Dead to Me (Netflix) Season 2 Recap: Dead to Me is returning on Netflix this Thursday to continue Jen and Judy’s complicated and topsy-turvy friendship. The first two seasons offered a balanced handling of nuanced characters and the impending blowup of the truth regarding the central murder that brings them together.
The most endearing aspect of Dead to Me was the presence of the former, who did not reveal themselves in a straightforward manner. Like the story, they too have layers and an entire spectrum of personalities that came out during these two seasons. Before you watch season 3, do read our recap of season 2 which will also include some context from season 1 explaining the origin of the story!
A Brief look back at Season 1
Judy struggled with losing her husband Ted. She became a single mother of two – Henry, the younger one, and Charlie, the elder. She frequented grief counseling groups and stumbled into Jen, a plain-looking sweet lady who claimed to have lost her husband Steve. But as it turns out, not only is Steve alive (and separated from her), the two are the real culprits behind Ted’s death. Jen and Judy come closer but luck is not kind to the former and her secret eventually falls into bad hands. Despite the truth coming out, Jen and Judy stick together, as the season ends with the inadvertent bashing of Steve by the former, leaving the two to deal with the dead body.
The Beginning of Season 2 – Jen & Judy reconcile, Steven’s twin arrives in town
The new season begins with a new task for the former best friends turned enemies. They must deal with Steve’s body after he is bludgeoned to death by Jen, as the viewers know but Judy does not. Her former husband and she did not end their relationship on the best terms and there is some amount of guilt Judy is entangled with. The two shared treacherous chemistry and it would not be wrong to say that it was toxic. Although every relationship has ups and downs, theirs went to ugly and dark extremes that are not healthy. If Karen’s camera catching Steve driving into Jen’s house was not enough, the females also had to deal with Ben, Steven’s twin.
Karen and Jen do not have a friendly equation, making her a key catalyst in this season. At least the piece of evidence that is in her possession (which she does not know of). When Ben visits to enquire, Judy and Jen decide to make up a lie about Steve that he absconded to Mexico after his business went bust and his crimes of money laundering came out. That was indeed a highlight of season 1 as the police was able to nab Steve. Strangely enough, Chief Howard Hastings did not take the revelation lightly and we will see why exactly.
The Dead Body Conundrum, A secret from Karen’s Life
After killing Steve, Jen tried to dispose of his body but was unsuccessful on many occasions. Temporarily, she had placed his body in a freezer in the garage and just about avoided the attention of the neighbors, Officer Perez, and the children. But one thing that they could not do was prevent the rats in the vicinity from sensing the body. It was a whole new trouble for Jen and Judy and they faced a challenge with the rodents. Rats are quite tenacious and strong and would have eaten into the dead body. That would be quite an unceremonious end to Steve and Judy presents her reservations about allowing the rats to do the deed. She still wants him to go with honor and Jen’s next solution is acid.
We have all seen characters in films and tv shows use acid to dissolve bodies. One of the most famous instances is from Breaking Bad but before Jen and Judy can blow a hole in their floor, they change their minds after seeing the effects it has on a rat. It is perhaps too inhumane for them to do it to another person. They choose the conventional way in the end and make an entire drive out to a national forest area to dispose of it.
From there on in, they try to get some normalcy back in their lives. They have been caught up in his drama for too long now and get a change with a weekend getaway while Lorna watches the kids. For a while, the change does them well. The lavish wedding in the faraway place puts enough distance for Jen and Judy to move away from their lives – even if it is for a day or two. But then, it all comes screaming back to them as they spot Jeff, Karen’s husband in attendance. Before they can exchange greetings, they see him with another man, further twisting the knife into their agony. How will Karen react when she learns about this?
The girlfriend trouble
Jen is a bit flustered with Judy’s closeness to her and asks for space. Judy wants her paintings back and asks Ben, but instead he throws another bomb at her. The police are willing to cut Steve a deal and are after a bigger fish, someone who is in charge. She unwittingly informs Ben that Jen saw Steve a few days ago, planting seeds of doubt. She is getting closer to Michelle, though, and that can be something interesting for her. Lorna won’t let Jen sell the house and Charlie finds Steve’s car in the garage and takes it for a ride with his girlfriend. He also finds a burner phone inside, something that Steve used for his shady dealings.
