Netflix’s twisty, ten-episode thriller dramedy Dead To Me was released a few weeks ago, and it’s already the top streaming series on Netflix in the UK. While we don’t know for sure if it’s as popular in America because Netflix doesn’t provide those numbers, it’s a safe bet that it is, and therefore will likely merit a second season. It’s a good thing to, because the first season ends on a doozy of a cliffhanger.
There will be spoilers to follow.
At the end of the first season finale, we see Steve (James Marsden) — who shows up unexpectedly in Jen’s (Christina Applegate) backyard — confess that he was in the car with Judy (Linda Cardellini) when she accidentally ran over and killed Jen’s husband, Ted. An argument ensues, in which Jen finds herself defending her best friend, Judy, while Steve angrily demands to know where Judy is. Jen pulls a gun on Steve, before we switch to another scene where Judy — grief-stricken and guilty over having killed Ted and losing Jen’s friendship — steps out in front of a car in the same location where she’d run over Ted. The car, however, stops short of running over Judy, at which point Judy receives a phone call from Jen telling Judy “to come home.” When Judy arrives back at Jen’s place, we find Steve dead and face down in Jen’s pool.
The obvious implication is that Jen shot and killed Steve, as she had threatened to do earlier in the episode to Judy if she ever showed up at Jen’s house again. After all, Steve was threatening Jen, and Jen was holding a gun to his face. It would make for an interesting starting point in season two if Judy had to help Jen cover up a murder, as Steve had helped Judy cover up her hit and run.
But I’m not so sure it’s that obvious or easy. There are other plausible scenarios, each of which would offer a good starting point for season two.
For instance, the shooter could have been Jen’s older son, Charlie, who previously had a gun in his backpack. It’s possible that he came into possession of another gun (we don’t know what all the deceased Ted had in the guest house) and shot Steve in order to protect his mother. It would put Jen in a similar situation in season two, needing to protect her own son from a homicide charge. Likewise, though it is less likely, Jen’s younger son, Henry, also could’ve come into possession of a gun and killed Steve by accident, prompting Jen to commit to the same cover-up scheme.
It could also be Nick, the former detective who doesn’t otherwise appear in the final episode. He could have stopped in to check on Jen, only to find she was in danger. He could’ve used the gun he confiscated from Charlie — or he could’ve been returning it, for all we know — to shoot Steve. Had he done so, and left — traumatized over another gun death after losing his partner to a gun — Jen might be put into the unenviable position of trying to explain to cops that someone else used her son’s gun to kill Steve.
Recall, also, that Jen had drinks with her neighbor Karen earlier in the night, who admitted she has “an adorable pistol” that she got for Christmas. She could’ve overheard the ruckus and returned with her gun. Karen also told Jen that it was legal to shoot anyone who refused to leave her home after being asked. Jen did ask Steven. “You need to leave my house right now. I want you to leave my house.” Karen could’ve overheard that and felt justified in killing Steve (why she’d leave, I don’t know).
Finally, and here’s who I think it may be if it’s not Jen: Stavros, the man with whom Steve was on the phone earlier in the episode. Recall that Steve is a money launderer, Judy took his money, and the reason Steve was freaking out in the first place was because he desperately needed that money back, probably to avoid being killed by his clients, Stavros (or one of his henchman). In either respect, Stavros is likely to play a role in season two, because with Steve dead, Stavros is probably still going to watch to collect his money and will probably pursue Judy for it.
Also, one last note: Steve was not necessarily shot. Recall that Jen was holding the gun point blank to Steve’s face. There is no entry wound anywhere pictured on the front of Steve’s body. He could have been hit by Charlie (or Henry) with something from the backside and he could’ve fallen in the pool and drowned.
We’ll find out, presumably, when Dead to Me returns in 2020.
Header Image Source: Netflix