the year’s end.
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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.