The girlfriend puts the picture of the car on social media, and when Jen learns this, she burns it in a fit of rage. She is having nightmares about Steve and feels guilty around Ben, but is also attracted to him. Jen and Judy meet with Parker, the girlfriend, to get her to delete the photo. She is not easily convinced but eventually enough money cuts the deal. Judy’s new girlfriend, Michelle, is actually Officer Perez’s ex. How rotten can one’s luck be? No wonder Judy hates herself. Jen talks down to Charli and tries to make him value his freedom as a child. Ben is proving to be quite a lovely person for Jen, and she invites him with Michelle and Judy to an arcade with the children.
Nick becomes a thorn, Ben & Jen get closer, and Judy gets sabotaged
It turns out, Nick has found the burnt car. He also finds Michelle and Judy out on a date on the beach, still fried over her “betrayal”. On Steve’s birthday memorial, a lot of key pointers emerge that determine the path for the rest of the season. Heidi, Steve’s fiancee, makes an emotional mess with her baby and the lack of parental support. Although the event was itself designed to honor his memory, nothing of that sort is allowed to happen. Ben too is distressed by his brother’s absence and finds a comforting companion in Jen. They even share a kiss and Ben decides to announce a big reward for any news on Steve.
Charlie is also involved in the big lie when he recognizes the car Steve drove in a slideshow at the memorial. When he asks Jen and Judy about it, they are able to do some damage control but Charlie does not seem too satisfied with the lie served to him. Jen is confused about her feelings for Ben and discusses them with Judy and Ben, separately. Judy says that Jen must be careful not to walk into a relationship at this point and Ben’s reaction is neutral toward Jen. But he does indicate that he has feelings for her too. Hastings checks up on Nick and rares him up for a challenging investigation.
He wants answers about the money and his disappearance. Perez warns Michelle about Judy being a “riptide” right in front of her but Michelle does not tolerate the disrespect. Jen and Charlie come back to an “I know what you did” sign on the garage, panicking her. Jeff and Karen are getting a divorce because of his homosexuality but he knows nothing about vandalization. Jen looks at the footage and is shocked for a second. It was actually Parker who is jealous of Charlie dating another girl. Judy consoles Perez about her mother and the two share a tender moment. Nick gets a call from Parker as revenge on the “Steve Wood tip line”. Charlie calls on the burner phone and Hastings answers, confusing both of them.
Jen’s guilt, Judy’s discovery, and Ben’s revenge
Ben and Jen’s relationship becomes complicated when they sleep with each other. The former asks Ben to not take it otherwise and maintain a distance. Judy’s mother asks for her help to get out of jail, which she is reluctant to do considering her past. Jen fights the town hall with a demand to install a stop sign but is unsuccessful. Judy requests Perez locate her paintings and she does have something for Judy. Nick shows the photos to Judy but she is able to wriggle her way out of this. The suspicion is there; just muted for the time being.
Jen tries to persuade Charlie about Steve when he asks her about the car. Jen leaves a note for Judy and goes to Perez to confess. Judy finds papers that make her the legal guardian of the boys but Jen’s grand confession is spoiled when she and Perez fail to find the body. She bonds with Jen over their childhood and gets a message from Nick about Hastings, including how they have enough evidence now to implicate him. Ben finds Steve’s body in the forest and Judy discovers bundles of money in her paintings.
Jen visits the grief support group and realizes she never grieved for her own mother’s death. Judy and Jen visit Lorna to buy out Jen’s mortgage from her, then drive home in a modest new car that Jen wants to give to Charlie. The car is then accidentally struck by another vehicle, revealed to be driven by a drunk Ben. After he looks down at a half-empty bottle of liquor, Ben speeds away. Judy and Jen wake up, both injured but alive.
So that’s the entire story of Dead to Me from Season 1 up to the end of season 2 in a nutshell. There’s a lot more going on here – but that should be enough to get you ready for season 3!
What did you think of Dead to Me’s story? Have we missed any crucial details in this recap? Do let us know in the comments below!